Are Dogs Able to See in The Dark? - DogExpress
Tuesday , February 7 2023
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Are Dogs Able to See in The Dark

Are Dogs Able to See in The Dark?

Eyes are the windows to your soul, and one remarkable evidence of such a saying is when your dog sits there giving you those puppy eyes. In a metaphorical sense, dogs do see the world differently than the way we humans do. However, this is applicable in a physical sense as well.

Dogs cannot see as clearly as we do and cannot see many colors. The question is- Can they see the same way as we do in the dark?

So, here we would look at whether dogs can see in the dark and find out if your furry friend is blessed with night vision.

Dogs can see in the dark but do not have what you would call night vision. If it is dark without any light, your dog would not be able to see anything at all, just like you. However, the thing with what we call darkness is that you do have some source of light or the other.

It could be the moon, the LED (light-emitting diode) of your TV set on standby, or the street lights. They may not seem like much, but once your eyes adapt to those low levels of light, you will be surprised by the number of things you can see with even such meager light.

Dogs have evolved so they can see even in the dimmest of lights. It means they have a special adaptation that lets them see objects and movement around them using even the lowest light. However, would your dog be able to see if there is no light?

How are dogs able to see in the dark?

A dog’s eye is much similar to yours in the way formed and how it works. So, when your pup and you look around the world, the light travels through the clear lens in front of your eyes and comes in through your pupil.

The pupil either constricts or dilates to control the amount of light that is entering your eyes. The first significant adaptation your dog has is a set of larger pupils and how they can see better in the dark.

It means they can let more light into their eyes. Once light enters their eyes, it lands on the special photoreceptors of their retinas. Dogs have more rods in their retinas than ours. So they can detect more light than we can.

A cockapoo mixed breed dog, a cocker spaniel poodle cross, a family pet with brown curly coat,Cockapoo mixed breed dog

Why do their eyes glow at night?

You must have seen your dog in the evening or night looking at you with glowing green or red eyes that make them look like hellhounds. Well, it is not as if you have a monster in the making! It is just that they have in-built reflectors in their eyes.

Dogs have tapetum lucidum – a layer of tissue right behind their retina. It is a special tissue. It functions like a mirror – it reflects light into the retina. It increases the amount of light used by their photoreceptors.

Do dogs have night vision?

Dogs still need some light so they can see at night. This is why it cannot be said that they have night vision. The way a dog sees at night is different from how humans see if we use night vision goggles.

These goggles direct infrared light to your eyes so that they can see. Your baby cannot detect infrared light on its own, and they still require some visible light to see in darkness. However, they need less light in the dark than we see.

Why do they see in the dark?

We think that most animals as either diurnal, which means active during the daytime, or nocturnal, which implies being active at night. However, this is not necessarily the case. Wild canines are crepuscular beings.

They are most active at dusk or dawn. At these times of the day, the light around is less. It is neither total darkness nor is it the bright lights of daytime. Canines have evolved like this. Because this is when their prey instincts are most active.

Different Collars for Different Dogs

How well can they see in darkness?

It is well-known how well dogs can see in the dark. However, we do know canines can see well even in low-light conditions. It is for sure that they are better at seeing in the dark than we humans.

Can dogs see better in the dark than humans?

Neither dogs nor humans can see in total darkness. Because both you and your furball need light so that your vision can work. However, dogs can see better than humans can in low-light environments.

According to estimation, dogs are 500% better than us in this department. Their vision can work in 20% of the light that a human eye needs to function. The reason is eyes of your dog are adapted to working in low light.


This would imply that they have more rods in their retinas, making their eyes more sensitive to light. Their pupils are bigger than ours, so more light gets into their eyes. They have that incredible layer of tissues named tapetum lacidum.

This layer of tissues reflects the light falling on their eyes and gives them a second chance to use the same. Our eyes glow red in photos because the flash is getting reflected off the blood vessels of our eyes. I hope this article will help you to know more about dogs.

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