Dealing with an ingrown dog whisker can be a real pain.
If your furry friend has one, it's likely you've had to deal with the accompanying inflammation, redness, and soreness.
Thankfully, this will not cause any major problems with your dog - they will however, be in pain and irritated at the inflammation, if it occurs.
In this definitive guide, we will walk you through how to remove an ingrown dog whisker safely and effectively.
So read on for all the information you need to get rid of that pesky ingrown whisker for good!
What are ingrown dog whiskers and why do they occur?
Much like the ingrown hair follicle in a dog, ingrown dog whiskers are exactly what they sound like: ingrown hairs that can't grow through the hair follicle.
You've probably experienced ingrown hairs yourself, but you may not have known that your pooch is susceptible to them as well.
That's because ingrown whiskers aren't just a human problem—they happen in dogs too! In fact, any breed with a long coat or thick fur could experience this condition at some point during their lifetime (especially if left untreated).
The most common causes of ingrown whiskers on dogs
Not shaving regularly enough due to lack of time or financial difficulty
Your pet might need grooming every six weeks instead of eight; and avoid using scissors when cutting around sensitive areas such as eyes, ears, and paws.
Using scissors instead of clippers when cutting around sensitive areas like eyes, ears, or paws.
Ingrown whiskers can become ingrown if you're too rough with them; also avoid using a razor blade for this reason as well!
Not brushing your dog's coat daily so that their fur stays healthy and clean at all times
Ingrown hairs can grow outwards more easily through dirty coats than they do in clean ones because dirt gets stuck to the follicle walls which causes inflammation which leads to pain when ingrowing growth occurs.
Your pooch is susceptible if they have long hair in general.
From the top of their head (especially near the top), to the thick undercoats due to being an outdoor pet during winter months (think huskies).
Your dog might be susceptible if their fur is coarse, brittle and/or matted due to not being brushed regularly enough.
Matted hair can cause ingrown hairs, which can also a physical obstruction of whiskers growing out, especially around their mouths.
Other less common reasons can include medical conditions like allergies, hormonal changes in female dogs leading to increased hair growth, and tumors.
Signs that your dog may have an ingrown whisker
If you're noticing your dog's whiskers growing inwards, they may be suffering from an ingrown dog whisker.
The most common signs of ingrown whiskers are inflammation, redness, and soreness around the affected area.
In some cases, pus may also drainage from the follicle.
Ingrown dog whiskers can be caused by ingrowing hair follicles which are unable to grow through and out of the skin surface.
This could be due to bacterial infections or other factors such as allergies, or even mechanical obstruction (the hair literally blocks the whisker from growing out).
This can cause inflammation which leads to pain when the whisker does grow inwards.
How to treat an ingrown dog whisker
You can take your furry friend to the groomer for a professional shave.
This is likely the easiest and most painless option if your budget allows for it.
Alternatively, you can try to remove the ingrown whisker yourself using a pair of tweezers or scissors.
PLEASE ONLY DO THIS IF YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE IN REMOVAL OF INGROWN HAIR ON YOUR DOG!
If ingrowing growth occurs, seek medical advice from your veterinarian before attempting any at-home treatments.
They may not be suitable for all breeds and cases (for example, some ingrown whiskers can occur due to infections which need antibiotic treatment).
Prevention tips for ingrown dog whiskers
You should always brush your furry friend daily so that their coat stays clean and healthy.
This helps prevent ingrowing hairs because dirt gets stuck on follicle walls which causes inflammation when ingrowing growth occurs.
Be sure to schedule regular grooming appointments with professional groomers.
They are the most capable in shaving your dog's hair without causing pain or discomfort during this process.
If your dog has long hair on their head (especially near the top), thick undercoats due to being an outdoor pet during winter months, consider bringing your dog to the groomer too.
As a stopgap, you could also trim the ends of the fur on their face carefully with scissors to lower the chance of an ingrown whisker forming.
At home grooming of your dog
Avoid using a razor blade when shaving sensitive areas like eyes, ears, and paws; this can cause more inflammation and pain if done incorrectly.
Use clippers instead of scissors whenever possible to avoid any accidental injuries that could lead to ingrown whiskers.
If your dog is constantly licking or chewing at his whiskers, it's possible that he may have an ingrown hair. In this case, you'll need to take him to the vet so that they can remove the offending hair.
Left untreated, an ingrown whisker can cause a lot of pain and irritation for your pup. Make sure you keep an eye on your dog's whiskers and intervene if you notice any signs of trouble!
Remember that if ingrowing growth does occur, it's best to seek medical advice from your veterinarian before attempting any at-home treatments.