When I was little my sister and I used to tie a string or towel to our belt loop for a tail and run around on our hands and knees pretending to be dogs. My mom would humor us for the most part, until all the running around ripped holes in our jeans and she kindly encouraged us to participate in other activities. We just loved imagining what it would be like to be a dog!
And haven’t you ever wondered what life really is like for your dog? What do dogs think about? Why do they do certain things? How do they see the world?
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While we don’t have the answer to everything, we do know a bit about their vision and how they see things. And learning a little bit about it could help you understand your furry friend just a little bit better.
Seeing The World Through Your Dog’s Eyes
A dog’s eyes, just like human eyes, has cones and rods that work together to assist in vision. The rods help the eye distinguish light from dark, and the cones help the eye distinguish different colors.
That’s right, contrary to popular belief, dogs can see more than just black and white. Here’s how it works.
We know that human eyes have about 120,000,000 rod receptors, and although we don’t have an exact number of rod receptors for a dog’s eye, we do know that their eyes are about 5 times more sensitive to light than humans.
As for cone receptors, the human eye has about 6,000,000 while a dog eye has only 1,200,000 (about 20% of what a human eye has). This is partially why humans can see more colors than dogs.
Another reason for this is the fact that humans have trichromacy which means we can see three main colors; red, green, and blue. With these three colors humans can see about 1,000,000 different color combinations.
Dogs have dichromacy, which means their eyes can see only two main colors, yellow and blue. This allows dogs to see only 10,000 different color combinations.
Because dogs have dichromacy they are unable to distinguish the color red from the color green. So if you were wondering why your dog can’t find his red ball on the lawn, now you know!
In addition to being able to see more colors, humans can also see a lot farther than dogs. While the average human vision is 20/20, the average dog vision is 20/80. Basically, this means that while you can see something clearly at 80 feet away, your dog has to be at least 20 feet away in order to see the same object as clearly.
However, dogs do have better motion detection and a larger field of vision than humans. Dogs have about 250 degrees of vision, while humans have only 190 degrees.
Dogs also have an incredible night vision. This is due to the fact that dogs are more sensitive to light than humans, they have bigger pupils, and they have the help of a tapetum. A tapetum is essentially a small mirror in a dog’s eye that allows them to absorb more light.
Your Pup’s Point Of View
And there you have it! Now you know a little better just how your dog sees the world. Maybe consider getting rid of his red dog toys, or at least helping him out a bit when they get lost in the grass.
Take a look at the video for a more in-depth explanation of your dog’s vision!