Have you ever wondered why dogs have whiskers? When you really think about it, they seem pretty odd. However, whiskers are actually a very important sensory device for dogs and other animals. These thick hairlike structures serve many functions and should not be taken for granted.
Get it right Commonly referred to as whiskers, these thicker than fur hairs that come out of the side of a dog’s muzzle are actually called vibrissae. A better common term for them would be feelers since they function as a sensory organ that helps dogs find their way around.
Other functions Vibrissae are highly sensitive and help out a dog in many ways. They use these whiskers to tell if they can fit into a small space, if they are too close to a wall or a couch during a dark night, can tell if something is close to their face, and may even be able to tell what an object is and where it is located relative to their body.
Think of it like this Think of dog whiskers, or vibrissae, as a device similar to a cane that a blind person uses. The cane can aid the person in movement and position. By moving the cane around in front of their bodies, blind people can tell what is in front of them and avoid hitting into it. They can also tell if a space is too small to fit into or how wide open the space around them is.
Whiskers are not to be groomed Some dog groomers like to trim the vibrissae during a regular grooming. They probably do not understand how important they are to a dog’s well being. Dogs can become stressed and uncomfortable if these are trimmed. Do not allow your groomer to trim your dog’s whiskers.
About the author:
Kayleigh has always loved animals and has spent time volunteering at the local dog shelter. The love of her life is her four year old Rottweiler, Lizzie. She enjoys writing for YeePet.com since it combines her love of animals with one of her favor...
See something on the Internet that you'd like us to profile in this column? Anything about pet fashion, technology or interesting is good. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.