Dogs love to watch everything that unfolds in their surroundings. It makes them excited and helps them understand the world a bit better. However, the dogs do not get to see from birth.

Puppies usually open their eyes between 10 and 14 days after birth.

The eyes of a puppy open when its eye nerves develop. Each eye will usually open at different times within days apart from each other.

Puppies come into this world devoid of sight or hearing, requiring a specific amount of time to nurture these senses. During this period, they exist in a state of obliviousness to the world around them. Let us explore when this intriguing transformation occurs.

Why are puppies born with their eyes closed?

The puppies are born with closed eyes because they are not developed during 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 visual nervous system of a puppy is too delicate to withstand the glare of bright light.

The puppies’ eyes, along with the optical nerves, do not fully develop at birth. That’s why the eyes of the puppies remain closed till the nervous system and their eyes are fully formed. Closing their eyes during this developmental phase helps the puppies avoid infection and other developmental diseases. Keeping their eyes shut allows the puppies to grow safely and without risks.

Developing Senses and Growth

Newborn puppies come into the world with only two active senses – smell and touch. Contrary to what many believe, they initially lack developed hearing and vision. The fascinating journey of a puppy’s sensory development begins with them gradually starting to experience sound and sight.

This sensory expansion commences when the puppies open their eyes. You might wonder when this crucial change will happen. Well, along with the development of their hearing capability, the process of teething also starts soon after their eyes open. Therefore, the stage of puppies opening their eyes is a significant visual milestone and an important advancement in their overall growth and sensory progression.

Learn about the teething stages here in an article I have written.

Unique Pattern of Eye Opening in Puppies

It may appear peculiar, but puppies don’t open both eyes simultaneously. In fact, many puppies will typically open one eye and leave the other shut for a few days before eventually opening it.

Variation in the Timing of Eye Opening among Different Puppy Breeds

It might be commonly thought that puppies from all breeds share the same timeline for reaching various developmental milestones, such as opening their eyes. Contrary to this belief, however, fluctuations have been observed. Puppies of different breeds exhibit diverse rates of development, especially when it comes to their eyesight. As a result, some breeds may take slightly longer or shorter periods to finally open their eyes and start exploring the world around them visually. For instance, Cocker Spaniel puppies tend to open their eyes far earlier than Fox Terrier puppies. Also, Bulldog pups can take a relatively longer period, up to three weeks, before opening their eyes. On the other hand, Golden Retriever puppies typically require just about 10-14 days to open their eyes for the first time.

Cocker Spaniel Puppy with eye open
Cocker Spaniel Puppy

Proper Care and Protection: Steps to Take After Puppies Open Their Eyes

After the puppies have opened their eyes, it is essential to avoid exposing them to harsh lights. This means avoiding direct sunlight and bright camera lights, as their eyes are still developing and can be easily damaged. It typically takes about three to four weeks for their vision to develop fully, so it is crucial to protect their delicate eyesight during this blurry-eyed stage.

puppy eyes that have only just opened showing a slight blue colour to the eyes
Be careful of any bright lights.

When do the puppies start to see in the dark?

The puppies only start to see clearly in the dark 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?

Some red flags indicate something wrong with your puppy’s eyes. While for most puppies, opening those little eyes come naturally and easily. However, it would be best to keep an eye on them to ensure they were alright.

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 indicate infection.

Your puppy is not opening their eyelids: If it does not open even after two weeks, you should visit the vet immediately. Not opening the eyes after the expected time might signify some developmental issues.

When can you touch a newborn puppy?

You’ll want to be careful when interacting with the pups. You can only pet or pick them up after they’re three weeks old unless:

  • They don’t look healthy
  • Their mother leaves and abandons them
  • The puppies are orphaned


Always watch the puppies, and If you see anything out of the ordinary, you should contact 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 clean and leave them be. They will open their eyes and explore the surroundings when the time is right.

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