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Monday, March 16, 2015

Is It Okay To Cut A Dog's Whiskers?

I haven't had questions from readers in a while, and now I have several of them to answer.  Here's one from Crystal.

I am a fairly new subscriber to your blog.  I have a 4 month old Yorki Poo.  I was wondering if it is ok to cut her whiskers when grooming her face.  I've read different opinions online some saying to never cut the whiskers as they are needed and the dog's behavior can change if they are cut.
I'd love your opinion.

I answered a similar question about cat whiskers several years ago.  The same principle applies here.  A dog's whiskers aren't quite as important as a cat's whiskers, especially in captivity.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with trimming the whiskers along with the rest of the facial hair.  In fact, there's no way to trim the hair close without cutting the whiskers as well.  Grooming the facial hair happens routinely at grooming salons, and I have clients come in all of the time with small, fuzzy dogs who have had this part of the coat shortened, including the whiskers.  In 18 years of practice and 31 years in the profession, I have never seen a dog have any sort of problems after cutting whiskers.  Does it change the way they sense and feel things around their face?  Sure.  Because of the functionality of the structures it has to.  But this doesn't seem to cause any change in behavior or how they react to their environment.  Through selective breeding we have already significantly changed the structure and behavior of dogs from their wild ancestors.  We're not going to alter that significantly with a haircut. If it was my dog I wouldn't have any worries about doing this.