For humans and dogs alike, there is nothing like a sunny day in the great outdoors. Fresh air, natural scenery, and bright warm sunshine are made even more enjoyable by the company of our four-legged friends.
As you reach for your favorite pair of shades to block the sunlight from your eyes, consider protecting your pup’s precious face too. Sun protection for dog eyes is an afterthought for most pet parents, but it’s actually very important for your dog’s comfort and possibly even their long-term eye health.
Here is what you need to know about potential problems sun exposure can cause in your dog’s eyes and how you can protect them next time you take a walk or head to the park on a sunny day.
Why is Sun Protection For Dog Eyes Important?
Have you ever noticed your dog squinting in the sunlight? That’s because he or she is trying to reduce the amount of sun exposure hitting their eyes, just as we would do!
Exposure to ultraviolet light can lead to a variety of dog eye problems, including pannus or even cancer. If your pup is a breed susceptible to pannus, has light pigmented eyelids or light skin on their face or head, or squints because of eye discomfort, they could benefit from sun protection outdoors.
Dog Eye Diseases Exacerbated or Caused By Sun Exposure
Sun exposure is particularly harmful for certain ocular conditions in dogs.
- Pannus, also known as chronic superficial keratitis, is an immune-mediated condition that affects the cornea. Pannus can be triggered or exacerbated by UV light exposure. Pannus appears on a dog’s cornea in the form of a pink mass. As the condition progresses, the lesion darkens and spreads across the cornea. If left untreated, pannus can lead to blindness in dogs. German shepherds, Belgian Shepherds, Greyhounds and Border Collies are breeds most susceptible to pannus but pannus can occur in any breed.
- Cancers of the eyes, eyelids and pigment around the eyes can be triggered by sun exposure over time. Hemangiosarcoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common UV-induced cancers to occur in these areas.
Light Sensitivity Causes in Dogs
- Blue and light-colored eyed dogs commonly experience light sensitivity and a little shade can go a long way to make them more comfortable outdoors.
- Cataracts are another cause of light sensitivity for dogs. Cataracts are caused by cloudy lenses. Unlike clear lenses, cataracts make it hard for light to get through lenses clearly. Light scatters off the cataracts, causing glare and discomfort in bright sunlight.
- Iris Atrophy is the thinning of the muscle that shrinks the pupil when subjected to light. This causes the pupil to remain dilated, even when you are outside. Dogs with iris atrophy show increased sensitivity to sunlight because their pupils let in more light than normal.
- Uveitis is inflammation of one or all parts of the eye's uvea, which is made up of the iris, ciliary body and choroid. Dogs with uveitis tend to avoid bright light because the light causes eye discomfort.
If you notice signs of any of these conditions, please have your dog examined by a veterinarian.
When is Sun Protection Necessary
We believe sun protection is important for every dog, and increasingly pet families agree. Over 43% of customers surveyed list sun protection as a driver for their purchase. We pet parents use sunglasses and hats to block the sun from our eyes, so why wouldn’t we do the same for our furry family members?
How to Protect Your Dog’s Eyes From the Sun
When it comes to sun protection for dog eyes, pet parents have plenty of options. There are many dog hats, dog goggles, and dog sunglasses designed specifically for canines.
We at PupLid strive to make the best sun protection products on the planet, and we have received many heartwarming stories of how our dog hats have helped dogs with sun problems - it’s why we made the very first one for our beach-loving dog Buddy! But deciding which option is best for your pup will be up to you. Nobody knows your fur baby quite like you do. You’ll be able to determine which one makes them feel the most comfortable while providing the best sun protection.
However, if your companion wants something functional, comfortable, and stylish, we have just the thing. PupLid makes premium trucker dog hats and baseball dog caps that dogs will actually wear! Our trucker dog hats and baseball dog caps are designed for maximum comfort, adjustability, and most importantly, protection from the sun. With dozens of fun and vibrant designs and colors, you’ll find just the right PupLid that celebrates your dog’s personality and the special relationship you share.
Welcome to the PupLid Family
We are excited to have you join us on our journey to provide dogs everywhere with protection from the sun…in style! If you’ve recently ordered from us, don’t forget to watch our training video on how to introduce your dog to their PupLid with certified trainer Nicole Ellis.
Kathy Burnell, DVM