why do dogs have whiskers



Why Does My Dog Have Whiskers On His Face?

Your Dog breed has whiskers for a special sense of navigation, they especially come in handy for a dog in low light environments. Dogs us their whisker senses to navigate in low light and in tight environments like chasing a rodent threw a tunnel. Without the dogs whiskers the dog would find it very hard to navigate in low light and congested areas.


Dogs are just like humans, they also have 5 senses like smell, taste, touch, sight, and sound. Some people may say that a dogs whiskers could even be a sixth sense having something that us humans do not have or understand. Could you imagine going to the salon to get a trim and we could feel each hair getting cut. Or what if getting our hair trimmed took away our sense of navigation, well this is exactly what will happen to your dog when you trim his whiskers.



Will It Hurt My Dog If I Trim His Whiskers

3.Do All Dogs Have Whiskers Or Is Some Breeds Different?
4.Where Are Dogs Whiskers Located So I Don't Cut Them Off?
5. How Old Are Puppy's When They Begin To Grow Whiskers?
6.Is My Dogs Whiskers Sensitive When The Groomer Trims Them?
7. Should I Trim My Dogs Whiskers?

What Are Dogs Whiskers And What Do They Use Them For?

If you look around you start to notice that whiskers are known as vibrissae they are on about every mammal in the world. I wondered what does vibrissae even mean so I had to look it up. Vibrissae comes from a Latin which means " to vibrate." Whiskers are a specialized hair with nerve endings that allows the whiskers to take in information from the environment and send that information to the brain (Coren, 2016).
Whiskers sensitivity allow them enough to "see" the environment that they are in when it isn't very light out. Whiskers help them navigate in very low light. Whiskers also detect air flow, allowing animals to find objects around them before they physically touch them (Buzhardt, 2015).
Here is some more information that I found about a dogs whiskers. Whiskers are important for a variety of other functions such as communication between members of the same species, hunting prey animals, defensive behavior, pheromone signaling, and swimming (Ahl, 1986).

Do All Dogs Have Whiskers Or Is Some Breeds Different?

Yes, every dog breed has whiskers. They are very important for many reasons that is why so many mammal species have whiskers. However, each dog breed may be a little different. There is evidence that whisker length is different across species based on the ecology of that animal (McGill, 1980).

Some dogs can be used to hunt rodents out of tunnels. The dogs used for this type of hunting would have to be able to hunt in very low light environments. This dog breed would have to be of shorter stance with a stronger whiskers than maybe a Great Pyrenees out herding sheep in a field. 

We will never fully know all the full benefits of having whiskers as a human. We are one of the mammal species that doesn't have whiskers, this means we will never know what it is like to have the sensation of having them and the amazing navigation anility that we could have in low light with them.   


3 Other Mammals That Do Not Have Navigation Whiskers For Low Light Hunting.

1. platypus


3. Some hairless breeds, like the Sphinx cat.


10 Dog breeds that have the longest dog whiskers.

  • Airedale Terrier
  • Brussels Griffons
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Bearded Collie
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  •  Schnauzer
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  •  Lhasa Apso
  • Shih Tzu
  • Coton de Tulear

Where Are Dogs Whiskers Located So I Don't Cut Them Off?

A dogs whiskers are located on their face: You may notice that your dog may have whiskers also above their eyes. That is because dogs have two locations on their face that have whiskers. They have whiskers just above their eyes, and next to their lips and on their chin. It is amazing of how these whiskers are located in just the perfect spots to get the dogs the best navigation. Whiskers for dogs come in the most handy when they are in low light environments.

Did you know that mammals, like squirrels also have whiskers on the back of their legs. Cats also have these whiskers, they help them to be able to climb easier like in tight spaces or maybe running up a tree. Dogs do not have these whiskers which is why you may notice why dogs are sometimes more clumsier than cats.  


How Old Are Puppy's When They Begin To Grow Whiskers?

I thought this was a amazing fact that I never really thought about. When puppies are first born their eyes and ears are closed but that they already have their whiskers. What I thought to be amazing is just because they can not see yet doesn't mean that they don't know some things that are going on around them. The whiskers help navigate them around their environment until their hearing and sight are developed. You may wonder why would a puppy need to navigate when his/her eyes and ears are closed, that is so that they can find their mother so that they can nurse. Without the puppies whiskers they may never be able to find their mother to be able to nurse for the first time. Nursing is extremely important for the puppies when they are first born, they don't only need it for strength but also to bond to the mother. 


Is My Dogs Whiskers Sensitive When The Groomer Trims Them?

You may ask yourself whisker sensitivity and are there any pain in trimming them at the groomer. Well since whiskers do contain nerve endings, that makes them very high on the levels of sensitive. Dogs whiskers are very sensitive due to the fact that all the nerve endings that are in them. 

Here is some signs that you may notice your dog is having issues with his trimmed whiskers. Some dog breeds have higher levels of sensitivity in their whiskers than other breeds, which will cause these breeds to experience a greater discomfort than other breeds. If your dog is use to eating out of a dog bowl but now that his whiskers are trimmed you are noticing he acts anxious when he tries to eat out of the bowl now, you may be seeing signs of discomfort in the dog breed. 

You may also notice that your dog is more hand shy when you try to pet him/her now. This is also another sign of discomfort in the dogs sensitive whiskers. They may also act uncomfortable when trying to use head halters or putting dog clothes over their heads. If you keep attempting to doing so even when your dog is acting anxious can lead to aggression in your breed. 


 Here Is What You Need To Do If You Feel That Your Dog Does Have Whisker Sensitivity

Okay you have just trimmed or just got back from the groomer. You are noticing that your dog is acting anxious or a little aggressive when you try to pet him or put on his halter, here is what you need to do. Provide your dog with a new wider and shallow bowl to eat and drink from. Be more cautious on where and how you pet your dog. Encourage your family and friends to also be cautious not to pet or rub his face. 

A child may not understand completely why they can't pet him/she on the face no more. The best way is to explain to them the best way that you know how to and to encourage them that they can still pet them just not on the face. Something that is good for the health of the dog and the bonding of a child is to take them on walks. Make sure to use a back-clip harness for this will keep the leash from ever touching the dogs whiskers on his face.  


Do Dog Whiskers Grow Back?

Yes, whiskers are like our hair they will grow back naturally. Whiskers will shed off just like fur does. It isn't uncommon to even find a dogs whisker around the house or on their favorite napping spot. Don't be alarmed if you do find a dog whisker this is perfectly normal and your dog is completely healthy. For the life of the dog your dogs whisker will continue to grow and fall out on there own.


So Really Does My Dog Have To Use His Whiskers.

Yes Your Dog needs to keep his whiskers. Your Dog uses his whiskers to  navigate. With the senses of  his whiskers he can maneuver through low light tight environments. The dogs whiskers are extremely important for a dog to be able to navigate. We learned that puppies are born with whiskers and that their whiskers is the main source of navigation until their eyes and ears are open.  

A dogs whiskers are located on the dogs face and there is no whiskers on the dogs legs. The whiskers grow naturally on the eyebrows, upper lips, and chin, We learned that whiskers have many sensitive nerve endings in them. Some dog breeds experience a more painful sensitivity after being trimmed when they try to drink from their dog bowl or when you try to pet their face. 

The important thing to know is if you did get them trimmed from a groomer or maybe you did it yourself, this does not mean that you are a bad dog parent. Just the fact that you are reading this lets me know that you care about the health of our dog and only want the best for them. 



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