Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers?

12 April, 2018
When it comes to animals, there are many questions that arise, such as what is the purpose of dog whiskers. Of course, they are useful for something, like everything else in life. Would you like to know the answer? We are going to tell you! 
Dogs have a sixth sense that allow them to “see” at night much better than human beings. And it all has to do with whiskers! People who cut the whiskers should know that the animal loses some of his abilities, which could make him very insecure

The importance of dog whiskers

There are many people that have the habit of cutting the whiskers of their dog. This is not a danger in itself for the animal, but it’s true that this part of his body is like a sixth sense. So when they are cut, we could be taking away some of his abilities to hunt or play.

Dog whiskers have roots that are up to three times deeper than their normal hair, besides being twice as thick. Thanks to them, the dog has an idea of the world that surrounds him. Remember that neither his vision nor his perception is the same as ours.

In addition to the benefits of these whiskers, we can say that they serve as eyelashes. Even though they are not on the eyes, dogs do not have lashes. But the whiskers on the eyes act as protection for them. 

What are dog whiskers for?

In addition to what was said before, it is important to delve into how they help him in his relationship with the world. They collect information and let him measure distances. So that you can understand, these act like an insect’s antennae. They respond to touch and so when they are touched, they directly affect other parts of the body.

There are some groomers that recommend cutting dog whiskers in certain types of breeds, alluding to the fact that they follow the standards. However, your animal’s sensory information will be diminished. Therefore, thinking about your pet’s well-being, it is you who has to make the decision of cutting them or not. 

When cutting dog whiskers, the dogs could be more shy or scared, or even insecure about themselves. Also, he could move strangely, since an important of him would be missing when it’s time to walk

Why do dog whiskers respond to touch?

Dogs’ sense of touch is found in the cutaneous receptors that accumulate in the bases of the hair follicles. Therefore, some dog hair is known as tactile hair, and it is divided into five groups: superciliary, chin, zygomatic, labial, and mandibular.

Dog whiskers are among these groups of tactile hair. Even though the most well-known are those that we see on the mandibular area, they also have them on the eyes and on other parts of the body. 

How do these tactile hairs work? Like a lever. Because they are more rooted, when they are touched, they produce a stimulus that extends throughout the closet area of the body and produces a reflex.

They are also very useful in the dark, since they allow dogs to know the distance between themselves and an object that they could crash into or hurt themselves with. That is why you will always see that your dog is capable of walking around the house at night, when you are not capable of taking a step without grabbing a piece of furniture or the wall.

As we told you at the beginning of the article, there is a reason for everything. And as we have seen, that includes dog whiskers. So, why cut them, then?