I’ve had dogs almost my entire life. But just like kids, the longer I have them, the more I learn. I never knew a dog’s whiskers fell out before I adopted my Beagle mix, Chance. When I first started finding his whiskers, usually on the bed, I initially panicked. I’d never seen this before, and I started to worry that maybe he was sick. Thankfully, some research set me straight on the matter. While losing whiskers can be an indicator of illness, if the rate of loss isn’t severe, then there’s likely no reason to be concerned. Here are a few things I learned.
What Are Whiskers And Why Do Dogs Have Them?
Because dogs use their faces to interact with the world, in much the same way people use their fingers, dogs have highly-developed whiskers. These are long, coarse hairs most commonly seen on the snout, but also the face and chin of a dog. These whiskers have dense nerve endings packed into the base of their follicles that send signals to a dog’s brain. They are highly sensitive to things like air currents and temperature changes. It is also speculated that whiskers give dogs a sense of the space around their heads, so they have a better sense of their physical surroundings. This is why you should never trim your dog’s whiskers, as you are essentially altering a sensory organ for them. Doing so may make them moody, irritable, and aggressive.
Why Do Whiskers Fall Out?
So, if whiskers are so important, why do they fall out? Well, the easiest answer is that they just do! We humans need our skin, but we are in a constant state of shedding our skin at the cellular level all the time–hello dust! For our dogs, this is no different. It is common, in fact, for dogs’ whiskers to splinter or just fall out over time. But as long as the whiskers are doing so naturally, and not due to interference from people or disease, they should grow back, and dogs should never lose enough to leave them disoriented.
That being said, if you are ever in doubt and suspect that your dog is showing any signs of illness, please never hesitate to take them to a veterinary care professional. Better to be safe than sorry!