Why do dogs have whiskers?



With people the sense of touch is a sense most often associated with the fingers. The dog however, touches the world not just through his paws but also with his whiskers. Whiskers, or vibrissae, are long, coarse hairs on a dog's muzzle, sides of face and above its eyes. The follicles of these hairs are so packed with nerves that they send sensory messages the brain.


 Being highly sensitive to subtle changes in air currents, touch & vibrations; whiskers serve to detect important information about the size, shape and speed of objects. This helps dogs "see" objects more clearly, even in the dark; because their eyesight is not the most highly evolved trait. Being able to feel vibrations in the air also helps dogs' sense approaching dangers. Whiskers also function in communication between dogs. When dogs are emotional they can move their whiskers forward or backward to show confidence in the confrontation or nervousness and fear of a potential threat. It is not recommended to pluck or trim a pet's whiskers.