Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers?


Quick Answer

Dogs have whiskers to help protect their faces from injuries and enhance their sense of touch, especially in low-light conditions. Dogs' muzzles block their vision, so they have trouble seeing things around their snouts, and their whiskers help them compensate and avoid injury.

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Full Answer

Dogs' whiskers are more properly called vibrissae. They serve the same function as vibrissae on other animals, such as cats. Dogs are farsighted, which means they see distant objects clearly but do not see close objects well. Because of this and their physical inability to see the bottom of their muzzles, they need an early warning system to help avoid danger. The vibrissae are especially important in dim light, where dogs' eyesight is further diminished. Even changes in air currents are picked up by a dog's vibrissae, making them an important sensory input.

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