Dogs are more like us than we may think. They have complex emotions and many of the same body parts and traits as humans. You may see tiny hairs on your pup’s lid and think, “Do dogs have eyelashes?”
Yes, dogs have eyelashes — though, unlike humans, they’re only on their upper eyelids. If you have a dog breed with lengthy lashes, they’ll need upkeep to prevent issues like trichiasis, distichiasis, or ectopic cilia.
Let’s dive into everything you need to know about dogs’ eyelashes and how to manage them.
Do All Dogs Have Eyelashes?
Although all dogs have eyelashes, there are certain breeds with more visible eyelashes. Many species have lashes you may miss unless you’re intentionally looking for them. Despite how difficult they may be to see, they’re there no matter the type of dog you own.
Why Do Dogs Have Eyelashes?
Humans and dogs have eyelashes that serve similar purposes. Eyelashes help to trap any dust, debris, and other environmental factors from getting into the eyes. Their eyelashes help to keep specks from causing eye irritation when your pup plays in the dirt, sniffs the grass, or even relaxes on the breezy porch.
Although dog eyelashes can help in many cases, there are still circumstances where eyelashes can cause more harm than good. Stay on top of your grooming and preventative care for your dog’s lashes.
Grooming and Preventative Care for Dog Eyelashes
Although your pup’s eyelashes may not be as prominent as yours, this doesn’t mean you should ignore them. You should check your dog’s eyelashes regularly and ensure they are always well-groomed.
Like your dog’s teeth, fur, and nails need inspecting and maintenance, so do their lashes. They’re easy to forget about because, as humans, we can feel when something gets trapped in our eyes and easily fish it out. However, your dog can’t do this for themselves or tell you if something happens.
When looking at your dog’s eyelashes, consider their length to determine the level of grooming your dog will need. Because each dog is unique, so are its grooming and preventative care.
If your dog has short eyelashes, you’ll need to check their eyes to ensure none are floating on their eyeballs. During this time, look for any abnormalities. Use a dog eye rinse to help remove any debris that snuck in their eyes when necessary.
Your grooming routine may be more involved for dogs with longer eyelashes. If your pup has eyelashes that get trapped in their eyes or block their vision, you’ll need to trim and maintain the proper length.
Familiarize Your Dog With the Scissors and Tools
Unfortunately, we can’t reason with our dogs and explain why we need to cut their eyelashes. To them, they see a sharp object coming near their face and don’t know why it’s happening.
Before attempting to trim your pup’s eyelashes, allow your dog to get used to the sound and look of scissors in your hand. Once your dog is familiar with the scissors, you can move them closer to your dog’s face. This will build your dog’s trust in you and the object in your hand.
When your dog has a positive reaction, offer them treats to help associate the trimming process with something good versus something scary. Continue to give your dog treats throughout the entire process and at the very end.
Trimming Your Dog’s Eyelashes: Step-by-Step
Here is the easiest way to trim a dog’s lashes:
- Hold your dog and secure their head comfortably but firmly in your arm. For larger dogs, you may need a harness.
- Use a pet-friendly wet wipe to clean the lashes and remove debris gently.
- Comb your pup’s eyelashes with an eyelash comb to separate the strands. Be careful to comb slowly to avoid pulling out their lashes.
- Use short scissors to trim from the outside corner of their eye, with the scissors pointing toward your pup’s nose.
- Repeat steps one through four on the other eye.
- Gently comb again to ensure each lash is the proper length, and there aren’t any lashes that may fall in your pup’s eyes.
If your dog moves throughout this process, pull the comb or scissors away from your dog. Wait until you regain control to try again.
Potential Issues for Dogs With Long Eyelashes
Several health issues can arise with dog eyelashes. Here are a few of the common disorders.
This condition forms when hairs from the follicles misdirect toward the dog’s eyes, rubbing against the cornea or inner eyelid lining. Trichiasis is somewhat familiar among dogs with long eyelashes or pups with previous eye trauma.
Trichiasis is common among brachycephalic or short-nosed breeds like Pugs, Shih Tzus, and Bulldogs or breeds with long hair surrounding their eyes like Cocker Spaniels.
- Watery eyes
- Excessive blinking
- Dark eye pigmentation
- Blood vessels near the cornea
- Eye infection
Dogs may have an abnormal eyelash, known as a distichia, that grows in abnormal areas along their eyelid. Some distichias develop in the meibomian glands, the part that produces lubricant for their eyes. When a dog has one of these unusual hairs, the condition is referred to as distichiasis.
Although there isn’t a concrete reason for distichiasis, some veterinarians believe it’s hereditary in certain breeds like Bulldogs, Pekingese, Golden Retrievers, and Cocker Spaniels.
- Eye irritation
- Watery eyes
- Excessive blinking
Untreated distichiasis can lead to an ulcerated cornea, causing the cornea to look blue and dull. If your dog experiences pain due to the distichia, it may paw at its eye.
Ectopic Cilia is a term that refers to a stiff eyelash that grows underneath an upper or lower eyelid. These unusual eyelashes may grow toward your pup’s eye, causing discomfort each time they blink.
- Excessive tearing or watery eyes
- Corneal ulcerations
These eyelashes are typically invisible to the naked eye, so your vet must check your dog with a microscope.
If your dog has unusual symptoms, it’s best to contact your veterinarian to determine the cause and develop a treatment plan.
Dog Breeds Prone to Eyelash Issues
Certain breeds are more prone to eyelash issues than others. For example, a Cocker Spaniel’s beautiful long lashes can sometimes irritate its eyes. It’s crucial to maintain grooming habits for dogs with long lashes.
On the other hand, dogs with short eyelashes have less of a barrier protecting their eyes. They may have debris entering the eyes more frequently, increasing the possibility of infections.
Dog breeds with more facial skin folds — like Chow Chows, Shar-Peis, and English Bulldogs — are prone to trichiasis. Their skin’s excess slackness can sometimes cause their eyelids to droop and cause eyelashes to irritate their eyes.
Bull Terriers may have short lashes, though many of this breed inherit a set of double lashes and are prone to distichiasis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions regarding dog eyelashes.
Every dog breed has eyelashes, though some have longer lashes.
Not only is it acceptable to cut your dog’s eyelashes, but it’s also an essential part of the grooming process for specific breeds. Some breeds, like Shih Tzus, have eyelashes that can become long enough to enter and irritate the eye.
Although long eyelashes provide an extra barrier from debris, their lashes may be the very thing that irritates their eyes. Trim your pup’s long lashes if they impede their vision, irritate their eyes, or cause debris or goop to form.
Yes, dogs can feel when eyelashes are in their eyes. Like humans, even tiny hairs can irritate them and lead to other conditions. If you notice a stray eyelash in your pup’s eye, rinse their eyes with a dog-safe eye cleanser.
Like human eyelashes, short dog eyelashes will grow to their original size within about five to six weeks.
Cocker Spaniels possess some of the longest eyelashes. Maltese, Shih Tzus, Goldendoodles, Poodles, and Yorkshire Terriers also have long eyelashes.
Like trimming long eyelashes, you’ll also want to maintain the length of the long facial hair of breeds with long hair. Their fur can grow past their eyes, distorting their vision and possibly getting in their eyes. This can be highly uncomfortable for your pup, so ensure that all hair near your dog’s eyes is kept clean and trimmed.
Conclusion for “Do Dogs Have Eyelashes”
A dog’s eyelashes serve to keep dirt and debris from getting in its eyes. Ironically, for some dogs, their long lashes are the very things that get in their eyes. It’s crucial to properly groom your dog’s eyelashes to prevent further eye irritation from occurring.
If you find this guide, “Do Dogs Have Eyelashes,” helpful, you might like:
Learn more about how to groom your dog’s eyelashes by watching “How to Trim Your Dog’s Eyelashes – Goldendoodle, Labradoodle, Bernedoodle, Aussiedoodle Grooming” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
Why Trust We Love Doodles?
At We Love Doodles, we’re a team of writers, veterinarians, and puppy trainers that love dogs. Our team of qualified experts researches and provides reliable information on a wide range of dog topics. Our reviews are based on customer feedback, hands-on testing, and in-depth analysis. We are fully transparent and honest to our community of dog owners and future owners.