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While they’re super cool looking and are sure to garner plenty of attention, dog goggles also serve a purpose beyond making your dog fit in on the slopes. If you and your pup love seeking out adventures or you have a working dog, it’s important to add dog goggles to your gear kit.
UV protection is perhaps the most obvious way that goggles help to protect your dog’s eyes and vision: while UV exposure doesn’t impact dog’s vision in the same way that it does ours, it can lead to dry eyes as well as other conditions, as well as make aggravate eye issues for those dogs who have or are more prone to developing eye conditions like pugs and Boston terriers.
But, they’ll also help to protect your dog’s eyes from other irritants like plants, dust, and wind. Let’s start by taking a look at all the benefits that doggy goggles and dog eye protection can offer.
Who Are Dog Goggles For?
Most dogs can benefit from some dog eye protection. Here are some certain situations where it’s great to have dog goggles on hand!
- Breeds that are more prone to eye problems: Bracheycephalics, which are short-nosed dog breeds like Boston terriers, pugs, boxers, and Shih Tzus, are more likely to experience eye problems which are exacerbated by dry eyes. Plus, these breeds tend to be closer to the ground, so goggles can help protect them from irritants. Other breeds like greyhounds, border collies, and German shepherds can develop pannus, a hereditary autoimmune condition. Protecting these breeds from increased UV exposure can help to reduce their risk of developing the conditions.
- Dogs who have pre-existing eye conditions: If your dog has a current eye injury or is recovering from eye surgery, or experiencing a condition like conjunctivitis or glaucoma, they may benefit from the protection that doggy goggles offer to keep them comfortable and avoid any unnecessary irritation. Even if your dog has gotten checked out at the vet and gotten the all-clear from any eye issues, if you notice that they experience increased sensitivity to light and often find them squinting into the sun, they may benefit from the UV protection that doggy goggles offer.
- Active dogs: You turn to sunglasses when you’re outside, and your dog might benefit from some extra eye protection, too. When you’re at the beach or in the snowy mountains, the sun reflects off the snow or the ocean into your eyes, meaning that both you and your dog could use extra eye protection from UV rays. And it’s also at the beach or in the snow that you’re exposed to extra irritants like sand, dirt, and mud. Even when it’s super windy or you’re dealing with irritants flying by like when you take your dog on a run or they stick their head out the window on a car ride, dog goggles can offer extra protection from these things blowing into and getting stuck in your dog’s eyes.
- Working dogs: Whether they’re search and rescue dogs or police dogs, any dog can benefit from dog eye protection with their increased exposure to irritants and the elements.
Getting Your Dog Comfortable Wearing Dog Goggles
If you’ve ever tried boots on your dog or watched a video of dogs wearing footwear for the first time, you know just how tricky it can be to get your dog used to wearing something new. Because of this, it’s necessary to get your dog comfortable sporting their dog goggles before heading out.
Keep in mind that it’s easiest to get your dog used to eyewear or other clothing when they’re young to allow them to get comfortable to have these things on their body, much like you would when introducing them to wearing a collar and being on a leash. But that doesn’t mean you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!
Before you even begin introducing your dog to their goggles, you’ll want to ensure that you have the right pair! Rocky Mountain Dog is an exclusive Canadian partner of RexSpecs; a great choice because they have a comfortable soft foam edge that fits against their faces and allows the essential full range of vision.
Plus, the straps are fully adjustable to help them to fit your dog’s unique shape. To find the best size, you’ll need to measure both your dog’s head and muzzle circumference and use the RexSpecs Size Chart to find the best size for your pup.
Keep in mind that the muzzle measurement should be about where the goggles would touch your dog’s nose, and the head circumference will be where the goggles will sit against your dog’s forehead. Even the process of measuring can be helpful in preparing your dog for wearing goggles as they get used to you touching around their face for more than just a rub behind the ears.
Once you receive your dog goggles, you’ll need to adjust the straps to fit your dog’s face as this is important to ensure that they’re not only doing their job but also that they’re comfortable for your dog. Keep in mind that you can adjust them through the process of getting your dog used to wearing goggles.
Once you’ve progressed through the steps of getting your dog comfortable with having the goggles on their face:
- adjust the bottom strap under their chin to ensure that it’s snug but not constricting
- pull the straps up behind your dog’s ears and buckle
- adjust the side straps until the goggles fit your dog’s head without moving
- adjust as required as your dog gets used to wearing them.
Keep Things Positive
While your dog will eventually begin to associate wearing their goggles with a walk or other rewarding active experience, when you first introduce them to their new eyewear, you’ll need to introduce other means of reward.
High-value treats like pieces of salmon, chicken, or cheese are the best to incorporate until your dog gets more comfortable wearing the goggles, and then you can gradually fade these rewards out.
When your dog keeps the goggles on and doesn’t try to take them off, be sure to reward them. If you use clicker training with your dog, this can be a great time to incorporate it.
Beyond treats, be sure to offer plenty of verbal praise and pets. Like any new experience that your dog isn’t familiar with, providing reassurance can go a long way in helping your dog feel confident.
While your inclination might be to put the goggles on your dog right away to see how they react, allow them to use their sniffer and investigate the goggles. Hold them in front of your dog to allow them to get used to them, and make sure to snap the buckles and slide the straps to introduce them to the goggles and reinforce that they’re nothing to be afraid of.
Depending on how your dog reacts, you might start with gently touching the goggles to their face, to allowing them to move forwards into the goggles with the goal of being able to hold the goggles and allow your dog to press their face into them so you can put the goggles on.
Be sure to respond to your dog’s body language and gauge when they’re ready to move onto the next step. When you do put the goggles on your dog, keep in mind that you don’t have to go the full gamut all at once.
Take out the lenses and allow your dog to get used to wearing just the frames, and then progress to the clear lenses so that the dog is able to realize that they’re still able to see and perceive around them with the goggles on.
Try the tinted lenses last, and ensure that this is done outside because wearing the tinted lenses inside can make it more difficult to see, which might be anxiety-provoking for your pup.
Use the Power of Distraction
The goal is to get your dog used to their regular activities with these goggles on, so putting their leash on them and taking them for a short walk is a great way to not only help them associate wearing the goggles with getting to go out but also allow them to feel confident with their goggles on.
You can also work on giving your dog commands they’re familiar with like “sit”, “come”, and “shake a paw” to not only give them something to focus on but also the chance to reward them with a treat. Plus, keeping your dog on a leash while they’re wearing the goggles ensures that they’re under your control and don’t have a chance to remove the goggles.
If you’re sticking inside, encouraging your dog to play with toys while they have the goggles on or playing some fun indoor games like brain games or hide and seek can be a great way to help your dog forget they even have the goggles on!
Your First Excursions
Be sure to keep your first trips out with your dog sporting their new goggles short. Taking them for a walk in an area that they’re familiar with can help to increase their comfort level gradually as they feel confident navigating. While you know your dog best, of course, a good rule of thumb is to try and work your way up to a 10-minute walk. Once you’re here, you can progress to more adventurous activities!
If your dog isn’t quite yet at the point where they’re able to wear the goggles for your entire hike or trip to the beach, you can take a short walk followed by a hike they love or a rewarding trip to the beach without wearing the goggles to help your dog begin to associate having the goggles on with getting to go on an adventure.
Remember that your dog should be able to do all the activities they would otherwise be able to do with their goggles on including eating, drinking, and navigating. With a little time and plenty of positive reinforcement, your dog can get comfortable wearing their doggy goggles!
Other Ways to Take Care of Your Dog’s Eye Health
While dog goggles are a great part of protecting your dog’s eye health, it’s not all that you should be doing. Eyecare is especially important for dogs who are outdoors and active often, but applies to all dogs! Here are some ways to take care of your dog’s eye health:
- Keep an eye on your dog’s eyes: Regularly check your dog’s eyes and make an appointment with your vet if you notice any swelling, redness, or unusual discharge. Healthy dog eyes should be clear and bright. You should also keep an eye out for increased pawing at the eyes, which may indicate that your dog’s eyes are itchy or irritated.
- Regular Grooming: Dirt and debris can easily get swept into your dog’s eyes. Even if they are wearing their goggles, it can collect in their fur and get into their eyes after you take the goggles off. Keep your dog’s eyes clean by gently wiping around them with a damp cotton ball. If your dog experiences dry eyes, are especially dirty, or have tear stains, you might consider using a dog eye wash like Burt’s Bees Eye Wash Solution. A weekly eye cleaning is recommended unless extra cleaning is needed due to extra beach time! If your dog has long hair, ensure that they’re being groomed regularly and the hair around their eyes is kept short so their fur doesn’t get in their eyes and cause irritation. Of course, ensure that your dog’s eyes are protected during grooming and bathing, and only use shampoos and other fur-care products that are safe for dogs.
- Incorporate eye-healthy foods into your dog’s diet: Beta-carotene rich foods like broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato are awesome for eye health, so look for foods and treats containing these ingredients. Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish like salmon and tuna are also beneficial for eye health. Finally, eye-healthy carotenoids like those found in blueberries, kale, and tomatoes can be welcome additions to your dog’s diet.