REX SPECS DOG GOOGLES
NEON PINK W/ CLEAR AND SMOKE LENS // ORIGINAL + SMALL
$67.96 THROUGH REXSPECS ($80 MSRP)

SUMMARY:
+ Flexible, durable frame material that allows for full jaw motion
+ Protects from UV rays, debris, and other hazards
+ Attractive, “cool” factor…or a laughing stock
+ Both sizes don’t fit every dog, especially those in between
+ Straps are on the cheaper side, and can be poorly positioned and dangling
+ The small size may have vision blocked on sides/top, and has cylindrical lens

OVERALL RATING (OUT OF 5): 3.42
Function: 3.5 // Durability: 4.5 // Value: 3 // Aesthetics: 3.5 // Fit: 2 // Customer Service: 4

REVIEW:
To somebody who has never seen goggles on a dog, RexSpecs just looks like human snow or scuba diving goggles on a dog. Just based on this novelty, RexSpecs attracts attention from serious adventurers to dogs whose owners outfit them to make fashion statements. Plus, with the colours that the frames and lens RexSpecs comes in, it’s no surprise that RexSpecs makes any dog look cool (or ridiculous, if you’re a skeptic). I admit, wearing RexSpecs just makes Deer look badass and ready for anything, including going to space.

But looks aside, RexSpecs is serious about functionality, and some of their customers are even real working dogs in the military, police force, or are service dogs. Without a doubt, when fitted correctly to the right dog (and the dog feels comfortable with them on), RexSpecs provide protection from all that they say – UV rays, debris, and environmental hazards.

In fact, we decided to get RexSpecs at first because Deer is in her late teens, has slight cataracts, and consequently, is very sensitive to bright sunlight and squints in sunny summer days as much as she does in snowy winter days. Although she doesn’t run much anymore, she explores and walks through spiky brush and deep vegetation without hesitation.

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At $79.95 USD, RexSpecs aren’t cheap (Doggles are priced under $30 USD). Then again, $79.95 to prevent much more serious, expensive, and possibly even permanent issues is quite a bargain, so there’s not too much to complain about. Plus, a good deal of design work went into this product.

RexSpecs frames are made with a very flexible, durable, and waterproof silicone material, most likely injected into a mold. You can flex and twist and slam the frame (without the lens in) on all kinds of surfaces and the frame will retain its shape. Unlike harder plastics used in some human goggles, this material is definitely better suited for dogs, since they are naturally destructive, even if just playing or working.

fullsizerender-jpg-5Having a flexible frame also means that it is not going to crack and shatter the same way hard plastic can. The flexible nature of the frame allows for some adjustments to fitting a dog’s face/head, especially if you pull the straps tight enough.

Another important aspect of the flexibility is to allow lenses to be interchangeable. Changing lenses is pretty easy – all you need to do is grip the bottom of the frame, and lift up the top part to expose the top of the lens, and then switch and do the same with the bottom of the lens. It takes less than a minute – just a few seconds if you’re quick (it takes me 30 seconds to replace)! Putting a lens in requires just a little more time and precision than taking it out, but it’s not hard either.

The lenses are polycarbonate, which is preferred over glass or plastic because they block UV rays much better, are much more impact-resistant, and lighter as well. In layman terms, it means that the lenses aren’t too easy to break, but are considerably thin and soft so they do scratch up. Switching them out over time is to be expected, depending on the work or environment, and level of use your dog goes through.  A dog like Deer who wears them would probably need only one backup lens a year.

The lens on the small size is cylindrical, whereas the original size has a spherical lens. What does that even mean? Cylindrical lenses only curve one direction, opposed to spherical lenses that are curved both horizontally and vertically. The spherical lens allows for greater lens surface area – better for peripheral vision, with less distortion, glare, and fogging issues. The use of a cylindrical lens for the small RexSpecs is certainly a disappointment, but does fit the flat-faced size agenda better. The spherical lens on the originals are spot on, and also more aesthetically pleasing, in my opinion.

img_7755-jpgEach new RexSpecs goggle comes with 2 lenses – 1 clear (in the box) and 1 of your choice. They’re all made of the same material and are rated UV400 to block UVA and UVB rays, but the revo, mirror, and smoke lens block a little more light than the clear does (a little common sense, too). UVA rays penetrate the skin, while UVB rays burn the top layers, and exposure to both long term can cause age-related cataracts in dogs (like it did Deer), and exacerbate existing eye problems, allergies, or sensitivities.

Replacing the lenses are $19.95 USD for 3 or $8.95 USD for 1, which is pretty affordable compared to human snow goggle lens (that can cost up to $100 USD each). The good thing is that dogs’ visions are about 20:80 compared to our 20:20 so scratches don’t inhibit or bother them as much as they do us, so even RexSpecs doesn’t recommend replacing lenses unless they’re really scratched up. But, for aesthetic reasons, it can be quite fun to have a few different tints around.

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The frame of the goggles is cushioned with a generous foam edge. Although foam is pretty cheap and straightforward, with the fitting of a dog’s face/head, it can really make a difference in terms of comfort and in preventing dust and debris from “leaking.” The foam used is relatively low density (thicker in the frame, thinner around the vents), so while it is a little water-resistent, it is not waterproof, so keep that mind in use in wet conditions, whether that being in actual water or with precipitation. Some foam is also used to “cover” the upper vents, which helps prevent fogging and provide airflow for prolonged use of the RexSpecs.

fullsizerender-jpg-8.jpegThe straps also don’t have anywhere to be tucked. That means if you are using the small RexSpecs for a small dog like Jasper or the original size with a medium dog like Deer, the strap is going to be dangling everywhere. These dangling straps can be itchy and irritating while they flap around and hit the dog in the ear or brush against their neck. It could even mean the goggle easily getting caught or lost.

The good parts about the straps are that they are relatively low profile and the straps are definitely easy to adjust – but, maybe a little too much. The first time I fit the small RexSpecs on Deer, with two movements she was able to pull out enough strap for the goggle to nearly fall off her face with her left paw. The only part that kept the goggle on her face was the elastic. The elastic bits of the straps are just at the bottom attachment of the goggle. They’re primarily used to slip the goggle onto the dog’s muzzle and to create a grip so that the goggle doesn’t fall off while you’re adjusting and buckling up the back straps. They’re also designed to allow for full jaw motion for drinking, panting, or even biting, and even though the small RexSpecs was too small for Deer and hit her right by her lips, she had no problem using her mouth as normal.

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Deer is pretty compliant to trying new gear and clothing, although very stubborn when she’s made her decision, so the desensitization process was very important. An attached instructions sheet from RexSpecs gives a few tips, but each dog is different and not all dogs will struggle or accept these goggles.

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Immediately, I realized the small goggles were hitting Deer in all the wrong places on her face and head. The bottom elastic straps rested right next to her lips, and the side straps sat on her jawline in a strange place, and the back straps were pressed on the base of her ears. The edges of the goggle frame rested right on the bone edges around her eyes. A minute later, Deer was starting to itch and paw at the goggles.

Even if the strap and frame placements didn’t bother Deer that much, there was another problem with the small RexSpecs design – probably the most important. When she wore them, I noticed she had no peripheral or top vision whatsoever. I think part of her discomfort was having to directly face what she was looking at because the sides of the goggle block her side vision almost completely, and the overhang also effectively blocks all top vision.

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Understanding that this size was risky to begin with because it was meant for 10-30 pound dogs, just for kicks, I put the small RexSpecs on Jasper, my 10 pound dog (whose height and length is comparable to a 12-15 pound dog). The bottom of the frame swallowed most of his eyes. There was no way this goggle would have fit on his face without eating it up entirely. That all being said, the small size was definitely designed for flat-faced dogs in mind, and we did suspect this buying the pair.

The official RexSpecs website shares very little information about sizing – no dimensions, no measurements, just weight guidelines and a few examples.

Flatter face dogs like a Boston Terrier or Shih Tzu as shown on their “Size Guide” page have genetic dispositions for eye problems so there’s definitely a need for goggles for their faces, too, but what about all the other longer-faced small, active dogs like the Jack Russell Terrier or Whippet? We would love to see a smaller version of the original design in the future to fit dogs like Jasper!

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But, in the meantime, we had to switch the smalls for some originals. As we also suspected, the original size was too big, but unlike the small, the functionality is definitely intact. Where the smalls were blocking vision from both sides, as well as the top, the originals’ spherical lens and large expansive design allow for near perfect vision. The top overhang is still a little big, but it doesn’t obstruct much, nor does it bother Deer.

img_8599-jpg.jpegWhile the smalls put a lot of pressure on the bones of her face, the originals sit too loosely, even pulled tight, to the point where they cause light friction on her face constantly because they move around. As much as the original size had much more visibility than the small, they were too big for Deer’s skinny face. The gaps on each side of the goggles are so big I can layer two fingers!

The straps of the original have much better placement on Deer’s head than the small’s, but because they have to be pulled so tightly to stay on, there is visibly pressure and discomfort on her ears on the back straps. Of course, RexSpecs originals were designed to cover dogs 30 to 100 pounds (with an optional extender for even bigger dogs), so there’s bound to be a long strap dangling on the smaller end of dogs.

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FINAL SAY: Recommended with hesitations. The functionality and durability are definitely there, and the only failure was to fit. We would really love to see a medium size bridging the small and original. We’ve since passed these goggles on to one much smaller and one much bigger dog. On one last note, I’m not entirely sold that any dog “needs” Rex Specs unless they have an existing working role or health issue that requires long term consistent use, leaving the vast majority of the crowd that wears and uses this does it for purposes of self-promotion or photography…$80 worth.

Originally written Dec. 2016, updated again Nov. 2017, and again Jan. 2018.