Dog Night Vision: Can Dogs See in the Dark?
Do dogs have night vision? Can they see clearly in the dark? Are all members of the canine population born with color blindness? These are commonly asked questions many pet parents are faced with. No doubt, our adorable four-legged companions have constantly fascinated their different adopters with a plethora of talents and abilities. It is not a surprise that human beings are naturally inquisitive about animals and how they view our world, especially with respect to man’s best friend. While the feline population tops the list on excellent night vision, canines follow closely behind with equally great night vision. This article will x-ray facts about a canine’s vision, including whether they can see in the dark, or if they actually see color.
Can Dogs See Color?
Many people are of the belief that the canines are totally color blind. While we have proof that pups don’t see color in the same way as humans, they don’t see their world in white and black either – this means total color blindness or achromatopsia. Dogs do see color, but the range at which they can perceive color is limited to blues, yellows, and grays – now, why is it so?
The reason behind a dog’s limited color vision stems from the anatomy of its eyes. Relative to humans, the canine population is equipped with more of the photoreceptors called rods, or light-sensitive cells, and lesser of the other type of photoreceptors known as cones. The cones are what make humans see a plethora of colors as they are the cells charged with the responsibility for color perception. Again, humans have the advantage of having three types of cones as opposed to that of the canines that are only two – meaning that the dogs will always have limited ability to perceive colors relative to humans.
So if the canines see the world in blues yellows and gray, what of the other colors? How do dogs view the colors humans perceive as green, red, orange, and many more? The truth is that these colors don’t exist for our furry friends. According to findings, the colors actually appear on the canine’s spectrum but fall somewhere on their established yellow-to-blue range. You may be seeing green, violet, red, orange, and yellow when you look at the rainbow, but your pooch sees the same colors in dark blue, light yellow, gray, dark grey, as well as dark yellow.
Can Dogs See in the Dark?
The answer to the question of whether canines see in the dark is a big yes. While felines reign supreme as the world’s champions of excellent night vision, canines are also naturally endowed with the ability of comfortably navigating in dim light, though not as skillfully as the cats. Now, how do dogs move when the light is out and is it possible for the canines to go eye-to-eye with the humans?
The reason it is possible for dogs to navigate in darkness is because of the anatomy of their eyes – a huge pupil alongside a retina replete with rods (the light-sensitive cells). Relative to humans, dogs come with more rods and larger pupils, meaning that they have better night vision than us.
The distinction between canine and feline vision becomes glaring in a very dark environment – while felines have no problem with very dark places, canines can only see well under dim-light conditions. Another reason dogs have better night vision than humans is due to the fact that their retina and lens are closer together than it is in the human eye, giving them clearer vision, and making the things they see to appear brighter.
In addition, every member of the canine population is equipped with a secret weapon known as tapetum lucidum when it comes to night vision. The tapetum lucidum is known as a reflective division of the dog’s eye, sitting right at the back of the retina, charged with the responsibility of boosting the quantity of light for their night vision. Essentially, the job of the tapetum lucidum is to reflect light, offering a second opportunity to the dog’s retina to register the light as well as the image itself.
Now, how well do dogs see in the dark? While we don’t have any definitive answer to the question, the only answer according to science is that a dog’s vision is like five times better than that of humans, but then, this is heavily dependent on the age and breed of your pet.
Why Do Dogs’ Eyes Glow in the Dark?
Needless to say that all pet parents must have witnessed that weird, greenish-yellow glowing look that comes from a pup’s eyes when they are hit by light during night time, a good example is when you pooch is illuminated by the by sudden light from the headlights of vehicles, a flashlight, or even in photos (this is as a result of the flash from the camera lens). What you see at that moment is coming from the canine’s tapetum.
According to findings from experts, that happens because the tapetum has a shiny surface which functions to bounce any light that is not caught by the photosensitive cells back to the dog’s retina – this presents the photoreceptors with another chance to catch the dim light coming into the eye.
However, the tapetum does a lot more than that; it also functions to amplify the light through a phenomenon known as fluorescence. In addition to boosting the brightness of the light, it also affects a slight change to the light’s color (that which is reflected back). What the color shift does is to move the light’s wavelength nearer to that to which the rod cells are most sensitive to, and can also best detect. Relative to the human eyes, the tapetum has the capacity of reflecting as much as 130 times more light. This explains why the canine population is 5 times more sensitive to light than humans.
Dog’s don’t just have that special capability to navigate their way through the darkness, they are also equipped with increased field of vision: Mostly, canines have up to 250 degrees when it comes to the field of vision, while humans can only boast of about 190 degrees.
- Can Dogs See in the Dark? – AKC.org