Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers
When you think of your pup’s face, the first thing that comes to mind are those furry hairs sticking out from his muzzle and randomly on his cheeks (and sometimes above his eyes). But these furs are more than just cute-looking strands — they serve an important purpose for dogs!
They’re called whiskers for a reason: they help guide dogs through their environment.
Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers
Whiskers are distinctive from regular fur and body hair in that they’re thicker, stiffer and longer; embedded deeper into your dog’s skin. Furthermore, whiskers are much more sensitive than fury hairs because they contain many touch-sensitive nerves which alert your pup’s brain when something is nearby or moving.
Your dog’s whiskers act like radar detectors, sensitive to even minute changes in air currents. This information relayed to their central nervous system helps them navigate safely through their environment and avoid potential hazards like tree branches or sharp thorns.
Your pup’s whiskers are incredibly sensitive. When you touch them, their nerves are stimulated and his brain picks up on the vibration. This sends a signal to move away from that object in order to stay safe, or find another one.
Your dog’s whiskers, located on their chin, muzzle and eyebrows, are rooted much deeper than any other hair on their body. In fact, the roots of a whisker are three times deeper than those elsewhere on your pup.
Your dog’s whiskers are embedded at the base of their hair follicles, so when they brush against objects or air currents, these vibrations cause their whiskers to vibrate and activate nerves within those follicles. These signals then travel up through your dog’s nervous system to his brain where they provide him with vital information so he can move around safely and explore his environment.
Your dog’s whiskers on his nose, chin and eyebrows can be especially useful as they help him detect wind direction.
Wind can stir up air and push it back, prompting your dog’s whiskers to bend slightly in response. This signals him that it’s time for them to move out of the way so as not to bump into anything or get their nose tangled in any objects.
Water animals such as dogs can benefit from these whiskers, since they enable them to swim instinctively and keep their head above water.
They can be particularly beneficial in helping dogs navigate their environments, especially when there is low light available.
Superciliary or supraorbital whiskers on top of your dog’s nose are designed to protect their eyes by flexing when air currents or other external stimuli cause them to do so. When these whiskers flex, it signals their brain to initiate a blink reflex to shield their eyes from anything that might get inside them.