Do Dogs have Eyelashes? Are you Supposed to Cut Them?

Ever laid awake late at night unable to sleep and had lots of random questions running through your mind? You know, like do penguins have teeth? (No, they don’t) Or why does sour cream have an expiry date? (But really, why?) There are also lots of random dog-related questions we may ponder during our time awake and a popular one is do dogs have eyelashes? You never know when you might need to be equipped with this answer so let’s take a look at dogs and eyelashes.

Yes, dogs do have eyelashes. They are situated on their upper eyelid only. They help keep the eyes clear of dirt and other environmental factors that would otherwise get into the eyes and potentially cause problems. They can be trimmed if they are longer and causing irritation or infection.

We may now have started a torrent of other wonderings for you. Other questions now crossing your mind may be about the length and variation of dog’s eyelashes. You’ll need to know when it’s safe to trim the eyelashes, why they may need trimming and how to do this safely. You may have discovered the new trend of the fake eyelash craze on dogs and wish to know more. Keep reading for all these must-have answers.

Do Dogs Have Eyelashes?

Yes, dogs have eyelashes. Eyelashes are there to protect your dog’s eyes from the elements and from dust particles or other debris which can easily reach the eye area. They serve the same purpose as human eyelashes and like humans they can also differ in length and thickness, but more on that shortly.

Consider how much time dogs spend with their nose quite literally to the ground, in the nearest bush, or to inspect that two hundredth blade of grass. Without their eyelashes, their eyes are at so many environmental risks and could be very problematic.

What Is the Purpose of Dog’s Eyelashes?

There are a few main uses for eyelashes in the doggy kingdom, so we’ve rounded up their main purposes below for an easy reference.

  • To help filter out bright sun and light. Have you ever looked up at the sun quickly because as a child you were told not to? Well, if you too were a rebel, you’ll know you end up with bright spots of light in your vision and not much else. If dogs didn’t have a way of filtering this light, they would damage their eyes and potentially lose their vision.
  • To protect their eyes against their fur and dander. Eyelashes help keep their fur out of their eyes and any dander that may fall off. Dogs lose fur through shedding or grooming and hair in the eyes would irritate the eyes causing problems.
  • To keep out dust, pollen, and other dirt particles. Eyelashes stop dirt from getting inside the eye area which could potentially cause discomfort and infection. Eyelashes act on reflex so will close when the dog has something get close to the eyes.

Do Dogs All Have the Same Length Eyelashes?

Indeed not, just like humans and dog eyelashes can vary in length. It’s generally believed that the longer the dog’s coat the longer the eyelashes will naturally be.

Dogs do not have eyelashes on their lower lid, only on the upper one. Certain conditions can cause eyelashes to grow abnormally. Below are a few breeds who are known to have longer eyelashes:

  • Poodles
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Maltese
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Labradoodles
  • Goldendoodles
  • Yorkshire Terriers

Why Can’t I See My Dog’s Eyelashes?

Perhaps you’ve read this article and then gone to study your dog’s eyes and you just can’t see those eyelashes that we’ve told you are most definitely there? The likelihood is that they are short eyelashes and let’s remember the eyelashes are so fine that they are easy to miss.

Be sure you are looking at the top eyelid for these because eyelashes shouldn’t normally be growing on the bottom eyelids. Instead, they have one or two rows along the top eyelid only.

Fun Fact: Did you know dogs actually have a third eyelid? Bet you are now examining your dog like never before! It’s situated in the inner corner of the eye and the fancy name is nictitating membrane.

We’ve established the eyelashes are the eye’s protector for both humans and dogs. If you are sure they aren’t there, then you can seek advice from your vet as there are a few conditions which can cause the loss of eyelashes.

Do Eyelashes Cause any Problems?

Sadly, eyelashes can be problematic in the doggy world and there are a few conditions to be aware of as the owner of a dog. We’ve covered the most common conditions in our article Why Do Cavapoos Have Long Eyelashes?

Signs of these conditions can include:

  • Inflamed and irritated eyes.
  • Gunky discharge from the eyes.
  • Painful eyes.
  • Red eyes may water excessively.
  • Excessive blinking.

Are You Supposed to Cut Them? Is it Safe?

The short answer here is yes you can but it’s actually not such a simple question. If your dog has naturally long eyelashes that aren’t causing any issues, it’s best to leave them be. However, there can be times when they do need a trim, and this can be safe to do. Eyelashes can turn inwards if they get too long which can cause considerable discomfort for your pooch. You may even need to trim shorter ones if they too are causing your dog problems.

You will need a steady hand and preferably a second person there to help keep your dog secure and safe. A comb and pair of scissors are all you need, and you are fine to do this if you are confident in doing so. However, you may feel safer leaving it to your groomer who is more experienced with specialist equipment and the best way to approach this delicate task. Sometimes simply trimming the hair around the eyes is the answer and the eyelashes themselves can be left well alone.

Generally speaking, eyelashes that aren’t problematic or causing pain should really be left alone although some owners choose to trim them for cosmetic reasons. Be sure your dog will tolerate you trimming them as the eyes are very sensitive and it’s very easy to cause serious injury to a nervous dog. It’s recommended to use a lead or harness to keep them more firmly in place during the process.

I’m Worried that My Dog’s Eyelashes wont Grow Back!

Perhaps you cut your dog’s eyelashes or asked the groomer to and you are now regretting it after reading this article? Don’t worry, a dog’s eyelashes grow back approximately 5 to 6 weeks later.

They will return to the length they were before so if they were short before they will be again, likewise for longer ones. They grow back in the same way fur does so there’s no need to panic.

Why Do Some Dogs Wear Fake Eyelashes?

Believe it or not fake lashes on dogs is an actual thing. It is relatively safe to do this when done following the instructions that come with the eyelashes. You can also buy dog friendly eyebrow paint which simply accentuates their natural ones. These two cosmetic procedures aren’t to everyone’s tastes and are often done for social media content such as Instagram.

Related Question

Do Dogs Have Eyebrows?

No dogs don’t have eyebrows as humans do but some dogs do have a different color above their eyes giving them the look of eyebrows. Dogs don’t need eyebrows, unlike humans who have them to stop sweat getting in the eyes.