When Do Puppies Open Their Eyes? Eyesight Development

When Do Puppies Open Their Eyes

You might now be wondering when puppies’ eyes will open, that way you can begin showing your furry friend the amazing world around it. Well, here’s the catch — puppies don’t open their eyes straight away.

Puppies are born with their eyelids closed, and it can take anywhere between 7 – 14 days for the eyes to open. The reason for this delay is because puppies are born with their optical nerves still developing, and it takes about 2 weeks for these nerves to finish growing.

But even once their eyelids do open after the 2-week mark, your puppy’s eyes will still be blurry. It can take anywhere between another 2 – 4 weeks for their vision to become clear. If you’d like to learn more about puppies and their eyesight development — continue reading!

Puppies Eyesight Development

A puppy’s eyesight development occurs, not from the moment they’re born, but between 6 – 8 weeks afterward. From birth to week 1, your puppy will be born with its eyes shut completely. This is a natural occurrence, and should not be tampered with.

Between week 1 – week 2, their optical nerves and membranes beneath are working hard to develop properly. And by the time week 3 comes around, most puppies should be opening their eyes.

Puppies open their eyes one at a time, so don’t be alarmed if the right eye opens up first (or vice-versa). On the odd occasion, some puppies might take 4 weeks to open their eyes. In which instance is rare but still ok.

Once their eyes are open, they won’t be able to see yet. It’ll still take another 1 – 2 weeks for their eyesight to become adequate to recognize their surroundings.

It’s important to note that each puppy, depending on its genetic-makeup will develop its eyesight at different speeds. There is no “one size fits all” package to follow when it comes to a puppy’s eyesight development, just estimates that can provide you a basis to follow.

How Long Does it Take for Puppies Eyesight to Develop?

Every puppy is different, meaning there’s no set time-frame for your puppy’s eyesight to develop. Once born, it can take one puppy between 14 – 21 days, or another puppy between 22 – 32 days. There is no definite answer, as this varies from breed to breed.

Why Can’t Puppies Open Their Eyes When They are Born?

It’s not that they don’t want to open their eyes — but puppies don’t open their eyes when they are born because their eyes are still developing. Unlike humans, where we are born with the ability to open our eyes almost straight-away — canines are unable to. This is because their optical nerves and membranes underneath are continuing to form.

As a result, this means puppies (when born) are extremely sensitive to light. If they were to open their eyes straight away, the natural light could be extremely damaging to their optical nerves — resulting in long-term side-effects.

What if Puppies Eyes Don’t Open?

Your puppies eyes should open between 7 – 14 days after birth — but if they don’t open, here’s what you should do:

Check for Dirt

Carefully observe the eyelid area on your puppy and check for any debris or dirt that might be impacting your pooch to open his eyes. If you need to, gently lift the eyebrows to help raise the eyelids — and examine further.

Carefully Wipe the Eyelid

If you happen to see something — either attempt to carefully wipe it away or seek professional help. You mustn’t be forceful, as you must avoid creating any damage (as their eyes are still developing).

Visit a VET (if unsure)

When you’re still unsure, even after using the advice listed above, the best thing to do is visit a VET. Make an appointment at your earliest convenience to have your puppy be checked by a professional, that way they can begin examining any underlying problems as to why your puppy’s eyes have not opened yet.

Can You Help Puppies Open Their Eyes?

Although it can be painstakingly long, waiting for your puppy’s eyes to open once born — one thing you must never do is help your puppy open their eyes.

Puppies open their eyes naturally, on their own accord, once their membranes and optical nerves have properly developed. If you attempt to force your puppy to open its eyes, this can have damaging effects on your furry friend.

Not only will forcing their eyes open (and not allowing it to occur naturally) prevent them from developing their eyesight naturally. But it could damage the nerves within the eyes that are still trying to form.

For this, it’s extremely important to not try and help your puppy open his eyes. Unless it’s been more than 4 weeks, take your pooch to a VET. But whatever you do, don’t try to force something and disturb the natural order.

Can Puppies See Once their Eyes Open?

We all know that when puppies are born, they don’t open their eyes straight-away. But when they do, what happens next? Can puppies see clearly once their eyes open? The answer is a mixture of both yes and no.

Once your puppy opens his eyes, he will have limited vision. Although his optical nerves have developed, and the eyes have opened-enough on their own — this doesn’t mean they can see you yet. Your pup will see things a bit blurry for a while.

As time passes, the eyesight will become better, naturally developing as each day passes. But here’s when the fun comes in. By the 6-week mark: you should expect to see your puppy noticing more faces and his environment around him. This will indicate that his eyesight has progressed.

Do All Puppies Open Their Eyes at the Same Time?

Sick of wondering when your pup will open his eyes? Well, not all puppies open their eyes at the same time. It can vary from factors such as breed to gender. The good news is, however, the time-frame to wait. On average, most puppies should open their eyes between 7 – 14 days (1 – 2 weeks).

Don’t be alarmed if your fluffy friend doesn’t open his eyes between that time-frame though. On the odd occasion, it can take some puppies between 15 – 24 days at most. Anything longer than that, you might want to book a check-up — just to make sure everything is ok.

What Happens if Puppies Open Their Eyes Too Early?

Unfortunately, if a puppy opens its eyes too early — this could be the start of damaging effects in their future. When puppies are born, their eyes have not developed properly — which means they continue to form during the first 10 days of their life. Afterward, they’ll open their eyes on their own and will begin to withstand the pressures of light.

When a pup opens (or is forced to open) their eyelids too soon, this could significantly damage their ability to see. It also prevents their optical nerves to adequately grow, meaning the risk of partial-blindness or other eye-development issues is extremely likely.

Why Does It Take So Long For Puppies to Open Their Eyes?

There are various reasons why it takes so long for puppies to open their eyes. Factors such as their developing optic nerves, their sensitivity to light, and the fact that their eyes are continuously growing are just to name a few. As soon as your puppies’ eyes have developed sufficiently, you’ll notice their eyes will begin to open on their own.

So although it can seem like forever, waiting for your newborn pup to open his eyelids– there are many good reasons for it. When your puppies’ eyes are closed for that first two weeks-or-so, many things are happening underneath.

Your puppies’ eyes are developing significantly: which means when they’re shut tightly, it allows their eyes to avoid hazards that light could bring, and disturb their growing membranes and nerves.

How Can I Check My Puppies Eyesight?

Did you know there are various ways that you can check your puppy’s eyesight? But before we explain any further, it’s recommended to see a trusted VET if your pup’s symptoms become life-threatening. Continue reading to learn how to check your puppies eyesight (at home):

1. Create a Calming Environment Before Doing Anything

The first step you should take before checking your puppy’s eyesight is easing the situation. This can be done by holding your pup and caressing him/her to provide reassurance. You can also avoid loud distractions by removing anything in the room — that might influence your pooch to behave erratically.

2. Stand 2-meters Away and Observe the Eyes

Now that you’ve eased your pup, stand at least 2-meters away and begin to look into their eyes. You’ll be taking notice of any abnormal-colored discharge that might be present. Examples of abnormal discharge in or around the eyes include a yellow or green color — which if in the case is present, you should visit the VET as soon as possible considering this might be indicative of an infection.

3. Clear Eyes are a Good Sign!

Ideally, clear and bright eyes from your puppy is a healthy sign. But don’t worry if they look slightly foggy, as this is fairly-common with newborn pups. So long as your puppies eyes have not changed color, have turned grey-or-blue, or are dull-looking or inflamed– then everything should be sufficient.

4. Move Closer and Examine Further

Now that you’ve observed from a distance, you should move closer to examine further. Remember, keeping your dog calm with warm strokes — begin to move closer to the facial area.

Holding one hand under his nozzle, and the other hand gently lifting his forehead and eyelid area upwards — you’re looking for any signs of inflammation or discoloration that you did not notice from far-back.

5. The Sclera Should be White

When pulling back the eyelid area, you’ll want to make sure the sclera (or the white area of the eyes) are white and clear. If the sclera is noticeably red or irritated, this could be indicative of inflammation – in such instance, would require a trip to the VET.

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