Can Dogs See In The Dark? Vision 20/75

Although cats bask in the pride of being the overall pet champ of night vision, dogs can also navigate through the darkness with ease. So, can dogs see in the dark? Yes, their better vision in darkness is not as good as the cats but better than humans. Dogs eyesight in darkness is attributed to their eye structure.

Dogs have large pupils that allow in more light. Their retinas have many light-and-motion-sensitive cells that help differentiate between light and shadows.

Dog’s eyes have mirror-like membranes situated at the rear end of each eye. These membranes are called tapetum lucidum whose function is to rebound unabsorbed light to the retinas. This allows for more intakes of light and thus a clearer vision.

The Canine Eye

The canine eye is a general term used to refer to eyes that belong to animals such as cats and dogs. The canine eye has light-sensitive rods that aid vision even in little light.

Compared to humans, dogs have more rods, which partly explains their better sight in darkness. Their eye’s retina has cones that determine and differentiate the colors that dogs see.

Flicker Fusion Frequency influences a dog’s ability to have better vision in little or no light.  Speed enhances the Flicker Fusion Frequency. That is the faster the animal the higher the FFF. A dog’s ability to see in darkness can also be attributed to a part of the canine eye known as tapetum lucidum. Its work is to mirror unabsorbed light to the retina.

Dog Night Vision

A dog’s vision in complete darkness is the same as human’s but with the presence of little light their eyes can utilize the little amount of light available.

Their eyes are structured in such a way that they efficiently use the little light and any that passes through unabsorbed it is reflected back to the retina.

Dog’s night vision may be blurred, but they can still recognize movements. In low light, a dog can detect motion thanks to the wider retinas and more rods.

Can Dogs See In The Dark

Dog’s eyes are no better than ours just that they are more efficient by utilizing even the smallest amount of light. Many may wonder how their dogs can navigate their homes in the dead of the night but this could be attributed to the familiarity of the place.

If you are not fond of rearranging your house now and then, you dog can maintain the layout of the house at the back of his head.

Dog’s Motion Sensitivity

Dog’s eyesight is worse than humans regarding color but when motion sensitivity is compared, dogs beat humans hands down. Dogs can detect small movements faster than humans can.

Motion sensitivity is an essential aspect of the canine eye. Better motion sensitivity is due to increased number of rods. This enables dogs to detect movement which the human may find difficult to notice.

Why Dogs’ Eyes Glow

Ever noticed that your dog’s eyes glow when light shines on him in the dark? It’s awesome especially for dogs that have a greenish-yellow glow. The tapetum lucidum causes this glow. The tapetum reflects any unabsorbed light to the retina. Thus, enabling the photoreceptors to absorb the unabsorbed.

Why Dogs’ Eyes Glow

The tapetum through a process called fluorescence amplifies the light. This causes a color shift and increase in the light’s brightness. This color shift increases the wavelength to a point where the rods can best and easily detect the light.

The tapetum can reflect 130 times more than our human eyes. This makes the canine eye more sensitive than the human eye.

Their increased vision in low light is further enhanced by the most efficient field of view. The standard field of view for dogs is 250 degrees while that of humans stands at a mere 190 degrees.

Dog’s eyes are structured in such a way that they can utilize light that is five times dimmer than the human eye.

Your dog has a better binocular vision than animals like horses, which is attributed to the fact that the eyes are situated at the front rather than the sides. This allows a dog to use both his eyes to focus on an object.

The object distance determines the clarity of the image since the dog is not able to focus as well as humans do. A dog’s vision is roughly 20/75. This means that what a dog can clearly see from 20ft a person can view the same from 75ft.

Dog’s Focus In Low Light

Due to many rods, wider retinas, and the tapestry of light, dogs can efficiently utilize light. Dogs have little clarity compared to humans because of having fewer cones.

Cones are cells that are responsible for things like detail and color. Since dogs have the tapetum lucidum and wider cones they are deprived the luxury of having many cones.

This greatly reduces their clarity when trying to focus on an object. The lack of clarity results in a blurry image with little distinct features. All these elements are different depending on a dog. Some may have slightly better or slightly worse vision.


Dogs appear to have better vision in darkness than human beings which is because they can use the little light available. They can easily detect motion but have lower clarity as compared to humans.

Dogs are able to walk around in darkness partly due to the familiarity of the areas and part due to having the tapestry of light. However, this doesn’t mean that you leave your dog in darkness. Be kind and provide your canine buddy some light.

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