How often do dog whiskers fall out? A Step-by-Step Guide

How long does it take for whiskers to grow back?

It might take up to 2 or 3 months for a full set of whiskers to grow back, and an even longer period for senior cats. Other cat owners have reported shorter periods of their cats’ whiskers growing back, to about 4 weeks.

Let’s begin by giving these “whiskers” their proper name. The thick whiskers that you see on the sides of your dog’s muzzle, above their eyes, on their chin and on their upper lip are scientifically named “vibrissae.” The word “vibrissae” comes from the Latin word “vibrio” which translates to mean “vibrate.” That is exactly the function of these thick, deeply rooted hairs – they are used to sense vibrations in the environment.

If you have ever wondered how your dog can see in the dark when you can’t, vibrissae are a large part of that ability!

As a dog owner, you may, once in a while, find one of the longer and thicker whiskers from your dog’s face on the floor. People often have a wealth of questions about these whiskers and why they fall out, so today here at Leesville Animal Hospital, we are going to take a look at the topic!

If you are a cat lover as well as a dog fan, then you will know that cat’s whiskers are arranged in a specific pattern of twelve whiskers in four rows on the side of the cat’s face. Unlike cats however, the number and arrangement of the whiskers on your dog’s face can vary.

So what happens when your dog’s vibrissae sense a vibration? Well, the primary purpose of these thick whiskers is to supplement your dog’s vision (particularly in dimly lit environments,) so vibrations sensed are utilized to create a “picture” of the dog’s surroundings. This picture is composed by the interpretation of vibrations that are created as air moves around or against objects in the environment.


As your dog moves toward an object, the air they stir up bounces back from the surface and subtly bends their whiskers. This tells them theyre getting close to something before they even touch it and protects them from bumping into walls and other objects.

Not only that, but Butzer says the supraorbital whiskers (located above the eyes) help shield the eyes from anything that might irritate or damage them. For example, dust or dirt particles will get stuck in the whiskers before entering your dogs eyes.

Note: If you touch your pups whiskers gently, youll notice that triggers a reflex that makes them automatically blink their eyes to keep them safe, Butzer says.

Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers? 3 Things You Didn’t Know Whiskers Do!

For our dogs, this is no different. It’ is common, in fact, for dogs’ whiskers to splinter or just fall out over time. But as long as the whiskers are doing so naturally, and not due to interference from people or disease, they should grow back, and dogs should never lose enough to leave them disoriented.