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Dogs are adorable; we all can agree on that. As pets, dogs can easily make us happy with those innocent eyes and wagging tails. But do we know our dogs as well as we think we do?

We all assume they need our help in everything and are a little slower than humans. However, even though it might be true in some cases, it is not when it comes to seeing in the dark! 

Can dogs see in the dark? If this question often troubles you, read ahead. We have all the answers you need. 

Dog vision is superb at nighttime. If you are afraid your dog might lose their way in the darkness, don’t be. They are much better at steering in the dark than you imagine. And it is all because of some fantastic eye anatomy that nature has bestowed upon your four-legged buddy. 

A Look At The Anatomy Of A Dog’s Eye

dog eye

Imagine sitting at home one day, and suddenly there is a blackout. Of course, you will get up, fumble around, topple over, and then reach some light source to help you see again. But your dog might not have that problem.

Instead, they might breeze past the couch and stand near the window to look outside. Can dogs see in the dark? Yes, they sure can. It is an inbuilt ability, and they are pretty good at it. 

Dogs have some fantastic night vision that helps them steer their way through the darkness. A dog’s eyes are built to assist them in seeing even through dim light. Even though dog eyes are pretty similar to human eyes, there are some distinguishing factors.

Dogs have a much broader vision because of how their eyes are placed. Also, dogs have larger pupils, which allows them to absorb more light. It helps them see better at night.

But how do dogs see in the dark? 

To understand dog vision, we need to first look into the anatomy of a dog’s eyes. Even though they are pretty similar to human eyes, they are a few things that make dog eyes a tad better. A dog’s eyes are made of a cornea, pupil, retina, and lens, much like a human eye. 

The retina has photoreceptors that are made up of rods and cones. The rods help absorb light, and the cones help in absorbing color and brightness. The human eye has more cones which means they are better at detecting color and functioning in daylight.

However, a dog’s eyes are dominated by light-sensitive rods, which means they are better at collecting dim light and, thus, support better night vision. 

How Well Can Dogs See In The Dark? 


So we now know the difference between how the rods and cones assist dogs in having better night vision. 

But here is the specific part. Dogs’ eyes also have a region called the tapetum lucidum, which plays a significant role in assisting dogs in seeing in the dark. Human eyes don’t have it. It is a reflective and thin tissue right behind the retina.

It helps amplify the light back to the lens in the eyes, thus, giving it another opportunity to register light. As a result, it helps increase a dog’s ability to see through dim light and magnifies its ability to detect motion. 

Moreover, dogs’ eyes have larger pupils, allowing more light to pass through. In addition, the pupil dilates and constricts to control the intake of light. It helps the eyes utilize less light more efficiently and provide better vision in the dark.

So the next time you wonder what a dog’s vision looks like at night, know that they can see way better than you do. 

Is A Dog’s Vision The Same As Human?

The answer to whether can dogs see in the dark or not also answers much of this question. Dogs can see in the dark; we cannot. However, there are a few other differences as well. Dogs have a more expansive vision than humans. Because of how their eyes are placed, they see much more in one look than we humans do. 

Human eyes are set together, looking forward, whereas dog eyes are set at an angle of about 20 degrees. It gives them a broader vision. So even though you might be better at taking in details of the view, your dog has a wider view. 

What About Colors, Can Dogs See In Colors?

Let’s do some myth-busting here, shall we? Contrary to the usual belief, dogs are not color blind, and they do not just see in black and white. Dogs see colors, but the dog color spectrum is not as vast as ours. 

To begin with, let us see how our eyes function to show us all these beautiful colors that we see. Our eyes have three kinds of cones, and these receptors respond best to green, red, and blue. This color system is called trichromatic vision.

On the other hand, dogs only have dichromatic vision, which means they are partially color-blind. So, what colors do dogs see best? Dog eyesight is only limited to hues of yellow and blue. 

Dog Vision Vs. Human Vision: Who Got This Better?


While it is incredible that dogs can see better at night, do you know that dog eyes are also way better at detecting motion than a human eye? 

Our retinas have a slight indentation called the fovea. The functionality of this tiny indentation is that it helps the eye take in vivid details. Dogs, however, do not have this fovea in their eyes. But before you start fretting that your dog might have blurry vision, hold up. This lack of fovea is a blessing since it helps them detect motion and movement from a distance. 

Now, let’s also discuss how the lack of fovea affects the dog’s visual acuity or ability to see in detail. The human eye has a 20/20 vision, but dogs’ eyes are not that perfect when handling details. So your dog will struggle to see something barely 20 feet away while you can view it easily from 75 feet distance. 

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Can This Mean Dogs See When It Is Pitch-Dark?

Dogs can see in the dark and quickly figure out the view in dim lighting. But hey, cut them some slack. It doesn’t mean they can also view everything while it’s pitch black. 

The eyes function only when the light hits the cornea, which means there needs to be some light for the eyes to create a vision. In pitch dark, dogs’ eyes, or any eyes for that matter, will not function at all. So your dog might need dim lighting at night to move around and not bump into stuff. 


Dogs do not rely on their sight but on their sense of smell as the primary sense to move around. 


Why Do Dog Eyes Glow In The Dark?

The answer is tapetum lucidum. Yes, you guessed it right. The part of a dog’s eyes that helps it see in the dark is the same element that gives them those creepy, glowing eyes in photos.

The reflective properties of tapetum lucidum are what cause it. And this phenomenon also has a name. It is called eye shine. 

Different dog breeds have varying eye shines from blue, orange, green, and even yellow. It is also affected by the age of your dog. For example, older dogs with white coats over their eyes often have red eyeshine. 

How Do Dogs See Humans?


We love our furry friends, and they are the most beautiful to us. But have you ever wondered how your dog sees and thinks of you? Of course, we have, and it is natural to want to know. 

Humans focus on facial recognition the most when it comes to social interactions. However, according to the Society of Neuroscience research, dogs consider many other factors when deciding who is a part of their pack or family.

These include acoustic or chemical signs and non-facial bodily cues along with others. Dogs are not built with the same facial recognition ability as we humans. 

The study further points out that even though dogs do not have the neural capacity to recognize faces, dogs still can follow gaze, read emotions, and even remember their owners. It is how they have evolved to function better around humans as their best buddies. Quite impressive, right? 

Can Dogs See In The Dark – The Final Word 

Unlike humans, dogs do not have trouble moving around in the dark. Instead, they can easily navigate through dim light thanks to how their eyes are built. Dogs’ eyes have specific parts, such as the tapetum lucidum, that help utilize even the tiniest of light to help them see and find their way.

It also affects what colors they see and their overall dog vision. So be assured that your dog can see in the dark. And we hope we made you happy in understanding how your dog sees the world