What Does It mean If a Puppy Is Born With Its Eyes Open?
Many pet parents panic and assume puppies with closed eyes are premature as they are unaware that it is a natural and absolutely safe process. The other case arises if a puppy is born with its eyes open, and they find it normal, but it is not.
When a puppy is born with its eyes open, it shows a risk of blindness. Typically, it is common for dogs to be born with tightly closed eyes, and it is also in their favor to protect them from external conditions. In contrast, dogs with eyes open are directly exposed to bright light or foreign particles that may lead to blindness.
Thus, if your puppies are born like this, take this guide for a quick solution and save their lives. There is also much about dogs with closed eyes, their journey to open eyes, care, and everything. So, let’s get into the details.
Puppies and Their Closed Eyes – Science Behind!
Puppies are born with closed eyes, which is not to be worried about as it is part of their new life. This is because their eyes are not fully developed at birth, and the process is completed days after birth, which gives them the power of vision.
Additionally, there are three primary reasons or scientific facts behind the birth of puppies with closed eyes:
- The first and most prominent cause is their underdeveloped nervous system or optic nerves. Don’t get confused – let’s make it simpler to understand. Dogs have nerves in their eyes just like yours, but their nerves are not receptive to light or visualization at birth. Over time, their nerves develop, and their eyesight continues to improve for clear vision. Additionally, puppies’ underdeveloped nerves are too delicate for bright light, so their eyes remain tightly shut until nerves are fully developed.
- It might be surprising that puppies are deaf and blind when born, but it is for a good reason – they are not ready to face the world yet. They must be protected from outside factors like dust particles, dander, bacteria, and bright light that could otherwise hinder eye development.
- Puppies’ eyes, especially eyeballs, are not entirely formed when a puppy is born. However, eyes are not so poorly shaped that they cannot open, but it is for their safety. Pups with closed eyes remain free from the risk of getting the foreign object or causing an eye infection.
Golden Retriever Puppy ( Retriever Shedding )
What if a Puppy is born with Its Eyes Open?
If your puppy is born with its eyes open, it could risk its eyesight. However, it is not guaranteed that such litter will have serious eye problems, but the puppies are directly exposed to a harsh environment, which is a serious concern.
As said earlier, the eyes of fur babies are still developing even after birth, and their open eyes are directly exposed to light or debris. Sometimes they do not get severe eye infections if their surroundings are exceptionally hygienic and have dim light. In other cases, one must prepare for a counter scenario – pups with an eye infection or blindness.
So, it will be the best practice to contact your vet, get medical assistance and follow his advice regarding newborn pups. Additionally, keep bright or even normal light away from your puppies, and make sure to keep puppies in a place with dim lighting. Once their eyes grow and take in light, you can move them anywhere in your house.
How Long Does It take for a Puppy to Open Eyes?
Well, puppies of different breeds open their eyes at different times, mainly depending on their breed. For instance, large dog breeds, including Great Dane, Mastiff, and Saint Bernard, are giant dogs, and their litter opens eyes earlier than medium or small dog breeds.
But overall, the general timeline of a dog’s eye or vision development is eight weeks after birth. There are exceptions too, and you may claim that my dog opened its eyes 3 or 4 weeks after birth. Thus, the case may vary from breed to breed, or you may see changes even in a different litter of the same breed.
So, this slow awakening needs some patience and, of course, your supervision. You can keep them in a whelping box with their mom always there and protect them from external factors. All they will do is eat and sleep with no significant need for eyesight.
After 8 weeks, their eyes will be completely open, and their eyesight will allow them to see, move or do whatever they want.
It seems to be truly magical!
Stages of Puppy Eye Development
Now you know that puppies’ eyes are closed at birth, and what does it mean when a puppy is born with its eyes open. Here is the time to get basic knowledge of puppy eye development. The process is simple, and familiarity with all the stages will help you understand your puppy’s new phase of life.
So, here is the detail of all stages in puppy eye development:
Birth – 2 weeks
Puppies cannot see around right after birth because their eyes are closed or not fully formed. It takes around 10 to 14 days or two weeks for their eyes to open. During this period, you cannot expect them to snuggle or walk around because they cannot move well and depend on their mother for food. Their vision is very blurry, close up and with the distance, but they begin to blink, open and move their eyes at the end of this stage.
2 – 6 weeks
After two weeks, vision starts to develop in the newborn pups. You will notice if your puppies are at this stage of eye development. They will show some clarity in vision but can still not see at a distance.
6 – 8 weeks
This phase of puppies’ life is quite crucial as their close-up vision is much developed. Once puppies hit this stage, it becomes easier to distinguish faces and get a sharper vision. Remember, they are still struggling with distance vision when they are in the 8th week.
From 8 weeks and on, puppies are pretty stable with working vision. Their ability to see at a distance starts to sharpen, and it may take up to 16 weeks to finish developing. At this stage, you can expect your pup to have a sharp close-up and no blurry vision unless there are some medical reasons.
Things to Check When a Puppy’s Eyes are Open
Seeing your puppy’s eyes open must be a great pleasure, but you should check for any signs of vision impairment or eye conditions.
When puppies’ eyes are open, you see a milky, grayish-blue appearance, but it clears with time. Here are some signs that indicate a vet visit for diagnosis:
- Irregular-shaped pupil
- Swelling or bulging under the eyelid
- Pus discharge
- White film over the eyes
- Spots formation
Can You Help Puppies Open Their Eyes?
You should never force a puppy’s eyes open as your pups are not alone. It is a natural process that you cannot speed up or alter with your intervention. Every breed, litter, or puppy within that litter is different, developing eyes at a certain pace. They will open their eyes when ready, and your interruption cannot do it fast. But yes, careful attention can help your pup get healthy and infection-free eyes.
What to Do If a Puppy Doesn’t Open Its Eyes?
It is not unusual for a pup to take some extra time to open its eyes after being born. It is a process that cannot be accurately marked regarding days and dates to get the same results every time. Mostly you will be surprised to have pups with open eyes in the described timeline, while sometimes you will get upset waiting for it.
However, if you notice that one of your pups is slow to open his eyes and there is no discharge inside the eyelids, just immediately contact your vet as it could be a severe health concern.
On the other hand, if there is surface discharge, your furry baby may have a blocked tear duct or an infection. Describe whatever you have noticed in the past few days, like any swelling, bumps, or discharge, and get a consultation.
Always keep in touch with your vet unless your pup’s eyes are open and you are sure everything is fine.
How to Take Care of Your Puppies Eyes?
Once your vet declares that your pup’s eyes are safely opened, get ready for their general eye care routine. Wipe the crust away from your puppy’s eyes every morning.
Visually inspect your dog’s eyes to ensure there is no warning sign of a problem such as redness, rubbing, or foreign object in the eyes.
Conclusion – Puppy Born With Its Eyes Open
Puppies’ eyes are delicate and do not open until fully developed during the eye development process. Sometimes puppies are born with open eyes, which is not a good sign and may put your fur baby at risk of blindness. Therefore, their ultimate need is to get routine checkups and ideal conditions to prevent their exposure to external factors like dust or bright light.
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About The Author
I'm a content writer and researcher. But bottom line, I loveee animals. I had my first animal which was a guinea pig at age 8. Later had a bunny, dog and a lot, a lot of fish. Writing about what I know about pets will allow me to share my knowledge and love for them with everyone else. Dealing with dogs my entire life, I know a lot.