Puppies are born without the ability to see, hear, or regulate their body’s temperature. They are defenseless when they enter the world, relying on their mother to keep them warm and fed. As soon as puppies are born, they quickly discover they need their mother for warmth, food, and protection.
The eyes of puppies are not fully developed when they are born, but most can see some light during the first few weeks of life. Puppy puppies are born with their eyes closed because their nervous systems are not fully developed. A puppy’s eyes begin to open between 10 and 16 days after birth.
Let’s look at how puppies develop during their first few weeks of life and what signs to expect as your furry friend grows.
Stages of Puppy Eye Development
Puppy eyes develop after they are born. Puppies’ eye development progresses through several stages, but the ability of dogs to perceive different types of light and detail increases rapidly during the first few weeks. This makes it difficult to pinpoint a single date when eyesight was fully developed. But, here are some general guidelines for what you can expect.
- 1 to 2 weeks: Puppies’ eyes are closed when they are born. In the first few days, their vision is limited to about a foot in the distance and is not of the same quality as adults and older pups. At this stage, puppies can see more details but still do not fully develop their eyes. Your puppy’s vision is about the same as if it were wearing a pair of glasses with blurry vision. In other words, your pup can see shapes and movements but may have difficulty seeing in detail.
- 3 to 4 weeks: Another week is a big step in your pup’s eyesight development. By now, your pup can see objects that are closer to them. However, they can still not control light well and are not aware of color differences.
- By this stage, your puppy can see clearly enough to navigate and recognize familiar objects. Puppies will begin to see in color and develop their depth perception. They still rely more on scent than sight, but they can see significantly better.
- 8+ Weeks: The final stage of puppy eye development is when your pup’s vision reaches full maturity. At this age, they will rely on sight rather than smell, and their peripheral vision is fully developed. While they may still bump into things, you can expect your puppy to have normal vision for a dog.
Do Puppies of Different Breeds Open Their Eyes at the Same Time?
Puppies of different breeds open their eyes at slightly different times. However, most breeds follow the general timeline of development. Some breeds open their eyes earlier than others. These include large and giant dog breeds like the Great Dane, Mastiff, and Saint Bernard.
These dogs often open their eyes earlier than small or medium-sized breeds. It is safe to say that most pups are able to see by the time they are eight weeks old. Of course, there are exceptions, and every dog is different. If you have any concerns, talk to your vet about the best time to schedule a vision test.
Can I Help Puppies Open Their Eyes?
You can not speed up or alter the way puppies develop their eyes. Your puppy’s eyes open when they are ready, not a moment sooner. However, you can help your pup get accustomed to the world by providing a safe, bright space for them to play and explore.
They often sleep more than adults, meaning they are less active. That can affect their eating habits, and it is important to make sure your pup gets enough nutrition at this age.
The only time you may need to intervene is if one of your pups isn’t opening its eyes. This can be an indicator of several health problems.
What to Do If My 3 week old puppy’s eyes won’t open?
It is not unusual for a pup to take a few days to open its eyes after being born. It is a process that does not follow a set timeline, so you cannot always expect your puppy’s eyes to always open when they are meant to. However, if you notice that one of your pups is slow to open his eyes and you do not see any discharge inside the eyelids, you need to intervene.
Take the pup to the vet immediately. If there is surface discharge, your pup may have a blocked tear duct or a minor infection. However, if there is no discharge and the pup has not opened its eyes within 4 weeks of birth, this can be a sign of major health problems.
Can eyes change color in a puppy?
Puppies’ eyes begin to change color when they are about 3 weeks old. This typically happens around the same time their eyes start to open. When a pup is born, its eyes are usually blue in color. However, they darken over the next few weeks to either blue, green, or brown. This has nothing to do with the color of your puppy’s fur.
Your puppy’s eyes will stay this color for the rest of their lives, although they may develop an abnormal color as a result of health problems. This is a good indicator that your pup may have a problem and needs to see a vet.
Signs of Poor Eyesight in Puppies
If you think your puppy may be having trouble seeing, here are some signs to watch for.
A normal, active puppy may unintentionally kick objects on the ground that they cannot see clearly. This includes kicking toys or food bowls.
Young puppies are not always steady on their feet, especially when they are excited. If your pup regularly stumbles or loses balance while walking, it may be a sign they are having trouble seeing.
If your pup is constantly shaking or blinking their eyes, they may be trying to adjust their vision. It is important to take your pup to the vet if this behavior continues for several days.
Bumping into things
If your pup is constantly bumping into you or objects, it may be a sign they are having trouble seeing. They may also get stuck in corners or areas where they can not see well.
Staring at the Ground
If your pup is not moving and staring at the ground, they may be trying to focus. This is often a sign that they are having trouble seeing.
What Happens if a Puppy is Born Blind?
If a puppy is born blind, it will stay that way. In most cases, blindness develops during the first two weeks of life. This usually happens because of a blockage in the eye. It can also develop as a result of an infection or other medical issue.
Sometimes it is caused by a genetic defect. Either way, these things will not change, and your pup will not develop normal eyes. However, there are other ways to help a blind puppy adjust to the world.
This includes using different senses, such as their sense of smell, so your pup can explore. Also, you should introduce them to different textures so they can learn what things feel like. Do not let a puppy that is blind become isolated from the world. With your help, they can adjust and develop just as well as any other pup.
If you believe your pup may be blind, take them to your vet as soon as possible. The earlier you detect and treat blindness, the better it is for your pup.
There are several factors that can indicate if your puppy is blind, including:
- When light is shone into their eyes, they do not move their eyes.
- staring at walls or objects without following them with their eyes.
- Loss of interest in food and play
- Avoid bumping into objects.
- Standing motionless with half-open eyes, as if disoriented
If you notice any of these signs, talk to your vet about why your pup may be blind and what you can do.
Puppy Eyes and Other Health Problems
A pup’s eyes can indicate a lot about its overall health. By keeping an eye on your puppy’s eyes, you can help them stay healthy and avoid vision problems. Sometimes, though, your pup’s eyes can be a telltale sign of other health issues.
Cherry, or red-eye, is common in puppies and usually goes away on its own. However, it can also be a sign of an infection that needs treatment. In rare cases, cherry eyes can indicate cancer in dogs.
In some cases, a pup’s eyes may bulge out of their sockets. This is known as exophthalmos and can indicate a number of health problems, including thyroid issues, liver disease, and kidney failure.
In addition, a pup’s eye may have a cloudy appearance. This can indicate cataracts, which are actually more common in older dogs. It can also indicate problems with the pup’s cornea, including ulcers.
How Can You Tell If Your Puppy’s Eye Infection Is Getting Worse?
An eye infection can be one of the more obvious health problems for your pup. Unless you are checking their eyes on a regular basis, it is easy to spot an infection. A cloudy appearance, swelling around the eyes, or discharge are all signs that your pup may have an eye infection and needs to be seen by a veterinarian.
If you notice any changes in your pup’s eyes, such as swelling or discharge, it is important to seek help. However, the longer you wait to take action, the worse it may become.
You can monitor your pup’s eye infection to help determine if it is getting worse. If you notice any of the following changes, you need to see a veterinarian right away:
- Swollen eyes
- Bulging in one eye
- Discoloration in the pupil or iris
- A cloudy appearance
- Visible discharge
Seek immediate help if the eye infection doesn’t get any better or if your pup starts exhibiting additional symptoms. When left untreated, an eye infection can lead to blindness and other health problems.
How to Care for a Puppy’s Eye Infection
Your puppy’s eyes are one of the first things that will attract you to them. It is important to be able to recognize if their eyes are healthy or not. If your pup has an eye infection, it is important to have them treated immediately. An untreated eye infection can lead to permanent damage and blindness in your puppy.
Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about your puppy’s eyes if they have an eye infection. There are a number of treatments available for your pup’s eye infection, including:
- Antibiotics to fight bacteria
- Antiviral medications to fight viral infections
- Corticosteroids to reduce the swelling around the eyes
- Steroid eye drops or ointments to reduce swelling
- Retinoids speed up recovery time and help your pup recover faster.
- Vitamin A supplements for dogs with vitamin A deficiency
- Mineral supplements to promote eye health
You can ask your veterinarian to prescribe medications or supplements for your pup to help with their eye infection.
How to Prevent Puppy Eyesight Problems
Fortunately, in most cases, your puppy’s eyes will not be affected by their age. However, there are a number of factors that can contribute to eye problems in puppies, including:
- Other medical conditions
Your pup can’t prevent genetics or their environment, but they can reduce their risk of developing eye problems by taking care of their health.
Make sure your pup gets the right amount of exercise every day. This will help them maintain strong bones and muscles, including those around their eyes. This can go a long way towards preventing glaucoma and other conditions.
Your pup’s diet may also be a factor in their eye health. Provide them with high-quality dog food so they can get the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
You also need to provide your pup with proper eye care, including regular cleanings. If you notice any discharge, make sure to clean the area with a cloth and warm water. Do not use any chemicals or disinfectants on your pup’s eyes.
If you know there is a hereditary eye problem in your pup’s family, it might be wise to plan for further testing. Make sure your pup is tested as early as possible so you can take steps to protect their eyes and prevent any further damage.
Unfortunately, you can’t always prevent your pup from developing eye problems, but taking the proper steps can help.
As you can see, the eyes of a young puppy are not fully developed. Their pup’s eyes will open when they are ready, and this is not something you can force. You can help your pup adjust by providing him with a warm and comfortable environment.
You can also determine whether or not their eyes look healthy or not, which will go a long way in helping your pup grow up healthy and strong. If you suspect there is a problem, take them to the vet right away. Your vet can determine whether or not your pup has an eye infection and how to best treat it.