Can Dogs See In The Dark?

Dogs are God send gifts to the mankind. Theories suggest that thehuman-dogrelationship has started around ice age. Since then, these domesticated descendants of wolves continue to live with us as our incomparable companions. They love us unconditionally regardless of who we are and what we do. We can count on the dogs in all of our ups and downs even in dark. When I say dark, I really mean it. We can call them even in pitch dark and they will reach us as fast as they can. If you ever wondered, do dogs have any special night vision and how they do this, jump onto this post and unveil all the secrets related to the dog’s vision.

black dog

Can Dogs See In The Dark?

Yes, they can. The structure of dogs eyes helps them to see well in the low light conditions and their memory helps them to easily navigate in the pitch dark. Dogs have larger pupils and wider retina which enhance their ability to see in the reduced light conditions. In addition to that, they have a mirror-like reflective membrane (reason for glowing eyes) behind the retina which reflects more light into the eyes, further enhancing the night vision.

How Well Can The Dogs See In Dark?

Depending on the type of dog breed and level of darkness, either your dog can see extremely well or just do okay. But definitely, they can see better than we do, particularly in low light conditions. It’s the reason why your dogs can do a better night watch than any human under the street light or moonlight conditions.


But, Can Dogs See In Pitch Black?

Dogs have bigger pupils, wider retina and reflective membrane with more number of light receptors (rods).Though these all help them to see better in low light conditions, they also have a little problem when they are not familiar with certain places. The vision of a dog does not completely depend on his eyes. His reflexes work faster in a familiar place. Dogs have a good vision in the night but not completely perfect. They see like grainy pictures in dark, just like your old computer screen.

If the place where it’s pitch dark is already familiar to him, he will do perfectly okay and will stay active because it’s already in his memory. Generally, dogs have very deep memory and when it comes to places, he got extra deep memory. I guess this explains how your dog quickly runs to your feet in a single call no matter where he is at the time when the power goes off in your home. He quickly recognizes the structure or layout of the places. Since your house is his only world, every nook corner of your home will get preserved in his memory in a better way.

Why Dogs Bark At Night? Are They Afraid of Dark?

Sometimes dogs can get really confused in the dark when they see objects in new shape. If your dog is not familiar with some shapes and they see them in dark, they will start to bark. Dogs have more numbers of rods than human eye which are light receptors and because of high numbers, they help to detect motions better the dark. Now putting all these pieces together, your dog can detect even a little rat running around your home when it’s dark which will make him bark. When talking of strange shapes, a man with umbrella or man wearing a hat or thick coat may scare him a lot if these are not something he got used to. In such cases, he will start to bark regardless of which part of the day he sees these visuals.

Dogs barking at strangers carries entirely a different reason and they do this to protect the beloved family where he belongs.

Are There Colors In Dog’s World?

Do Dogs See Things Only In Black And White?
Quite sometimes ago, it’s been believed that the dogs can only see in Black and White. But the recent studies conducted by various research groups prove that dog’s world is not made of complete black and white. They have colors as well. Though they can’t see colors as bright as human eyes, they can see colors in limited shades.



I can hear you asking what colors do dogs see? With the behavioral study of dogs, it is suggested that Dogs see the colors in yellow, blue and grey but in a less bright way. According to Scientist Jay Neitz from American University, dog’s eye is different from human’s eye. We have three “cones” to detect the color and with that our eyes catch different lights which is why we distinguish between Red, Blue, Green, Yellow or any other color but a dog’s eye has just two cones. This means they can distinguish between blue and yellow but not in red and green and this is the reason they have limited color spectrum.

Many people think that dogs can only see color in monochromatic which is absolutely wrong. A human eye is trichromatic, it means the cones come in three color red, green and blue-violet but when it comes to a dog’s eye it is only two cones or Dichromatic.

Can Dogs See Better Than Humans ?


Obviously but in certain conditions. Dogs do not see the same way as humans. They see five times less light than humans. Dog’s eyes are also helpful for their vision, just like horse they also have very good binocular vision which lets them see in bigger way. The eyes of dogs are placed on the sides of their head and because of this, they have a big visual field with 250 degrees. While human eyes can see in this big version, human eye’s vision field is 190 degree. With this 250 degrees vision dog have an extra advantage of 60 degree more peripheral vision than human eye.


Now The Fun Part, The Reason Why Dogs Eyes Glow In The Dark

As I already said, dog’s eyes got a mirror like structure which is called “Tapetum” behind its retina.Tapetum reflects light into his retina. It’s the reason why when you throw light on them in the dark, their eyes start to glow like cat eyes.

Can Dogs See In The Dark Even When They Get Old ?

Dogs can see well when they are adult but as they grow old their eye side also gets weaken just like any other living being. The lens in their eye is something like an onion, it got many layers and as dogs get old their lens also get old it is known as Nuclear sclerosis. After 7 years of age in dogs it gets hard for a dog to see perfect in dark. As dog get older the density of lens increases causing cloudy vision for dog. Just like humans need glass during their middle age, dog’s vision is also affected. They can see in dark but not as he used to, it would be hard for him to run through darkness or to find something in dark.


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