Click here to learn more.
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Do you ever wonder how much your pet sees, or if they see the same things with the same detail that you do? Although it seems like a relatively simple question, the answer is quite complex. When compared to human vision, dogs and cats see both better and worse… just a little differently than we do.
In general, dogs and cats are much more sensitive to light and motion than people are, but they cannot see as accurately or in the same immense color spectrum that we can.
If you have ever wondered how your dog is able to go outside in the pitch black and make his way safely around, or how your cat can move so stealthily through a dark house at 1 a.m., it is because their eyes have amazing adaptations for nighttime — or nocturnal — vision.
Pets owe these abilities to their amazing light sensitivity. Both dogs and cats can detect very low levels of light and are far superior in this capability when compared to humans. But when it comes to night vision, cats rule — even over dogs. Cats need seven times less light than people do to make their way around in the dark. Their incredible nocturnal vision first comes from the vertical shape of their pupil and their very large eyes, which allow them to take in a maximum amount of light. Next, the shiny surface at the back of their eye — called the tapetum lucidum — reflects 130 times more light than a mere human eye, which allows them to function confidently in near-black conditions! Humans don’t have a tapetum at all, but both dogs and cats do. This structure in certain animal’s eyes is what causes them to reflect and appear green or yellow when caught in a beam of light at night.
When it comes to detecting motion, both people and pets are better at seeing moving objects than stationary ones. People are 10 to 12 times better at detecting moving objects in bright light when compared to pets. However, pets outperform us in this category — paws down — in dim light.
Maybe dogs’ upbeat personalities come from their wide-ranging view of the world around them! People are capable of seeing 180 degrees around themselves without moving their head, and cats are similar with an estimated range of 200 degrees. But compare that to the average dog, which can see an incredible 240 degrees around himself. Brachycephalic dog breeds like the Pug — which have short noses and widely spaced eyes — can see an even wider range when compared to dogs with a longer nose and more forward-facing eyes, like a Greyhound. Regardless of the breed, a dog’s ability to see the world around himself is far greater than a person’s.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Good Samaritans rescued an 87-year-old
man and his dog when their car got swept
into a flooded intersection.
Shake things up as the season changes!
Here’s our canine-centric checklist for
kicking autumn off on the right foot.
We all want to watch our spending, but
Dr. Patty Khuly warns against cutting
corners on these particular costs.
Does your dog bark and lunge while on
leash? Mikkel Becker demonstrates a
great command that can help.
These adorable (and Instagram-famous)
Pitties show us that this breed can be just
as cute and cuddly as any other…
Has your canine ever injured or bloodied
his tail by wagging it so hard, so much?
Dr. Marty Becker explains this…
Get ready to cringe (and laugh). We
asked our readers to share their most
mortifying pet bathroom tales.
The Great Pyrenees, who was bred to protect livestock from predators such as wolves, is an excellent watchdog.
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.