It may seem strange, or even serious, that puppies are born without being able to see or hear, they seem very vulnerable. But the truth is that they do not need it, since their mother guides and takes care of them until they are able to locate themselves by developing their sight and hearing.
(Photo via: pet dog)
Why are puppies born without developing? Nature is wise! It is not a coincidence, it has an explanation. In the wild nature, dogs are predatory carnivorous animals, a very advanced pregnancy can make it difficult to hunt the pregnant dog, it is preferable for her to give birth before and take care of her babies outside, recovering her agility to hunt. However, herbivorous animals, which are usually prey, are born well developed and ready to flee from predators. In both cases, it is for pure survival!
The central nervous system of puppies has not finished developing when they are born. Despite having brain, spine and nerves, those nerve endings are not yet ready to transmit impulses to the brain because they don't have enough myelin. Myelin is a fatty substance responsible for transmitting nerve impulses to the brain. The necessary production of myelin lasts a few weeksThen a healthy dog is perfectly capable of moving with agility and coordination.
When dogs open their eyes
So when do puppies open their eyes? At first they can't because they are extremely sensitive to light, in addition to that they have not yet finished forming at all and are blind. While your eyes are so vulnerable, your eyelids and eyelashes remain closed to make a protective barrier, but as soon as they are fully formed, the dog can start to open them.
Eye opening It usually occurs around 12 days of life, But not at once! When dogs open their eyes, they begin to do so only partially, by the part of the eyes closest to the snout. Gradually they take off their eyelids until their eyes open completely, this happens Around the month of life.
Attentions to the eyes of the puppies
The eyes of newborn dogs do not require any special care. What you should never, never do is touch them, much less try to open them. Remember that it is your protection and your eyes are not yet formed! You could cause irreparable eye damage and blind him. You have to let nature take its course, they will open by themselves.
But what if they don't open? It is possible that around the 20th day of life they have not yet opened. It might be for a excess of legañas that is hitting the eyelids and makes it difficult for you to open them: you can clean it very carefully with a sterile gauze and physiological serum. If in doubt, always consult your veterinarian, remember that If you are going to have a litter and raise your own puppies during the first weeks, veterinary monitoring and advice is very important.
You know when dogs open their eyes. Did you know that they are born blind?
How are dogs born?
Puppies have almost no real resemblance to adult dogs. They have a considerably larger head than the rest of the body and jaws developed for breastfeeding and thus feed.
Newborn dogs cannot hear because their ear canals are closed or see, since their eyelids are also closed, this is why puppies need their mother and their littermates, because they have no way to defend themselves, feed or keep warm in your body.
To know at what age dogs open their eyes we must first know what characteristics are born in relation to their senses.
Central Nervous System
The central nervous system of puppies is not fully developed at birth. The brain, spine and nerves are present in the body but the nerves are unable to transmit electrical impulses efficiently because not enough myelin is produced.
The importance of myelin is that this fatty substance is responsible for sending messages through the nerves. In normal and healthy puppies, the myelin production process will take a few weeks and after this we begin to see the puppies have more coordinated movements.
As with the rest of the nervous system, the ocular nerves have not finished developing at birth, this makes them extremely sensitive to light. In addition to this, the eyes as organs have not finished forming for when the pups are born, behind the closed eyelids the last details of the dog's vision are being formed.
The eyelashes remain closed to protect the eyes from imminent dangers that threaten their full development, once the eye is mature, the eyelids begin to open.
At birth, puppy dogs are deaf and blind, as their ear canals and eyes are closed. They are not prepared to see. The third eyelid and iris remain undefined and show great sensitivity to light, so that during this very vulnerable stage, the eyelids and eyelashes protect them.
The central nervous system is also developing when they are born. During the first days they use the sense of touch to guide themselves awkwardly to their mother, who provides them with warmth and food. In fact, they depend on it for everything, even to make their needs, because the dog stimulates them through licking. Thus, during this period, if the puppy does not open his eyes, it is normal.
Why are they born without completing their development?
There is no definitive answer that explains why altricial animals They are born without being fully developed. We find intermediate stages in different species. Birds, for example, have a very rapid development, thus minimizing their exposure to predators. But in the case of altricial mammals, they are considered to have a slower and more complex development because they are closely related to longevity and / or inefficiency of individuals
In herbivorous animals, for example, it is completely different, so we talk about precocial animals. We mostly talk about dams, which require being fully developed at birth, in order to run away from predators.
But then, how long do dog puppies take to open their eyes?
When do puppies open their eyes?
It is from the second week of life when we can begin to appreciate changes in their mobility and development, although dog puppies are still deaf and blind. It is not until approximately between days 12 to 16 when puppies open their eyes, and on the 14th when they uncover their ears, although it may vary according to the individual. There are dogs that take even another week to take these steps.
In any case, the opening of the eyes of puppy dogs is a gradual process, which can take even a month, at which time puppies can already open their eyes completely. But do you see clearly as soon as you open your eyes? The truth is that no. The fact that the eyelids peel off and allow the puppy to open its eyes completely does not mean that they see clearly.
When do puppies start seeing?
During the first month of the pups' life, sight is not a useful sense. Puppies dogs mainly use smell, touch and taste, while the ear and vision develop at a slower pace, thus hindering orientation and visual recognition at this stage.
The retina of the eyeball carries its own pace of development, and it is not until about 25 days when puppies begin to change the lights and shadows without defining sharp images. As with the opening of the eyes, visual perception also develops gradually, not until three months of life when the puppy achieves that his vision is fully developed.
However, from the month of life, we can easily perceive that the puppy shows a greater interest in know the environment and play with his brothers. That is when the first steps occur and the first teeth develop, although they continue to sleep for a large part of the day.
My puppy does not open his eyes, is it normal?
When the puppy meets 20 days of life We must begin to look at your eyes. If they have not yet been opened, it is likely to be delayed. The cause can be as simple as the accumulation of legañas in the eyelids, which are producing a "glue" effect that makes this step very difficult.
If you think this may be the problem, you can clean the area very delicately with physiological serum and clean gauze. However, we recommend that you visit your vet To answer any questions.
If you observe secretions, inflammation or any other strange sign, do not apply serum and visit the specialist directly. Remember that at this stage the puppies are very delicate and it is preferable not to risk the health of the puppy.
Likewise, it is very important that let's never try to open our eyes of the puppies by force. If you touch them too much out of curiosity or nervousness to see that they do not open, you may be damaging vision. It is very possible that if they have not opened yet it is because they are not developed and, when forced open, you will leave them without protection causing severe eye damage. Never do it!
The sight of the dogs
Once the puppies have opened their eyes and developed his vision completely, they can observe everything clearly. However, how do dogs see? Surely you've heard the false myth that dogs see black and white. Next, we explain how they really see:
Dogs are capable of differentiating colors, although they do not like us, but perceive a smaller amount. Specifically, unlike people, who have three types of color receptors, dogs have dichromatic vision, being sensitive to two colors: yellow and blue. That is, they are unable to differentiate objects of other colors, such as reds and greens.
However, although they perceive less colors, they have a much more advanced vision than ours in conditions of poor brightness. They have one thick membrane called "tapetum lucidum"which serves to reflect light rays, like a mirror, thus giving them a night vision between 4 and 5 times better than ours. This layer is also the cause of our dog's eyes shine especially in the photos.
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When do puppies open their eyes?
Nature is surprising, for this reason and although puppies are born blind and deaf, they are able to survive and feed by following their mother's source of heat. During this brief stage they have their eyes completely closed, because they have not yet fully developed, they finish forming with the third eyelid and iris.
Little by little they acquire greater independence when puppies open their eyes at approximately two weeks of life. The process of opening the eyes of a newborn dog ranges from day 12 to 18. The data of when puppies open their eyes Dogs may vary depending on the breed and whether the delivery is premature, among other factors.
However, now that you know when puppies open their eyes and although on the 14th they already open them completely they are not able to see until a week later when they also listen for the first time. The first days in which they begin to see distinguish only shadows and intense lights nothing more.
At what age do dogs open their eyes?
The eye opening process will begin about 12th day of birth although the exact moment will depend on several things like for example the breed of the dog.
The eyes generally begin to open at the innermost part and will continue to open gradually until the eyelids are completely detached. Already arriving on the 28th or month of birth the eyes should be open.
Care of puppies' eyes
The eyes of the puppies do not require any special care, it is best to let nature take its course.
Don't stop knowing what color the dogs see
We must not under any circumstances manipulate the eyelids of puppies and much less try to open them early as this could cause irreparable damage to the sight of our pet.
If it arrives on the 18th or 20th day and the eyes of one of the puppies have not started to open naturally, we can take a piece of gaza moistened in warm water and clean the area of the eyelashes a little to help eliminate some litter that could be preventing the normal opening of the eyes.