It is common for pet owners to be concerned when they spot something unusual going on with their dog’s body, and if your dog seems unwell or has any abnormalities, you might be panicking.
A dog whisker bump is fairly common to see, but it still looks concerning, especially if you have an elderly dog that might be vulnerable to issues like cancer.
All dogs have bumps around their whiskers, but if one of these bumps seems red or inflamed or particularly swollen, it’s no surprise if you’re feeling worried.
It is always best to act on your concerns, particularly if you are a new pet owner and less experienced with handling dogs. If in doubt, raise it with a vet or a more experienced owner and get them to check over the abnormality.
However, whisker bumps are often benign and easy to deal with at home, so you probably don’t need to be too concerned.
Monitoring the bump and checking whether it is increasing in size (and possibly redness) or staying the same may help to put your mind at rest, and might also let you know when it is time to get in touch with a vet.
Don’t ignore the swelling if it seems to be getting worse or your dog appears to be uncomfortable.
Can Dogs’ Whiskers Be Ingrown?
If you’ve ever had an ingrown hair, you’ll know that it can raise a large and sometimes sore bump on the skin, because the hair is trapped beneath the skin and exerting pressure on it.
This may sometimes lead to an infection, and you might see your dog worrying at its face and trying to scratch the bump. If this happens, you should sit down and inspect the bump to see if you can work out what’s going on.
Double coated dogs have a higher risk of developing issues with their hairs, and some curly coated dogs are also more vulnerable to them, but any dog can end up with ingrown hairs causing pain and infection, and it’s important to watch out for this.
You may be able to see the hair growing out of the skin and then curving back around and digging into the skin again, causing a raised, sore bump on your dog’s face.
Often, ingrown hairs are caused by over-bathing and excessive grooming, but they can occasionally occur on their own – whatever the case, they will need dealing with to prevent or clear an infection and make the dog more comfortable.
Take your dog to a vet, and they can use a scalpel to dislodge the follicles and clear the skin. You can also reduce your dog’s risk of ingrown hairs by using high quality pet care products, not bathing your dog excessively (this causes dry skin), and brushing your dog frequently.
Can Dogs Get Pimples On Their Whiskers?
Like people, dogs can suffer from pimples, where hair follicles become inflamed and irritated. If the pimples rupture, they will further spread the infection, and they can be quite painful for the dog in the meantime, so it’s important not to ignore them.
There are many different causes of pimples, but a key one is an oily buildup on the face, especially among breeds with wrinkly faces.
If your dog is suffering from pimples on its whiskers, you should be looking for a cause so that you can rectify the issue and reduce the appearance of facial acne.
Cleaning your dog’s face regularly with a wet cloth can help to remove dirt, oil, and leftover food, which may otherwise block follicles and cause a pimple to form. You should aim to clean your dog’s face about once a day if it is a breed with wrinkles, although dogs without should need less attention.
You can also reduce the risk of whisker pimples reappearing by regularly cleaning and disinfecting the dog’s toys and food bowls, as bacteria is likely to linger in these places and get transferred back to the dog when it puts its mouth on the bowl or the toy.
In some cases, you may need a topical treatment, such as Benzoyl peroxide, but this should be discussed with a vet to ensure it is suitable and safe. If your dog has suffered any facial scratches, keep them clean to avoid infection.
Why Are My Dog’s Whiskers Swollen?
Your dog’s whiskers are probably swollen for one of the above reasons; it either has ingrown whiskers, or it has pimples.
There are other explanations for swelling too, such as allergies or stings, but these will usually be more spread across the muzzle, and not localized on a single hair or two. Sometimes, swelling may indicate an abscess or cyst has formed, or that your dog has a skin infection.
If you aren’t sure what is causing the swelling, the best solution is to get your dog checked over by a vet, as they will be able to quickly determine the cause and offer a solution.
In the case of ingrown hairs, they should be able to safely and hygienically remove the hair and treat the infection, while for acne, they may be able to recommend a topical treatment.
Although sometimes pimples and ingrown hairs will clear up on their own (especially if you clean them gently with warm water), a veterinary visit will be necessary if they are causing the dog pain or getting worse. Be vigilant and remember that infections can be sore or at least uncomfortable.
A dog whisker bump is rarely anything serious, and you shouldn’t worry if you see one, but it is best to get it checked out unless it goes away on its own within a few days. A bump may be something as minor as acne or an ingrown hair, but in some cases, it may signal something more serious, and even if it isn’t major, it could be quite uncomfortable. Get advice from your vet before applying topical treatments, and get them to handle ingrown hairs with safe, sterile tools.