Can Dogs?

Dog Questions Answered

Can Dogs See In The Dark?

night_vision.htmgen2tree[1]Can dogs see in the dark? It’s an interesting question, and the answer might just surprise you.


Can Dogs See At Night?

The answer to the question of “Can dogs see in the dark?” is yes. More to the point, they can see in the dark a lot better than us humans can.

The evolution of dogs makes for fascinating reading. One of the most compelling pieces of information you’re going to take away from such research concerns their vision. Evolutionarily-speaking, dogs have developed through the centuries to have exceptional vision in both dimmed and well-lit areas. In comparison, human beings tend to see better in well-lit areas. Although there is no definitive answer to how well dogs see in the dark, it is likely their night vision capabilities are formidable, but probably a bit below that of cats.


The canine has a variety of adaptation features for nighttime. The larger pupil brings in more light, while the middle of their retinas more of the cells that are sensitive to light. These are capable of functioning better in dimly-lit situations than their color-detecting cones. The compound in the retina that is sensitive to light is what responds to low light levels. This is because the lens can be found in close proximity to their retinas. This makes the image that appears in their retinas that much brighter.


Ever wondered why your dog’s eyes glow in the night? It may look spooky, but there’s an extremely good reason for why their eyes give off that eerie shine. Dogs’ eyes glow in the dark because of a distinct advantage known as the tapetum. Functioning as a structure that’s not unlike a mirror, the tapetum can be found in the back of a dog’s eye. It functions by reflecting light, and allowing their retinas to have an additional opportunity for registering lights that come through their eyes. What’s particularly interesting about the tapetum is that it’s something of a double-edged vision sword for dogs. While it does indeed give them superior capabilities to human beings in dimly-lit areas, the tapetum is also capable of scattering light. This causes a certain amount of degrade in the canine vision. What this means is that while the average human being tends to have 20:20 vision, the average dog tends to have something along the lines of 20:80 vision.


Keep this in mind the next time you take your dog for a late-night walk in the park.

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