What to Do if a Puppy Is Born With Their Eyes Open?

Puppies are typically born blind. At birth, their eyes are shut because they are still developing and are very sensitive to light. In some rare cases, they may be born with open eyes.

If the puppy is born with its eyes open, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. There’s a chance the puppy will go blind, so you must act quickly to protect your puppy’s eyes from the light. Keep the entire litter, including the mother, in a dimly lit room.

This article discusses the eyes of newborn puppies, how to care for them and what to expect.

white puppy under pink blanket

How Long Until Newborn Puppies Open Their Eyes?

In most situations, a newborn puppy will open its eyes between 10 and 14 days of age, although it might take up to 21 days. Physical changes at two weeks of age are significant and change their entire world. They start seeing, hearing and walking.

Never force a puppy’s eyelids open. When the time comes, each breed and litter will open their eyes at their speed. Forcing them to open their eyes before they are ready can result in infection, eye damage, and even lifelong blindness.

Allow puppies to crawl about and find their mother when they are born. They have instincts for it, which aids in their strength and learning. If one is struggling, you can take it up and move it closer to mom, but you should let them find the nipple on their own.

Why Are Puppies Born With Their Eyes Closed?

The simplest explanation is this: A puppy’s central nervous system, particularly its optic nerves, still develops at birth. They can’t tolerate bright light since their optical nerves are still forming. Therefore, their eyes are closed until that happens.

From the evolutionary perspective, it is simply a trade-off that increases the likelihood of their survival. Now we go back to the wolves, the dogs’ ancestors. Simply put, the puppy needs to be born early.

If the puppies are delayed for a few weeks, it increases the likelihood of a predator or rival attacking the mother while she cannot defend herself, killing both her and the puppies. If they appear to be born early, the mother can better protect the litter and herself.

Although she might lose some of the young in the wild, this is better than losing both the mother and the entire litter.

The “predator explanation” of why puppies’ eyes are closed comes down to this:

  • Predators typically have closed eyes at birth that require days to open. Puppies, kittens, and humans, for example.
  • Prey animals are born with their eyes open or awake shortly after birth. Horses, several bird species, deer, and cows are examples. They can’t defend their offspring as easily, so they delay giving birth until their young ones are more mature.
newborn yorkie puppy sleeping on human hand

What Happens if a Puppy Opens Eyes Too Soon?

Puppy eyes are very sensitive to sunlight. If they open too soon, keep them away from direct sunlight to protect their eyes because they may lose their ability to see if they open too soon.

Please consult your veterinarian about the expected developmental milestones as the litter grows and any medical treatment they or the mother require.

When Do Puppies See When They Open Their Eyes?

Puppies’ vision is limited when they first open their eyes. They won’t be able to focus correctly at first, and their vision will be blurry. Puppy eyesight and the ability to see far away keep improving until they are eight weeks old. By 16 weeks, a puppy’s eye is fully developed for seeing far away.

What Do a Puppy’s Newly Opened Eyes Look Like?

Your puppy’s eyes will be milky grey/blue at first, and they will be unable to open fully. The eyes will progressively open wider, displaying grayish-blue, hazy eyes. Their eyes begin to change to their natural color, typically brown, at around 16 weeks.

How Can You Tell if the Puppy Is Blind?

When I took my dog to the vet, he tested his eyesight. The vet moved his hand away from the dog’s peripheral vision. He swatted his hand as if he was about to hit the dog’s eyes to see how fast he could react.

He did it on both sides, and while the dog’s right side usually behaved, the left side was delayed and reacted slowly.

Whatever the case for your dog, it is best to take your puppy to the clinic because you may require the services of a veterinary ophthalmologist.


What symptoms indicate a puppy’s eye is blind?

If your dog bumps into walls or furniture or has trouble finding his food or toys, this could be a sign that your dog’s eyesight is worsening. He may stop making eye contact. Other symptoms include hesitation to get on or off the couch or becoming more clingy.

Can puppies open their eyes in one week?

Sometimes, a puppy opens its eyes after seven days, but it doesn’t generally happen until at least ten days. Asking your vet how to take care of your newly born puppy is always better than guessing.

Can newborn puppies hear?

Newborn puppies cannot hear. Puppies are typically born blind, deaf, without teeth, and unable to control their body temperature. They don’t get these for a few weeks after they are born.

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