All dogs have them, and so do cats, as well as other mammals, but what purpose do dogs’ whiskers serve? Everything exists for a reason, and a dog’s whiskers, or vibrissae, serve a very important function. Let’s explain it to you below.
A dog’s whiskers are those rigid, long, and thicker hairs than the rest of their fur. They are found on each side of the snout. We commonly call them whiskers, but their technical name is vibrissae.
These hairs have deeper roots and are connected to numerous touch-sensitive neurons.
40% of the areas of the brain that process information received through the sense of touch are located on the face. Specifically, in the snout area, where the dog’s vibrissae or whiskers are found.
What are dog whiskers used for?
Dog whiskers are used to receive information. Specifically, they pick up vibrations that provide a wealth of information. The vibrations emitted by the whiskers alert the dog if there’s something nearby, thus preventing collisions. They provide information about the texture and shape of what the dog is exploring. Thanks to the vibrations of their whiskers, they can also locate and identify objects.
Remember that dogs don’t see details with the precision of humans and rely on these vibrations to explore their surroundings and do so safely; since the whiskers decode where there are objects by detecting air movements. When the air brushes against the whiskers, it warns the dog of the presence of an obstacle, object, or something significantly dangerous in advance.
Dog whiskers should not be amputated or trimmed. Often, there are people who, ignorant of the importance of whisker function, trim them. If they have been trimmed a bit, they will grow back, but they should not be trimmed to maintain their functions intact. And, of course, they should not be trimmed significantly or frequently. A dog whose whiskers are cut may feel clumsy, insecure, and stressed.
Now you know what purpose dog whiskers serve and the importance they hold in their abilities. Our furry friends are truly remarkable. Humans have much richer vision than dogs, but in return, they beat us hands down when it comes to their sense of smell as it’s far more developed than ours. Want to learn more? If so, visit our article called HOW MUCH DO DOGS SMELL?