Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers? Here’s Why

Normally, people associate touch to fingers. However, in dogs, things are different. Touch in dogs has to do with the face. Whiskers, sometimes called vibrissae, represents long, coarse like hair that protrudes from your dog’s muzzle, jaw, as well as above the eyes. Theses hairs have follicles that houses nerves that are responsible for sensory messages to the brain. So, why do dogs have these whiskers? Well, Fuzzy Rescue has a good explanation why dogs have whiskers.


Normally, canine whiskers are highly sensitive when it comes to the air currents subtle changes. With these whiskers, dogs have receptors that relay vital information regarding the size, shape, as well as speed of any nearby object.  Remember, the vision aspect of dogs is not that highly evolved. So, they rely on the whiskers to see objects in a clearer manner. Plus, dogs use these whiskers to feel vibrations—helping them sense any approaching danger.

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dog whiskers

Sensory Experience

Unlike humans who use eyes to explore the world, dogs rely on whiskers when it comes to their sensory experiences. They have the Markel cells—specialized skin-based receptors that serves as nerve terminals. With these terminals, your Fido is able to have better environmental tactile sensations. No wonder dogs have MC-rich locations—especially in the snout as well as vibrissae. Research shows that these tactile hairs play a vital role in the sensory functioning of your dog. So, things like acquiring food, communication, and many more are easily accomplished. Also, these hairs help the dog to be aggressive, disperse pheromones, maintain head while swimming, and monitor the environment.

Whiskers Care

Whiskers, like eyes, are extremely important to your dog. So, they need proper care. It’s also important to note that some dogs have protruding whiskers—especially on the face. So, don’t snip them. Never be tempted to cut them. Trimming them will be like incapacitating your dog’s capacity to hear or sense. So, if you love your dog, leave the whiskers intact.  

Of course, whiskers aren’t painful—especially when they are trimmed. This is because they don’t contain pain receptors. However, trimming them will disorient your dog. So, leave them intact.

According to studies, cutting the whiskers can cause confusion and lack of awareness on the side of your dog. Your pet needs the spatial awareness to function. However, if you have every trimmed them, don’t worry. They will grow back. The best way to groom them is to wash them using a detergent. Then use a clean cloth to remove excess water.

The Bottom-Line

Unlike humans, dog’s visual aspect is not that highly developed. Thus, they don’t rely on vision to see or sense approaching dangers. That’s why they have special features like whiskers to see or feel objects in the surrounding. So, if you have been wondering why dogs have powerful whiskers, the above reasons will clearly help you understand.

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