Are All Dogs Eyes Blue When Born?
- Pieter Maas
Blue eyes during puppyhood – All puppies have blue (or bluish) eyes when they first open them. But by the time they’re about 16 weeks old, their eyes change to their true color—typically brown. So, if you’ve got a young, blue-eyed pup at home now, keep in mind their eye color may change.
What do normal puppy eyes look like?
When do puppies start to see? – Unlike human babies, puppies do not open their eyes immediately after birth and their eyes remain closed until they are 8-16 days old (there is some individual variation here). When puppies first open their eyes, they will have a bluey-grey appearance and are cloudy compared to an adult dog’s eyes.
In addition to this, their ability to control how much light gets into their eyes does not fully develop until 4 weeks of age (known as the pupillary light reflex) 2, So, it is important to keep the lights fairly dim until then and avoid direct sunlight during this time. Puppies younger than 4 weeks of age have a reduced ability to protect their eyes with a blinking reflex 2, so they are at an increased risk of damage to the surface of their eyes (known as the cornea).
This is important when managing your puppy’s environment to reduce the risk of injury. A puppy’s vision and ability to see distance continues to develop until 8 weeks of age and by 16 weeks, a puppy’s eyesight is fully developed for distance.
What should puppy eyes look like?
Other than a wagging tail, your dog’s eyes communicate so much – that she’s ready for a walk, she’s feeling happy or she wants to play. Her eyes are one of the most precious and complex organs, and maintaining healthy eye function will play a key role to her life-long happiness. Understanding How Their Eyes Work The eyes of dogs differ from human eyes in a variety of ways:
- Larger pupils to see better in dimly lit conditions
- Stronger at detecting movement rather than color and detail
- Long-nosed dogs focus sharply at a distance, giving them great peripheral vision
- Short-nosed dogs excel at short-distance vision such as reading your facial expression
- A third eyelid that works as a thin shutter to protect the eyeball
These differences account for them seeing the world in a different way than we do. Most dogs see forms rather than defined images, similar to the way we see at sunset. Dogs rely in their sensitive noses to “see” the world around them; their vision is less important.
- In a brightly lit area, look into your dog’s eyes. They should be clear and bright and the white area around the eye should be white. The pupils should be the same size; and healthy eyes would be free of tearing, discharge or crust in the corners. If you see cloudiness, yellowish whites, unequal pupil size or a visible third eyelid, bring your dog to the veterinarian.
- Using your thumb, gently roll down your dog’s lower eyelid so you can see the lining. It should be pink, not red or white.
- If you notice runny eyes or discharge, your dog may have some dirt in her eyes. Gently clean using a damp cotton ball, wiping outward from the corner of the eye. Be careful not to touch her eyeball or scratch the cornea. If the problem continues, your dog may have an eye infection needing the care of your veterinarian.
- Groom the area around your dog’s eyes to keep from hairs poking or scratching their eyes. Use a round-tipped scissors and use extreme care. You might enlist the help of someone to hold your dog’s head during this process.
- Protect your dog’s eyes if you are applying any spray products or flea-control formulas. Avoid grooming products that could be irritating if they get in your dog’s eyes.
- Observe your dog’s behavior. Watch for frequent rubbing of her eyes or squinting. These may be clues that something else is going on and needs veterinarian attention.
- Don’t give in to your dog’s crazy desire to hang her head out the window when you’re driving. The wind can dry your dog’s eyes; and the risk of infection or injury if debris or a bug hits her eye is not worth it.
- Research your dog’s breed to see if she may need more attention throughout her life to maintain optimal eye health.
- Make sure your vet checks your dog’s eyes at your regular well pet checkups.
Changes Brought on By Age As your dog grows old, she will experience natural changes brought about by the aging process. After the age of 6, many dogs develop clouding of the lenses. This process comes on gradually, and your dog will adapt to these changes.
- Night vision will be less acute as they age.
- Your dog may be more hesitant to go out at night, and extra lighting can help ease her uncertainty.
- Some dogs may become more light sensitive as they age, but will adapt as this change slowly develops.
- Best Foods for Eye Health A healthy diet rich with antioxidants is very important in supporting your dog’s eye function.
Unless noted, these foods should be fed raw. For the fruits and vegetables, gently puree them for optimal digestion:
- Blueberries – Carotenoids, phytonutrients and flavonoids
- Carrots – Vitamin A and beta-carotene
- Kale – Antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin
- Broccoli – Beta-carotene
- Sweet Potatoes – Beta-carotene and anthocyanins (always serve well cooked)
- Eggs – Lutein, sulfur and cysteine (lightly cooked or raw)
- Sardines and Salmon – Omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA (raw salmon must be deep-frozen before serving)
Adding these antioxidants to your dog’s commercial diet will go a long way to supporting their eye health. They will help cushion the effects of the free radicals brought on oxidation. Just like human bodies, free radicals brought on by stress, metabolic functions and poor diet can attack cells and tissues.
- Eye tissues are especially sensitive to this free radical damage, but they can also affect your dog’s immune system.
- Starting at an early age, a diet rich in antioxidants will go a long way to supporting their overall health as they age.
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Why is my puppy’s eye green?
What Does the Eye Discharge Color Mean? – If you’re concerned about your dog’s eye discharge, take note if it is around the eye or if it is sticking to the surface of the eye and note the color:
Clear or watery eye discharge: This discharge may be caused by allergies, environmental irritants such as pollen or dust, something in the eye, blocked tear ducts, blunt trauma to the eye or wounds to the eye’s surface. Anatomical abnormalities, such as bulging eyes in smaller brachycephalic breeds like pugs and pekingese, and breeds with eyelids that roll in or out can also cause watery eye discharge. Dark red/brown eye stains: These stains are often seen in dogs that have chronic tearing due to the structure of their eye socket or a blocked tear duct. The staining is due to porphyrin, a compound found in tears that turns red/brown when exposed to oxygen. White eye discharge: This discharge may also be due to allergies, irritants or anatomical abnormalities. Conjunctivitis, or inflammation of the tissues around the eye, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), or dry eye, are also conditions that can cause white discharge. KCS causes a dog to stop making normal tears, which then causes the eye to dry out and white ocular discharge to occur. If you notice white discharge in your dog’s eye and/or if the discharge is sticking to the surface of the eye, call your vet for recommendations. Green or yellow eye discharge: This discharge is often due to a bacterial infection in the eye. Colored discharge is seen in infections, corneal ulcers, infected KCS or infected wounds on the eye’s surface. These conditions require antibiotics to treat.
Why are my puppies eyes green?
What’s Wrong With My Dog’s Eye? “This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.” Dear Dr. Chris, I have a 10 M/O Lab/Wiem mix. I am worried that she may have an eye problem. Her right eye looks normal but her left appears to have a very bright greenish reflection from the back of her eye.
It does not seem to cause her any problems but worrisome none the less. Brian, South Carolina Hi Brian, Having a 10 year old Weim/Lab mix can be quite an adventure. I’m sure there is no shortage of energy or entertainment in your house right now! The green reflection you are seeing in the back of your puppy’s eye is called the tapetum lucidum.
This is a normal part of the anatomy of the eye and is what is causing the green reflection you are seeing. See the green reflection? The tapetum lucidum is a reflective layer that causes the retina (the back of the eye) to appear green or yellow, or some color variation in between. This layer helps animals see better at night as it magnifies the amount of light and is most often noticed in animals that are nocturnal.
The tapetum lucidum may not be present in an eye that has a blue iris (pupil). This is normal and causes no harm.The tapetum lucidum may be more obvious in one eye if the pupil is abnormally dilated. If the pupils are the same size this isn’t a concern. If the pupils are a different size, then your canine friend should be evaluated by your veterinarian right away.Your puppy may have tapetal hypoplasia, a genetic defect where the tapetum is missing or underdeveloped.In some dogs (typically older dogs), there can be some serious causes such as progressive retinal atrophy or even a tumor, that may cause the eye to appear different.
If this is a recent change, your puppy should be examined by your veterinarian or a veterinary ophthalmologist. If she has always been this way, it is most likely due to a genetic variation which won’t affect her quality of life unless she is a hunter, foraging for food at night!
I hope this answers your question and keep taking good care of your puppy!Sincerely,Dr. Chris Smith Your dog’s favorite veterinarian
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