4 min read


Can Dogs See in a Dark Room?



4 min read


Can Dogs See in a Dark Room?


When it comes to dog vision, we are often intrigued to know just what dogs can see. When it comes to colors and darkness, just what does your dog see or not see? To understand if dogs can see in the dark, we’ll take a look at the science behind seeing in the dark and why it is important that they can see in the dark.

Cats are often given all the credit when it comes seeing in the dark, but your dog can see pretty well in the dark, too. Dogs can’t see in the dark as well as cats, but they can see better than humans.


Signs Dogs Can See in a Dark Room

You have probably noticed that your dog seems to be able to walk through dark rooms without any problems. It may have puzzled you that your dog didn’t run into anything in the room. Luckily, they seem to be able to navigate through the room without hurting themselves by bumping into walls or furniture.

In fact, you might have even noticed that your dog is clearly looking at something or playing with something in a dark room. That is because dogs can see quite well in the dark or in low-light situations, even though they can’t see the entire color spectrum that humans can see.

If you see your dog staring, barking, or wagging at something in a dark room, that is a good indication that they are seeing something even in the darkness. Be on the lookout for subtle signs of your dog looking at things in a dark room.

If you start to notice your dog wandering through the dark rooms of your home, watch how they act while they are doing so. As your dog makes their way through a dark room, you will probably see them wag, stare, or bark. When your dog notices something in a dark room, they might also appear alert.

Body Language

<p>All of these body language signs help you better understand that your dog can see in the dark:</p>

  • Staring
  • Alert
  • Barking
  • Wag Tail
  • Pacing

Other Signs

Other signs that dogs can see in a dark room include:

  • Steering Around Furniture
  • Acting No Differently Than In Light
  • Finding Toys With Ease

HIstory of Dogs Being Able to See in a Dark Room


Dogs can see in the dark because when they were in the wild, they had to be able to see in the dark. As a matter of life and death, dogs needed to be able to see in the dark to be able to escape from the larger predators. If dogs weren’t able to see in the dark, then they would be in danger of being killed by predators like wolves, coyotes, and bears. While dogs don’t have perfect vision in the dark, they can see well enough to navigate through the woods.

Since dogs are den-dwelling animals, they also need to be able to see to properly build a home and live there. When there are puppies in a den with their mother, the mom needs to be able to see to avoid injuring or killing the pups. If dogs were unable to see in the dark, they probably wouldn’t be living in dens, as it would be too dangerous for them.

Science Behind Dogs Being Able to See in a Dark Room


While it is now obvious that dogs can see in the dark and we know why it is important that they can see in the dark, it is time to find out how dogs are able to see in the dark well while humans can’t.

Like cats and other animals, dogs have larger pupils than humans. These large pupils allow more light to enter into the retinas where there are light-sensitive cells called rods. The rods help dogs see better in low light. Dogs also have more rods in their retinas than humans do. This makes dogs better equipped to see in a dark room.

Another thing to consider when thinking of your dog’s ability to see in the dark is its Flicker Fusion Frequency, or FFF. The FFF is the frequency at which your dog no longer sees light flicker and it instead sees the light as a constant source. The higher the FFF, the better the ability to see in the dark, and dogs have a higher FFF than people.

The secret weapon to your dog’s ability to see in the dark is part of the eye called the tapetum lucidum. The tapetum lucidum acts like a mirror in your dog’s eye, and it takes the light that enters your dog’s eye and reflects it back into the retina to give your pooch a second chance at registering the light in a dark room. This part of the eye is also what causes your dog’s eyes to glow in the dark.

Dealing With Your Dog Seeing in a Dark Room


Since you now know that your dog can see in the dark, and you understand why, it is time to make it a little easier on your dog. When you know that your dog will be spending time in a dark room, make sure that the room is clean and tidy. A messy room can make it more difficult for your pet to navigate, especially since dogs have a problem differentiating between various colors.

In a dark room, you may notice that your dog has a harder time finding things that are of specific colors. Since dogs can’t see colors like red and green, even with light, it becomes even more difficult for them at night. You should be considerate of the fact that your dog will struggle to see things of certain colors and try to keep things off of the floor that could trip or injure them. While you should always try to keep your dog’s surroundings as safe for him or her as possible, it becomes even more important when there isn’t any light in the room.

When you notice your dog seeing things in a dark room, you shouldn’t be surprised, because now you understand just how your dog sees things in the world. While dogs don’t see nearly as well as humans in the light, they are able to see in the dark far better than humans. Now that you know, you can be better prepared to help your dog see in both lit and dark rooms.

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Safety Tips for Dogs Seeing in a Dark Room

  1. Keep the rooms that your dog will be occupying in the dark clean and orderly.
  2. Avoid putting dangerous items where your dog could get into them in a dark room.

By a Pomsky lover Chelsea Mies

Published: 02/14/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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