If you have ever seen a newborn puppy, chances are you have discovered a few hidden truths about them. First, they are completely reliant on their caregivers and moms. Second, they are extremely cute and third, they are born with their eyes closed. In fact, puppies are born both blind and deaf and use their tactile sense and their sense of smell to navigate the world of their den or whelping box.
While they are born blind, it won’t be long before they develop their sense of sight and will be ambling around, but do you know how eyesight develops in puppies. It is actually a process that takes a few weeks. They are not able to see perfectly the moment they are born.
But before we look at the development, it is important to understand the why. Puppies are born blind simply because it is advantageous to the species. Dogs are descended from wolves and like wolf cubs, puppies are born blind. The reason behind this is that the shorter gestation allows the parent to return to hunting at a much faster rate. However, the shorter gestation means that there is less time for the puppy to develop and this means that during those first weeks, the puppy’s nervous system and eyesight is still developing.
Stage One of Eyesight Development
As I mentioned, puppies are born blind and remain so between 10 to 14 days after birth. At this time, the eyes will begin to open slowly until they’re blue eyes are seen by the world. If you aren’t aware, puppies have a bluish tinge to their eyes, which make them look blue. This is due to the fact that they do not have a fully developed iris, which is usually brown in most breeds, including the English Mastiff.
When their eyes begin to open, and during the first few days of opening, the puppy will still have very limited vision. He will be able to see movement and will also be able to differentiate between light and dark. Whelping boxes are kept in low light during this time to help puppy’s eyes become more accustomed to light. During this stage, the puppy’s cornea is still not fully developed and he will lack the ability to see details.
Second Stage of Eyesight Development
This stage of eyesight development is usually around 4 to 5 weeks of age. It is a very rapid period and you will notice your puppy really exploring their environment at this time. They can start to see details around them but they will still not have full development. Their eyesight will be limited to the small world around them, especially when exploring their siblings, dam and den.
Third Stage of Eyesight Development
The third stage of eyesight development occurs when the puppy reaches 7 weeks of age. During this time, your puppy should see exactly as he would as an adult. That means that your puppy will have a dichromatic color perception. What this means is that your puppy will not be able to see red or green but can see grey, yellows and blues.
In addition, the fully developed eyesight will see brightness at 2 times worse than a human and spacial resolution at 3 to 5 times worse than humans. But when it comes to seeing movement, your puppy will have better vision, which is a throwback to their wolf ancestors.
And that is the stages of eyesight development in puppies.