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How do dogs see?

How do dogs see?

How do dogs perceive the world? This is a question that you, like many other dog owners, have probably asked yourself many times. We at PURINA provide you with the answer! Find out if dogs can see colors, how they see the world, and how a dog's vision differs from ours! 


How well do dogs see?

Compared to human vision, a dog's vision is very limited in terms of visual acuity, depth of field, and color vision. On the other hand, dogs are much better at perceiving movement, see better in the dark and at dusk, and have a much wider field of vision. 


Can dogs see colors?

It is scientifically proven that dogs can see colors, although differently than we humans. That dogs only see black and white is a common misconception that persists despite scientific evidence. 


What colors do dogs see?

Dogs are able to see the colors blue, yellow, and gray, but probably cannot distinguish between red and green, which is also called deuteranopia in medicine. This means that dogs, like humans with red-green vision loss, primarily recognize shades of blue and yellow. Colors in the red and green range, on the other hand, are only perceived in shades of gray.


How do dogs see colors?

How dogs see colors is related to how a dog's eye is constructed. Dogs have dichromatic color vision, which means that the cones (these are light-sensitive cells in the retina of the eye responsible for perceiving colors) in dogs are present in only two types: blue, and a combination of red and green. Human color vision, on the other hand, is trichromatic. We have three types of cones: blue, red, and green. 


How do dogs see at night?

Dogs see better than humans at night and at dusk. This is because dogs have a lot of rods in their retinas.  


Rods are sensory cells that specialize in light and are responsible for seeing at dusk and dawn. In addition, the tapetum lucidum (Latin for "luminous carpet") also contributes greatly to dogs' ability to see well in the dark. This is a reflective layer found in the eye of a dog (and other nocturnal animals) that reflects incoming light more strongly. You've probably observed this phenomenon when a beam of light (like headlights or a photo flash) hits your pet's eye in the dark.


How do dogs see the world?

Dogs see the world in a slightly more distorted way than we humans do, which is due to curvature of the cornea. In addition, their ability to accommodate, or focus, is poor. They cannot see objects closer than 30-50 cm sharply. Also, the farther away something is, the harder it becomes for a dog to see it sharply.


Dogs have a much larger field of view at about 250° than humans at 180°. The exact degrees of the visual field in dogs vary depending on the shape of their skull and the position of their eyes. The fact that their eyes are farther apart than a human also helps them see things that we would have to turn our heads to notice. Dogs are particularly good at scanning the horizon for moving objects because of their large field of vision. However, binocular vision, where the field of view of both eyes overlaps, is smaller in dogs than in humans, which means depth perception is not as well developed.  


How do dogs perceive movement?

Dogs are particularly good at perceiving movement. They also react more sensitively to movements than we humans do.  


Several factors are responsible for this, such as the larger field of vision. Another reason is the high number of rods in the retina. These are not only there to distinguish between light and dark, but are also responsible for the flicker fusion frequency. This is the frequency at which a sequence of light stimuli is perceived as a continuous image. In humans, this is about 60 stimuli per second, but in dogs, it is higher at about 70 stimuli per second. Therefore, dogs can perceive a flying ball or a thrown stick, for example, better than we humans can.  


Can dogs watch television?

In principle, dogs can watch television. While some dogs seem fascinated by the images on the screen, others seem relatively unimpressed. However, a reaction is highly dependent on what is shown on television. For example, dogs respond particularly to images shot from a familiar perspective or when conspecifics are seen. 


By the way: The flicker fusion frequency also plays a role here. Since this is higher for dogs than for us humans, they need more stimuli per second to perceive them as a unified image. Newer, higher-resolution screens provide a much clearer source of entertainment for dogs in the home than old TVs, which may be one of the reasons why dogs are more willing to watch TV these days.
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