When do puppies open their eyes?

Are you a dog parent? Then you must know how joyous it is to see the little puppies slowly grow to become a full-sized dog. As your puppy grows, it takes in all its surroundings by watching. You can see your puppy looking out of the windows for hours watching people (squirrels and butterflies too) […]
A puppy with closed eyes and text saying LEARN Puppy Eyes
LEARN about Puppy Eyes

Are you a dog parent? Then you must know how joyous it is to see the little puppies slowly grow to become a full-sized dog. As your puppy grows, it takes in all its surroundings by watching. You can see your puppy looking out of the windows for hours watching people (squirrels and butterflies too) go by.
Dogs love to watch everything that unfolds in their surroundings. It makes them excited and helps them to understand the world a bit better. However, the dogs do not get this gift by birth. There is a considerable difference between the dogs and the puppies. They are born without the ability to hear or see anything. It takes a certain amount of time to develop the sense of sight and audio to grow. Until then, the puppies remain blind to their surroundings.

Why are puppies born with their eyes closed?. When do puppies open their eyes?. What are the stages of development? You will get answers to all these questions in the following section. So, keep on reading.

When do puppies open their eyes?

It takes puppies one to two weeks after their birth to open their eyes. However, it should be remembered that the puppies should open their eyes on their own. Being a dog parent, you might be inclined to assist them in opening their eyes and see the colourful world around them, but you should let the process unfold naturally. Your puppy will open its eyes on its own, once its nerves and eyes are fully developed. Forcing them to open their eyes can put their sight at risk.

Why are puppies born with their eyes closed?

The puppies born with their eyes still closed because they are not developed during their birth. At birth, the central nervous system of the puppies is not fully grown. That includes the optical nervous system. At the time of delivery, the optical nervous system of a puppy is too delicate to withstand the glare of bright light.

Along with the optical nerves, the eyes of the puppies do not fully develop at the time of birth. By keeping their eyes shut, the puppies allow it to develop safely and without any risks. Having their eyes closed during this developmental phase helps the puppies to avoid infection and other developmental diseases. That’s why the eyes of the puppies remain closed till the nervous system, as well as their eyes, is fully formed.

Puppies are born with only two active senses.

Now that you are aware of the answers to the question, when do puppies open their eyes, it’s time for you to know a couple of other interesting facts. As we have mentioned earlier, the puppies do not possess the sense of audio and vision. Smell and touch are the two senses that a puppy has right after their birth. The sense of hearings in the puppies starts to develop once they open their eyes. The teeth of the puppies also begin to grow after they open their eyes.

Puppies do not open both eyes at once

It might seem a bit weird, but the puppies do not open both of their eyes at the same time. Most of the puppies would open their one eye for a couple of days before opening the other one.

Do puppies of all breeds open their eyes at the same time?

As you already know the answer to the question when do puppies open their eyes, you must be thinking that puppies of different breeds take the same time to open their eyes. If you are thinking in this way, let us inform you that the puppies of other breeds have different development rates of their eyes. That’s why they may take additional time or less time in opening their eyelids to take a look at the world. For example, the Cocker Spaniel puppies open their eyes sooner compared to the Fox Terrier Puppies. Bulldog puppies can take as long as three weeks to open their eyes. Compared to that the puppies of Golden Retrievers they only take about 10-14 days to open their eyes for the first time.

Cocker Spaniel Puppy
Cocker Spaniel Puppy

Steps to take after puppies have opened their eyes.

The puppies should not be exposed to glaring lights before they open their eyes for the first time. Even after they open their eyes, you should not put the puppies under the glaring light. While the opening of the lids can take place within 10-14 days after the birth, it takes about three to four weeks for the eyes to develop fully. Till then the puppies experience blurry vision. If during this time, the puppies are exposed to the bright lights like a camera light, their eyes could get damaged permanently.

A puppy that has just opened his eyes
Be careful of any bright lights.

When do the puppies start to see in the dark?

The puppies start to see clearly in the dark only when the Tapetum Lucidum is formed. It is a membrane that helps the dogs to see in the dark. However, until the eyes of the puppies are fully grown, this membrane does not stop forming.

When to talk to the vets?

While for most of the puppies opening those little eyes comes naturally and easily. However, it would be best if you still kept an eye on them to make sure they are alright. Here are some of the red flags that indicate that there is something wrong with your puppy’s eyes.

Bulging or Swelling under the Eyelids: If you notice any bulging or swelling under the eyelids of your puppy before they open it, it might be a sign of infection.

Pus or Discharge: If there is any discharge, pus or gunk around or in the eyelids, you should visit the vet as it might be an indication of infection.

Your puppy is not opening their eyelids: If your puppy does not open its eyelids even after two weeks, you should visit the vet immediately. Not opening the eyes after the expected time might be a sign of some developmental issue.

Conclusion

Now that you have the answer to the question, when do puppies open their eyes, you should always keep a watchful eye on the puppies. If you see anything out of the ordinary, don’t forget to get in touch with your vet. The vet will be able to diagnose whether there are any underlying issues or not. If there are no red flags, keep the puppies in a clean place and leave them be. They will open their eyes and start to explore the surroundings when the time is right.

About the Author

Teresa loves animals and travelling around the UK! She currently has two dogs and two cats. She loves caring for and sharing her knowledge of pets. Qualified Dog Groomer and currently studying Canine Behaviour. She has been part of the Dog Friendly Team since 2016

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