If you compare dog and human regarding to the five senses, it can be said that dogs are clearly superior to us in smelling and hearing, but the sense of sight and taste is less pronounced in comparison. How it behaves with the sense of touch? You can read about this question and which function dog paws have here.
How do dogs feel?
The sense of touch is the sense that develops first. Puppies can neither see nor hear and also the sense of smell is not yet completely developed. They orient themselves mainly with the sense of touch in order to get to the teats of their mother. As with humans, touches are mainly perceived through the skin. There are two different receptors on it, one for surface contact and one for pressure. The former are located directly under the skin and are stimulated by movements of the hair. There are receptors for pressure, which lie somewhat deeper under the skin and especially the dog’s nose and lips react particularly strongly to pressure.
Dog paws are mainly used to perceive vibrations and to explore the subsoil. Unlike humans, dogs have so-called vibrisses, which are better known as tactile hairs. These are thicker than normal hair and also reach deeper into the skin. They are located on the muzzle, the eyebrows, under the chin and in some cases on the legs and ears. These tactile hairs serve the dog as a warning system to avoid hitting any objects, especially in the darkness. These are so sensitive that only a breeze is needed to stimulate these tactile receptors. They can use it to measure distances and get information about their environment. If the dog lacks these “antennas” or if they are cut off, it often becomes insecure, anxious and moves strangely because it lacks a kind of perception.
Do dogs feel warmth?
Most dogs have cold receptors, only the nose is equipped with heat receptors. These serve a puppy to find his mother and can therefore be explained evolutionarily. When they burn themselves for example, these stimuli are not transmitted to the brain as heat, but as pain stimulus. Because, like all living beings, they can feel pain. If your dog likes to lie in the sun, make sure to lead him into the shade if necessary, because he does not notice how hot it really is. If the body temperature rises too much, health problems can occur. Also the paws burn fast in summer on hot asphalt, because the dog shows pain only when burns are present, before that the heat of the ground is not perceptible for him.
Not only humans are social creatures, also our dogs love and need the proximity to other dogs and to their humans. Dogs form social and emotional bonds through touch. Such as extensive stroking or contact lying not only the connection to the animal to humans and vice versa is naturally intensified, it is also proven that touching the dog triggers peace and serenity as well as satisfaction. The “cuddly hormone” oxytocin is released. Tender coat care, such as brushing, naturally has the same relaxing effect on your dog (assuming he knows and likes that). Also the relationship to other species is strengthened by touch and proximity.
Pay attention to whether and which touches are pleasant for your dog in which situation and do not force him to intensive contact.
Whether the sense of touch is more pronounced in humans or dogs cannot be said per se. What can be said, is that the sense of touch serves orientation and social bonding in all living beings. This means that the more intense the physical contact with your beloved friend is, the more relaxed and happy he is. And honestly, it’s no different with us humans. TOBALIE wishes you nice and cuddly hours.