Monday, May 27, 2013

Dog Sunglasses Buying Guide- Find the Best Doggles and other brands

Can You Really Buy Dog Sunglasses?

Yes, you can buy high quality sunglasses for your dog for under $25.  These sunglasses are designed especially for dogs and typically have two adjustable straps- one that goes under the chin and another that goes around the back of the head under the ears.

German Shepard wearing dog sunglasses (Doggles)
Dog Sunglasses protect your dog's eyes from UV light and debris
Image Source: Sgt. Jason Brace

UV Protection with Dog Sunglasses

Dog sunglasses provide UV protection for dog's eyes similar to the protection provided by sunglasses for people.  This can be important for dogs that spend a lot of time outside, especially in environments where your dog is exposed to lots of reflected light:  boating on the water, on the beach, or in snow on a sunny day.  This style of dog sunglasses looks like human sunglasses with straps added.

Sunglasses style dog sunglasses: Doggles K9 Optix

Dog Goggles: Protection from Blowing Debris

Some styles of dog sunglasses are more like goggles than glasses.  They remind me of swim goggles with an extra strap.  The goggle style dog sunglasses provide protection from blowing sand, dust, and other debris in addition to UV protection.  Military dogs use the goggle style of dog sunglasses when working in environments with eye irritants.  Some dog owners put dog goggles on their dog during car rides so the dog can put his head out the window.  The goggles protect the dog's eyes from drying out and from blowing debris.

Goggle style dog sunglasses: Doggles ILS and Doggles Originalz

Dog Sunglasses for Medical Conditions 

Some dogs have medical conditions that make their eyes more sensitive to sunlight.  German Shepherds and some other breeds are susceptible to an eye condition called Pannus which is caused by UV light exposure. Dog sunglasses are helpful for dogs with Pannus that will spend a lot of time outdoors. As dogs age, their iris muscle may become weaker, which reduces the ability to constrict and reduce the amount of light entering the eye.  Dog sunglasses are useful for older dogs that have sensitivity to bright light.  Dog sunglasses may help prevent cataracts in dogs.

Dog Sunglasses Buying Guide

Sunglasses or Goggles Style

Do you prefer goggle style or sunglasses style?  Goggle style dog sunglasses provide excellent UV protection as well as protection from blowing debris.  The sunglasses style looks like human sunglasses and may be more fashionable while still providing UV protection for you dog.  Doggles K9 Optix is a sunglasses style while Doggles ILS and Doggles Originalz are the goggles style of sunglasses.

Smiling dog in the sun wearing dog sunglasses
This dog seems to enjoy wearing sunglasses!
Image Courtesy of ktylerconk CC-BY-2.0

Interchangeable Lenses

Some models of dog sunglasses, such as Doggles ILS (interchangeable lens system) allow you to change the lenses to a different color of tint, or even clear lenses for nighttime use.  You can also get black lenses that block 100% of light for blind dogs.

Medium size dog wearing Doggles ILS goggle style sunglasses
Military dog wearing Doggles ILS
Image Source: Spc. Daniel Bear

Lens Features to Look for in Dog Sunglasses

  • UV protection- This is the main function of sunglasses!
  • Shatter-proof lenses- You don't want the lens to break and injure your dog's eye.
  • Anti-scratch Lenses- Dogs may put a lot of wear and tear on lenses during normal use.
  • Anti-Fog lenses- Especially important for goggle style.
  • Lens spacing from eye- The sunglasses lens should have space for your dog's eye.  Some breeds have protruding eyes that bulge out.  My Malshi (Maltese - Shih-Tzu hybrid) has eyes like this.  You'll want to choose a style that has enough room so that the sunglasses will not contact the dog's eye.

Dog Sunglasses Brands

Doggles is the leading brand of dog sunglasses.  Styles include both sunglasses style (Doggles K9 Optix) and goggles styles (Doggles ILS and Doggles Originalz).  The U.S. military uses Doggles for their service dogs.

Doggie Shades
Doggie Shades sells the sunglasses style of dog sunglasses.  This company has been in the dog sunglasses business 18 years.  They have a sizing chart on their website where you can print out a paper template to check sizes.

Fashion Pet canine goggles / Cool Pet Goggles
Available wholesale and from sellers on eBay.  These look to be an inexpensive goggle style of dog sunglasses.

How to Put Dog Sunglasses on a Dog

With some practice, it takes about 15 seconds to put dog sunglasses on your dog.  The first time, you'll need to adjust the straps to the correct fit.  It is recommended to put the sunglasses on your dog outside, especially the first few times.  If you put sunglasses on inside, you dog may be confused by darkness since there will not be enough light to see well.

The video below shows how to put dog sunglasses on your dog in 15 seconds.

Dog Sunglasses Sizes

Find the Right Size Sunglasses for Your Dog

How to measure size for Doggles:
To determine ideal back strap and frame length, measure the entire head circumference, across the eyes and around under the ears. To size chin strap, start just under one ear, under the chin, and back up to under the other ear (like a helmet strap).

Doggles Sizing Chart with Breed Examples:
Doggles Size
Dog Size
Breed Examples
Back Strap
and Frame
Chin Strap
Actual Lens Size
Extra Small
1-10 lbs
Chihuahua, Pom
1"h x 1-1/4"w
9-25 lbs
Beagle, Westie
1-1/2"h x 2"w
20-60 lbs
Dalmatian, Collie
1-1/2"h x 2-1/4"w
50-100 lbs
German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever
1-1/2"h x 2-1/2"w
Extra Large
100+ lbs
Lg. Rottweiler, St. Bernard
2"h x 3"w

Order Doggles from

Recommended Reading:
Malshi: Cross of Maltese and Shih-Tzu Dog Breeds

Pet Food: Why is dog food and cat food so expensive? Would it be cheaper to feed my pet meat?

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