If you were ever around newborn puppies you know how delicate they are. They require special care and in the first few weeks of their like they are barely separated from their mother. One thing that may be surprising to new dog owners is that puppies are actually born with their eyes closed. But when do newborn puppies open their eyes?
In this article we will answer that and many more questions about the eyes of a puppy.
Why are the eyes of newborn puppies closed?
Unlike human babies, the eyes of puppies are still developing even after they are born. Specifically, their optic nerves are developing, as they are not yet ready to handle the bright lights of the world. That’s why the eyes of puppies are so tightly closed even after they are born.
When do newborn puppies open their eyes?
Now that we know why the eyes of newborn puppies are closed, when exactly do they open. The puppy will be ready to open his eyes between one to two weeks after being born. As tempted as you may feel, you have no business in helping speed up this process. The eyes should naturally open without any help from the outside. This can be a slow process and it may take even more time for some puppies.
Do newborn puppies see anything?
In the first few weeks not really. Even if they do it won’t be too clearly. Even when their eyes start to slowly open, their vision will still be a bit blurry.
We have a whole article on “How do dogs see the world” explaining the vision of canines. But in short, even adult dogs don’t have the best vision. Dogs don’t rely on sight as their primary sense, and that’s why their eyes aren’t as developed as ours are.
However, the vision of a puppy after he has opened his eyes will be more than enough for him to safely wander through the world. Dogs “see” much better with the help of their ears and noses than their eyes.
My puppy still hasn’t opened his eyes! Should I be worried?
Like we already said, for some dogs it could take a bit longer to open their eyes. However, at which point should you be worried? There are some potential red flags that you should definitely have your eyes on. If your dog has any type of swelling or bulging around his eyes — it could be a sign of an infection. In those cases definitely consult a vet immediately so that he can prescribe the needed treatment.
While different breeds will open their eyes at different times, it shouldn’t take longer than two weeks. If your puppy hasn’t opened his eyes and it has been longer than two weeks, schedule an appointment with your vet so that he could check him out for possible developmental issues.
How do puppy eyes develop?
When puppies open up their eyes it will start out with a milky and grayish appearance, but it will clear over time. A puppy’s eyes don’t truly mature until the animal is 4–5 weeks old. As their eyes continue to mature, their tapetum lucidum will develop too. This is a layer of the eye that allows some animals to see in the dark.
As a puppy’s eyes start to mature, his tapetum lucidum is developing. That’s the layer of tissue that lies behind the retina that helps the animal develop night vision. (It’s also what causes that eerie green glow when you take a photo of your pet with a flash camera.)