Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers?

Have you ever wondered if dog whiskers actually serve a purpose?

Dog whiskers get wet and drip water onto the floor, leaving some pet owners with the urge to cut them off. So, why do dogs have whiskers? The purpose of dog whiskers is not for aesthetics; they are practical and are important for the well-being of your dog.

why do dogs have whiskers

What are dog whiskers made of?

Canine whiskers, or vibrissae, are a specialized type of coarse hair found on your dog’s face. They act somewhat like antennae and play a major role in tactile sensation, or feeling, which helps them to move around and navigate safely.

There is an abundance of specialized skin receptors located near a dog’s nose, which is why the whiskers grow in this area. When touched, the whiskers vibrate and provide information and feedback to your dog’s brain.

What are dog whiskers for?

Your dog’s tickly whiskers actually serve a purpose. They are vital in helping him monitor his world, stay safe, and communicate his feelings with other dogs.

Whiskers Provide Protection.

Your dog’s whiskers also play a protective role. The supraorbital whiskers above your dog’s eyes protect their eyes from dust, debris and injury by causing a blinking reflex.

We all know that dog’s love to dig, and these whiskers also help dogs to judge whether or not they can fit their heads and bodies through a small hole.

why do dogs have whiskers

Whiskers Help with Your Dog’s Vision.

Whiskers around the eyes serve as receptors for important information about nearby objects, which helps dogs to view objects more clearly, even in the dark.

Dog eyes can’t focus on close-up objects, so he gathers information from his whiskers to help him find, identify and pick up something that’s right under his nose.

You can watch a short video below about how whiskers help with a dog’s vision.

Whiskers Help Dogs Communicate Their Feelings.

Whiskers help a dog relay messages about how they are feeling. The position of the whiskers can communicate threat, fear, and aggression and can even help disperse pheromones.

Pheromones trigger sexual and/or other behaviors in animals. They are released in the mouth area, among other places, and whiskers help to dissipate them into the air where they can be detected by other dogs.

why do dogs have whiskers


A dog’s whiskers are important tools for their safety, security and protection. A dog depends on his whiskers as his sense of touch, helping him navigate safely through his environment, detecting the changes around him and helping to protect him from threats.

Communication is also an important mandate for canine whiskers. The position of a dog’s whiskers indicates if he is feeling threatened or aggressive, or if they are ready to attack prey. Pheromones are also dissipated by facial whiskers.

Your dog’s whiskers are highly sensitive and should never be pulled, trimmed or plucked out. And, the longer, the better! Longer whiskers seem to be more effective than short ones in helping with your dog’s movement and vision.

About the author

Melanie Fox

Hi there, I'm Melanie Fox, editor at Beloved Bark. We look to provide people with the knowledge and tools to make smarter, more educated choices for their dogs. We have made it our mission to inform our followers with expert advice and recommendations, that will make a difference in your dog's life.

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