Many hunters know that when a good hunting dog is working, it seldom cares or notices where it is going as long as it’s following the scent. The drive is often stronger than self-preservation.
Hunting dogs get tangled in briars, run through dust and mud, and stick their noses (and often whole heads) in the ground.
In general, it is not such a big problem, but what if it affects the eyes? Dust particles, seeds, and thorns can cause discomfort, infections, and even injuries to dogs’ eyes.
Eyesight is one of the three most important senses of a hunting dog, besides its smell and hearing, and the eyes are the most prone to injuries. However, there is a way of protecting your dog’s eyes while it hunts – a pair of dog hunting goggles.
What are Dog Hunting Goggles?
Dog hunting goggles are exactly what the name indicates – goggles for dogs. They are designed to help your hunting buddy withstand the trials of a day out on the field, regardless of the conditions.
Dog goggles work the same way your goggles do; they protect the dog’s eyes from elements as well as from any injuries they may sustain while pursuing game.
Goggles for dogs are designed to fit the dog’s head without restricting the jaw or ears. Most are made with a spherical lens to allow full and unobstructed vision.
They are water, UV, and impact resistant to protect the dog’s eyes in any outdoor condition. What’s more, dog goggles come in many shapes and sizes to fit different breeds.
You might not have heard of dog goggles before because most hunters who hunt with dogs are old-school and think goggles are silly, unnecessary, and uncomfortable for the dog.
Still, some hunters would swear by this solution, and their modern hunting buddy is happy to wear the goggles and not be affected by them while pursuing upland birds and waterfowl the whole day.
Are Dogs Hunting Goggles Necessary?
No, dog hunting goggles are unnecessary, same as many more modern inventions, like GPS collars and hunting vests. However, they do make for an easier hunt, and better protection for your dog, which we can safely say is your biggest hunting asset.
As we stated before, many hunters don’t know or don’t use dog hunting goggles, and their dogs are doing just fine. After all, dogs have been humans’ hunting companions for hundreds of years, and they have managed to do it perfectly.
However, with modern technology and great inventions, we try to make our lives easier and safer, so why not do the same for our best hunting friends?
Every year more hunters convert to buying goggles for their dogs because of the possibility of injury that may take the dog out of the hunting field for a long time.
Every hunter knows that their dog can easily sustain stabs, cuts, and scratches to the eyeballs while running through thick cover. True, not every hunting dog would need goggles. Everything depends on the terrain you hunt.
Hunting pheasants and woodcock in brushes, your dog faces thorns and sticks poking at its eyes, while going upland hunting in tall grass, spiky seeds, and dust are the worst.
If you have an upland hunting dog, you probably faced the same problem as we had with our GSP – squinting, watering, or swollen eyes.
The problem is often simple and small, like a seed of grass, thorn, or sand particles lodged in the corner of the eye. It’s easy to flush it out, but you have to remember that though it is only a small thing, it may lead to more serious scenarios like infection or corneal abrasions.
Would it not be simpler to put the goggles on for the hunt and have a happy and healthy dog at the end of the long day? That’s where dog hunting goggles come in handy.
Disadvantages of Dog Hunting Goggles
Despite many advantages of goggles for dogs, there are hunters that won’t put this silly gadget on their dogs, and they have a few misgivings about them.
- Ill-fitting – Even though the companies design the goggles with dogs in mind, there is no one-fits-all. As many dog breeds that many shapes and sizes. Despite there being many options to choose from, there is a possibility that none of them will properly fit your dog.
- Uncomfortable – Dog goggles may seem fine to you on your dog, but you have to remember that hunting dogs often disregard their own comfort to pursue the game.
It means that they won’t stop mid-hunt to tell you that the goggles suddenly are chaffing somewhere or that they fogged up or got scratched too much, obscuring the view. Dogs will adapt and go as long as needed, even though they may be uncomfortable.
- Snagging – This is one of the biggest fears for hunters preventing them from putting goggles on their dogs. If the goggles don’t fit snuggly around your dog’s face, or their design is not “aerodynamic” enough, the goggles may get stuck on a branch in a thick bush cover, trapping your dog inside.
Depending on your dog’s reaction, it may be a dangerous situation. Only you know whether your dog will panic or calmly wait for you to free it.
- Refusal – The simplest disadvantage of dog hunting goggles is your dog’s reaction to them. Some dogs don’t mind wearing goggles and are happy to run the whole hunt wearing them, while others refuse to be near them, never mind putting them on even after hours spent training them to wear the goggles. And there is nothing you can do about it.
Even though those scenarios present some disadvantages, there is no saying it will be your dog’s future as well. Many hunters prise the goggles, and their dogs seem to wear them happily and hunt to their hearts’ content.
3 Best Dog Hunting Goggles
Rex Specs is one the most popular brand of goggles for dogs, but what’s more important, they don’t make just a fashion product. Their goggles are designed for hunting dogs in mind.
They offer many choices regarding the color of the lens and size and shape to fit your pup better, whether it’s a lab or spaniel. They also offer spare lenses if your old one got worn off in the field.
All goggles have soft mesh inside to stop the goggles from chaffing your pup’s nose and prevent sliding around the head. The lens has a spherical shape to preserve full view, and it’s made from durable, UV-resistant material.
Goggles are water-friendly, which means even your retriever can wear them while duck hunting. Unfortunately, diving may be a little bit challenging. Well-fitted Rex Specs goggles stay on the dog even in the thickest bushes.
NAMSAN offers many different designs of their dog goggles, from fashion statements to goggles for working dogs, including hunting dogs. The model we are referring to is very close to the Rex Specs in shape and durability.
It comes in two different lens colors – reflective silver and clear black. The straps are adjustable, but the goggles would probably not fit the smaller breeds, like spaniels or terriers.
NAMSAN goggles are snow-, wind-, and dustproof. They have a soft mesh lining to help them stay on the dog’s nose without moving and prevent chaffing during long wearing periods.
NVTED dog goggles are the third-best option available for hunting dogs on the market. Apart from being a somewhat fashion gadget, they are pretty useful wear for a thick bush hunt. They provide 100% UV protection with their high-quality PC tinted lenses.
The lens is also wind- and waterproof, although they will probably take in some water during diving. The lens is also quite durable, and the PVC frame holds up pretty well in harsh conditions.
The unique shape of those goggles and adjustable elastic strap make it possible to fit most breeds, although it fits best with more narrow noses. Soft inner padding on the frame reduces the pressure around your dog’s eyes.
Dog hunting goggles are a relatively new invention, and most hunters decide they don’t need them or, in fact, never even heard of them before. Goggles for hunting dogs have a purpose, however. They protect your hunting buddy from any eye injury caused by a spiky grass seed or sharp brushes.
Hunting dogs are special. They differ from pet breeds by having a powerful drive to hunt, which usually overrides self-preservation.
This means that your hunting dog will not stop until it gets what he’s after, regardless of what he needs to go through. It is, therefore, up to us to provide enough protection and keep them healthy and hunting.
In that case, the dog hunting goggles may be the right answer.