Whiskers. Whiskers are a way to make sure your dog’s mouth is always wet after he has had a drink. They also act as a fun bat for your cat if your dog gets too close. They are usually thickened on the muzzle, grow haphazardly along the cheeks and can sometimes be seen as large eyebrows. Whiskers look almost like nonsensical characteristics of a dog’s face, similar to human freckles or random black hairs that keep popping up on your chin. You can always see your car’s rear view mirror for this effect.
However, whiskers aren’t just another term for your grandpa’s amazing beard. They are an important feature of the canine body and ensure dogs can navigate the world around their home.
The cute, hairy faces of dogs are what make them special. The whiskers also serve a functional purpose, helping to keep our dogs safe and active. Three reasons are there for dogs to have whiskers.
1. Whiskers Help Dogs See
Our dogs seem to be able to see everything. This includes the chicken bits that have fallen and the wine cup your husband has left (clearly, without thinking) on the side table. Dogs can’t see everything. Not with their eyes anyway. Whiskers can help dogs see more than what their eyes can.
Your normally lazy dog might have surprised you by leaping over your coffee table like an Olympic hurdler just to chase your cat. Dogs are able to sense the speed and shape of objects and have developed their eyes to recognize them. When a dog moves, air is stirred and bounces off of the surfaces he touches. This causes vibrissae, or whistles, to bend slightly. It creates a neural response telling your dog to move before he runs into something.
2. Whiskers allow dogs to show emotion
Amazingly, whiskers are also used to communicate with dogs, particularly during communication between dog and dog. Reflexively, dogs will raise their whiskers when they feel threatened or stressed. This can also be seen when the dog’s body language is serious, such as teeth showing, growling and a “whale eye” or hard stare. These signals are meant to indicate that the dog is unhappy and is trying to defend himself. It is important to observe your dog’s entire body, including his whiskers and face, in order to identify when he is unhappy or needs you as a guide.
3. Whiskers aid dogs to hunt
There are many factors that can affect the appearance of a dog’s whiskers, including its size and how many there are. Dogs bred for hunting are most affected by this. For example, Irish wolfhounds, which are large, fast and agile hound breeds, have enormous whiskers. They appear proportional to the size of their bodies, making them dense, long and coarse.
Originally, the Irish wolfhound was developed to hunt large, fast game such as elk. The whiskers helped the dog navigate through dense forest and overgrown fields quickly, allowing him to move easily and avoid trees. While Irish Wolfhounds are not likely to hunt, today’s Irish Wolfhounds have their whiskers. They help the dog navigate through his living space and keep him calm on outdoor hikes.
All these reasons are why a dog owner shouldn’t cut or trim their dog’s whiskers. It will limit your dog’s ability and make it harder for him to interact with other dogs. Don’t worry about your dog getting thirsty. Just let them have fun and grab a towel.
Dogs have stiff hairs sticking out of their muzzles, which is commonly called “whiskers.” They are not the same as the nonfunctional whiskers that some men grow on their faces.
These hairs are technically known as vibrissae. These hairs can also be called “feelers” as vibrissae can help dogs feel their way around the world.
They are distinct from other hairs in the dog’s body. They are much more rigid and more deeply embedded in the skin. Importantly, however, there is a high level of touch-sensitive neurons at the base of every vibrissa so that any slight pressure on the stiff hair will result in a neural response.
The vibrissae act as an alert device to warn the dog when something is close to his face. It helps prevent the dog from colliding against walls or other objects. Tap gently on the vibrissae to show it. The dog will protect his eyes by blinking protectively with each tap.