Monday, July 23, 2012

Does Your Dog Really Need Sunglasses?

By Linda Cole

It's not difficult to find a dog wearing sunglasses these days. You can find these cool pups at the beach or just walking around town. I have to admit, they look pretty cute with their shades on. My dog Keikei seems to enjoy wearing her sunglasses. But are sunglasses something dogs need to wear to protect their eyes, or is it just a fashion statement by the dog's owner?

I've never been one to let my dogs ride in a car with their head hanging out the window or in the bed of a truck. We may think dogs are tough, but their eyes can be injured just as easily as ours if a bug or debris hits them in their eye. If you've ever had a bug or small rock hit your arm or hand while driving down the road, you know how it feels to you. Doggie sunglasses can give dogs protection from flying debris when they are riding in a car or outside, especially on a windy day.

The glare of the sun is another consideration. The sun's ultraviolet rays can damage a dog’s eyes, and if your pooch spends a lot of time outside, sunglasses can help give him protection from the sun. Even in the winter, the glare of the sun off of the snow can cause snow blindness in dogs and humans. You wear shades when enjoying an afternoon boating on the lake or just sitting on the beach. Sunglasses give good protection from blowing sand and small debris, and reduce sun glare off of the water. Shades help prevent their eyes from getting dry from too much wind, and help to keep sea spray out of their eyes as well.

Even hiking can pose a danger to dogs running through thick brush and encountering low hanging branches. Some chronic eye diseases and conditions, like Dry Eye or cataracts, can make being outside painful for dogs with eye problems. Pink eye can cause a dog’s eyes to be sensitive to the sun. Proper sunglasses reduce the glare of the sun and allow dogs with eye problems the opportunity to enjoy outside activities with their family.

Doggles or sunglasses specially made for dogs work best because they're designed to fit the head and around the eyes of dogs better than people glasses, and have straps to help keep the glasses on. Some dogs, however, may be able to wear human sunglasses just fine, and the protection they offer is almost as good as the glasses that are made for dogs.

Teaching a dog to wear shades isn't difficult to do. Keikei adjusted to wearing her sunglasses after only a couple of sessions and she really does act like she enjoys wearing them. The sunglasses I use are made for an adult person, and Keikei's head is big enough to keep them on.

To teach your dog how to wear sunglasses, grab a handful of CANIDAE dog treats and head outside for a training session. You want to be outside for the simple reason that it's lighter in the sun and easier for your dog to see through the darkened lens. Have your dog sit and put the glasses on him. Reward with a treat and praise only when he leaves the glasses on and doesn't try to shake or pull them off.

If you're using sunglasses made for humans and can't keep them on your dog, you may need to purchase ones made for dogs. If the shades are uncomfortable, your dog probably won't like wearing them. Some dogs will quickly adjust to the feel of the glasses and some may take a little longer. Stick with it and be patient. Your dog will be strutting around showing off his cool shades in no time, and you will be protecting his eyes at the same time he's looking cute.

For some dog owners, putting shades on their dog is a fashion statement, just like the fancy jacket and matching booties. However, at the same time, the glasses, jacket and booties give the dog protection from the weather. Pet clothing and accessories can usually be found where pet supplies are sold, and there's a wide assortment of hats, life jackets, raincoats, booties, winter jackets and sunglasses. You can even get eye glasses that correct the eyesight of dogs with eye problems! Sure, seeing a dog dressed up in a helmet, biker jacket, and shades looks cute; but more importantly, sunglasses can help protect their eyes.

Top photo by Mat Hampson
Bottom photo by Alexandratx

Read more articles by Linda Cole


  1. I would think whenever we need to wear eye goggles, they should too. Who can resist a dog with fashion sense too!

  2. My pets are indoors but a great article! As always


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