Why should dogs wear dark glasses on sunny days?
Most dogs do not need sunglasses, but some dogs suffer from photophobia or eye pain in sunlight due to weak muscles of the iris, which prevents the pupils from constricting effectively. This is more common in older dogs, but can sometimes be seen in puppies and dogs with blue pupils, for example.
So, your recommendation is for dogs that are sensitive to bright light or have recently had surgery?
No, there are many additional indications for putting goggles or masks on your dog. It can be dark or transparent, depending on the purpose and lighting. Many active dogs will benefit from protection if their owners run or bike with them, go for a run on the beach, or engage in water sports such as kayaking or skiing. Spots, sand, snow reflections, and glare can be uncomfortable for the dog as well as for people.
Dogs with short noses are more prone to eye ulcers than other breeds and benefit from protection. Many dogs are prone to getting into the brush and being prone to getting thorns in their eyes, although there is a risk of losing their goggles unless they are well equipped. Other examples are working and military dogs, which are often seen wearing protective clothing.
Should glasses also be used to prevent illnesses related to UV exposure?
There is an autoimmune disease in dogs that is made worse by exposure to ultraviolet light, called Pannus or chronic superficial keratitis. It is most common in German Shepherds, Belgian Tervurens, and Greyhounds, but can be seen in other breeds. The condition is usually treated with eye drops and ointments prescribed by a veterinary ophthalmologist. Tinted sunglasses can help reduce the need for medication and increase the protection of your eyes.
What kind of sunglasses should dogs wear?
Dog sunglasses should be specially adapted to each pet. It is important to note that human sunglasses are not appropriate and are unlikely to remain worn or comfortable. Pet-friendly sunglasses have a strap that goes under the chin and one behind the ears. There are many brands available such as RexSpecs, Doggles, Optivizors to name a few. They have good instructions on their websites on how to measure your dog to find the right size.
Is it hard for dogs to get used to sunglasses?
Most dogs can be trained to wear sunglasses, but this may require two to four weeks and positive reinforcement with treatments, for example, training with a stimulator to help them accept the sunglasses. Typically initial training is done with only the frame and then tinted or clear lenses are put in. There are a lot of useful tips on the websites they sell to help owners train their dogs. Dog trainers can advise and help owners.
Are there alternatives?
If you have a long-haired breed of dog, some can cut their hair to create shade. In theory, there are dog hats, which may work for some dogs, but will also not protect against stains, thorns, or UV rays.
“Our dogs should be free to lead normal lives. Some dogs will benefit from wearing sunglasses due to a medical condition or lifestyle.”
– Ida Gilbert, MD, chief of ophthalmology at Eastcott Veterinary Referrals in Swindon, UK.
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