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What are dogs’ whiskers for?

What are dogs’ whiskers for?

One of the most curious aspects of the physical appearance of dogs are the whiskers. Although many people are unaware of the real function of these hairs on the face, they have important uses with respect to health. These are found around the muzzle, above the eyes and in the jaw, being especially embedded in the skin of the animal. Such is the importance of dogs’ whiskers, that their follicles have quite a few nerve endings, which send sensory messages to the animal’s brain. Contrary to what they seem, they are delicate and cannot be considered as another part of a dog’s fur.

What are dogs' whiskers for

Measure distances

Wondering why dogs have whiskers? Well, dog whiskers are called vibrissae because they function as a kind of sixth sense for the furry. These vibrissae protruding from the skin act as a lever-like mechanism: the stimulus they receive from the outside produces a movement that the mustache transmits to the skin follicle. From the follicles, the information is transferred to the brain, decoding it and generating a response. Through this mechanism, the whiskers present on the face of dogs fulfill different functions and one of them is the help to measure distances in the dark. In addition, the air currents perceived by the vibrissae allow us to have an idea about the location of objects and the size of spaces around them.

And, if you want to know how dogs see, in this article we offer you all the information you need to know about your dog.

Protect from particles

Another function of whiskers in dogs is the protection of the eyes. The supraciliary vibrissae, that is, those just above the eyes, help protect them from particles: they first trip over them, being able to propel them with blinks.

Report on temperature

Do you want to know more about what the mustache hairs of dogs are for? Well, the whiskers of dogs also perceive any air current, thus providing information to the animal’s brain about the environmental temperature. Thus, they completely notice the heat and cold through the whiskers.

Explore the world

Another function of vibrissae is that they help the dog explore the world they observe around them. The whiskers send sensory information to their brain and any movement or contact they experience with the air or any other element near the whiskers produces a stimulus in the nervous system. In this way, vital signals are emitted to the canine brain. Vibrissae are one of the physical tool’s dogs have to discover things and determine the shape, speed, and size of objects within reach. In addition, there is a very curious fact: vibrissae in dogs are proportional to their body size, so they allow them to discover if the spaces are large enough to be able to pass through them.

Why My Dog’s Whiskers Fall Out

You have probably detected on more than one occasion that your dog is falling out of the whiskers he has on his face. Don’t know why? Don’t worry, it’s not a negative symptom. In addition, a few days later you will notice that new ones will grow. So, just as they shed their fur, dogs also shed their whiskers. Therefore, it should not cause a concern except in cases where this fall of vibrissae is simultaneous with other symptoms such as possible changes in the behavior of your furry friend or loss of appetite. In this type of situation, it is important that you go to the veterinarian to do an exploration and check if you are suffering from any health problems.

Is it bad to cut the dog’s whiskers?

Although it is proven that dogs molt their whiskers over time, this factor does not imply that they should be removed prematurely. It is always advisable to wait for them to fall through the natural molting process. However, some people doubt whether they can cut the whiskers of dogs or if it is bad to do so, but they consider it in order to improve the physical appearance of their pet. Therefore, it is important to emphasize that it is negative, causing a counterproductive effect. If you cut the whiskers of your little furry one early, he will be helpless because he will lose a basic tactile mechanism that helps him perceive everything around him and helps him orient himself. In addition, cutting the vibrissae is a very uncomfortable process for the animal and even painful if you remove them with some type of tweezers or similar tool.

In short, under no circumstances is it advisable to cut the whiskers of a dog. In fact, dogs that suffer cuts of this type can have scary and distrustful behaviors, since their senses are diminished. It is also important to touch the whisker areas very carefully so as not to create discomfort.

If you want to read similar articles to What are dog whiskers for, we recommend that you enter our pet’s category.


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