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If you’ve ever brushed your fingers over your dog’s face, you’ll feel the change in the hair around their muzzle and eyes. Or perhaps you have taken your dog to the groomers, and when they came home they were a little disoriented? This is because of the impact that a dog's whiskers have on its orientation. Unlike a beard or mustache, a dog’s whiskers are important for the way that your dog navigates the world. But why do dogs have whiskers? And why should you never remove them?

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1. What are dog whiskers?

Dog whiskers are known as vibrissae. They grow predominantly around a dog’s muzzle, jaw, and by their eyes and are deeply set into the skin. Unlike the other hair on a dog’s face, the follicles at the bottom of the vibrissae are full of nerve endings that act as sensory messengers to your dog’s brain. You can tell the difference between dog hair and a dog’s whiskers based on how the dog responds to the touch. Be gentle, but if you touch your dog’s whiskers, then you might find that causes them to blink or flinch.

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