Cutting off a dog’s eyelashes should always be avoided, as eyelashes play an important protective role for a dog’s eyes. However, if a dog’s eyelashes are cut off accidentally or for medical reasons, the dog may experience some irritation, discomfort, and increased risk of eye infections while the lashes grow back. Proper eye care and monitoring by a veterinarian is recommended. Regrowth of the eyelashes should occur within 1-2 months.
What are Dog Eyelashes?
Dogs have eyelashes just like humans do. A dog’s eyelashes emerge from the eyelids and help protect the eyes from dust, debris, and irritants. Dog eyelashes also play a role in distributing tears/moisture across the surface of the eye to keep it lubricated.
Some key facts about dog eyelashes:
– Dogs have eyelashes on both the upper and lower eyelids. The upper lashes are usually more prominent.
– Dog eyelash length, thickness, and curvature can vary by breed. For example, longer, curved lashes are seen in hound dog breeds.
– Eyelashes generally grow in rows of 12-15 lashes along each eyelid.
– Dog eyelashes tend to be shortest towards the inner corners of the eyes.
– The eyelashes closest to the nose on the upper lid and those closest to the ears on the lower lid are the longest.
– Dog eyelashes are composed of keratin, just like human eyelashes.
– Eyelashes typically grow and shed just like the rest of a dog’s fur. The growth cycle is around 5-11 months.
Functions of Dog Eyelashes
Dog eyelashes serve several important functions:
– Keep dust, dirt, wind, and foreign objects/debris out of the eyes
– Act as a barrier against airborne allergens like pollen
– Help prevent dry eyes by reducing air flow over the eye surface
Keeping the Eyes Moist
– Eyelash movements distribute tears across the eyes
– Oil secretions lubricate the lashes and prevent tears from evaporating
– Subtle eyelash movements may provide social cues to other dogs
– Positioning of eyelashes can indicate emotions like excitement or fear
Risks of Cutting Off a Dog’s Eyelashes
Removing a dog’s eyelashes is generally not recommended, as doing so can pose the following risks:
– Open wound from cutting may allow bacteria into the delicate eye area
– Lack of lashes reduces protection against contaminants/allergens
Irritation and Discomfort
– Eyes will be more exposed to dust, wind, debris without lashes to shield them
– Dry eye may occur from reduced lubrication
– Eyelids may become irritated or develop sores without lashes
– Eyes are more vulnerable to pokes, scratches, and other injuries
– UV light damage risk increases without lashes to filter some sunlight
– Long term damage if eyes cannot be properly moisturized
– Persistent irritation, infections, or injuries can impair sight
– Ability to see clearly may decrease without lubricating tears
Why Eyelashes Might Need to be Cut
In most cases, cutting a dog’s eyelashes should be avoided. However, there are some medical situations in which a veterinarian may recommend trimming or cutting the lashes:
– Severe infection of the eyelid margins (blepharitis)
– Eyelashes growing abnormally inward, irritating the eye (trichiasis)
– Eyelash disorders causing pain or injury to the eye
– Heavy parasitism of eyelashes by mites
– Extensive mats or crusting buildup on the lashes
– Necessary to treat or examine eye conditions like ulcers, tumors, etc.
– Trauma causing embedded eyelash fragments
– Prior to eye surgery to reduce chances of infection
If eyelash trimming or removal is medically needed, a veterinarian should perform the procedure with proper anesthesia and pain control. They can ensure proper regrowth and minimize risks.
What Happens When Dog Eyelashes are Cut Off?
If a dog’s eyelashes are cut or removed, either accidentally or intentionally, the following effects may be seen:
Discomfort and Irritation
– Dog may rub, scratch, or paw at their eyes
– Eyes may appear red and watery as unprotected from dust/debris
– Increased blinking and squinting as eyes feel vulnerable
Risk of Infection
– Open wound and loss of protective barrier increases infection risk
– Bacteria from saliva or environment may enter eye area
– Insufficient tear distribution and evaporation may cause dryness
– Eyelids and eyes may become inflamed and irritated
Regrowth Process Begins
– Just as with fur, new eyelash growth will begin from the follicles
– Timeline is around 1-2 months for full regrowth
– New lashes may initially be stubby and sparse
Caring for a Dog Without Eyelashes
If a dog loses its eyelashes, either unintentionally or due to medical treatment, owners will need to pay extra attention to protecting the eyes and keeping them moisturized while the lashes regrow. Steps include:
– Use eye lubricants prescribed by your veterinarian
– Keep dog away from drafty/dusty areas
– Gently wipe eyes with warm water to remove debris
– Limit outdoor time and use goggles/eye guards if needed
– Monitor for any signs of eye infection and contact vet
– Avoid irritants like cigarette smoke around dog
– Keep up with medications and recheck appointments
– Consider a cone/Elizabethan collar to stop scratching
– Ensure good hygiene around eyes
With proper care, most dogs recover well and regrow beautiful, healthy eyelashes within a couple months. Close monitoring by a vet ensures best outcome.
How to Prevent Eyelashes From Being Cut
To keep your dog’s eyelashes intact and healthy:
– Groom carefully around eyes and trim facial hair with care
– Use blunt, rounded grooming scissors near eyes
– Avoid cutting tools like razors designed for humans
– Opt for chemical-free cleansers to prevent irritation
– Keep facial hair neatly trimmed to prevent matting
– Watch for signs of eyelash disorders like mites or abnormal growth
– Protect car windows so dogs don’t stick heads out
– Ensure toys, bedding, and environments are free of hazards
– Keep nails well-trimmed to prevent potential eye scratches
– Contact vet if you ever notice red, swollen, or sore eyes
– Do not attempt to trim eyelashes yourself
Following good eyelid hygiene and safety practices helps maintain healthy lashes. Leave trimming to the professionals.
What to Do if a Dog’s Eyelashes are Cut Accidentally
If you accidentally cut your dog’s eyelashes:
– Remain calm to avoid frightening your dog
– Get them away from sharp objects immediately
– Do not attempt to remove any remaining lash fragments
– Clean the eye gently with warm water and a soft cloth
– Apply antibiotic ointment if prescribed by your veterinarian
– Monitor for any swelling, redness, or other signs of infection
– Avoid touching or rubbing the eye area
– Keep your dog from pawing or scratching at their eyes
– Call your vet right away to have your dog examined
– Follow all recommendations from your vet for medications and rechecks
– Help protect your dog’s eyes from sun, wind, and debris as lashes regrow
– Consider a cone collar to prevent scratching if needed
With prompt veterinary attention, most dogs recover well from an eyelash accident. But be sure to take extra precautions in the future for safety.
Dog eyelashes play an important role in protecting eyes and keeping them functioning properly. Cutting or removing a dog’s eyelashes should be avoided unless medically necessary. Doing so can leave dogs prone to eye irritation, infection, and injury. However, with proper veterinary care and some time for regrowth, most dogs recover well if eyelashes are cut or fall out accidentally. Pet owners can help by keeping dogs safe from hazards, monitoring eye health, and practicing good hygiene around the eyes. With simple prevention and awareness, dogs can keep their beautiful lashes intact to shield their eyes for life.