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Dogs With Glasses - Do Dogs Wear Glasses?

While many people routinely use prescription eye glasses or sunglasses, you might wonder if dogs ever need glasses, and what you might need to consider if your canine companion needs spectacles to improve or protect their eyesight. Our Renton veterinary ophthalmologists offer some insight into this topic in this post.

Can dogs get glasses?

In a word, yes. Dogs can and do suffer from poor eyesight and eye conditions that cause vision loss. However, because our four-legged friends tend to adapt well to gradual vision loss and don't need to read or drive, we don't usually think about getting them prescription eye glasses. Our dogs also experience many sight issues that differ from human's problems, and glasses aren't necessarily the solution. 

When it comes to sunglasses, the answer is similar – healthy dogs don't typically need sunglasses, so if you choose to try them out with your dog, this would likely strictly be for fun and fashion. Your vet can let you know if your dog needs to wear glasses or protective eyewear. 

In this article, our veterinary ophthalmologists at Northwest Animal Eye Specialists will list common signs of vision loss or impairment in dogs. We'll explore the concept of dogs wearing glasses and in which situations your canine companion might benefit from wearing sun glasses or other eye protection. We'll also address common questions, and discuss the functional and fashionable aspects of getting spectacles for your canine companion. 

Common Signs of Vision Loss or Impairment in Dogs 

Dogs can suffer from vision loss or impairment for numerous reasons, from eye disease to age-related conditions and other health issues. Here are some symptoms of vision loss or impairment to watch for in your dog:

When would my dog benefit from wearing sun glasses or prescription glasses?

Your dog might benefit from wearing sun glasses or other eye protection if they:

Are Visually Impaired or Are Healing From Surgery or Injury 

Dogs that have been diagnosed with eye diseases such as cataracts, pannus, glaucoma, cancer, or blurred vision may benefit from wearing glasses. 

If your dog is being treated for an ocular disease or has recently had eye surgery, your vet will likely advise you to keep them indoors, so sunglasses wouldn't be necessary. Most dogs in these circumstances will wear an Elizabethan cone to prevent them from scratching at their eyes, as opposed to glasses or goggles.

This is due to the fact that the cone can offer more complete protection and is designed to protect your dog's eyes and prevent complications. Dogs often find it easier to adjust to wearing a cone than sunglasses. However, since a cone does not provide protection from sun, light, or airborne particles (as sunglasses or goggles would, it's best to keep a dog with specific health conditions like these indoors). 

Are Prone to Eye Injuries

Dog breeds with large, protruding eyes, such as chihuahuas and pugs, may benefit from wearing eye protection. Since short-legged pups like dachshunds and others are lower to the ground, they may also benefit from having protective eyewear to protect their eyes since they are more likely to come into contact with sharp or irritating objects. 

Participate in Outdoor Activities 

Some dogs accompany their owners on high-speed activities. If you often cycle with your dog or take them out on a speedboat, there's more risk of your four-legged friend's eyes becoming injured, or irritated if dust, pollen, or small particles become lodged in them. Long-term sun exposure can also cause damage.

Dogs who live and work outdoors at high elevations are more exposed to UV radiation, and are more likely to develop eye problems such as pannus, an immune-mediated condition that affects the cornea or clear part of the eye. Special canine sunglasses may help protect these dogs' eyes. 

Do Search and Rescue or Police Work, or Other Work

Working dogs, such as cattle or herding dogs, police dogs, and search and rescue dogs, are more likely to come into contact with dust, sand, heavy brush, airborne particles, chemicals, and other things that may irritate their eyes. Harsh environments and dangerous conditions can increase the risk of eye injuries. 

Ultimately, you should consult your veterinary ophthalmologist to determine whether your dog may benefit from wearing prescription eyeglasses or sunglasses, or if changes to their lifestyle or environment may be a more helpful, long-term solution to protecting their eyes. 

Training Your Dog to Wear Eye Glasses or Sun Glasses

If you and your vet do decide that eye glasses or sunglasses would benefit your pup's long-term eye health, be sure to choose a pair of glasses specifically designed to fit a canine's face. 

Contrary to what you might think, while it may be fun to try human glasses on your dog and snap a few quick photos, glasses made for people won't fit your pooch's face very well, which may mean they'll be less effective at protecting your dog's eyes. 

Similar to introducing your dog to any other unfamiliar accessory, custom-designed canine glasses may take your dog some time to get used to. Goggle-style glasses may be a solution as they offer full eye coverage and can be securely held in place with a headband. 

Help your dog get used to wearing their new glasses by letting them try them on for just a few minutes at a time, then offer a treat. Gradually increase the amount of time your dog is wearing the glasses until they seem comfortable with leaving them on. 

Of course, some dogs may never adapt to wearing glasses and will keep pawing at their face or rubbing their face on the ground in an attempt to get them off. In this case, we advise removing the glasses so your pooch does not end up injuring themselves. For this reason, you should always supervise your dog when they are wearing any kind of eyewear. 

Note: Northwest Animal Eye Specialists specializes in treating eye conditions and illnesses. The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical or behavioral advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

Do you have questions about how to tell if a cat is going blind? Contact our Renton vets to book a consultation with a veterinary ophthalmologist.

New Patients Welcome By Referral

Northwest Animal Eye Specialists is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the eye health of animals. Talk to your vet today about getting a referral to our clinics serving patients from Renton, Kirkland, and the surrounding areas.

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