Should You Trim Your Dog’s Whiskers?

April 29, 2019
In this article we'll be looking at the importance and function of dogs' whiskers and whether you should trim your dog's whiskers.

You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t trim a cat’s whiskers. That’s because they’re essential for a cat to communicate and defend itself. However, many people trim their dog’s whiskers without asking whether it benefits or harms the animal.

Should you trim your dog’s whiskers? Firstly, let’s discuss their purpose.

What purpose do they have?

A dog resting.

Like cats, dogs use their whiskers for orientation, complementing their senses of smell and touch.

Their whiskers are very sensitive, and grow from a very young age. They help puppies explore. 

They are similar to our fingertips, which are naturally sensitive. A dog’s whiskers can detect a slight breeze. This will then create small vibrations that allow them to detect and recognize objects nearby. It will even help him determine their size and shape. This helps to protect them from danger.

They also help dogs with spacial awareness, and protect their eyes. This is because when the whiskers touch something, a dog’s first reaction is to close his eyes.

Medically, the whiskers can be used to perform diagnostic tests through dermatological testing, since dogs can sometimes have scabies, burns, follicular pyoderma, or follicular dysplasia.

As you can see, a dog’s whiskers are very important. What are the dangers of trimming your dog’s whiskers, then?

Don’t trim your dog’s whiskers

As mentioned above, there are only dangers in trimming a dog’s whiskers, and no benefits. However, if you have already done so, don’t worry– they’ll grow back.

Trimming a dog’s whiskers can cause the animal serious harm. Like we mentioned above, they are very important for a dog’s sense of orientation. They have nothing to do with aesthetics; they are essential for life.

We understand that you might think your pet is cuter without whiskers, or with shorter ones. However, if you love your dog, you’ll care more about what it needs and its well-being than its appearance. 

The dangers of trimming a dog’s whiskers

Here are the dangers of trimming a dog’s whiskers:

A dog in a garden.

  • He’ll feel uncomfortable. Think about how you’d feel if you cut your hair and didn’t like how it turned out. You might even wake up in the morning and regret what you did. A dog without whiskers will feel like he’s missing something. Whiskers are a part of his body, and he needs them.
  • He won’t be able to orient himself. Imagine if your hands were wrapped up and then you were asked to recognize different textures. Would you be able to do it? Animals need their whiskers to recognize objects and detect their shape and size. That way, they know where they are, what is nearby, and where they can go.
  • The animal’s bond with you could then weaken. If you trim his whiskers, then you’re removing something from your dog that he needs. He’ll probably be angry with you, and get depressed and isolate himself. He may not even get excited when it’s time to go outside. As a result, this could plunge him into a depression that can lead to even worse things.

Put your dog first!

Therefore, your dog’s whiskers are part of him. They are part of his physiognomy– don’t remove them! They are an extremely important tool for him, as he lives surrounded by many humans he doesn’t know. Why should we make things even harder on him just to make him a bit “cuter” and more appealing to us?

So let your dog keep his whiskers. The longer they are, the better! Every dog’s whiskers grow as long or as short as he needs them. Don’t underestimate nature’s wisdom.