I never thought much about eye protection for dogs until we were in a teeny, tiny village on the Chile/Bolivia border preparing to pedal across the Salares de Coipasa and Uyuni.
We kept reading read about the importance of sun protection for ourselves, given the 12,000-foot altitude and the stark white surface that reflects the sun straight into your face.
This made me wonder, if we need to be super conscious of protecting ourselves, what about dogs?
Do Dogs Really Need Eye Protection?
Around the time of our visit to the Salt Flats, I had started to see a number of photos pop up in my Instagram feed of dogs with goggles.
After a bit of research, I was surprised to learn that many dogs also require sun protection. Scrambling for a way to protect Sora’s iconic blue eyes, I came across Rex Specs.
Like humans, the sun can cause UV damage in dogs’ eyes. Moreover, a pair of “doggles” offers your dog eye protection from injuries.
Common diseases and eye problems include:
- Chronic sunburn
Dog goggles, like Rex Specs are specifically designed to prevent such diseases and abrasions.
Dog Breeds Most Prone to Eye Damage
A variety of factors, including location, activity, breed, and preexisting conditions can make dogs more susceptible to eye damage.
Dog breeds prone to eye damage include:
- Brachycephalic dogs, such as Boston Terriers, Pugs, and French bulldogs. These dogs have large eyeballs that stick out from the socket, leaving them more susceptible to abrasions from sticks, grass, and dirt
- Breeds prone to Pannus, such as German Shepherds, Greyhounds, Labs and Border Collies.
- Dogs with light eyes, like Australian Shepherds, Huskies, Weimaraners, Corgies, and Dachshunds.
Keep in mind that all dogs may be at risk for eye problems under certain conditions.
When Should I Consider Using Dog Goggles?
Where you live, the activities you do with your dog, or if your dog performs intense duties, all factor into whether you should get your pup a pair of dog sunglasses.
What kind of conditions and activities you ask?
- You live in the Rocky Mountain West or spend significant time in high altitude. (High altitude can also affect your dog in other ways. See: High Altitude: Will it Affect My Dog?)
- The majority of your adventures take place outdoors in the mountains, near water, in the snow, or at the beach
- You hunt with your dog in areas with tall grass, thorns, sticks, etc.
- Dog is your copilot and enjoys going along for rides on your motorcycle or sticking their head out of the car window.
- You live in the desert or beach or another region where sand can get in your dog’s eye.
- Your dog loves to dig and kick up a lot of sand when you visit the beach.
- You work with military, search and rescue or police dogs.
You can now see why I consider Rex Specs dog goggles to be one of my most important pieces of dog gear.
Problems Caused by Sun Damage
Pannus is an autoimmune disease of the cornea that can lead to damaging scarring that can impair vision if left untreated.
Autoimmune diseases are notoriously tricky to determine a cause, however, veterinarians and experts agree that overexposure to harmful UV rays makes the condition worse.
Pannus is most common with the aforementioned breeds and those living in the Rocky Mountain West.
Without eye protection, pannus means limited time outdoors.
Common signs include:
- cloudiness on the outside of the cornea, usually at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions
- Redness and/or thickness in the third eyelid (the pinkish triangle located corner closest to the nose)
If you notice these signs, have them checked out by your veterinarian immediately.
Treatments include medication, sun protection, and surgery in extreme cases.
Aside from causing the same kind of pain sunburn does on humans, frequent exposure can lead to precancerous conditions and skin tumors.
Dogs with white pigmentation around their eyes, or minimal, short, or no fur are more susceptible to sunburn.
UV exposure can increase the risk of an ocular cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. While rare, it’s better to protect early to avoid the condition in the first place.
How Do I Get My Dog Used to Wearing Rex Specs?
Wearing dog goggles is going to feel strange to your dog and they will likely try to pull them off before you can even put them on.
The key is gradual accustomization and using positive association when your dog is wearing goggles.
RexSpecs has dedicated an entire page to training your dog to wearing their goggles complete with training videos.
Why Rex Specs offers the Best Eye Protection for Dogs
Rex Specs founders Jess and Aiden learned less than a week apart that their their two dogs had sun-related eye problems.
One had pannus while the other suffered from chronic sunburn around her eyes. Their veterinarian prescribed less time outdoors.
Rather than stop their adventures, Jesse and Aiden set out to find a pair of dog goggles.
Dissatisfied with the selection available, they decided to design their own pair of dog safety goggles that would hold up to wear and tear.
Rex Specs goggles are used by working dogs around the world. These dogs perform duties like:
- Protecting the President
- Jumping out of helicopters with the US Coast Guard
- Drug raids.
If your pup is a regular pet who loves to join you on adventures, here are the benefits of Rex Specs:
- They exceed the minimum recommendation of 100 UV protection. The UV400 protection blocks 99.9% of UVA and UVB rays
- The breathable anti-fog mesh on the sides keeps out debris, drains quickly in the water, and circulates airflow
- The spherical design allows for full range of view
- The soft foam edge is comfortable to wear and provides a barrier to entry from dust and debris
- The straps are fully adjustable allowing for a custom fit on each dog
- They stay secure during the most hardcore adventures, while allowing for full range of motion of the jaw and head
Will Rex Specs Fit My Dog?
RexSpecs come in sizes to fit most breeds, including very large dogs and very small dogs.
You can use this chart on their website to figure out the right fit. It takes you through the steps of properly measuring your dog’s head and muzzle.
Where Can I Find Rex Specs Dog Goggles?
Not only will your dog be the coolest thing on the trail, but, more importantly, they’ll also avoid potentially harmful eye problems in the long run.
Have you ever considered doggles for your pup?
Why did you decide to use eye protection for your dog?
- All the Dog Backpacking Gear You Need
- Why You Need to Think about Sun Protection for Dogs
- The 9 Dog Camping Gear Items we Can’t Live without
- Winter Gear for Dogs to Keep You Outdoors All Year
- How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather
Disclaimer: Rex Specs provided the goggles for our dogs. We reached out to them because we believe in their product and they make the best protective dog goggles available.