Dog Vision: Can Dogs See in the Dark?

Dog vision

Canines are known for their heightened sense of smell and sound, however, what about their vision? When compared to humans, do dogs have better eyesight? The answer is a mixed bag as dogs have a few beneficial vision aspects, however, humans overall have the superior eyesight. You may have more questions, such as:

  • Can my dog see colors?
  • Can dogs see in the dark?

The truth about your furry friend’s vision may be surprising. Below, we dispel myths and answer common questions to better help you appreciate how your dog navigates the world.

Can Dogs See in the Dark?

Yes, although, it would be more accurate to say that dogs can see much better than us in the dark. When compared to humans, canine studies have revealed structural differences in the basic design of both species’ eyes. Dogs have developed as nocturnal hunters, a lifestyle that had required them to track food through the night, which has adapted their eyes to easily catch movement in the dark. This evolutionary process of hunting at night has helped canine retinas contain more rods, being movement-sensitive cells that work well in low light, than humans. AKC’s (American Kennel Club) chief veterinary officer, Dr. Jerry Klein, elaborates, “For the purpose of hunting in the dark, canine eyes have a larger lens and corneal surface and a reflective membrane, known as a tapetum, that enhances night vision.”

Are Dogs Color Blind?

No, dogs aren’t completely color blind, however, they see the world in a way similar to that of a human who has red-green color blindness. Canines are limited to only seeing yellow, blue, and various shades of grey. While dogs have more rods in their eyes than humans, they have significantly less cones. Cone cells operate well in bright lights and helps species perceive the color spectrum. Although, dog color vision is much more limited than that of humans, canines tend to be more attentive to the colors that they are able to perceive. All this to say, next time you’re buying a new toy for your furry friend, make sure to pick something up that’s either bright blue or yellow.

What’s My Dog’s Eyesight?

Across the board, all canine breeds eyesights’ are significantly blurrier than ours. Being quite nearsighted, an average dog’s eyesight ranges from 20/40 to 20/75. This means that what humans can clearly see at 20 feet away, your dog sees that same object as if they were standing between 40 and 75 feet away. Fortunately, canines have amazing peripheral vision as their eyes are set at a 20-degree angle. This improved scope of vision, combined with high levels of rods in their retinas, allows dogs to quickly notice movement even though their vision is blurry and color limited.

Vision Problems in Senior Dogs

It’s normal for vision to worsen in dogs as they age. If your dog is bumping into walls, avoiding everyday activities, acting clingy, or even hesitant to walk down the stairs, they may be developing vision problems. Besides keeping up with annual vet visits, providing a balanced diet is the absolute best way to maintain your senior dog’s eyesight. The 42 active ingredients in Dr. Bill’s Canine Health Defense support increased antioxidant production, free radical reduction, and lowered oxidative stress through cellular Nrf2 activation providing healthier eyes, heart, brain, and other internal organs. Science has shown that fewer damaging free radicals over time promote improved vision, health, and enhanced physical fitness with the goal of the longest and healthiest life possible.



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