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Raising a puppy is an exciting experience, but there’s a lot to learn at the beginning. Puppies usually open their eyes within the first 10 to 14 days. This happens because puppies’ eyes aren’t ready for the bright lights of the world yet, so they remain closed until they’re more developed. In some cases, you may notice that your puppy opens one eye before the other.
While it may seem strange that your puppy keeps their eyes closed, this temporary dog blindness is a reality for every puppy at some point. After a while, your puppy should open their eyes normally and begin adjusting to the world around them. You can always give your vet a call to ask questions or share any concerns you may have about your puppy’s development.
So, when do puppies’ eyes open and how does it all work? We’ll cover everything in this article.
When Do Puppies Open Their Eyes?
In most cases, you can expect a newborn puppy to open its eyes when they’re about 10 to 14 days old, but can take as long as 21 days.1 This may take a bit longer for some puppies. While some puppies open both eyes at the same time, you may notice that your puppy opens one eye first, then the other one a bit later.
Puppies are born with their eyes closed because their eyes are very sensitive to light, and keeping them closed helps protect them. Once the nerves in your puppy’s eyes have developed enough, they’ll open their eyes and you’ll notice a quick change in dog body language as they begin to explore the world around them.
Keep in mind that it may take some puppies more than 14 days to open their eyes. If it’s been longer than 14 days and your puppy hasn’t opened their eyes, you might want to take them to the vet.
What Can Newborn Puppies See?
When a puppy is just born, its eyes are closed for up to two weeks. During this time, your puppy’s eyes are more sensitive to light, so their eyes are closed to protect them. After about 10 to 14 days, puppies will usually begin to open their eyes. Your puppy may open both eyes at once, or they may open one eye at a time.
Even though puppies’ eyes open at 10 to 14 days old, their vision isn’t exactly clear in the beginning. Your puppy’s vision will be a little blurry when they first open their eyes, but that will wear off after a few weeks. If you notice your dog’s eyes are cloudy or they haven’t opened their eyes after a few weeks, you should consider taking them to the vet.
How Do Puppies’ Eyes Develop?
You might notice that your puppy’s eyes are closed when they’re first born. So, when do newborn puppies open their eyes and how do they develop over time? Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the important stages of puppies’ eye development:
- 0-2 Weeks: During the first two weeks of your puppy’s life, their eyes remain closed to protect them from light. As the nerves in puppies’ eyes become less sensitive to light, their eyes will begin to open.
- 2-6 Weeks: Once your puppy is about two weeks old, its eyes should be open or starting to open. If your puppy hasn’t opened their eyes for several weeks after they’re born, you should call your vet.
- 6-8 Weeks: As your puppy continues to grow, their eyes continue to develop and their vision keeps improving. Even when your puppy is 6-8 weeks old, you may still notice that they have trouble with depth perception and other basic parts of their vision.
- 8 Weeks: Once your puppy is about 8 weeks old, their eyes should be fully developed and they should be able to see well. If your puppy is still having problems with their eyes when they’re 8 weeks or older, you might want to talk to your vet. This is also the point where you can start crate training your dog.
What If Your Puppy’s Eyes Are Still Closed?
While most puppies’ eyes open when they’re about 10 to 14 days old, that timeline varies depending on several factors. Some puppies may need a few extra days to open both eyes. If your puppy hasn’t opened its eyes well after this 14-day period, you might want to call your vet to schedule an appointment.
If your puppy’s eyes haven’t opened and they’re more than 14 days old, that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong. Some puppies may open their eyes one at a time, or they may take an extra day or two to open their eyes. If it’s been significantly longer than 14 days and your puppy still hasn’t opened their eyes, you should visit your vet to make sure they’re not blind or dealing with another medical condition.
How to Take Care of your Puppy’s Eyes
Now that you know when puppies' eyes open, you need to understand the basics of puppy eye care. The good news is that you don’t have to do a whole lot to keep your puppy’s eyes healthy. Each morning, you can use a moist rag to wipe the crust away from your puppy’s eyes, which helps keep them clean and prevents irritation. During this time, you can also visually inspect your dog’s eyes to make sure there are no other warning signs of a problem, such as redness or foreign objects in the eyes.
If your puppy has a lot of hair growing right around its eyes, you might want to take them to a groomer to have some of that hair trimmed. Hair and lashes growing into the eyes can lead to irritation over time.
Eye conditions in dogs are typically treated using a medicated eye drop, which you may be able to get online through telemedicine for pets.
Are puppies prone to eye infections?
Because newborn puppies’ eyes aren’t fully developed and remain closed for the first few weeks of their life, most puppies are at higher risk of developing conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is a type of irritation in the eye that can cause redness, itching, and discharge.
If you want to prevent puppy eye infections, you should make sure you’re cleaning your puppy’s eyes each morning to remove any crust that accumulates throughout the night. If you notice your puppy pawing excessively at one eye, inspect the eye and take them to the vet if there are any noticeable signs of an eye problem.
Do all dog breeds open their eyes at the same time?
There are a lot of factors that go into determining when a puppy opens their eyes, and breed is one of those factors. Certain dog breeds tend to open their eyes sooner than other breeds, which means there’s not necessarily anything to worry about if your dog hasn’t opened their eyes after two weeks.
If you have any concerns about your dog not opening their eyes, you should voice those concerns to your vet. Only a professional veterinarian can tell you if there’s something going on with your dog, or if they’re simply taking a few extra days to open their eyes.
When do puppies hear?
When puppies are very little, their ears are only able to pick up on the vibrations that are happening around them. As your puppy starts to get a little older, their hearing develops and they start to hear actual sounds more clearly. At about 2 ½ to 3 weeks of age, your puppy should be able to hear things pretty clearly.1
Once your puppy is about 6 or 8 weeks old, you can start using their newly developed hearing to teach them dog commands and tricks. You can start with basic commands like sit and stay before moving on to more advanced commands. Alternatively, you can simply take your puppy to a trainer.
When do puppies smell?
Smell is one of the strongest senses dogs have, so it should come as no surprise that smell is what puppies rely on early in life. When your puppy is just born and hasn’t developed its eyes and ears, it relies on its sense of smell to help them navigate the world. As soon as a puppy is born, they’ve got a great sense of smell.
Keep in mind that puppies stop navigating purely by their sense of smell once they open their eyes and start hearing sounds more clearly. These changes are pretty easy to spot if you’re spending a lot of time around your puppy.
When can newborn puppies walk
Like many animals, dogs can’t walk from the first moment they’re born. Typically, puppies will learn to walk when they’re about 3 to 4 weeks old, and they’ll learn to run shortly after that. While it’s common for puppies to walk at 3 to 4 weeks old, some puppies may begin learning to walk when they’re as young as 2 weeks old.
If your puppy learns to walk quickly or takes a little longer than expected, you have nothing to worry about. If your puppy is well past the age where they should be walking and they’re not, you might want to take them to the vet to see if anything is wrong.
So, when do puppies’ eyes open? In most cases, you can expect your puppy to open their eyes within the first 10 to 14 days. A few days after your puppy opens their eyes, its ears may be fully developed and ready to process more sounds. For more information, you can talk to your vet about the puppy growth timeline.
Thanks to Dutch, connecting with vets in your area has never been easier. Whether you’re dealing with dog allergies, raising a puppy, or an overweight dog, you can use Dutch to schedule a video call and talk with a vet. If your dog needs prescription medication, Dutch can collaborate with pharmacies to deliver it to your door. For pet care made easy, give Dutch a try today.
Meyers, Harriet. Puppy Senses: How Your Puppy Sees, Hears, and Smells the World. American Kennel Club. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/puppy-senses/