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Can Dogs See in the Dark?

How Well Can Dogs See in the Dark?


You arrive home later than you thought you would, leaving your dog in a dark house for hours. You hug them and tell them sorry over and over. They must have been so scared.

Turns out that they can actually see much better than humans in pitch-black conditions so your dog was fine.

How Well Can Dogs See in the Dark?

Dogs have enlarged pupils which allows for more light to pass through their eyes than humans. 

Dogs only have two cones in their eyes so they can't detect many colors but they do Have light sensitive cells called rods. Rods give them a sight advantage once the lights go out. 

Dogs have something called the tapetum lucidum. The tapetum works as a mirror that rests at the back of your dog's eyes. It reflects light and gives their retinas an extra boost in dim light.

Dog in the dark

What if it's Pitch Black Out?

Just like you, your dog may have some trouble trying to navigate through obstacles in pitch-black darkness.

Even if it's pitch-black in your living room and your dog can only get a grainy picture of the place, they'll still be able to navigate through it fine. This is because they have a vivid memory of how the place looks during the day.

Why Do Their Eyes Glow?

In every picture you've taken of your dog, they probably have a glowing filter over their eyes. This is caused by that tapetum we talked about earlier. The tapetum reflects light back out to the retinas and amplifies it which is what makes dogs eyes glow in the dark. 

The fascinating part is not every dog's eyes glow the same. The color of the glowing is determined by how old the dog is and the color of their eyes. For example, dog breeds with light-colored eyes such as huskies often have red eyes in photographs.  

What Happens When They Grow Old? 

Like a human eye, your dog's eyes will start to fail as they get older. The lens in their eyes has many layers that will start to wear away. 

When they reach 7 years old or so, your dogs ability to see in the dark will diminish. As they increase in age their field of vision will decrease. Soon, they will be navigating through your house by memory alone. 

They won't be able to see in the dark and you may have to give them a little help looking for stuff that isn't in its usual place like their toys. While you won't be able to stop your dog's sight from failing, you can put off the inevitable with the following tips. 


Your dog's eyes are vulnerable to toxins. The best way to get rid of them is by getting oxygen circulating through their bodies via exercise. 

Exercise breaks up the toxins that have the potential to do harm to their eyes. All you have to do is take them for a 20-minute walk each day.


They need a balanced diet along with exercise to keep their eyes in top shape. It's up to you to make sure they get their daily dose of antioxidants, beta carotene, and vitamins A, B, C, and E. Zinc, magnesium, and selenium are also nutrients that are important to eye health. 

Eye Massages 

One way to improve their eye health is by improving blood flow to the eyes. You can do this by giving them frequent eye massages (if they'll let you). Start your massage at the corner of their eyes. 

Move your fingertips in a gentle circular motion clockwise around the outside of their eyes.

Are They Afraid of the Dark? 

Being afraid of the dark depends on the dog really. Some dogs do fine whereas some can't handle it and lash out when left alone in it.  Pay attention to your dog and be aware of their personal needs.

Your Dog Can See Better Than You Do 

As it turns out, dogs can see better than you can. Even if they can't see everything in your house, they can use their memory to navigate through the rooms.

Again, your dog is going to need a balanced diet in order to for their eyes to stay healthy. Check out our store to browse through our nutritious options. 

What Is Actually In Your Dog's Food?

WAIT! BEFORE YOU GO on about your day, ask yourself: Is the dog food you're feeding your best friend really the best food out there? At its core, there’s an unhealthy meat dependency in pet food. Most of the time, meat in your pet food means: Bad ingredients. Bad practices. And bad health. Learn more about clean protein dog food...



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