Should You Cut or Trim Dog Whiskers?

By John Martin - May 7, 2021

Close up of a dog's whiskers

Being a dog owner is a lovely feeling and as a pet parent, it’s totally normal to wonder about random questions. Having a pet comes with a responsibility, and this feeling often makes you doubt over things.

Something as simple as dog whiskers can also raise tough questions in your head. If you’re tired of searching for the answer to this, your wait is over. You are at the right place. Find all about cutting or trimming the dog whiskers in this article. To clear your question right there, it isn’t advisable to trim your dog’s whiskers!

Why Is There A Need To Cut Or Trim Whiskers?

Grooming a dog is easier said than done, especially when it comes to their face and hair. Since whiskers are prominent, it often leaves people wondering if cutting or trimming their dog’s whiskers is actually a good idea.

Visual appeal, beauty, clean look, bacterial infections are some of the reasons why pet owners often want to get rid of their dog’s whiskers. However, ideally, you should trim your dog’s long whiskers and not have them removed completely.

Due to the lack of awareness about the usefulness of these whiskers for their pets, many pet owners and groomers end up getting rid of them.

Getting to Know About Dog’s Whiskers a Little More

Whiskers are specifically tuned sensory equipment that guides a dog through daily activities. Essentially, whiskers are thick, wiry hair around your dog’s cheeks, nose, chin, and both corners of the eyebrows.

Also known as vibrissa, these hair strands are different from the fur or hair elsewhere on their body. Also, the names and functionality of whiskers differ depending on their location!

If you are curious, here are the different types of whiskers on your pet’s body:

  • The most prominent ones are around your dog’s nose/muzzle, known as Mystacial Whiskers.
  • The whiskers on their cheeks are known as Genal Whiskers.
  • Whiskers located above their eyes are known as Supraorbital Whiskers.
  • Areas around the chin have Interraman Tufts.

Why Are Whiskers Important For Your Pet?

Dogs’ whiskers are their safety tools for a healthy living. To keep them safe and alarmed by intruders, whiskers act like your dog’s sixth sense.

At the base of each whisker is a high concentration of touch-sensitive neurons. These act as warning sensors for dogs. When these whiskers are touched, they send an alarming signal to the brain that something is near their face. This helps keep the dogs alert and oriented from running into walls and dangerous objects.

Related: Can You Use Human Nail Clippers on Dogs?

What Happens If The Whiskers Are Cut Off?

While cutting them does not hurt the dog, it weakens their ability to navigate or feel the world around them. They feel disoriented and low. They tend to run into objects and walls and become susceptible to injuries too.

As much as cutting them off is a bad idea, pulling or plucking them out is a strict no too! Not only does this make them uncomfortable and stressed, but the process can be very painful too.

Do Whiskers Grow Back?

Dog whiskers can grow back very quickly, but the timeline and hair growth rate varies as per your dog’s breed, age, and health.

What Can You Do Instead?

Getting their whiskers pulled a little makes them happy and calm. Try giving them a massage and see them enjoying it!

Should You Cut Or Trim Dog Whiskers?

You should avoid cutting their whiskers unless there’s a medical reason involved. Their significance for your furry friends is too high to be ignored. You can trim them occasionally.

How To Trim Their Whiskers?

Most vets would suggest that trimming of whiskers should be avoided until very necessary. However, if you decide to do the same, the following is a complete guide on how to trim your dog’s long whiskers like a pro!

NOTE: Please read the complete guide before you actually start with the process. Only do this if your vet says you should.

Related: How Long Can a Dog Go Without Pooping?

Considerations and Cautions

  • Ensure that your dog is steady and calm before you start the process of trimming their whiskers.
  • Ensure that you, too, are not nervous or ecstatic when you decide to become the grooming expert for your lad. Steady hands are the key to success.
  • Make sure they’re not in the mood to play because one wrong move and you may end up cutting it from the root.
  • Start by brushing their facial hair to clear out any tangles, and food crumbs.
  • Use scissors, shears, or hair clippers. (Detailed process is given below.)
  • The best tool would be scissors that are round-ended as they eliminate the risk of poking your pet dog by accident with a sharp object.
  • Begin with trimming small sections. Try to keep the length of the whisker to around ¼ inch.
  • The trick is to go slow and take the whiskers one by one. Take your time to learn as you master the skill.
  • Start with the eyes. Cover his eyes with one hand and trim the hair around his eyebrows.
  • Make sure you’re giving your dog treats in between for being a good pet.
  • If your pet is giving you a hard time sitting still, do one section today and leave the rest for tomorrow.
  • Don’t panic if you snip any whisker accidentally. Make sure your dog is not feeling uncomfortable. If so, abort the process and try again the next day.
  • Notice their behavior after the job is done. Any signs of discomfort from your pet should be treated with love and affection.

Using The Right Tools

Looking after your pet will need care and dedication. You just can’t compromise on the right tools. A sensitive job such as this one will require the best things to step in. Don’t worry, you will not have to break a bank to get these.

You can use one of the following or both to get things done right:

  1. Using Grooming Shears
  2. Using Electric Clippers

Grooming Shears

The best ones are rounded-tip grooming shears. They have a sharp blade on one side and a serrated edge on the other.

Ideally, clippers are not a good idea for their face, especially the muzzle. Though you can use them for other areas of his body and head, it can be dangerous and risky for the face area.

Electric Clippers

Before you start with the entire ordeal, turn on the electric clippers for a few minutes. Let your dog get used to the buzzing sound of the trimmer before you try them.

Next, shampoo your dog’s face to smoothen and untangle the body hair. Use a slicker brush to remove tangles. Make sure that your clippers are clean and that a lubricated blade is properly installed.

Start by trimming whiskers around the chin, cheeks, and upper lips. Don’t lose your calm or panic if you snip one or two in the process.

Try clippers only if you have a steady hand. Otherwise, go for shears.

Related: What is the Difference Between Fur and Hair?


Now, summing it up for you- it is still best to leave your pet’s whiskers on their face. Cutting them off will not hurt them, but they are there for a reason, and they play an important role in your dog’s life. After all, the last thing you’ll want to do is cause your bundle of happiness any pain.