If you ever inspect your dog’s face you’ve might noticed the stiff hairs coming from the sides of their muzzles. These hairs are commonly called whiskers. But why do dogs have whiskers?
What are whiskers?
There are also known as vibrissae, which translated means feelers. In other words, these whiskers are devices that help our dogs to feel their way through the world.
These hairs are build differently from the other hairs on a dog’s body. They are more rigid and get much deeper into the skin than any other hairs that they have. On the base of each of these whiskers are also a couple of touch-sensitive neurons that will produce a neural response even to the slightest pressure. This will make these hairs go stiff.
Why do dogs need whiskers?
The whiskers are a dog’s warning device that alarms them if there is something near their face. This will help them avoid colliding with anything that may be in their way and alert them is something is approaching their eyes or face. Such as insects or other animals. You can try this for yourself by gently touching one of the vibrissae of your dog. With each tap the eye on the same side of the vibrissae will start blinking protectively.
What if I accidentally remove my dog’s whiskers?
If you remove your dog’s whiskers, he will start acting differently and more uncertain in dim light. The whiskers help the dogs get the information they need to avoid bumping into things. With the help of the whiskers, dogs don’t need to come in direct contact with things to know that they are there. They even register the smallest changes in air currents. If a canine is approaching some object he might be coming in contact with, the air that is stirring up from his movements starts bouncing back and bending the whiskers. This will activate a neurological response that tells the dog that the object is near and he will avoid bumping into it. And all of that before even seeing or touching the object!
So the next time your giving your dog a haircut, make sure to leave the whiskers alone. They are making the life of your dog so much easier.