We’re not surprised if you’re asking: “When do puppies open their eyes and ears?” You’re not alone. Many of us have been there.
Puppies are like the sweetest and cutest beings ever. They give off this cool energy that wants to make you stare at them all day, forgetting that money has to be made.
The joy of holding and cuddling a new furry friend in your arms can’t be explained.
Right after the entire process of watching your adult dog go into labor to the point the pup pops out with its head first, I’m sure you couldn’t wait to hold it in your arms.
You can’t wait to perceive its unique puppy scent, look right into the cute puppy eyes, and wish it sees the admiration in your eyes.
Sadly, they won’t see you smiling down at them because puppies are born blind and deaf.
Puppies generally don’t open their eyes till they are about 10–14 days old. But you should know that it’s for a good reason—their eyes are still fragile.1 They are solely dependent on their mother for survival weeks after delivery.
Fortunately, this article provides interesting answers to all the questions you may have.
Reasons Why Puppies Won’t Open Their Eyes When They’re Born
Pups don’t open their eyes immediately after birth because their optic nerves are not properly developed at that moment, and their eyes are too sensitive to bright light and defenseless to injuries.
Behind the pup’s closed eyelids that serve as a form of protection, a lot of development goes on and will continue for eight weeks after birth till its eyesight improves greatly.
Secondly, a dog’s gestation period is very short, but there is sufficient time for the other organs to develop except organs for sight and hearing.
Due to this, the eyes become too fragile and remain closed at birth.
In summary, puppies’ eyes are shut at birth and a few weeks after to prevent eye damage.
When Do Puppies Open Their Eyes and How Long Should It Stay Closed After Birth?
Unlike humans, puppies don’t fall into the species of beings born with their eyes open.
Puppies’ eyes stay closed round the clock after birth till they are about 10–14 days old before they finally open their eyes, and this is entirely dependent on the breed.1
Some dog breeds like the Fox Terriers are slow, and their newborns will take longer days to develop fully.
Puppies’ Eye-Opening Process And Development
Even after the 10–14 days, or 21 days as the case might be, your puppy’s eyes won’t be able to focus clearly on things.
It has to make do with a blur vision for a while because the eye-opening process in puppies is a gradual one.
As the eyes are gradually opening, they will appear cloudy, hazy, and have a grayish color and will continue the development cycle till their eighth week on planet earth.
Why You Shouldn’t Force Open Your Puppies’ Eyes
All dog parents should know that it is wrong and dangerous to try to open their fragile puppy’s eyes forcefully.
The eyes of a newborn pup are too sensitive, and touching it can transfer dirt from your hands to it, making it prone to infections, injuries, and unusual growth.
And if you start to worry about your puppy not opening its eyes after the normal development process, you should seek professional help.
A vet will assist you in opening your puppy’s eyes to clean them to prevent bacteria from accumulating, but you should never try to do this yourself.
What To Do If Your Puppy Doesn’t Open Its Eyes Within The Normal Eye-Opening Period
When your pups’ eyes don’t open, it could indicate that there is an underlying medical issue.2
If you notice its eyes remain shut after the typical period it’s supposed to open, you should watch out for eye infection symptoms, and if it persists, you should consider seeing a veterinarian.
These symptoms include:
- Eye discharge
- Swelling underneath the eyelids
Health Issues That Will Keep Your Puppies Blind For A Long Time
Puppies are prone to eye infections within the first few weeks of their birth. The major eye infection in puppies is called neonatal ophthalmia, also known as neonatal conjunctivitis.
Neonatal Ophthalamia is conjunctivitis in newborn puppies. It is the inflammation of the eye lining that arises within the first month of a pup’s birth.
This infection, if left untreated, can lead to total blindness and permanent eye damage.
This dog eye infection occurs during birth when bacteria is transmitted from the mother to her puppy.
And since it stays weeks before its eyes begin to open, the bacteria will remain and cause a buildup of unusual growth in the eyes.
How To Keep Your Puppy Safe While its Eyes Are Shut
The puppy’s mother does a wonderful job of keeping her pup safe.
But in situations where she might not be close by, you should be able to care for it by making sure it doesn’t get into bad situations like bumping into things and picking up harmful objects around.
Do not let them roam too far off away from you. Also, avoid raising your voice when you’re around the young pups so it doesn’t get scared.
When do puppies open their ears?
Puppies are born deaf, and it takes about 21 days for their ear canals to open and start hearing sounds.
Puppies are born with a sense of smell, before their sense of sight is developed, their hearing turns on, and at the same time, they grow their first baby teeth.
How do puppies recognize their mother with their eyes closed?
Aside from their auditory and optical organs, there are other vital organs in dogs.
Puppies have an excellent sense of smell, so it is not too hard for them to recognize their mothers while their eyes remain closed.
The birth of puppies is a beautiful one. Those little bundles of happiness, and energy, can be really cute.
But, if you’re a new dog parent, realizing that your pups won’t be able to see you for weeks because of their “blind-at-birth” status can be devastating.
There’s nothing to be worried about, as this is just how every puppy is born.
But you must be on the lookout for signs that will indicate otherwise if your little furry friend’s temporary blindness lingers for too long.
At this defenseless stage of its growth, you’d need to do things to keep your pup safe and healthy.
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References & Notes
- The Dog People, Rover. “When Do Puppies’ Eyes Open?” https://www.rover.com/blog/when-do-puppies-eyes-open/
- Meyers, Harriet. AKC. “Puppy Senses: How Your Puppy Sees, Hears, and Smells the World,” August 28, 2019, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/puppy-senses/