Goggles or glasses for dogs are appropriate and beneficial in many situations. These include medical cases where a dog needs corrective prescription eyewear or protection from excess sunlight. They also help search and rescue dogs, military dogs and blind dogs who need a defense against sharp objects, debris and wind.
Although dogs don't see as sharply as humans, vision is an important sense. Dr. Stanley Coren, author of How Dogs Think: Understanding the Canine Mind, says if dogs' vision were interpreted in human terms, it would be about 20/50, bad enough for corrective glasses. For dogs with cataracts, farsightedness or specific varieties of vision loss, dog parents can access corrective eyewear through a veterinary ophthalmologist. If corrective eyewear is deemed appropriate, the doc can offer a prescription.
Some dogs are highly sensitivity to light. This is displayed by squinting, pawing or other discomfort while in the sun. If your dog displays any of these symptoms, a vet visit is in order. If his vision is normal but he's just light sensitive, sunglasses can help while blocking the UV rays that can cause health issues, including cataracts. Much like human sunglasses, dog sunglasses come in a variety of shades, colors and styles.
Protection From The World
Protective glasses or goggles offer protection in many situations. They help blind dogs, whose eyes have lost their blink reflex and are vulnerable to branches, debris, sand and other environmental objects. Military dogs can wear them for protection from blowing sands of the Middle East, while search and rescue dogs can wear them to be shielded from dust and debris on emergency sites. Protective eyewear also can protect dogs who've had recent eye surgery.
Getting Used to Glasses
Wearing glasses takes some getting used to, so introduce them slowly. Let him sniff them, while offering praise and treats. Slowly touch the glasses to his face, then remove and praise. Don't put the glasses on until he's comfortable; doing so may add to his apprehension. When he's comfortable, start with brief sessions, then remove. If using sunglasses, put them on outside, so he adjusts to the new level of outdoor brightness. Supervise your pup when he's wearing glasses, so he doesn't chew them.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.