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Health & Wellness

Should my dog wear sunglasses?

Maybe yes?

There’s no denying how cute dogs look in glasses and goggles — which can serve a purpose beyond making for an Instagrammable moment. Veterinarian and pet health advocate Dr. Aliya McCullough shares when your dog could benefit from sporting eyewear such as doggles. 

How dog sunglasses help

UV ray protection

UV rays, or ultraviolet rays, don’t affect dogs’ eyes as much as humans’. But, if your pet seems uncomfortable by bright sunshine (even in colder, snowy environments), sunglasses may be helpful. Places lower in altitude tend to have weaker UV rays — in these cases, pups are usually fine without them.

Help with health issues

Some health conditions can cause your dog to become light sensitive. If you notice your dog squinting an eye, showing pain or experiencing eye irritation (like redness or discharge) in the sun, check with your vet or pet’s ophthalmologist to make sure they don’t have any of these underlying eye issues:

  • Uveitis, when the middle of the eye becomes inflamed, can cause dogs to show pain, squint or experience eye redness. Sunglasses can help them avoid light and ease discomfort.
  • Pannus, or chronic inflammation of the cornea, gets worse with too much UV ray exposure. This condition is most common in German Shepherds or shepherd mixed breeds. Symptoms may include eye discharge or raised, discolored areas in the eye. Unfortunately, there’s no cure, and if left untreated, it can cause blindness. Ask your vet about daily medication. 

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Preventing Injury

Sunglasses or doggles can be used to protect the eyes of blind dogs or pups with impaired vision in the case they bump into something. (Halo harnesses, which provide a plastic circular barrier in front of a dog, are another great solution.) And, if it’s a gusty day, eyewear can shield your pet’s eyes from any debris or dirt that may be blowing through the air. 

To protect dogs’ eyes during recovery after surgery

Start slowly when exploring if glasses are right for your dog. Ask your vet if they think glasses would help. If so, look for sunglasses with adjustable straps to fit all head sizes and UV lens protection and shapes that fit your dog’s eyes.

Once you’ve picked out the doggles, let your puppy investigate them, and whenever they’re comfortable, slowly amp up how long they wear them. Also, giving compliments never hurt anyone — especially when getting that perfect photo (while protecting their eyes!).

Photo by Jenny Marvin on Unsplash

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