In order to understand the answer to this question, you should know what whiskers are used for. Why do dogs have whiskers? Whiskers are not just random hairs, they serve a purpose.
Dogs use their whiskers as a type of sense. They help them sense things via vibration that can be very subtle. When they are near prey or close to something with their face, their whiskers let them know.
For this purpose, whiskers are very important to their ability to hunt, track, and even play.
Sometimes when you take your dog to the groomer, they come back with whiskers trimmed. This might seem very shocking at first glance. Is it okay to cut a dog’s whiskers?
The whisker itself has no sensation, so there isn’t any pain in cutting or trimming whiskers. Some breeds get their whiskers trimmed when properly groomed all the time.
That said, the whisker does connect to a nerve at their base, under the skin. So, does it hurt a dog to cut their whiskers? No, but due to the nerve at their base, don’t pull whiskers out — that would hurt.
What happens if you cut their whiskers or one falls out? Do whiskers grow back on a dog? Yes, the whiskers do grow back and even a whisker that falls out totally will grow back in time.
Some breeds of dogs have their coat trimmed every few weeks to keep it from growing out of control. This can include a trim of the whiskers. No problem and your dog’s whiskers will likely have grown back before the next grooming visit. No worries.
On the other hand, some dogs don’t get their coat trimmed but have it thinned instead. Some dogs require plucking of the fur.
This includes some types of terriers that have rough, coarse coats. This is called ‘hand stripping’ and some of the breeds that have this done are Schnauzers, Scottish terriers, Affenpinschers, Irish wolfhounds, and Airedale terriers.
Many other breeds of dogs have hair plucked from their ears. This is to maintain clean ears and prevent infections. Dogs that require ear plucking are Poodles, Labradoodles, Maltese, and some other terriers.
These dogs should be exposed to grooming early in their lives so that they can better behave for the groomer as an adult dog. Grooming is stressful and you should choose a good groomer who understands this and be very patient and gentle with your dog.
What Does Grooming Typically Include?
Some dogs require more grooming than others. Some breeds only need good bathing with a brushing. Some breeds can get by with seeing a groomer once a year or twice per year, just to help remove dead hair during the seasons when they shed most.
Huskies are an example of a breed that needs to have their coat blown out with a heavy-duty blower at the groomer’s shop to force the dead and loose hairs out. This helps them to shed very little at home — highly advantageous if you’ve ever had to vacuum after one of these dogs.
Groomers will trim your dog’s nails too. This is sometimes at an additional cost and other groomers include it in the cost of the groom. Ask to be clear on what will be included in your quote for service.
Some groomers will also simply trim your dog’s nails when you need this done, rather than pay an office fee at the veterinarian. This is definitely a big plus for those who are not confident to do this themselves.
They will also have styptic powder on hand to handle the possible bleeding that can happen if a vein is nicked. This is common and is no worse pain than a hangnail for your dog. It heals quickly and the only real problem is that it bleeds very much as this is a vein in the nail.
Some groomers will also clean your dog’s teeth and this is a great service because older dogs will often get tartar build-up that can result in gingivitis and gum infections that lead to health problems. Groomers provide a service that can help keep your dog healthier and it is also a lesson is socialization and kenneling.
A groomer will start by brushing your dog out well and removing any matting prior to bath. Then, your pet will be treated to a bath with odor-killing shampoos that are chosen for their type of coat.
White dogs, for example, often are treated to a whitening shampoo. This helps remove tear stains around the eyes on breeds prone to this, such as Maltese and Poodles.
Then, your dog will put in a kennel with a blower that blows room temperature or slightly warm air on them to dry them. The last steps will include the groomer’s table. They will be attached by a leash to the table and be brushed, clipped, scissored, and have their nails trimmed and ears cleaned well.
When you go pick your puppy up, sometimes you will barely recognize them. They will smell great and look like a show dog! And yes, sometimes their whiskers will have been trimmed and that is going to be fine. It will not hurt them and it won’t cause them any problems. The whiskers will grow right back.
When your dog’s whiskers are cut, there is no long term damage and you don’t need to worry that they feel any pain. Pulling them is an entirely different matter. That does hurt and should be avoided.
Some people also wonder “can you cut a dog’s eyelashes?” and this is something that truly shouldn’t be done. That said, the long hairs over the top of the eyes, most commonly seen on terriers, are there by design.
These hairs keep dirt from their eyes when they are digging for vermin. Most pets don’t need this hair anymore and groomers will trim it to look nice and keep hair out of their eyes.