We rely on sunglasses to protect our eyes from harmful UV rays, which can lead to cancer, cataracts and macular degeneration, among other conditions, according to the World Health Organization.
But your pup likely gets just as much — if not more — sunlight than you do, whether on his daily walk or while enjoying a romp in the park. So, do dogs need sunglasses, too? Here's everything you need to know about shades for your pooch, from how dog sunglasses could benefit him to how to find the best-fitting pair.
Do Dogs Need Sunglasses?
As fun as it would be to see dogs walking around in all styles of shades, dog sunglasses aren't exactly necessary.
Here's why: UV rays aren't as harmful to dogs as they are to humans. According to The Weather Channel, dogs' lifespans aren't long enough for UV-related damage to develop in the same way that it does in human eyes. And certain dog breeds have facial structures that naturally shade their eyes from the sun, making it easier for them to see on bright days.
How Dog Sunglasses Could Benefit Your Pooch
Just because dog sunglasses aren't essential doesn't mean they can't be helpful. For older dogs with cataracts, blurred vision or certain eye conditions, sunglasses can enhance visual clarity, making outdoor time safer and more fun.
Dog Sunglasses: Tips and Tricks
Dog sunglasses are not your typical human pair of sunglasses. They are made to be contoured to the shape of a dog's face versus a human face. So, if you're looking for eyewear for your favorite furry friend, be sure to find pairs that are specially formulated for dogs and not for humans.
So, still thinking about buying a pair of sunglasses for your dog? Here's what to keep in mind:
Find the right size for your dog's face: Sunglasses for dogs come in all shapes and sizes and are designed to fit the full range of dog breeds — from 3 pounds to 200 pounds. Make sure you either take your dog's measurements before buying him glasses, or bring your dog to a store to try them on.
Purchase a pair with an eyewear retainer: To ensure that your pup's new eyewear stays snugly on his face (no matter how much he wags or wiggles), you'll either want to buy sunglasses that have an eyewear retainer or a pair of sunglasses goggles.
Be patient: It will take time and training to acclimate your dog to his new accessory, especially if he's older. Take things slowly: have him try on his new shades for a few moments at a time, then take them off and offer him a fun treat or toy as a reward. Continue this training regularly, increasing the amount of time you leave on the glasses until he's ready to take his shades into the great outdoors.
Do dogs need sunglasses?
No. But they can be helpful — and, at the very least, they're certainly fun. Whether you want to help your dog see more clearly on sunny days or be the talk of your dog park, dog sunglasses are a great option. If you have any questions about proper eye protection or concerns with your dog's eyes, be sure to talk to your veterinarian. They can help assess whether or not he is at risk or needs eye protection, as well as provide you with some possible recommendations for how to keep his eyes healthy.