Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers?

Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers?

Do you know your dog’s whiskers are more than just some cute hairs on their chin, muzzle and eyebrows? They actually serve a purpose for your pup, working like canine extra sensory perception by helping them move around in the world.

Just Like Radar

Think of how planes use radar to navigate; that’s similar to how your pup uses their whiskers. Radar emits radio waves that bounce off items to give pilots a sense of the size, range and speed of objects. Whiskers, which are connected to your dog’s central nervous system, read the smallest of changes in air currents to relay similar information to your pup.

Whiskers allow your dog to tell the size, shape and speed of possible approaching predators or any other types of danger. Even if that “predator” is just the neighborhood cat who likes to terrorize your poor pup, those nerve-filled whiskers will let them know if that feline is approaching.

Up Close and Personal

A dog’s vision can be a good tool for helping them see in the distance, however, it does not allow them to focus on items up close. Whiskers can help your pup find items that are immediately in front of them and can also warn your dog to close his eyes to protect them from sand, wind or pointed objects.

As a navigation tool, whiskers assist your dog in determining if he can fit into a small opening or get around obstacles. This is why your dog is able to maneuver through your living room in the dark while you bang your leg against the side of the coffee table.

More Than Just Hair

Dog whiskers are twice as big and coarse as their regular fur with ultra-sensitive roots that are set three times deeper under their skin. In other words, cutting or trimming them is simply not a good idea. Aside from the pain from having such a sensitive appendage snipped, it can cause your pup confusion and disorientation. Whiskers are an essential part of how your dog interacts with the world, so just let them grow out normally. He needs them more than you realize!

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