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Ingrown Dog Whiskers: ALL You Need to Know

As a dog owner, you may have noticed your furry friend’s whiskers from time to time. These specialized hairs help dogs navigate their environment and understand the world around them.

However, sometimes a dog’s whisker can become ingrown, leading to discomfort and potential health issues.

In this post, I’ll cover everything you need to know about ingrown dog whiskers, including causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

Our resident veterinarian here at The Puppy Mag has covered this issue many times in her practice and has guided us through this post.

ingrown dog whisker

What are Ingrown Dog Whiskers?

Before we delve into the details of ingrown dog whiskers, it’s essential to understand what a dog’s whisker is and its purpose.

Whiskers, also known as vibrissae, are specialized hairs found on a dog’s muzzle, eyebrows, and even on the back of their legs.

These hairs are thicker and stiffer than regular fur and are rooted deep in the dog’s skin.

Whiskers are incredibly sensitive and help dogs navigate their surroundings.

They pick up vibrations in the air, which helps dogs detect changes in their environment.

For example, if your dog is walking in a dark room, their whiskers may help them navigate without bumping into furniture.

When a dog’s whisker becomes ingrown, it means that the hair has curled back and grown into the skin instead of pointing outward.

This can lead to inflammation, infection, and discomfort for your furry friend.

Needless to say, it’s ingrown whiskers are definitely something owners need to pay attention to and act upon.

Do Ingrown Whiskers Hurt Dogs?

It depends, but in many cases yes, ingrown whiskers can be painful for dogs.

When a whisker becomes ingrown and progressively gets worse, it can cause irritation, inflammation, and even infection. PetMD Source

This can lead to discomfort for your furry friend, which can affect their behavior and quality of life.

In some cases, dogs may scratch or rub their faces in an attempt to relieve the discomfort, which can further damage the affected area and increase the risk of infection.

It’s important to monitor your dog’s whiskers regularly and seek veterinary care if you notice any signs of an ingrown hair.

Your veterinarian can help determine the best course of treatment to relieve your dog’s discomfort and prevent further complications.

Can I Remove an Ingrown Whisker at Home?

It’s not recommended to try to fix your dog’s ingrown whiskers at home.

Attempting to remove an ingrown whisker or hair can cause further irritation and even lead to infection.

Plus, if you do it incorrectly it could lead to a lot of blood and cause your dog a lot of pain! So without a doubt, it’s best to leave it to the veterinarian.

It’s best to seek veterinary care to ensure that the issue is properly addressed and to prevent any potential complications.

Your veterinarian can examine your dog’s whisker and determine the best course of treatment, which may include removing the ingrown hair or administering medication to relieve any discomfort or inflammation.

They can also provide guidance on how to prevent ingrown whiskers in the future and how to properly care for your dog’s vibrissae.

If you notice any signs of an ingrown whisker in your dog, such as redness, swelling, or discharge, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away.

Early intervention can help prevent further complications and ensure that your furry friend stays healthy and happy.

Do Ingrown Whiskers Resolve Themselves?

In some cases, a dog’s ingrown whisker can resolve itself without any intervention.

However, this is not always the case and it’s important to monitor the affected area closely.

➡️ If the ingrown whisker is causing discomfort or appears to be infected, it’s best to seek veterinary care to prevent any potential complications.

Your veterinarian can examine the affected area and determine the best course of treatment.

If the ingrown whisker appears to be resolving itself, it’s still important to monitor it’s progress regularly to prevent future issues.

Regular grooming and checkups with your veterinarian can help ensure that your furry friend stays healthy and happy.

Causes of Ingrown Dog Whiskers

There are a few reasons why a dog’s whisker may become ingrown.

➡️ Trauma:

One common cause is trauma. If your dog experiences a traumatic event, such as being hit by a car or falling off a high surface, their whiskers may become damaged and ingrown.

➡️ Genetics:

Another cause of ingrown dog whiskers is genetics. Some breeds are more prone to ingrown whiskers than others. Breeds with curly or wiry hair, such as poodles or schnauzers, may be more susceptible to ingrown whiskers.

➡️ Poor grooming habits:

Finally, poor grooming habits can also lead to ingrown whiskers. If your dog’s fur is not kept clean and trimmed, it can become matted and tangled, leading to ingrown whiskers.

Symptoms of Ingrown Dog Whiskers

If your dog has an ingrown whisker, there are several symptoms to look out for.

The most obvious symptom is a visible ingrown hair on your dog’s muzzle or other parts of their face.

You may notice a small bump or pimple-like lesion where the hair has grown into the skin.

➡️ Other symptoms of ingrown dog whiskers include:

  • Redness or swelling around the affected area
  • Discomfort or pain when touched
  • Itching or scratching at the affected area
  • Discharge or pus from the lesion
  • Changes in your dog’s behavior, such as decreased appetite or lethargy

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s essential to take your dog to the veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

While you might be tempted to leave it, it’s important that your vet takes a look, especially if the symptoms are exagerrated.

Treatment Options for Ingrown Dog Whiskers

The treatment for ingrown dog whiskers will depend on the severity of the condition.

In mild cases, the veterinarian may recommend simply leaving the ingrown hair alone and allowing it to grow out naturally. However, in more severe cases, medical intervention may be necessary.

If the ingrown hair has become infected, the veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics or other medications to help clear up the infection.

They may also recommend cleaning the affected area with an antiseptic solution to prevent further infection.

In some cases, the veterinarian may need to remove the ingrown hair surgically. This procedure is usually done under anesthesia, and your dog will need to be monitored closely afterward to ensure proper healing.

Preventing Ingrown Dog Whiskers

While it’s not always possible to prevent ingrown dog whiskers, there are some steps you can take to minimize the risk. Here are some tips to help prevent ingrown whiskers in your furry friend:

  • Regular grooming: Regular grooming, including brushing and trimming your dog’s fur, can help prevent matting and tangling, which can lead to ingrown whiskers.
  • Avoid trauma: Try to prevent traumatic events from happening to your dog, such as falls or collisions. If an accident does occur, be sure to check your dog’s whiskers for signs of damage or ingrown hairs.
  • Don’t pluck your dog’s whiskers: While it may be tempting to pluck your dog’s whiskers to keep their face looking neat and tidy, this can actually cause damage and lead to ingrown hairs.
  • Provide a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help keep your dog’s skin and hair healthy, which can reduce the risk of ingrown whiskers.
  • Regular vet checkups: Regular checkups with your veterinarian can help catch any potential issues early, including ingrown whiskers.

Interesting Video (ingrown hair on dog elbow)


Ingrown dog whiskers may seem like a minor issue, but they can lead to discomfort and potential health problems for your furry friend.

By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for ingrown whiskers, you can help keep your dog healthy and happy.

Remember to monitor your dog’s whiskers regularly and seek veterinary care if you notice any signs of an ingrown hair.

With proper care and attention, you can help prevent ingrown whiskers and keep your dog’s vibrissae working properly to help them navigate their world.


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.