A puppies first few weeks are crucial to their health and well-being later in life, and an important aspect of this time is the development of eyesight. A newborn dog enters the world with its eyelids closed and relies on its mother for care and nourishment.
Puppies typically open their eyes approximately 10 to 14 days after birth, sometimes one eye at a time, so it’s important to be patient.
Keep reading to learn about when a puppy’s eyes develop, what to do during those first few days, and how to look out for any potential problems.
Puppy Eyes: How Do They Develop?
“Eye development for…canines is a late-stage process as their gestation is very short,” says Dr. Carol Osborne of Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic in Ohio. In humans, the gestation is around 9 months as opposed to a dog’s 60 days.
At birth, a puppy’s eyes and their central nervous system—and thereby their optical nerves—are still developing. The eyelids remain shut to shield bright light and dust/dirt from entering the eye until development is complete.
Even after puppies open their eyes, their eyesight doesn’t fully develop until about 8 weeks of age.
When Do Puppies Open Their Eyes?
“A puppy’s eyes open at about 2 weeks, or 14 days of age,” says Dr. Osborne. During the transition period from when they first open their eyes to gaining full eyesight (at around 8 weeks old), you’ll likely see gray-blue-hued eyeballs.
Keep in mind that not all newborn puppies in the same litter open their eyes at the same time. Puppies of different breeds and sizes typically open their eyes halfway through their second week of life, but each individual pup develops at their own pace. Eye development, the weaning period, and behavioral development are among the main reasons why shelters and rescues adopt puppies at two months old.
Do not attempt to open a puppy’s eyes during the first few weeks of life—let nature take its course and allow for them to open on their own. If your pup’s eyes don’t open on their own, or if you notice any swelling or bulging underneath the eyelids or unusual discharge from the eyes, bring the puppy to a veterinarian.
Dr. Carol Osborne is an author and world-renowned integrative veterinarian of twenty-plus years. After graduating from the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Carol completed a prestigious internship at the Columbus Zoo. Shortly afterward, she launched a very successful private practice and became the founder and director of the non-profit organization, the American Pet Institute.
Dr. Carol offers traditional veterinary care for dogs and cats with a softer, natural touch. Her approach highlights the importance of nutrition and utilizing holistic avenues in combination with traditional treatments. Currently, she offers holistic therapies and traditional veterinary medical care for dogs and cats at the Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Call our Office Today at (855) 372-2765 or complete this Form to Email our Office.