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Will My Dog's Whiskers Grow Back? Tips on Promoting Whisker Regrowth - PawSafe

Will My Dog’s Whiskers Grow Back? Tips on Promoting Whisker Regrowth

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

will dog's whiskers grow back

Dogs use their whiskers to navigate spaces in the dark and explore their environment. However, sometimes, our groomer may accidentally cut a dogs’ whiskers, or they can lose their whiskers due to injury or illness, leaving owners wondering if their dogs’ whiskers will grow back.

Whiskers have a natural growth cycle; as long as the follicles are intact, new hairs will eventually sprout. However, it’s important to note that the regrowth process can take several weeks or months, so patience is critical. 

Firm evidence of vibrissae’s importance in domesticated dogs must be included. However, there’s presumptive evidence of their significance. Evolutionary theorists suggest that nature is conservative and does not expend energy on maintaining useless organs. In this text, we will help you understand the importance of vibrissae in dogs, what to look out for when they fall, and why it is unreasonable to cut them.

Your dog’s whiskers will continue to grow and shed throughout their life in a natural and cyclical process. Like other hairs, whiskers have a growth phase, a rest phase, and a shedding phase. 

The whisker growth rate varies among individual dogs and is influenced by genetics, age, health, and nutritional status. 

It’s essential to ensure your dog’s whiskers are not damaged or excessively trimmed. Without  them the sensory organ is not functional. It’s important to note that whisker loss, whether natural or due to breakage, typically doesn’t cause harm to the dog. However, you should read our article on whether or not to cut your dog’s whiskers.

Understanding Dog Whiskers

A dog's nose with their muzzle whiskers above their lips

Vibrissae are specialized, highly sensitive tactile hairs that play a crucial role in a dog’s sensory perception. These long, thick, and deeply rooted whiskers are located on the muzzle and above the eyes.

Trimming the vibrissae disables the dogs sensory and they may suffer from temporary physical damage presenting considerable harm. Whisker movements and responses provide dogs with essential information about their surroundings, assisting in spatial awareness and social interactions and contributing to their overall sensory perception and well-being.

Function of Whiskers

Whiskers help mammals, excluding great apes and humans, navigate their environment. They are connected to nerve cells that allow mammals to detect changes in air currents, which can help them detect prey, navigate in the dark, social touch, and avoid obstacles.

Studies also show that the more the mammals are active at night, the more they need the whiskers, and the more they can move them around in a bilateral, cyclic motion called whisking. 

Whiskers can also help dogs determine objects’ size, shape, and texture, which can be helpful for hunting or playing. However, It is important to note that all we know about whiskers comes from studying a handful of species, excluding the dogs.

Types of Whiskers

Dogs have three types of whiskers: mystacial, supraorbital, and genal.

  • Mystacial whiskers: These are also known as muzzle whiskers. They are the longest and thickest whiskers used for detecting objects by proximity.
  • Supraorbital whiskers: Also known as eyebrow whiskers, these are located above the eyes and are used to detect any harm close to the eyes
  • Genal whiskers: These are located on the cheeks, and they help the dog keep their head up when swimming and navigating through cramped spaces.
  • Interramal Whiskers: Interramal whiskers are situated below the dog’s lower jaw. They monitor and sense objects and surfaces in the lower part of a dog’s environment.
  • Supernumerary Whiskers: These are shorter, less prominent whiskers in various areas of a dog’s face. While they are less sensitive than the mystical whiskers, they still affect a dog’s overall sensory perception.

Overall, whiskers are an important part of a dog’s sensory system and play a crucial role in helping them navigate their environment.

Reasons for Whisker Loss

Supraorbital whiskers or eyebrow whiskers above a dog's eye

Whisker loss in dogs can occur for various reasons, and it’s a natural part of a dog’s life cycle. Whiskers, also known as vibrissae, do not last indefinitely and shed and regrow over time. Here are some common reasons for whisker loss in dogs:

  • Normal shedding:  Dogs go through an annual cycle of shedding. Just like hair and fur, dogs shed whiskers, too. This is a natural process and nothing to worry about. However, excessive shedding could indicate a health issue. If your dog has been shedding excessively, follow these 15 procedures to help restore their hair.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions that can lead to the destruction of hair follicles can lead to partial or complete hair loss in dogs. Diseases such as Alopecia Areatas are caused by abnormal hair follicle development. 

In dogs, Dachshunds are more susceptible to being affected by alopecia than the other breeds. Humans, rodents, and horses are also vulnerable to this condition. Mammals with this condition appear to have the same pathological and treatment response.

  • Aging: As dogs age, their whiskers may become more brittle and fall out more quickly.

It’s important to note that while whisker loss is generally not a cause for concern, it can sometimes indicate an underlying health issue. If you notice your dog losing excessive whiskers or experiencing other symptoms, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any potential health problems.

Dog Whisker Regrowth Process

A dog's muzzle on pink background showing their mystacial whiskers

When a dog loses their whiskers, they will eventually grow back. However, it’s important to note that whiskers are unlike regular fur. 

The regrowth process may not be uniform. Some whiskers may grow back faster than others. When the whiskers fall because of poor nutrition, medication is unnecessary. It’s essential to make sure that your dog is healthy and well-nourished.

A balanced diet with plenty of protein, vitamins, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help support healthy hair growth, including whiskers. It’s also important to be patient. Whiskers can take several weeks or even months to regrow fully. 

During this time, it’s important to avoid trimming or plucking any remaining whiskers, as this can interfere with regrowth. By ensuring that your dog is healthy and being patient, you can help support the regrowth process.

Factors Affecting Whisker Growth

Not all dogs have the same type of whiskers or the same number of whiskers. Here are some factors that can affect whisker growth in dogs:

1. Injury or Damage

Physical damage to whiskers can hinder growth. Whiskers are sensitive and fragile structures, and any trauma or injury to them can lead to breakage, causing the whiskers to appear shorter or thinner.

2. Nutritional Deficiencies

Inadequate nutrition can impact an animal’s overall health, including its whiskers’ health. Nutritional deficiencies, particularly those related to vitamins and minerals, can result in brittle and slow-growing whiskers.

3. Medical Conditions

Underlying conditions or diseases can affect an animal’s ability to grow healthy whiskers. Conditions that affect hair growth, such as alopecia and mange, can massively impact whisker growth.

4. Stress

Chronic stress can negatively impact an animal’s overall health, including the growth of whiskers. Dependent dogs are more likely to be stressed when scared or left alone. Stress can lead to hormonal imbalances, affecting the development of whiskers.

5. Infections or Parasites

Infections or infestations of the skin, such as fungal infections or mites. Mites lead to irritation of the skin, resulting in itching, hair loss, and inflammation. This can negatively affect the health of the hair and whiskers, leading to slowed growth or hair loss.

6. Medications and Chemical Exposure

Some medications, particularly those with side effects related to hair loss, can affect whisker growth. Exposure to certain chemicals or toxins can also have detrimental effects on whiskers.

7. Age

Whisker growth may naturally slow or change as an animal ages. Older animals may have shorter or thinner whiskers compared to younger ones.

8. Over-grooming

Some animals are prone to over-grooming, including excessive licking or biting of their whiskers. This behavior can lead to whisker breakage and hinder their growth.

When to Consult a Vet

If your dog’s whisker has not grown back within a reasonable amount of time and you notice any other unusual changes in your dog’s behavior or appearance, it may be time to consult a vet. Some signs that may indicate a more serious underlying issue include:

  • Excessive shedding or hair loss;
  • Sores or scabs on the skin;
  • Lethargy or lack of appetite; and
  • Changes in behavior, such as increased aggression or anxiety.

Remember, as pet owners, it is our responsibility to ensure our furry friends are healthy and happy. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian for guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do cat whiskers grow back?

Yes, cat whiskers can grow back if they are damaged or fall out naturally. Whiskers are a vital sensory organ for cats, helping them navigate their environment and detect prey, much like antennae on insects.

What are dog whiskers made of?

Dog whiskers are made of keratin, the same material that makes up human hair and nails. They are longer and thicker than regular hair and deeply rooted in the skin.

Why do dogs have whiskers on their cheeks?

Dogs have whiskers on their cheeks to help them sense their surroundings and navigate their environment. They can also use them to navigate through cramped spaces.

How often do dogs shed whiskers?

Dogs shed their whiskers naturally throughout their lifespan. The frequency of shedding can vary depending on the breed and individual dog.

What happens if you cut off a dog’s whiskers?

It doesn’t hurt to cut your dog’s whiskers as they do not contain any pain receptors. However, cutting off a dog’s whiskers could make them confused and less aware of their surroundings. 

Do dogs replace their whiskers?

Yes, dogs replace their whiskers naturally as they shed them. It can take several months for a new whisker to grow back in the same place as a shed whisker.


If your dog’s whiskers have been trimmed or have fallen out, they will likely grow back over time. However, it is essential to remember that the growth rate can vary between individual dogs and may take several weeks or even months.

In the meantime, you can help your dog adjust by providing them with a balanced diet, a safe and familiar environment, avoiding sudden movements or surprises, and giving them plenty of positive reinforcement and affection.

We recommend consulting with a veterinarian for professional advice and guidance if you have any concerns about your dog’s health or well-being.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.