Dog Behaviour and Training 

Why do dogs have whiskers?

What many people don’t realize is that the coarse, long whiskers on a dog’s face actually serve an important purpose. In fact, some dog owners try to cut off dog whiskers because they think they look messy.

Also known as whiskers, these dog whiskers have a variety of uses and can help your dog navigate the world around them. They help your dog in many aspects of his life and can even guide him in the dark and help him figure out the sizes of various objects!

Read on to find out why dogs have whiskers and why you should never have them cut no matter how messy your pooch looks.

What Are Dog Whiskers?

Whiskers, or whiskers, are long, coarse hairs that usually appear around a dog’s snout, jaw, and eyes. They are deeply embedded in the skin and the follicles at the base of these whiskers are full of nerves that send sensory messages to the dog’s brain.

Dog whiskers are not like other hairs on a dog’s coat – they are really delicate, and it has been said to be as sensitive to the touch as human fingertips! If you’ve ever touched your dog’s whiskers, they may blink or wince in response.

Why do dogs have whiskers?

Dogs have whiskers that allow them to explore the world by sending sensory information to the brain. Dogs don’t have the strongest eyesight, so they rely on their whiskers, especially when locating small objects or something up close. Any touch or movement of air near a dog’s whiskers stimulates the nerves at the base and sends important signals to the brain.

Whiskers help your dog figure out what things are and determine the size, shape, and speed of objects. You can even help them see in the dark and see if they can fit through small spaces.

Dog whiskers around the eyes also provide protection because when their whiskers touch something they usually blink, which helps prevent harmful things like dirt in the eyes. Also, whiskers can prevent your dog from being stabbed in the eye while walking by branches or twigs, as the tiny hairs can tell where things are.

A dog’s whiskers are some of the first hairs to develop, and they will help your dog find its way around extremely early on. All of this means that whiskers play an important role in your dog’s life – they help navigate and understand the environment, aid poor vision, and help keep your dog safe.

Whiskers are great hunting tools

Whiskers are not only important tools in helping your dog find his way around, but they also help him be a successful hunter. Dogs’ whiskers help them pick up moving objects because when the air moves it bounces back and is picked up by their whiskers. This signal helps dogs determine the size and shape of the moving object or prey, and how fast it is moving. This makes them particularly useful for hunting as they can alert dogs to the location of prey. Their whiskers paired with their incredible sense of smell are the two main reasons your dog is such a good hunter!

If your dog is used for hunting, it is important that you do not cut off their whiskers as this will have a huge impact on your dog’s ability to hunt and find prey, and it can decrease their overall confidence by taking them off cut off from an important source of information. It would be like removing one of their greatest senses.

Dog whiskers are important in body language

It can be surprising to learn that your dog’s whiskers can also show how they’re feeling. When a dog feels threatened, flickers its whiskers, pointing forward, which is changing their body language and helps them signal to other dogs that they are unhappy. Because of this, whiskers can also be part of a dog’s defense strategy.

panting labrador dog with whiskers

Can I cut my dog’s whiskers?

We would never advise a dog owner to cut off their pet’s whiskers unless recommended by a veterinarian. Some groomers cut off whiskers for aesthetic reasons, but this is not a good idea. It is true that dog whiskers tend to appear sporadically while cats get whiskers in clean lines, but they serve an important purpose and should not be removed.

It doesn’t hurt dogs to cut their whiskers because the hair doesn’t contain pain receptors. Cutting them off can cause confusion or make your dog less spatially sensitive. This can affect the ability to judge when there are objects nearby, making your dog much less safe.

However, if your groomer cuts them off, don’t worry as they will grow back. Just make sure they know not to cut them again next time. You should also never pluck a dog’s whiskers, as these have many nerve endings at the base, making them painful.

Read more guides about your Behavior of the dog and what it means.

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