Can My Dog See In The Dark?

The truth behind his glowing green eyes 👀

can dogs see in the dark

Have you ever jumped when you caught a pair of glowing green eyes staring at you from your bedroom in the middle of the night, only to find out it was your dog?

Don’t worry — your dog didn’t turn into a paranormal pup when the sun went down. That green glow is a result of all the things in his eyes that allow him to see in the dark.

Thanks to his rods, pupils and eye tissues, your BFF can see way better at night than you can.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Cristina Bustamante, an associate veterinarian with Caring Hands Animal Hospital in Florida, and founder of Dr. B Vet, to break down your dog’s impressive night vision.

Do dogs have night vision?

Your dog’s night vision is actually pretty good — and he can see way better in the dark than you can.

“Dogs can see in dim light better than we can because of the anatomy of their eyes,” Dr. Bustamante told The Dodo. “Their eyes can process more light than we can.”

Basically, that means dogs have a whole bunch of things inside their eyes that make their superior night vision possible.

“Dogs can see better in the night due to their tapetum lucidum [aka a reflective tissue layer behind the retina], larger pupils and having more cells that detect light (rods) in their eyes than humans,” Dr. Bustamante said.

Why do my dog’s eyes glow in the dark?

The tapetum lucidum, specifically, is responsible for the creepy green glow in your dog’s eyes at night.

“The tapetum lucidum is the green shiny part that we can see when we shine a light at a dog walking at night or that often appears in their pictures,” Dr. Bustamante said.

Since the tapetum lucidum is a reflective tissue, it’s able to enhance your pup’s vision when it gets dark.

“Light goes into their eyes, is reflected by the tapetum and then reprocessed by the eye,” Dr. Bustamante said. “Think of it like little mirrors of light in the back of your dog’s eyes.”

Your dog’s ability to see so well in the dark is a trait that was passed down from his wild ancestors, since they adapted and evolved to accommodate their nighttime hunting schedule.

“Dog ancestors hunted at dawn or dusk and had to make sure they were not attacked during the dark,” Dr. Bustamante said.

Do dogs have good vision?

Your dog can see better in the dark than you can, but that doesn’t necessarily mean his vision is better than yours.

“They have better vision than humans do at night, but that does not mean that they see better at night than at day,” Dr. Bustamante said.

A dog’s vision actually has less depth perception and is a little bit blurrier than ours. However, dogs have better peripheral vision than we do because their eyes are set farther apart.

Can dogs see color?

Dogs actually see fewer colors than we do — which is similar to someone who has red-green colorblindness.

“Dogs see their world in different shades of yellow and blue,” Dr. Bustamante said.

That’s because their eyes have fewer cones than ours do, and cones are what allow us to see colors.

And since they don’t have as many cones, dogs have more rods that allow them to see better in the dark.

So the next time you see your dog’s eyes glow that freakish green color, at least now you know it’s not because he’s possessed — it’s just because he’s in night vision mode!

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