Whiskers are known as vibrissae hairs – long, stiff hairs growing around the mouth of many mammals –which are to our furkids what a compass is to mankind.
Your dog needs them to “sense” their environment and to navigate their surroundings. As such, pet owners should never cut or pull out their pets’ whiskers, as it causes stress and discomfort to your furkid.
At the root of your furkids‘ whiskers is a highly sensitive organ called the proprioceptor, which is a sensory receptor that receives stimulti from within the body. This helps Fido and Puss gauge their surroundings, sense touch, and even detect the slightest movement of air.
The whiskers help them to estimate their distance from objects around, especially when it’s dark or dim, and their vision is compromised. Whiskers also function as spacial guides that enable our furkids to judge if they can pass through openings safely.
Cutting your pet's whiskers can be harmful because it hinders their ability to sense their surroundings and to navigate safely, which may result in injuries.
*This article was updated on 1 Dec 2020. It first appeared in PetsMagazine.com.sg on 7 Jun 2016.