Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers – What They Are Really For?

Dogs never fail to come into the limelight whenever there is a mention of exceptional loyalty and unconditional love. When talking about the aesthetic features of the dogs, what catches our attention the most is their whiskers.

As an inquisitive pet owner, you must be thinking what the role of whiskers is and are they helpful for the dog. Well, in this blog, we are going to shed light on why dogs have whiskers and what are they really for.

Whiskers, also known as vibrissae or tactile hairs, act as antennae for dogs. These facial enhancements are like sensory devices that assist in guiding the dog to get through the daily routine happenings. Also, whiskers provide additional support to the vision of dogs through which these furry pals can sail across the surroundings with greater ease.

It has become quite clear now that whiskers are more than just a facial enhancement for dogs. However, the following factors would provide you a better understanding of how these specialized hairs function.

The Most Sensitive Yet Responsive Facial Enhancement

Whiskers are thicker and bristlier than the normal hairs. With roots that are three times deeper, whiskers are tactically positioned on the chin and above the eyes and the upper lips. All the dog breeds have whiskers; the pattern and placement might differ. Unlike humans, it is not necessary that a dog has to attain puberty to have whiskers.

The whiskers are the very first hairs that exist by birth and develop further on. These specialized hairs are very sensitive as they get originated from the follicles that comprise of nerves and blood vessels. In simple words, humans possess a sense of touch in their fingers whereas dogs have it in their whiskers.

Whiskers: The Exceptionally Brilliant Antennae for Dogs

It is a well-known fact that most dogs have a great sense of smell along with an excellent night vision. But have you ever wondered what keep these furry pals going through? It is their whiskers due to which they get supplementary assistance in navigating through their surroundings, even if it is dark. Their vision and smelling sense are enhanced with the help of whiskers.

The moment an object or a movement is detected; these specialized hairs transmit the information to the sensory cells. Whenever an object touches or gets closer to the whiskers, these delicate hairs vibrate. This leads to stimulation in the nerves of the hair follicle.

By detecting changes in the surroundings, the whiskers of the dog communicate information about the nearby objects. Once a dog gets to know about the speed, size, and shape of the proximate stuff, it becomes easy for him to navigate through it.

Assists in Focusing on the Closer Objects

Although, dogs are well-known for having a great sense of smell along with remarkably good night vision; they have difficulty in focusing on the objects that are placed close to them. To focus on the objects that are placed under their snouts, whiskers transmit information about the object to the brain. Due to this, when a dog tends to approach any object in his pathway, whiskers begin to detect the vibrations that are caused by the variations in the air current.

Apart from this, these whiskers also play an important role in helping pet dogs to locate their food, water, and toys, especially during the night. Also, when it is dark, there are chances that your dog might accidentally bump into the walls. The sensory function of the whiskers protects your furry pal from such unforeseen accidents.

The Gifted Saviors for Dogs

Although dogs cannot speak; they are privileged with whiskers that prove to be their saviors for life. These touch-sensitive hairs respond whenever any particle comes into contact with them. You must have observed that dogs mainly shake their head and it is when a dust particle touches the whiskers. They can also be seen flinging it off. This reaction protects their nasal passage and eyes from the dust particles which when ingested, can cause discomfort.

Another noteworthy advantage of whiskers is that they assist dogs in determining whether they will be able to pass through a particular passage or not. Many times, be it an indoor or outdoor activity, your dog might encounter certain narrow passages. It is through the help of whiskers only, dogs can sense if they can fit into those passages and proceed accordingly.

A Powerful Radar to Combat Vulnerabilities

Have you ever wondered how dogs can sense inexorable jeopardies and manage to escape from it as well? To alert these furry buddies, their whiskers act similarly to radar gauges and detect any unusual activity. Also, whiskers alert the dogs in case any potential antagonist approaches them. This helps them to seek an escape from being preyed upon.

Besides this, when dogs feel threatened, they tend to instinctively flare their whiskers and then point them to the advancing direction. On the other hand, when the dogs feel contented, they would elevate their whiskers above the eyes.

Refrain from Plucking or Pulling

While grooming their pet dogs, some people often pluck or pull the whiskers. It could be painful and detrimental for your dog. That is why make sure to protect your dog’s whiskers and touch them very gently.

These hairy receptors align perfectly with the brain to deliver the signals. Each particular whisker holds a treasured neurological abode in the body of your dog. The credit for the ability of a dog to function properly inside out hugely goes to the whiskers.

Wrap Up

Whiskers are exceptionally advantageous for dogs as they guide them to get through their little world. There is no denying the fact that whiskers also enhance the appeal of the dog, making them look more adorable.

Being brilliant hairy sensors, whiskers assist the dogs in sensing the nearby objects more precisely. For ensuring the tremendous well-being of your dog, you must protect their whiskers, so that your furry pal can become self-directed.

Was this post helpful?

Leave a Comment