Are Dogs Really Colorblind? Here’s How Your Dog Sees the World!

by Aug 10, 2018Pet Lifestyle

Looking into your dog’s eyes is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world. It’s like witnessing the world’s beauty and peace in the form of two deep dark marbles. Have you ever wondered how the world looks like to your dog? If he sees trees and birds as vivid and colorful as we do? Or are dogs really color blind as they say? Let’s find out!

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Eyes are the windows to the soul (and the world!) Let’s try to understand how your pupper’s eyes see this world. You and your dog have a slight difference in your eyes, in terms of their anatomical structure:
How rod and cone cells work in dogs' eyes - Are dogs colorblind? What colors do dogs see? A dog's vision!
Rods and Cones are the two fundamental types of cells in our eyes. While Rods are responsible for brightness, contrast and night vision, it is the Cones that are responsible for color perception. This cone structure is what differentiates your eyes from those of your furry best friend.

Dogs vs Humans, Vision compared. Are dogs really colorblind? What colors do dogs see? A dog's vision!
Dogs vs Humans, Vision compared. Are dogs really colorblind? What colors do dogs see? A dog's vision!

So what colors can my dog see?

Humans with medically perfect eyes have three types of cones; your dog has two. Which is why he can only distinguish between blue and yellow. But he can’t tell red from green. This is also common among people who have red-green color blindness. Some scientists have tried to map what it’s like to see from a dog’s eyes and here’s what it looks like:

What you see vs your dog - Are dogs colorblind? What colors do dogs see? A dog's vision
What you see vs your dog - Are dogs colorblind? What colors do dogs see? A dog's vision

So if I throw a red ball in a green field, my dog won’t see it?

Yes, probably. This is very common among young pups. They eventually learn to find the ball nevertheless, thanks to their amazing sense of smell. But if you want to make the game easier for your dog, go with a ball that’s blue or yellow.

But I’ve heard they can see really far. Is that true?

On the contrary, dogs are short-sighted. Reports suggest that they have a 20/75 vision. This means that if an object is visible to a human with ‘normal vision’ at 75 feet, a dog will have to stand 20 feet away from the same object to see it clearly. This explains why it takes your dog some time to figure out your identity when you’re at a distance. But this ‘some time’ isn’t very long, actually. Your pooch would most likely pick up your scent much before your body comes in a field of vision. Perked up ears and an incessantly wagging tail are the key signs to look for before the licking begin!

I feel a little bad about this. Are there any sunny sides?

Of course, there are! In fact, dogs outperform humans in many ways. Dogs are about 10-20 times more sensitive to motion at a distance than us. Their vision is way better than ours at dusk and dawn.
What doggos lack in their vision, they make up for in their sense of smell. Their noses are 100 million times more sensitive than ours. They may not be able to enjoy the difference between roses and the grass, but they can smell them. They smell in 4K HD, if you could imagine a heightened sense of smell.
Puppy dog eyes - Are dogs colorblind? What colors do dogs see? A dog's vision!

What can I do to take care of my dog’s eyes?

Our dogs see the world in a way that’s different from us. Nevertheless, we need to ensure that their eyes are taken care of. Across breeds of dogs, issues like progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma and cataract are common. And as your dog ages, he or she will become more prone to these than ever. So how do you protect your dog from these diseases?

SEE ALSO: How to Calculate Your Dog’s Age?

Good nutrition is truly the key to your pet’s health. For healthy eyes and a normal vision, your dog must consume an appropriate quantity of vitamin A, carotenoids, anthocyanins, beta-carotenes, glutathione, essential omega fatty acids, lycopene, phytonutrients. The most important carotenoids are lutein and zeaxanthin. These pigments protect the eyes like a sunscreen protects the skin, quite literally. These yellow to red colored pigments block the higher-energy spectrum of light (blue light) from entering the internal sensitive areas of the retina, thereby reducing the risk of several diseases of the eye. These pigments are found in yellow, orange and red colored fruits and vegetables; they protect them from the same blue light from the sun.
In order to make sure that your pet’s diet is healthy for his eyes, make sure you include eggs, spinach, broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and fruits such as strawberries, papayas, watermelons, etc. Beside being an excellent sources of vitamin A and carotenoids, most of these also help strengthen your pet’s liver and digestive system. But be careful with their proportions in your pet’s diet. Not every dog may respond to them in the same manner. Consult a pet nutritionist or your vet on how to introduce these veggies and fruits as a part of your pet’s diet, and if they’re good for him. Whenever giving any fresh groceries to your pet, always wash them thoroughly first, then chop them into very small pieces so that they never become a choking hazard for your pet and digest more easily; cook appropriately and you’re good to go!

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Think your pooch has the best eyes? Share a picture below!

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