When Do Puppies First Open Their Eyes?

newborn puppy
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Imagine being a newborn puppy, eyes sealed and in a world that is completely dark, relying on your sense of touch and smell. Then, after a few days, you start to see light filtering in. You blink open your eyes for the first time, and suddenly, the world isn’t so dark anymore. This is the experience that every puppy goes through when they open their eyes for the first time. But when exactly does this happen, and how does it occur?

The exact timeline of when a puppy opens their eyes can vary, but typically, a puppy will open their eyes between 10 to 14 days after birth. However, this is just a general guideline, and in some cases, it can take a little longer. It’s important to note that every puppy is unique and will develop at their own pace.

Of course, the moment when a puppy opens its eyes for the first time isn’t the finish line. It’s just the beginning of a journey of discovery and learning about the world around them.

Why are Puppies’ Eyes Closed at Birth?

It may seem strange that puppies are born with their eyes closed, but there’s actually a good reason for this. When puppies are born, their eyes are still developing. By keeping their eyes closed, puppies are protecting their eyes from potential harm and giving them more time to develop properly.

Another reason why puppies are born with their eyes closed is because they depend on other senses, like smell and touch, to navigate their world for the first few weeks of their life. These senses are more developed at birth, so they’re more useful to a newborn puppy than sight would be.

The mother dog also plays a crucial role in this process. She will continuously nurture and protect her puppies, keeping them warm, feeding them, and keeping them close to her. This protective environment allows the puppies’ eyes to develop in a safe, secure setting.

A Puppy’s First Glimpse of the World

The exact timing of when a puppy will open their eyes can be influenced by a number of factors. One of the most significant factors is the breed of the dog. Smaller breeds tend to develop more quickly, so they may open their eyes sooner than larger breeds.

Health is another major factor. A healthy puppy is more likely to open their eyes at the expected time. If a puppy is unwell or malnourished, it may take longer for them to open their eyes.

The conditions in which the puppies are kept can also affect when they open their eyes. Puppies that are kept in a warm, safe, and clean environment are more likely to develop properly and open their eyes at the expected time.

How Well Can a Puppy See?

When puppies first open their eyes, their vision is not fully developed. This means that they won’t be able to see clearly right away. Instead, they’ll see shapes and light, but not much detail.

As their eyes continue to develop, their vision will gradually improve. After a few weeks, they’ll start to see more clearly and will be able to recognize their mother and siblings. They’ll also start to explore their surroundings more as their vision improves, and eventually will want to play.

It’s also important to note that puppies’ eyes might not open at the same time. It’s not uncommon for one eye to open before the other. This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. Over time, both eyes will open fully.

Caring For a Puppy’s Eyes

As a pet owner, it’s important to take good care of your puppy’s eyes as they’re opening. You should never try to force a puppy’s eyes open. This can cause serious harm and potentially damage their eyes. Instead, let nature take its course and allow the puppy’s eyes to open naturally.

Once your puppy’s eyes are open, keep an eye out for any signs of infection, like redness, swelling, or discharge. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take your puppy to the vet as soon as possible. Eye infections can be serious if left untreated.

It’s also a good idea to keep the area around your puppy’s eyes clean. You can do this by gently wiping their eyes with a soft, damp cloth. This can help to prevent any dirt or debris from getting into their eyes and causing an infection.


The opening of a puppy’s eyes is a major milestone in their development. It’s a fascinating process, and as a pet owner, it’s a joy to watch. Just remember to be patient, let nature take its course, and take good care of your puppy’s eyes. Before you know it, your puppy will be seeing the world in a whole new light.

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