Whether you are trying to protect your dog’s eyes or simply help her look a bit cooler at the dog park, most dog owners should have a pair of sunglasses for their dog – even if you only use them occasionally.
However, some sunglasses are better than others, and it is important to know what you should look for when purchasing a pair for your pooch.
Quick Picks: Best Sunglasses for Dogs
- PEDOMOS Sunglasses [Best Sunglasses for Large Breeds] These glasses fit large breeds (shepherds, retrievers, pit bulls, etc.) well, they provide UV protection, and they feature ventilation holes to prevent fogging.
- Enjoying Small Dog Glasses [Best Sunglasses for Small Breeds] These glasses are perfectly sized for pint-sized pups (Yorkies, Chihuahuas, etc.), yet they provide just as much eye protection as glasses for bigger canines do.
- Dogles K9 Optix Glasses [Most Stylish Sunglasses] These shades are simply adorable, and the shatter-proof lenses will keep your pet’s eyes protected from UV rays, wind, and dust.
Why Does My Dog Need Sunglasses?
Sunglasses provide a few important functions for dogs, but most boil down to keeping their eyes safe and comfortable.
For example, sunglasses (or any other type of high-quality eyewear) protect your dog’s eyes from dust, debris or any other tangible items that may harm her eyes. These kinds of things aren’t normally a threat during a casual walk at the park, but they can become much more of an issue in specific circumstances.
For example, it makes good sense to protect your dog’s eyes while participating in any of the following activities:
Whenever your dog is riding on a motorcycle, in the back of a truck or in a car while hanging his head out the window. Note that some of these activities may not be particularly safe in themselves, but if you are going to let your dog partake in them, at least protect her eyes. If you do plan on riding a motorcycle with a pooch in tow, make sure to check out our article on motorcycle dog carriers and helmets!
While running with your dog alongside busy roads or polluted areas. Not only does a lot of gravel, sand and debris get kicked up off the road by passing cars, but the gas fumes located in these areas can also be irritating to your dog’s eyes.
While walking, running or playing in high winds. Strong winds often pick up sand and grit, which they can blast into your dog’s eyes at high speed. This can cause scratches and other injuries to your dog’s eyes, and it is likely to be extremely irritating.
Whenever hanging out or playing in dusty or sandy areas – even if it isn’t windy right now. All it takes is one sudden gust of wind to levitate a bunch of beach sand or ball field dirt, which can then harm your dog’s eyes.
Whenever it is possible that dirty, bacteria-laden water may splash up into your dog’s eyes. I’m not talking about the water at the local swimming pool – proper goggles are a better option in such cases; I’m talking about while your dog is running around through swampy or wet areas, such as often occur after strong storms.
When playing in tangled and overgrown forests. These types of areas are overflowing with sharp things at dog-eye height. Sunglasses aren’t designed to resist super-hard collisions, but most will help prevent a lot of potential injuries.
Whenever walking with older dogs who suffer from vision problems. Some sunglasses may may help older dogs or those with some vision problems see better in bright light.
Sunglasses also protect your dog’s eyes from some of the light produced by the sun. This includes both dimming the bright visible light, to prevent your dog from having to squint, as well as some of the UV rays produced, which may harm the eyes of some dogs (scroll down to the end of the article to learn the basics of UV light if you need a refresher).
This is especially important when you and your dog visit locations with high light intensity. For example, the light intensity near beaches, deserts and snow-covered landscapes is often particularly strong. Very bright light can lead to temporary blindness, so be sure to err on the side of caution and fit your dog with sunglasses whenever traveling through such areas.
In some cases, canine sunglasses can also be a medical necessity. For example, some dogs suffer from eye problems that make them especially sensitive to bright and ultraviolet light. Dogs who have suffered an eye injury or infection may also need sunglasses to protect them from dirt and dust while they heal.
Of course, sunglasses are also quite hip, and they can immediately improve your dog’s style game. This is clearly a human benefit (canines don’t feel accessories are necessary to look fabulous), but there’s nothing wrong with that.
What Should You Look for When Shopping for Canine Sunglasses?
Now that you understand why sunglasses are a good idea, it is important to learn how to distinguish between various sunglasses on the market, as well as how to tell the best from the rest.
To an extent, you’ll need to alter the features you prioritize, based on the reason you want the glasses.
If you are looking for sunglasses to make your dog more fabulous and fancy, style and fit are all that matter.
The style question should be left completely to your subjective desires, but the best way to obtain glasses that fit well is by carefully reviewing the manufacturer’s sizing guidelines, measuring your dog’s head accurately (if need be), sticking with glasses that feature a chin and head strap and looking for glasses that appear to work well with your dog’s head shape.
If you want sunglasses to protect your dog’s eyes from tangible things like dirt, dust, and the occasional stick, you want to select sunglasses that have durable lenses and provide total eye coverage.
The durability of various lenses can be difficult to determine from the manufacturer’s information, but you should consider the experiences of other owners who’ve tried the glasses in question. Total eye coverage, on the other hand, is fairly easy to investigate by simply looking at the photos of dogs wearing the glasses. Some glasses have foam or plastic extensions that help provide further eye protection.
If you want sunglasses that will protect your dog’s eyes from the sun’s light (both visible and ultraviolet), you want to purchase glasses that provide extensive coverage with lenses designed to filter out a significant portion of the undesirable light.
Most sunglasses manufacturers that produce UV-resistant lenses proudly proclaim so – just look at the description. Many high-quality sunglasses are rated as UV400, which means they block all of the light waves shorter than 400 nanometers (which includes all UV light).
You can also just look for glasses that feature polycarbonate lenses, as this material naturally filters out UV rays.
The Six Best Dog Sunglasses
There are several high-quality sunglass options on the market, but the following six are some of the best.
Note that there is a significant amount of crossover between doggie sunglasses and doggie goggles. Both types tend to look quite similar, and many models serve to protect your dog’s eyes from debris and UV rays.
We’ve already covered goggles, which are primarily designed to protect your dog’s eyes from debris, so we’ll concentrate on those that specifically address the sun’s rays here.
1. PEDOMUS Dog Sunglasses
About: PEDOMUS Dog Sunglasses are high-quality glasses designed to protect your dog’s eyes from sun, wind, and dust, while helping him look cooler than any other canine on the block. These glasses feature one-piece, reflective lenses and a two-part strap system to keep them in place while your pup is enjoying the great outdoors. The polycarbonate lenses should stop about 99% of the UV rays from hitting your dog’s eyes.
PEDOMUS Dog Sunglasses are designed for medium to large breeds. They won’t fit small breeds well.
- Flexible PVC Frame with vents to prevent fogging
- Spongey padding around the frame ensures a comfortable fit
- Adjustable, two-part strap system
- Wide nose bridge to suit canine faces
Most owners found these goggles to be very effective and comfortable for their pup to wear. The dual straps helped to keep the goggles in place, and the large lens provides complete eye protection. These glasses are designed specifically for large dogs, such as German shepherds and golden retrievers.
A few owners found that the lenses were a bit too dark for use in low-light conditions. Others complained that the glasses appear as though they are made for humans, with the only difference being the inclusion of an additional strap. Nevertheless, most owners found that they fit their dog well.
2. Doggles K9 Optix Pink Frame with Pink Lens
About: Doggles K9 Optix Pink Frame Sunglasses are designed to protect your dog’s eyes from UV rays and help your canine look his best in the process. Unlike many competing products, these specs are designed to fit your dog more like a pair of sunglasses than goggles.
- Flexible rubber frame is designed specifically for a dog’s face
- Adjustable chin and head straps help keep the glasses in place while your pup plays
- Shatter-proof lenses filter out 100% of the UV light
Most owners who tried Doggles K9 Optix Pink Glasses were very pleased with them. Almost all owners found them to be adorable, durable and well-made. They appear to be comfortable for dogs to wear, and most owners reported that they remained in place thanks to the snug fit.
There weren’t many complaints about Doggles K9 Optics Pink Glasses, although a few owners had problems obtaining the correct size. Additionally, as with all other glasses, some dogs just didn’t seem to like wearing them.
3. Enjoying Small Dog Sunglasses
About: It can be challenging to find canine eyewear that is suitable for tiny pets, but Enjoying Small Dog Sunglasses are made specifically for pint-sized pooches. These glasses feature super-hard lenses for safety, and they’re coated with UV-resistant film to block eye-damaging rays.
- Adjustable head and chin strap to keep them securely in place
- Soft, padded frame for comfort
- Lenses are UV400 rated and provide 100% UV protection
- Available with black or blue lenses
4. PetRich Dog Sunglasses
About: PetRich Dog Sunglasses are a super-stylish solution for your dog’s eye-protection needs. Designed somewhat like the kinds of goggles skiers wear, these glasses feature a single lens, with no divider down the middle to offer the best possible fit and field of view.
- UV400 lenses are designed to block all ultraviolet light (including UVA and UVB)
- Sponge pads line the glasses to provide additional eye protection and a good fit
- Adjustable straps provide a snug, yet comfortable fit
Most owners who tried the PetRich Sunglasses found them to be both functional and stylish. Many dogs seem to prefer the single-lens design and enjoyed greater comfort with these glasses than some other models. Note that these are only available in one size – large.
Some owners complained that the edge of the lenses were too sharp. Others found that the glasses do not appear to match the shape of a dog’s face, as the nose cutout is simply too narrow.
5. QUMY Waterproof Pet Sunglasses
About: QUMY Pet Sunglasses are affordable, stylish sunglasses that’ll help your dog look cool and protect his peepers from dirt, wind, and debris. These glasses feature a double strap system to keep them in place, and reflective lenses which look awesome.
- Hinged bridge ensures a snug and comfortable fit
- The glasses can be folded up for easy storage
- They feature shatterproof lenses that are built to last
- QUMY Pet Sunglasses are available in six different colors
Most owners were pretty happy with QUMY Dog Goggles. They look fantastic, they seem to fit most dog faces well, and they stay in place well thanks to the included straps. And because you can fold them up easily, they’re very easy to store in your pocket when not in use. Also, because they feature polycarbonate lenses, they should block about 99% of UV rays.
A handful of owners had problems with sizing, and a few owners complained that they weren’t terribly durable. The biggest problem with these glasses appears to be that they fog up pretty quickly.
6. Namsan UV Sunglasses
About: Namsan UV Sunglasses are goggle-style sunglasses, designed to protect your dog’s eyes while also keeping her style game on point. The glasses offer a great fit, and feature a hinge at the bridge which provides the additional flexibility necessary to ensure a good fit.
- Foam-cushioned frame provides a comfortable fit and additional eye protection
- Lenses block 100% of the UV light
- Foldable design makes these glasses easy to tuck in your pocket
- Available in three colors (blue, yellow and pink)
Most owners who tried the Namsan UV Sunglasses were happy with their purchase. Most dogs appear to find the glasses comfortable, and most owners found them to be quite cute.
Some owners complained that the lenses were too dark for use during dim light, and a few noted that the foam pads came off the frames easily. A number of owners, particularly those with small dogs, also experienced sizing difficulties.
Our Recommendation: PEDOMOS DOG SUNGLASSES or ENJOYING DOG SUNGLASSES
Based on the comments of owners who’ve tried them, PEDOMOS Dog Sunglasses appear to be some of the best-fitting canine sunglasses on the market. They are also affordable and designed to protect your dog’s eyes from dirt, wind, dust, and impacts, as well as the sun’s UV rays. Additionally, these glasses feature ventilation holes in the frames to help keep them from fogging during use.
However, it is important to remember that PEDOMOS Sunglasses are designed for large dogs. If you have a tiny terrier or some other small breed, the Enjoying Small Dog Sunglasses are a better choice. These glasses are built for small dogs, yet they still provide the same level of protection that those built for larger dogs do.
A Quick-and-Easy Explanation of Ultraviolet Light
The topic of ultraviolet light often causes confusion, and many people understand it only slightly better than they do witchcraft. But it is important to really understand UV light, so that you can sift through the various marketing claims sunglass manufacturers make, and obtain glasses that will protect your dog’s eyes.
Light travels as a series of waves. These waves occur in a variety of wavelengths.
Our eyes perceive these different wavelengths as different colors. For example, we see wavelengths of about 520 nanometers as green, while those of about 475 nanometers appear blue, and so on.
Ultraviolet light is simply light with a shorter wavelength than violet. Humans can’t see these wavelengths, as the lenses in our eyes filter out them out, thereby preventing them from reaching the retina. But the light is there, none the less.
That’s not so mysterious, right? And just like visible light, ultraviolet light occurs at different wavelengths (somewhat akin to colors), each of which represent varying levels of danger.
The UV light with the longest wavelengths (315 to 400 nanometers) is called UVA – this type of UV light is all around us, and provides important psychological benefits for some species.
UVB light has wavelengths between 280 and 315 nanometers; small amounts of UVB also provide some important physiological functions for many species (such as Vitamin D production), but they can be dangerous in high doses.
UVC light – with wavelengths between 100 and 280 nanometers — is highly dangerous and harmful to almost all forms of life, but fortunately, it is absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere, so we don’t have to worry about it.
Thanks for the Science Lesson; But Tell Me About UV Light and My Dog
Most human sunglasses are designed to protect the wearer’s eyes from UVA and UVB light. This is important for humans, as exposure to ultraviolet light can cause cataracts – milky, vision-impairing deposits that form over the eyes — to form.
However, cataracts form over many decades – not the 10 to 20 years that most dogs live. Dogs simply don’t need to worry about getting cataracts from UV light. When dogs get cataracts, it is usually due to a genetic condition or some other malady, such as diabetes.
Dogs also benefit from having pretty well-protected eyes in the first place. Pugs, Pekingese and a few other flat-faced breeds aside, most dogs have very deeply set eyes that are further shielded by pronounced brow ridges.
Dogs may even be able to see ultraviolet light, as their lenses only filter about 40% of the UV light striking the front of their eyes. Although we don’t yet know that their brains recognize this normally invisible light, the ability to do so may provide a number of important evolutionary benefits. For example, we know that birds of prey see ultraviolet light, which helps them to see the urine trails left by their prey.
Perhaps UV light provides similar abilities to dogs.
Bottom line: While it doesn’t appear strictly necessary to protect your dog’s eyes from UV light, many owners feel better by providing their dog with this type of protection. Additionally, some dogs have specific medical conditions, which can make them more vulnerable to these types of light, and therefore in need of additional protection.
Do you put sunglasses on your dog when walking on bright, sunny days? Does your dog mind wearing the glasses? Have you found a particular model that you like?
Let us know all about it in the comments below!