Most owners have noticed their dog’s eyes glowing under touch light – but not many know why this happens or have even thought to question it – but the Kennel Club has provided an explanation
It’s a common misconception that dogs can only see in black and white, but scientists have proven this to be a myth as dogs can actually see a wide array of colors.
Similar as humans who have red-green color blindness, dogs struggle to differentiate between various shades of yellow, green and blue.
A Blue Cross statement reads: “Humans have three cones (photoreceptor cells) in their eyes; blue, red and green whereas dogs have two; blue and another that falls between the human red and green cone.
“However, these colors do not affect a dog’s sight. In fact, dogs have more rods in their eyes than humans, which allow for better vision in very low light.”
Sign up to our TeamDogs newsletter for your weekly dose of dog news, pictures and stories.
In both humans and dogs, the eyes and brain work together to translate light into color.
Although color doesn’t actually exist, the brain turns these light wavelengths into various shades making us believe we’re seeing reds, yellows, blues and so on.
“Different animals can see different kinds of color from a broad range of spectrums. Some see very little colour, while creatures such as bees and butterflies see more than us as humans,” the Blue Cross statement adds.
“Human eyes also have more than 120 million rod cells that process low level light and the shape of objects, but not color. This all makes it incredibly difficult to test whether our animals see in the same colors that we do.”
It is thought dogs can see better in the dark than humans thanks to a part of their eye called the tapetum lucidum.
This special layer reflective cells behind the retina acts as a mirror within the eye, reflecting the light that enters it, and giving the retina another a second opportunity to register that light.
A statement from Kennel Club America reads: “You’ve no doubt seen that eerie, greenish-yellow glowing look of a dog’s eyes when light hits them at night from headlights or a flashlight, and in photos (caused by the camera flash). What you’re seeing comes from the tapetum.
“The color of the tapetum as it reflects light back and forth can vary from a green, blue, orange, or yellow hue. This coloration often changes over the first three months of life, according to the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists .
“Some dogs, most commonly those with blue eyes, don’t have a tapetum. So, when you take a picture of these dogs, rather than getting the greenish-coloured reflection from the tapetum, you instead often get red eyes – coming from the red blood vessels in the back of the dog’s eyes.”
Do you have a dog story to share? Email email@example.com.