Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers?

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Closeup of dog's whiskersHave you ever taken your dog to the groomer and then noticed its whiskers are gone? Your dog probably feels a bit disoriented afterward. The technical term for whiskers is vibrissa, and they are more important than the hair that humans grow on their faces. What do dog whiskers do and why should you never remove them? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and more.

1. Do All Dogs Have Whiskers?

Yes, all dogs have whiskers. In fact, most mammals have whiskers except for humans. Well, humans do have whiskers, but they aren’t the same type that other mammals have. What do dogs have whiskers for? We’ll answer that below! 😉

2. Why Do Dogs Need Whiskers?

Do dogs need whiskers the same way that cats do? Yes, they are very similar to the whiskers found on cats, rats, bears and seals. Whiskers help a dog feel its way throughout the world. Whiskers are sophisticated hairs that are different from the hairs elsewhere on a dog’s body because at the base of each whisker is a high concentration of touch-sensitive neurons. When the whiskers are touched, it sends a signal to the neurons that serve as a warning device that something is near the dog’s face. This helps keep the dog from running into objects and walls.

3. Can You Cut a Dog’s Whiskers?

Technically, you can cut a dog’s whiskers because scissors can slice through them but you SHOULD NOT cut your dog’s whiskers off. Some groomers and pet owners are unaware of the importance whiskers have and end up cutting a dog’s whiskers off for aesthetic reasons, but it’s important that you do not do this. Some show dogs have their whiskers removed because it is thought to give the head a “cleaner” look.

4. What Happens if You Cut a Dog’s Whiskers?

If your dog’s whiskers are cut off, it can interfere with their ability to navigate their surroundings. Your dog may run into more items and be more susceptible to getting injured. The removal of a dog’s whiskers can be uncomfortable and stressful for them.

5. Do Dog Whiskers Grow Back if Cut?

Yes, dog whiskers can grow back if cut or if they fall out. The hair growth rate varies, and there is no exact timeline.

Don’t Pull Out Your Dog’s Whiskers

You should never pull your dog’s whiskers out either. However, your dog may like having its whiskers pulled on a little, kind of like a massage. Just check out this dog and see how much he enjoys it.

Do Dogs Have Eyebrows?

Yes, dogs do have eyebrows. However, some dogs’ eyebrows stand out more than others because they are bushier or are a different color than the surrounding fur on their faces. I notice my dog’s eyebrows most often when she gets excited and I get her attention.

What color are your dog’s whiskers?

About The Author:

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. She has been writing about dogs since 2014, covering subjects such as dog insurance, training, health, accessories and more. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing canine products and services. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs.

Kimberly grew up in a family that loved Labrador Retrievers and remembers running and playing in the yard with them as a child. In 2017, she and her husband adopted their Coonhound mix, Sally, from a local shelter. Kimberly's research was put to good use since Sally faced some aggression issues with other dogs and needed some training to be an inside dog. She worked daily with Sally and sought help from professionals to help Sally become the happy pup she is today.

One of Kimberly's favorite pastimes is spoiling Sally with new toys, comfy beds and yummy treats (she even makes homemade goodies for her). She tries to purchase the safest products for Sally and knows that each canine has their own specific likes and dislikes. Kimberly is passionate about dogs, and knows the bond between humans and canines is like no other.

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George
Thank you for this information. My dog came back from the groomer completely shaved when I asked them not to touch his face or tail, and they even cut his whiskers. He is now very upset and stays in my lap or bed. I plan to print this article and show it to the groomer so other dogs aren’t hurt this way.
Graham
I always thought dogs had whiskers be i was never new what they were.

my dogs whiskers are white

Amy
I’ve always wondered this, who knew whiskers were not only cute but also functional!