See the World Like Your Dog

More Images
Dogs communicate with their eyes. Image via Pixabay
NEW YORK—It’s normal that every week has its ups and downs, its good days and its bad days. But this past week, there was one clear day that blew every other day out of the water: Wednesday, August 26, National Dog Day. According to the official National Dog Day website, animal welfare advocate and pet lifestyle expert Colleen Paige founded the day in 2004 as a day to raise awareness of the number of dogs who need to be adopted each year. It is a day to celebrate all dogs, all breeds, and all variations of man’s best friend. And, boy, is it a great day to be on Instagram. Online, people all around celebrated National Dog Day by sharing sweet pictures and videos of their furry friends—in the optical industry, many showed off their dogs in glasses, or highlighted the importance of protecting your dogs’ eyes from sun, wind and debris the same way you’d protect your own.

1. Most of us know that dogs see fewer colors than the human eye, which is due to them having just two types of functioning cone cells in the eye, according to Pet Helpful. Dogs see the world more like red-green color blind humans—but while they have trouble discerning reds and greens, dogs are much better than humans at discerning blues and yellows.

2. If a dog sat down in your exam chair, you would probably tell her she’s nearsighted. According to PetMD, dogs, on average see in the 20/75 range.

3. However, dogs have a larger field of vision than humans do. While ours is about 180 degrees and cats clock in at about 200 degrees, the canine field of vision is usually 240 degrees—although this does vary pretty widely among dog breeds, PetMD reports.

Guide Dogs for the Blind celebrated a
retired guide dog’s 13th birthday on
National Dog Day.
Image via gdb_official on Twitter.

4. Dogs have three eyelids, the third of which remains tucked away in the corner of the eye while the dog is awake, Pet Helpful said. You might see that third eyelid when your dog is sleeping, making it seem like she’s snoozing with her eyes open. American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists said the third eyelid is responsible for the production of 40 percent to 50 percent of a dog's tears.

As dogs age, they can experience lenticular sclerosis, which causes a transparent, blue-ish haze over the eyes. The condition is extremely common, according to Top Dog Tips, with about 50 percent of dogs older than 9 experiencing it. Unlike cataracts, lenticular sclerosis usually has no significant negative effects on vision.

6. Dogs’ excellent night vision is due to their evolutionary past as crepuscular hunters, Pet Helpful reports. They can see in light that is five times dimmer than humans can.

7. Dogs also have a mirror-like tapetum lucidum layer behind the retina which helps them see better in the dark. It’s also what makes their eyes appear to shine when looking into light, according to PetHelpful.

8. For some reason, dogs love staring into humans’ eyes. PetHelfpul reported that dogs establish eye contact with humans for an average of 40 seconds.

9. Dogs also move their eyebrows for humans specifically, according to PetHelpful. Dogs will move their left eyebrows for about half a second when their humans arrive—but they do not do this for strangers or toys.

10. Finally, dogs communicate with their eyes, too. They tend to squint when satisfied, and show the whites of their eyes when they’re worried.  

So there we have it. Some fun facts about dogs’ eyes, how they differ from ours, and how they use them to communicate with us. Now go forth, snuggle your pup, and buy her a yellow toy that she can see perfectly.

The team at Bright Eyes celebrated by sharing a sweet picture of a pup in sunnies. Image via bright_eyes_vision on Instagram.

Laura S. Miller, OD, from Northwest Hills Eye Care in Austin, Texas, cuddled with her dog Finley to celebrate. Image via nwhillseyecare on Instagram.