While they’re normally associated with a cat, you’ll find a full set of ridiculously cute whiskers on your pup’s face too! So today we’re asking (and answering) the question, why do dog have whiskers?
Dogs are four-legged mammals animals of the family Canidae, typically characterized by long snouts, erect ears, non-retractile claws, and a long tail. Their coloration varies, with some being black, white, brown, red, or grey. They are one of the most diverse species globally and can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
Along with the general body traits listed above, dogs have another, not-so-often talked about feature… that is, their whiskers.
Whiskers are long, thick hairs that grow on the muzzle, above the eyes, and below the chin of most dogs. Unlike the rest of a dog’s fur, which grows and sheds according to the season, whiskers are constantly growing. So, why do dog have whiskers?
Here are ten reasons why dogs have whiskers.
1. They help the dog to navigate its environment
Whiskers are very sensitive and can detect even the slightest changes in air movement. This helps the dog know when something is close by, even if it can’t see it. The whiskers also give the dog a sense of its surroundings, so it can avoid bumping into things.
2. They help the dog to hunt
Whiskers are also used as a hunting tool. When a dog is tracking prey, the whiskers help it identify where the animal is and how best to capture it.
3. They help the dog to communicate
Whiskers are also used as a form of communication. When a dog feels aggressive, its whiskers will be stiff and pointing forward. When a dog feels frightened or submissive, its whiskers will be flattened against its face.
4. They help the dog to regulate its body temperature
Whiskers are also used to regulate a dog’s body temperature. The whiskers are very sensitive to changes in temperature and can help the dog cool down or warm up as needed.
5. They help the dog groom itself
Whiskers are also used as a grooming tool. When a dog is licking its fur, the whiskers help to guide the tongue to the right spot.
6. They help the dog stay hydrated
Whiskers are also used to help a dog stay hydrated. The whiskers are very sensitive to changes in humidity and can help the dog know when it is time to drink.
7. They help the dog identify other dogs
Whiskers are also used to identify other dogs. When two dogs meet, they will sniff each other’s whiskers to learn about their smells.
8. They help the dog to express its emotions
Whiskers are also used to express a dog’s emotions. When a dog is happy, its whiskers will be relaxed and pointing downward. When a dog is sad, its whiskers will be drooping.
9. They help the dog stay clean
Whiskers are also used to help a dog stay clean. The whiskers are very effective at trapping dirt and dust, which can be removed when the dog licks its fur.
10. They help the dog to feel secure
Whiskers are also used to help a dog feel secure. The whiskers provide the dog with safety and security, especially in unfamiliar environments.
So, there you have it! Ten reasons why dogs have whiskers.
Whiskers are not just for show. They serve a variety of important functions for dogs. Next time you see a dog with its whiskers out, take a moment to appreciate all the amazing things they can do.