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Is Fido Color Blind? Understanding Your Dog’s Eyesight

August 15, 2020

Dogs make wonderful pets and friends! One of the best parts of having a pup is seeing your canine friend stare up at you lovingly, hoping for a belly rub or a treat. Those eyes can melt hearts! Have you ever wondered exactly how Fido sees you? Your canine pal’s eyesight is different than your own—better in some ways and worse in others. But does Man’s Best Bud see entirely in black and white? Or do dogs perceive color in some way?


Are Dogs Color Blind?

One very common myth about our canine pals is that they’re entirely color blind, seeing only in black and white, and shades of gray. It turns out that this actually isn’t true.


Dogs actually perceive the world much in the same way as color blind humans. They see some colors better than they see others. Different hues of the same color can be difficult to for them differentiate.


How Are Dog Eyes and Human Eyes Different?

Your pup’s eyes share many of the same components that yours have. This includes the optic nerve and retina, as well as rods and cones that process light and help differentiate colors. So why is the way that humans and dogs perceive color different?


The answer lies in the cones, which are light-sensing eye cells. Our eyes are trichromatic. We have three types of cones in the eye. All of those three types serve to process different colors on the spectrum: red, blue, and green.


Your furry pal’s eyes, however, are dichromatic. This means that they only have two kinds of cones. One sees blues and the other can see a shade that falls somewhere between what we perceive as red and green. So, Fido has what we would call a type of red-green color blindness.


How Does My Dog Perceive Color?

What does all of this mean for how your dog can actually see the world? Fido’s eyes work best at picking up yellows and blues. Since your furry friend’s eyes take these colors in together, they see the world mostly in dark and light yellows, grayish yellow shades, and grayish browns, as well as dark and light blue shades. This might explain why Fido likes yellow tennis balls so much—the ball would show up quite vibrantly against what your dog perceives as a dull background of green grass.


For more insights into your dog’s health, care, and behavior, call our office today!

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