Have you ever wondered why dogs have whiskers? There are a number of reasons why you may have. Dogs are members of the mammal order and are thus covered in hair. Like cats and other animals, dogs use their whiskers for a variety of purposes. We’ll cover a few of the most important reasons for whiskers in the article below.
What Are Whiskers?
To answer the question “Why do dogs have whiskers?”, you first need to know what whiskers actually are. These are hairs that are thicker, coarser, and more durable than the other hair on a dog’s body. They are somewhat akin to facial hair on a human male. Dogs have them on their eyes, chin, and in the area above their upper lip.
Dogs don’t have to wait until they mature to get their whiskers. They get them right away when they are born. It’s a good idea to let their whiskers grow in a natural fashion. There is no need to trim a dog’s whiskers the way that you may trim your beard or mustache.
The whiskers on a dog are filled with nerves and blood vessels. They are equally as sensitive as the fingertips of a human being. This means that they serve a similar purpose. Since dogs don’t have hands, they need to put their face out front. Their whiskers are a way of giving them feedback on their surroundings and helping them to navigate safely.
Why Do Dogs Need Whiskers?
The answer to the question of why dogs have whiskers has to do with the fact that dogs are four-footed and horizontal in movement. Whiskers are there to help them navigate through their environment, whether they are running around in your back yard in their invisible dog fence or navigating through the woods on a hike. They are finely attuned sensors that give them the info they need to move safely from place to place.
A dog’s whiskers also accentuate their face much in the way that a mustache does for a human male. They work in conjunction with their eyebrows to give them various types of expressions. These expressions are their way of showing their feelings. Since dogs can’t talk, their whiskers help them communicate through the medium of body language.
However, the main reason for a dog to have whiskers is to keep them safe. When a dog wants to know if it can fit into a tight space, they brush up against it with their whiskers. This is their way of determining whether they can squeeze through space or whether it is simply too tight.
Dogs also use their whiskers to keep them from brushing up against sharp objects that can cause them injury. For example, when a dog is outside near plants with sharp spines, they may give them a sniff. Their whiskers may brush up against a prickly surface, at which point the dog will know not to get any closer.
What Happens When You Cut Off a Dog’s Whiskers?
It’s not a good idea to suddenly cut off a dog’s whiskers for no good reason. This is an action you ought to avoid for a number of reasons. First and foremost is the fact that dogs get a lot of their sensory info via their whiskers. They jut out in front of them and can be used to determine if they can fit into a particular space.
When a dog walks outside near a bunch of prickly thistles, the whiskers serve as a form of advance warning. If they feel something sharp or prickly jutting up against their whiskers, they can pull back in time. This keeps them from getting injured. Whiskers are thus a very important factor in keeping your dog happy, healthy, and active.
Do Dog Whiskers Grow Back?
Dog whiskers are a lot like hair, whether for humans or for dogs. The average length of time that it will take for dog whiskers to grow back will be about 13.6 to 15.4 weeks. In general, it’s safe to cut your dog’s whiskers since they do possess this regenerative ability. As long as you don’t damage the root, they should be fine.
However, this is something you should avoid doing because your dog really does need their whiskers for a wide variety of reasons. They need them to help them take in sensory info as well as avoid getting jammed into tight spaces. Whiskers also help them navigate in areas where there are a lot of sharp objects to look out for.
Can You Cut a Dog’s Whisker?
It’s reasonably safe to cut a dog’s whiskers. They don’t feel any more pain than you do when you get your own haircut. The whisker will grow back in time just the way that your own hair grows back to its original length. To this extent, it’s safe to cut or trim the whiskers on your dog.
However, this does not apply to plucking their whiskers. This is something that you should never do to your dog because it will be very painful for them. As a human, you wouldn’t like to have any of your hairs plucked out. You should also keep in mind that plucking will make it longer and harder for a dog to grow their whiskers back.
Can Dogs Walk Without Whiskers?
Many people seem to believe that dogs can’t walk without whiskers. This isn’t actually the case. What does happen if a dog should lose their whiskers is that they lose a great deal of their sensory ability. Whiskers are there to help a dog avoid sharp objects or tight situations. Without whiskers, they’re kind of in the dark.
For this reason, your dog will behave differently. They will not stumble or lose their ability to walk. But they will be slower, more measured, and cautious in the way that they walk around. This is because they will have to judge distances without evidence from their whiskers to rely on. This will continue until their whiskers grow back.