Dogs have lashes that only grow on the upper eyelid, unlike humans, who have lashes on both eyelids.
Dog’s eyelashes protect their eyes from dust, debris, and other external particles from getting into their eyes. Your dog’s looks may be why you first fell in love with your furry friend. You probably spend lots of time staring at each other during bonding.
But have you ever taken a moment to inspect your dog’s eyelashes? If you were curious enough, many questions must have rushed through your mind. Should I trim my dog’s lashes? Do all dogs have eyelashes? What are my dog’s grooming needs regarding lashes?
Below are answers to some of those questions and more you should know about your dog’s lashes.
What Is the Purpose of Eyelashes?
The sole function of eyelashes in dogs is protection. Eyelashes help protect your dog’s eyes from particles that may scatter from the ground and other surfaces when they are out digging through trash, playing in the shrubs, and sniffing everything.
Lashes can also protect your dog’s eyes from injury. How? Dog lashes are tougher than human lashes. Even more, dogs have two to four rows of eyelashes. This shows that your dog’s eyelashes are enough armor to protect your furry friend’s eyes.
Do Any Dogs Not Have Eyelashes?
All dogs have eyelashes. Short-haired dog breeds have tiny lashes that are barely visible, while dogs with bulky coats have longer lashes.
The physical size of the dog and the length of its coat can predict the size of your dog’s lashes. Dogs with shorter lashes are more prone to suffering eye irritation or dryness and risk injury than dogs with longer lashes. This is because the lashes are too few or not long enough to trap dirt, dust, and other debris from accessing the eyes.
Does the Length of Eyelashes Vary From Dog to Dog?
Many dog breeds have short eyelashes. However, a common trait in dogs with longer fur is a matching set of equally longer lashes. Dog breeds that have long lashes include:
- Lhasa Apsos
- Cocker Spaniels
- Shih Tzus
- Yorkshire Terriers
Of the above, Poodle breeds have the longest lashes. A Labradoodle named Ranmaru from Japan made it to the Guinness World Book of records for having the longest lashes measuring a whopping 6.69 inches long.
Do You Have To Take Care of Eyelashes – What Can You Do?
Full-body dog grooming is essential for optimum health. The only problem is that while most dog owners are intent on keeping their dogs well groomed, they sometimes overlook intimate parts like the eyes.
Besides cleaning your dog’s face with a soft cloth and shampoo, you should consider trimming overgrown hairs around the mouth and eye areas if the hair appears overly dense.
In the same way, you pay attention and ensure your dog’s fur and nails are trimmed. Some light lash trimming allows your dog to see better too.
Avoid trimming the whiskers near your dog’s brow and mouth areas. Remember that all the hairs on your dog’s body play an important role. Therefore, unnecessarily shaving off these hairs exposes your dog to many risk factors.
Should You Cut Eyelashes?
You can trim/cut your dog’s lashes, but only if they are too long, that they keep your dog from seeing clearly. Be careful not to cut too much or too little of the excess length.
Lashes trimmed too short leave your dog vulnerable to injuries and infections, as is leaving your dog’s lashes long.
If your dog has lashes that are curled inwards or clumped together, they are too long and need a trim. Alternatively, if you cut your dog’s eyelashes too short, they may suffer severe eye complications.
Do Dog Lashes Grow Back?
Dog’s eyelashes grow back the same way other hairs on their bodies do. The only reason a dog’s lashes may stop growing is if your dog has an underlying medical condition.
It’s against the vet’s advice to trim the dog’s lashes too short. However, if you make a mistake and cut them a tad bit more than you intended to, don’t fret.
Dog lashes take about five to six weeks to grow to their original length. You might want to focus more on caring for your dog’s eyes when their lashes are shorter.
Remember to keep your furry friend’s eyes clean and keep track of any signs of infection. See the veterinarian immediately if you notice irritation in your dog’s eyes.
Do Eyelash Colors Vary?
There are dog breeds that have colored lashes that match the color of their coat. For example, a white Poodle has white eyelashes, while a Rottweiler may have a mix of black and light brown lashes. However, most dogs have black or dark brown eyelashes.
Your dog’s eyelashes turning white should be cause for concern. Reports show that stress and anxiety are the number one culprits behind your dog’s eyelashes turning white.
Owing to physical and chemical changes your dog faces when they have stress and anxiety, their body cannot produce pigment as it should if the dog was healthy.
Are There Any Health Issues To Be Wary of Concerning Eyelashes?
Dogs can suffer several health issues that affect their eyelashes. Those include:
A dog’s eyelashes should be soft and of considerable length. If the lashes are short and stiff and grow on both upper or lower eyelids, your dog may have a condition known as Ectopic Cilia. The dog may sometimes have abnormal lash growth pointing toward the eye. This can be super uncomfortable, especially when the dog blinks.
Symptoms of Ectopic Cilia in dogs include:
- Discharge in the corners of the eye
- Excess tearing
- Corneal ulcerations
Ectopic Cilia is not visible to the naked eye. Only a vet can inspect your dog’s eyes with special equipment or a handheld microscope to confirm whether or not the symptoms above are due to the abnormal hair growth around the eyelids.
If it turns out that your dog has Ectopic Cilia, the dog has to undergo surgery to remove the hair. Freeze therapy, otherwise known as Cryotherapy, is another effective treatment for Ectopic Cilia.
Trichiasis is a common medical condition with abnormal lash follicles on the eyes. These follicles can impair your dog’s vision and cause irritation when they grow inside the lining of the upper eyelid and rub against the cornea.
This health issue is common in brachycephalic dog breeds like the Pit-bull, Shih Tzus, Pekingese, Lhasa Apsos, and pugs. Young dogs also develop Trichiasis because they are more curious and adventurous.
If your dog has long lashes and plenty of facial hair, you should pay particular attention to your dog’s eyes. Your dog may also be at risk of developing Trichiasis if it recently experienced eye trauma.
Symptoms of Trichiasis include:
- Itching around the lids and inside the eyes
- Visible blood vessels on the cornea
- Excess watering of the eyes
- Too much blinking
- Painful eyes
- Dark pigment circling the eyes
- Eye infection
- Visible tear stains near the corner of the eye
If your dog has any of the above symptoms of Trichiasis, take him to the vet for the proper treatment and diagnosis.
When an eyelash grows on an unusual spot along the eyelid, it could be Distichiasis. Sometimes, the abnormal lash may develop on the meibomian glands, which lubricate the eye. Distachia can grow on the upper and lower lids even when eyelashes aren’t supposed to grow on the bottom lid.
There’s no proof why lashes grow on unusual areas in different areas of a dog’s eyes. However, there’s enough reason to believe that Distichiasis is hereditary. Dogs breeds that are likely to develop Distichiasis include:
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Lhasa Apso
- Boxer Dog
- Golden Retriever
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Boston Terrier
- American Cocker Spaniel
- Chesapeake Retriever
Symptoms of Distichiasis in dogs include:
- Eye discharge
- Redness and irritation of the eyes
- Excess blinking
- Epiphora-too much tearing
If Distichiasis is left untreated, your dog could paw at the affected eye to try and relieve the irritation. In advanced cases of untreated Distichiasis, the dog’s eyes may appear less shiny, develop a bluish hue, or even become ulcerated.
Are There Any Specific Issues With Poodles/Poodle Mixes?
The eyes are the first point of contact between you and your dog in your initial meeting. But what do you know about your dog’s eye needs and possible eye risks?
Common eye problems common in Poodles and Poodle mixes include:
- Optic Nerve Hypoplasia
- Tear staining
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy-PRA
Compared to other breeds, Poodles are more likely to develop Distichiasis. Your dog will likely develop eye complications because dust and debris accumulate around the dog’s eyes. Therefore, cleaning your dog’s eyes regularly protects him from eye-related diseases.
So, Do Dogs Have Eyelashes?
Eyelashes make your dog appear more glamorous and beautiful. The desire to keep your dog’s lashes long may be strong, but long lashes can impair your dog’s vision and expose him to diseases.
Make hygiene a priority by focusing more on your dog’s eyes to keep him from getting sick. Keep an eye out for signs and symptoms of common lash diseases to get fast relief for any eye irritation your dog may suffer.