All About Dogs and Puppies,Pet Wellness Can my dog see in the dark?

Can my dog see in the dark?

How many times does YOUR dog want out at night to bark. Most of the time it is hard for me to see what the heck is winding her up. What is my dog seeing in the dark that I can’t see? I appreciate her defending our home, but most of the time I can’t always see what she is protecting us from.

Yes, a dog can see much better than humans in the dark. In addition to a keen sense of smell, dogs have excellent night vision. Compared to humans dogs have larger pupils and a reflective membrane called tapetum lucidum that also increases the amount of light that gets in.

How do dogs eyes work

“Like with human eyes, light enters through the cornea and then the pupil, which expands and contracts to control the amount of light entering, he says. Light then passes through the lens and hits the retina, where light is processed.”


Dogs have different number of photoreceptors in their eyes, than humans do. The Eye rods allow better vision in low light, Cones work at higher light levels and allow brighter colors. Dogs have more rods and fewer cones than humans. This difference allows dogs to be excellent at seeing at night and better at seeing moving objects than humans. In addition, dogs have something we don’t, a reflective membrane called tapetum lucidum. This membrane is responsible for the glow we see in their night eyes. It acts like a mirror and reflects light through the retina, increasing the amount of light available to a dogs photoreceptors. It is what helps them see at the dark.

Do dogs see better than cats?

Because dogs have more eye rods, and fewer cones, they see better at night than day. They have excellent night vison which has helped them to be good predators. Being able to detect motion at night is more of a priority for survival, being able to see fine details clearly isnt a as important as detecting motion from a distance. With fewer cones, dogs are thought to be red-green color blind. They still have a greater field of vision than cats and can see more colors. However, they can’t see things as well within a 12″ , yet they can see a hand signal from a mile away.

Cats’ eyes are similar in structure with fewer rods and cones, however, cats pupils can retract quickly. This gives them the advantage to see things up close better than dogs. Honestly, that makes sense as cats like to bunny kick and pounce on their prey up close.

It is hard to say for sure who sees better. Over thousands of years, both cats and dogs have adapted to their different needs.

Cat mimic the up close hunting behaviors that dogs do not.

Can a senior dog see in the dark

As dog’s age, their sight is affected too. Already their vision isn’t clear, as they age and eye rods deteriorate, their vision suffers. Sometime around age seven, even their night vision is affected, often dogs get night blindness in their golden years. Eyes simply wear out, certain breeds German Shepherds, Chihuahuas, and Poodles, are more affected with blindness than others. If you notice your pet hesitating , or bumping into things especailly in dim light areas, he may be starting to lose their night vision.

Is your dog getting older?

It is just a part of aging, unfortunately. Eye health is important and should be checked during yearly exams. When vision is failing, fortunately, dogs still have a strong sense of smell and can learn to adapt.

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