Should I trim my dog’s whiskers?
Located on the sides of the muzzle, protruding “whiskers” adorn the faces of our dogs, do they fulfill any function? Is it okay to cut them? Why are they different from the rest of their coats?
If we compare dogs “whiskers” with the other types of hairs that cover their bodies, the difference between is that the mustaches are much longer, thicker and rigid. Each of the whiskers originates in a particular hair follicle filled with blood vessels and nerves.
Considering the sensation of pleasure that most dogs feel during a belly rub, since it triggers affection and satisfaction in their brains relaxing them incomparably, think that only whiskers have nervous terminals, amplifying their ability to perceive the environment in ways that may be difficult to understand for us.
Dogs can have three groups of whiskers: on the sides of the snout, below the jaw and above the eyes. They are part of a system that increases their sensory ability to understand and calculate distances and threats around them.
The number of mustaches and their presence in those specific places will depend on the breed and the reasons which it has been developed. In this way, burrow hunting breeds tend to have numerous “antennae” while swimmers tend to have it in the lower jaw to comfortably keep the head afloat.
Mainly, they work as a support to the dog visual ability since most of their sensory ability concentrates in the sense of smell. Called Vibrissae, they can catch wind currents, vibrations, and friction, giving them the capability to react quickly to their surrounds.
The presence of these “tactile hairs” is very important for a dog’s sense of location, cutting them for cosmetic purposes diminished balance and orientation. Its recommended not interfere with the natural growth and shedding of the Vibrissae as they are of real help for balance and location. Cutting them may lead to confusion, accidents, and decrease of spatial awareness.