Why Your Dog Might Need Sunglasses

A dog wearing custom dog sunglasses
A dog wearing custom dog sunglasses in Ulmen, Germany in 2020. Andreas Rentz / Getty Images

If you’ve ever been to the beach and watched the surfers, you might have occasionally noticed one who had a canine companion riding tandem with them on the board. The pooch looking proud with their owner, staying steadfastly planted like a pro and… squinting? Most of us know the feeling of stepping outside on a bright summer day and feeling the piercing glare of the dog days’ sun, but we might never have considered that our pup could be feeling the uncomfortable effects of the brightness as well.

Dogs accompany us during many activities, like hiking, biking and running, and for many active pooches, a pair of doggie sunglasses or a nice visor might alleviate some of the pain or discomfort we didn’t even know our pup was having.

According to the Eastcott Veterinary Hospital in Swindon, Wiltshire, England, for “very active dogs” or dogs with specific conditions, goggles or visors could help protect their eyes, BBC News reported.

Sunglasses for dogs may seem peculiar but it is a viable solution to help pets in situations where their eyes need protection or may need that extra bit of support because of surgery or a previous trauma,” said head of ophthalmology at Eastcott, Ida Gilbert, as reported by the Daily Mail.

A 14-year-old poodle named Celine who can’t filter bright light due to iris atrophy has benefited from her human fitting her with some fetching goggles, BBC News reported. The bright light was hurting her eyes, but her human, Miluse Vojtiskova, had no idea her pooch was in pain.

Vojtiskova said Celine “suddenly began behaving abnormally while we were out on walks. She was extremely nervous, sometimes she would freeze in her tracks and other times she was very jumpy, alarmed, and distressed,” reported the Daily Mail.

Vojtiskova said Celine’s quality of life has been restored because of the new shades, BBC News reported.

“She can walk outside now and she can do anything she did before,” said Vojtiskova, as reported by BBC News.

The best part about it? The doggles worked so well that Celine didn’t need to have surgery, Gilbert said.

Gilbert added that ultraviolet light exposure can make certain conditions worse for dogs, but that wearing a visor or sunglasses could reduce the need for medications, as the Daily Mail reported.

Certain dogs may need some adjustment time to adapt to their sunglasses.

“Some dogs will wear goggles or a visor readily, and others never accept them,” said Dr. Jessica Meekins, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, according to PetMD.

Dr. Jessica Stine, a veterinary ophthalmologist with BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Clearwater, Florida, said eye protection should fit correctly as well as be comfortable for your dog.

“All sunglasses for dogs are going to be goggle-style glasses with straps. No dog is going to keep human-style sunglasses on for long,” said Stine, as PetMD reported.

Vojtiskova said Celine eventually adjusted to her goggles.

“Naturally, her first instinct was to try to get them off but after a few more treats and a lot of perseverance she is fine with them and they are working so well. This simple solution meant we didn’t have to alter our everyday routine and only take her for walks at night or when the sun was at its lowest,” said Vojtiskova, as reported by the Daily Mail.

However glamorous your dog’s visor or sunglasses may be, protective eyewear shouldn’t be treated as a fashion accessory, Gilbert said.

“It is important they have a thorough examination and a proper diagnosis before trying them out,” said Gilbert, as the Daily Mail reported. “It may not be an option for everyone, as the dog will need some training, but it is an alternative and appropriate solution for many and a good aid to recovery.”

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