There are several reasons why humans wear protective eyewear. It may be to protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them from the sun’s rays, it may be to block out some of the light, or it may be to prevent injuries, particularly at work or while playing sports.
As protective eyewear has obvious benefits for humans, should we consider it for our dogs as well? The answer is…maybe, but there are lots of factors to consider. Firstly, the need for protection can depend on the breed, health, and lifestyle of your dog.
Some breeds of dogs are more likely to suffer problems with their eyes than others.
Breeds known as brachycephalics, such as pugs and french bulldogs have more prominent eyeballs that are much more susceptible to injuries and ulcers. They may benefit from protective eyewear to prevent them from damaging their eyes by running into things.
Some breeds including German Shepherds and Greyhounds are more likely to suffer from an autoimmune disease called Pannus which can worsen when the dog’s eyes are exposed to the sun. Dogs suffering from this condition may benefit from wearing protective eyewear.
Health and Lifestyle
If your dog already has poor eyesight or is blind, he may walk into objects which could damage his eyes further. Protective eyewear may help to minimize any injury caused.
Dogs who work in harsh conditions, such as police and rescue dogs may also benefit from wearing protective eyewear to stop their eyes coming into contact with any objects which may cause injury, including potential irritants such as certain types of plants.
Why Would Dogs Need Protective Eyewear?
To Protect Against Sun Damage
UV light is perhaps not as bad for dogs as it is for humans, but it can still have consequences for dogs, including worsening other conditions such as Pannus.
To Protect Against Other Weather
As well as the sun, the wind and snow glare can also cause discomfort for dogs. If you take your dog to the beach, you may also consider sunglasses to protect his eyes from sand and sea spray.
Following Surgery or Trauma
When a dog is recovering from eye surgery, it is very important that they do not rub or scratch their eye and cause further damage. In most cases, dogs are given Elizabethan collars to prevent them from reaching their eyes, but in some cases, goggles or sunglasses may be a better option.
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To Help With Eye Pain And Discomfort
If your dog already has eye pain or discomfort associated with another condition, the brightness of the sun can make the discomfort worse, particularly if it is a condition which means the dog is unable to contract its pupils. Protective eyewear can protect the dog’s eyes on bright sunny days.
Types Of Eye Protection
There are different types of eye protection available and you need to choose carefully. The main challenge is often getting dogs to wear them so it is important to choose something comfortable for the dog. It is also important that eye protection cannot be dislodged as this could potentially cause more harm.
The best sunglasses for dogs are those specifically designed for dogs. These are usually goggle-style glasses with straps and are designed to fit the dog’s head and around its eyes. The eyewear you choose shouldn’t impede your dog’s lifestyle in any way – they should still be able to easily eat, drink, and move around comfortably.
For some dog owners, sunglasses are nothing more than a fashion statement, like other fancy clothes and matching booties. However, the dog sunglasses can actually protect your dog’s eyes from the sun, prevent injury, and help them feel more comfortable if they already have damaged eyes. Eye protection for dogs is particularly important for certain breeds and dogs with certain lifestyles or existing conditions.
If you think your dog may benefit from wearing eye protection and may tolerate sunglasses happily, it may be best to have a chat with your vet first to ensure that it is the right thing to do, and isn’t going to cause any further damage or discomfort.
If you decide to go ahead and bet some eyewear for your dog it is important that you introduce the new eyewear slowly with lots of reward and encouragement.
- Paula Fitzsimmons, Eye Protection for Dogs: Is It Necessary?, PetMD
- Dr. Marty Becker, How to Protect The Eyes of Pekingese, Pugs, Bulldogs And Other Short-Nosed Breeds, Vetstreet