I stole my dogs whiskers! Did I do any harm?

I recently noticed that when I have been grooming little Java’s face, I have been taking her whiskers with it.

Is there any harm in this? Do dog’s whiskers aid in balance, like a cat’s?

Have you ever been to a dog show? Every dog that is properly groomed for a dog show has his/her whiskers clipped.

I don’t think I’ve ever known a dog that liked having its whiskers clipped, but AFAIK, there’s no evidence it harms them in any way.

OTOH, the whiskers (also known as vibrissae) have nerve endings at their roots which transmit to their brains (don’t recall where/when I read this) for any animal that has them. I had a dog, some 35 years ago, who loved to brush her muzzle near enough to my face or neck that her whiskers (and only her whiskers) touched me. She had learned that I didn’t like my face licked, but didn’t mind that. Chinka was smart. :slight_smile:

There may have been some evolutionary benefit to whiskers at some point, but if there ever was, it’s long gone for domestic animals - and probably for most land animals. There are a number of sea critters which have clearly demonstrated functions for their vibrissae. If anyone knows of corresponding uses by land animals, I’d love to hear about it.

BTW, a cat’s whiskers don’t have anything to do with their balance - or anything else, that has been proven.

I read once that cats’ whiskers reach out just past their shoulders, thus alerting them when the going gets too tight. It keeps them from going in somewhere where they might get stuck. Maybe same for dogs, I don’t know.

I thought an animals whiskers dogs, cats, mice, etc. had something to do with navigation. Sort of a gage as to width of openings or as feelers to stay next to a wall in the case of mice.

::Paging CrazyCatLady::
Well, they may not be *essential * to the cats survival, but cats do, among other uses, convey emotions with their whiskers. Normally, the whiskers point outwards, slightly downwards, slightly spread out. When a cat is happy and relaxed, its whiskers are a narrow bundle. When scared or agressive, they point straight backwards. When a cat is truly interested in what happens in front of him, o he has caught a prey or is eatng, his whiskers are spead out and point forward, almost as a third and fourth paw, to be prepared for fast movements from under its snout (cat’s don’t see too well up close).

I don’t know if the same holds for dogs.

So this post was completely off the mark.