When Do Puppies Open Their Eyes?
by Jamie Tedder on Nov 14, 2022
Newborn puppies are exciting and adorable. Wondering when do puppies open their eyes? Read below and find out more!
How Do Puppies Develop?
Did you know there are 1.2 million puppies are born every day in the world? That is six times the number of human babies born! With so many puppies, it is important to know how they will develop.
Newborn puppies grow significantly in their first few weeks. During this time, puppies rely on their mother to provide for their needs and require little assistance from their owner. It may be tempting to hold and cuddle with the adorable new puppies, but it is best to refrain until they are three weeks old.
However, in certain situations, your interference is needed. This could happen if you find a puppy alone or if the mother abandoned the litter. In this case, make sure to carefully handle the puppy and do the proper research on everything a vulnerable newborn puppy needs.
Why Are Puppies Born With Their Eyes Closed?
When puppies are first born, they are not completely developed. Critical growth takes place in the first few weeks of a puppy’s life. This underdevelopment in puppies is caused by a dog’s short gestation period. Humans are used to a forty-week gestation period, while dogs experience about a sixty-day gestation period.
Puppies’ eyes remain closed so that their central nervous system matures. Their brain and eyes are still working on being fully functional. Their eyeballs are also not completely formed, leaving their eyes very delicate.
This delicate nature leads to the next reason why a puppy’s eyes need to remain shut.
Puppies’ eyes stay closed so foreign objects do not get into their eyes. This can cause long term damage on their eyesight. For the first two weeks, it is important for a puppy to keep its eyes closed to give them the best chance at total eyesight in adulthood. During this two-week period, they are blind to the world around them.
When Do Puppies Open Their Eyes?
Puppies open their eyes at approximately fourteen days to twenty-one days after birth. A puppy opens their eyes once their optic nerves are fully developed. However, puppies do not obtain their full sight until they are approximately eight weeks old. When puppies open their eyes can vary between breeds. For example, a Golden Retriever will open their eyes before a Fox Terrier will.
Each puppy’s growth journey is unique. Even puppies in the same litter will differ on their development time frames. Most likely, the biggest puppy’s eyes will open a day or two before the smallest pup. Differences in growth is to be expected and is not a reason to be concerned.
What Do I Do If My Puppy’s Eyes Do Not Open?
Much like humans, puppies grow at different rates. Do not be alarmed if a puppy does not open his eyes at the exact time his siblings do. If a puppy is slow to develop their eyes, contact your local veterinarian.
Other signs that indicate you should speak to a veterinarian include any swelling under the puppy’s eyes as well as pus or discharge in or around the eye area. The veterinarian may try to manually clean their eyes to encourage them to open. A vet may also provide your puppy eye supplements to support their eye development.
Do not try this yourself, leave it to a trusted veterinarian! Although you are trying to help, touching a puppy’s eye, or forcing it to open can lead to infections or permanent eye damage.
If My Puppy Cannot See, How Does It Know What To Do?
A puppy’s best sense is its sense of smell. The senses of smell and touch are how puppies navigate life in their first weeks of being alive. A puppy’s hearing is the last sense to fully develop, this will take place around three weeks of age. Eventually, a dog’s sense of hearing and smelling will become much stronger than a human. This heightened strength in senses make dogs more sensitive to sounds and smells than people are.
After the puppies are four weeks old, they will be able to eat solid food, and produce a solid bowel movement.
What Can I Do To Help My Puppy?
Not much! Until a puppy reaches the eight-week mark, keep the puppy with its mom. A puppy’s mom provides its food, bathing, and warmth while they sleep. Make sure to keep them in a safe enclosure and do not let them out until they have obtained full eyesight. Your main job is to monitor their environment and contact a professional if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
Something you can do to help is provide for the puppies’ mother. She will be protective of her new pups, so speak in a calm voice and do not make quick movements. Place her water and food bowls near her so she can easily access them without disrupting her puppies. Continue to monitor the puppies’ environment while their mom has potty breaks and gets a nice outside stretch.
If the mother is hesitant to leave her pups for a potty break, try placing a Gotta Go Grass tray near her as well. Gotta Go Grass is a natural grass potty pad. She should recognize the natural grass as her usual toilet and go when she feels the urge. This allows her to stay comfortably near her precious babies, while taking care of her needs as well.
Now That My Puppy’s Eyes Have Opened, What Can They See?
Even though the puppies’ eyes are opened, they will not gain full eyesight until the eight-week mark.
When a puppy first opens his eyes, he will have blurry vision since he cannot focus his eyes just yet. Puppies are also sensitive to bright light at this stage. Strive to provide them with a dimly lit area to keep them comfortable. You can do this simply by placing additional curtains or blanket
Try to keep their environment clear of obstacles that could cause them harm. Puppies can see movement more than details. If you want them to notice an item, try gently shaking the item or your hand to attract the puppy to it.
You can also test their eyesight by throwing a safe item, such as a cotton ball, in the air. If your puppy reacts, his eyesight is close to being complete. His eyesight is fully complete if he is aware of both your hand and the item you threw.
Puppies can also see a shortened range of color compared to the spectrum humans see. Colors such as blue or yellow are visible to a younger pup.
Are There Tools That Can Help My Puppy?
After eight weeks, a puppy should no longer rely on its mother. Of course, the learning and development do not stop there. Pet parents continue to teach their puppies about the world they live in.
One important skill your puppy will learn is proper potty etiquette. While the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” isn’t true, it is definitely easier to train younger pups versus waiting a few months and the puppy has accustomed habits. Our product, Gotta Go Grass is a great puppy training tool. It is a natural grass pet relief tool. Natural potty pads are the best kind because puppies sniff them and instantly recognize it. Learning a new skill is hard for everyone, not just puppies. Gotta Go Grass helps puppies get ahead in the potty-training process.
Other great training tools for skills of all kinds are rewards, such as treats, petting, or verbal praise. Treats are the strongest tool for motivating puppies. However, puppies are more sensitive than an adult pup.
Be cautious of what kinds of treats you are giving a puppy. Stick to soft treats and avoid hard treats. This may mean taking an extra trip to the grocery store to pick up a different kind of treat than what your eight-year-old adult dog enjoys. Another good practice when using treats is breaking it into smaller pieces. You could also reward them with human food such as veggies or cheese.
Is My Puppy Sleeping Too Much?
Even after a puppy opens their eyes for the first time, they will remain closed for most of the day. A puppy sleeps eighteen to twenty hours a day. Puppies need plenty of sleep to continue growing their muscles and internal systems, such as the immune system.
You may notice they are full of energy while they are awake, but soon hit the hay. This is typical puppy behavior! When puppies are awake, they are excited to learn more about the world and the family around them. Puppies will quickly switch their attention from a sound outside, to a piece of furniture, and back to their siblings. Even if your sleep schedule is different than theirs, make sure to keep an eye on them. A curious puppy could easily get itself into a dangerous situation.