Some people think dogs only see shades of gray, while some think dogs can only identify two colors.
Others think red is a dog’s favorite color, so they buy red dog toys, clothes, and gear for their pup.
What colors do dogs like best?
Learn more about how dogs see color and what this implies about their favorite colors. This will also help you understand why dogs don’t like red.
Find out whether colors affect your dog’s mood and learn how you can test your dog’s eyesight so you can better protect their vision.
You can use the right colors to help you choose interactive toys that your dog will love.
What Colors do Dogs Like Best?
The colors that dogs like best are blue and yellow because these are the two colors that they can easily distinguish.
Many believe red is a dog’s favorite color, but this isn’t simply true. There is a misconception that this color in toys is more appealing to dogs and will encourage them to play more.
There is also an assumption that a red toy is easier to find for dogs, especially when it lands on the grass. Probably because it is easier for us to see.
But dogs have a hard time seeing the color red.
A dog will focus more on blue and yellow toys, and this is important info to know if you are obedience training your dog and want to hold their attention.
These colors are easier for your dog to identify. When you are playing fetch with your dog, they are more likely to go another round if they don’t have a hard time looking for the toy.
Remember that retrieving the toy is a form of reward for them. This immediate reward is essential for repetition when training.
Your furry friend will easily spot blue and yellow against any background that is “muted”.
This means if a blue toy is against a red, orange, or green surface which does not look vibrant in their eyes, then it is easy for them to find and play with.
How Do Dogs See Color?
Both human and canine eyes have light-catching cells called cones. But our furry friends have fewer cones than us, so their color vision isn’t as defined as ours.
Cones are the photoreceptor cells in the eye that help you see color. We human beings have three cone cells in the eyes to perceive red, yellow, green, and blue wavelengths.
It was initially thought that dogs could only see in shades of black and white. But this is not true.
There were various studies in the 1960s that concluded that the only primates had the ability to discern colors, although there was very little evidence for this, especially the one about dogs.
This helped to fuel the misconception that dogs can’t see colors spread. But it isn’t true.
Dogs can see colors, but they see fewer colors than humans can. Dogs only have two cones that allow them to see blue and yellow wavelengths.
The lush green lawn in your yard just looks like dead hay to them. But the blue pool looks attractive to them, along with your yellow bed sheets.
After a few decades, studies about the canine eye showed differences in basic design between our eyes and theirs.
Dogs’ eyes have adapted to see well in the dark because they were nocturnal trackers and hunters.
They have brought this trait with them when they were domesticated and treated as house pets.
They also have a larger lens and corneal surface, along with a reflective membrane called the tapetum.
Canine Rods vs. Cones
The retina is where the difference in color perception between dogs and people occurs. It is composed of millions of cells such as rods and cones.
As mentioned, cones are those that work in bright light and determine color perception. On the other hand, rods catch movement and work in low light.
Rods are more sensitive. There are also more rods than cones in the retina among dogs, while we have more cones than rods.
Humans and other primate species have three kinds of cones or trichromats. Dogs only have two, meaning they are dichromatic.
Do Dogs Have Color Blindness?
Color blindness refers to the inability to differentiate between colors or see certain colors at all. This occurs because of an abnormality in the color-sensing receptors of the eye.
In humans, red-green and blue-yellow are the two main types of color blindness.
The degree of color blindness among humans depends on which color receptors are affected.
If a person has blue-yellow color blindness, it means they cannot differentiate between blue and yellow.
So, while dogs can see some color, they do have that red-green color blindness that means they only see those colors as shades of grey.
Why Dogs Don’t Like Red
We’ve earlier debunked the myth that dogs like the color red. So why do they have a hard time seeing the color red?
Even though we see bright red lipsticks, toys, and clothes, a dog will only see red as a shade of brown, gray, or black.
The same is true with bright orange. Orange toys for dogs are usually marketed as high-alert and high-contrast when they’re really not.
Orange comes off as brownish-gold for dogs.
In short, red and orange objects are only easily detected by the human eye but not by the canine eye.
Dog Vision vs. Human Vision
Just because we can appreciate an entire spectrum of colors and dogs can’t doesn’t mean dogs cannot perceive different colors.
It simply means that our furry friends do not know the “true” color of an object.
They can still see the vivid sky, bright sun, and more. The only difference is that red appears brownish-gray to them.
The yellow, orange, and green look yellowish to them.
There is no need to “correct” this vision because dogs are born with it. It doesn’t cause them any inconvenience or harm at all.
The good thing is, they have a powerful sense of smell which they use more than their vision.
Does Color Affect a Dog’s Mood?
Color therapy, also known as chromotherapy, is a therapy that involves changing moods, emotions, and health through colors. But is this effective for our four-legged friends?
It is an ancient form of healing with roots in India, Egypt, and China.
We already know that dogs can’t see all colors. They only see blue and yellow, and the rest are not as vivid for them.
This means color therapy may not work effectively in dogs the way it does with humans. And besides, there is not enough evidence to back chromotherapy for dogs.
This kind of therapy is only based on the notion that humans and animals are made of energetic bodies, including the aura, chakra, and meridians.
When these fields are free from blockages, the organs in the body work well. It is also important for color and other forms of vibrations to restore balance.
While it is not known whether color does affect a dog’s mood, there is nothing to stop you from trying it out with your dog.
Remember that they only see blue and yellow, so use these colors when playing with your dog to see whether they are more energetic with one over the other.
Your Dog’s Other Senses
As we’ve said, there’s no need to feel bad about your dog’s muted-color vision.
Even though they lack some color vision, they compensate with their other senses, especially with their sense of smell.
A dog’s olfactory sense is over 10,000 times more powerful than that of humans because of its 300 million scent receptors.
Compared to our furry friends, we only have six million olfactory receptors. That’s a huge advantage they have over us.
Secondary to your dog’s sense of smell is their sense of hearing. They can hear a much wider range of frequencies than humans can, even high-pitched ones that humans can’t hear.
While we cannot hear sounds above 20,000 Hertz, dogs can perceive sounds up to 47,000 to 65,000 Hertz.
Your pooch can also hear sounds between -5 dB and -15 dB. These are sounds that we cannot even hear.
How to Test your Dog’s Eyesight
Just because your dog does not see the same colors that we do doesn’t mean they have poor eyesight. This condition is normal for them and not an inconvenience.
However, if your dog is showing other signs of poor vision, eye infection, cataracts, or even blindness, here are some ways to test their eyesight.
Dog Obstacle Course
You can do this test in your backyard or an empty space. Just create an obstacle course with different objects of different shapes and sizes, such as chairs, cans, or poles.
Any object is okay, as long as there is a clear course path.
Your dog has to make it through the maze-like course. Examine how your dog handles it as you watch from the end line.
Call their name so they know where they should go.
You can do this test in both dark and light situations.
If they have trouble navigating the obstacles or keep running into them, then they may have a problem with their vision.
If you have stairs at home which your dog used to climb up and down to well in the past, try observing how they go up and down now.
Check if they are reluctant to use the stairs. If yes, they might be showing signs of vision impairment.
Sometimes, this hesitation also indicates orthopedic problems.
The Pupillary Light Reflex (PLR)
This test helps determine the health of your dog’s optic nerve, optic chiasma, and oculomotor nerve.
All you need is a flashlight and a room with limited light. Hold the flashlight one to two inches from the eye. Then, observe their pupil.
Healthy canine eyes will have their pupils contracted upon being subjected to light. This means the pupils should get smaller.
But darker settings will make healthy dog eyes dilate or get bigger for better vision.
Call the Vet
A basic eye exam from your vet will tell if your dog has eye injuries or infections.
You may also contact a veterinary ophthalmologist when you think the condition is getting severe.
Some tests they may do include the Schirmer eye test, fluorescent eye strain, or the intraocular eye pressure check.
Unfortunately, only 400 veterinary ophthalmologists in the US can conduct surgeries on the cornea, retina, and eyelids of dogs.
How to Protect Your Dog’s Vision
Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some simple ways to protect your dog’s vision.
Clean Your Dog’s Eyes
Dogs typically have a bit of crustiness around their eyes, especially when they just woke up. Some breeds are also more prone to this buildup than others.
There’s no need to worry about it. All you have to do is gently clean it up. A damp cloth or cotton ball is all you need to get rid of it.
You also want to trim the hair around their eyes to avoid irritation.
Use a properly formulated eyewash to clear out the debris, irritants, or gunk.
We recommend Cliny Universal Pet Eye Wash Cleaner which gently heals and softens skin with its natural ingredients.
Don’t Let Your Dog Hang Out the Car Window
Keep your dog safe in the car and their vision secure by not letting them hang out the car window.
An insect or debris could end up in your dog’s eyes. Dirt can also enter their eyes, which leads to infections or even serious injuries.
Best Foods for Eye Health
A healthy diet is important for your dog’s eye function. These foods should be fed raw to them unless they are allergic:
- sweet potatoes
The Best Color for Dog Toys
The color of a toy influences how much your dog will enjoy playing with it.
Aside from inter-activeness, the colors blue and yellow add appeal to a dog toy and ensure your dog can clearly see it.
PetDroid Interactive Dog Ball Toy
What better way to play than using a motion-activated automatic rolling toy that’s color is blue? PetDroid Interactive Dog Ball Toy operates with a rechargeable battery inside it.
This toy also has two tail feather toys included for dogs to chase and play with. The hands-free toy automatically turns off when your furry friend is not holding it.
Your dog can also play on two modes with this: rolling with a bit of bounding, and active bouncing.
BUIBIIU Dog Chew Toys
BUIBIIU Dog Chew Toys are ideal for small-breed dogs like Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, or Corgis because of the toys’ adorable size.
These blue toys are just the right color for your dog to see. The set includes a squeaky deer, ropes, and plush toys shaped like a donut.
These toys are hand-made and are guaranteed durable and chew-proof. The cotton and fiber fabric also make this toy set machine-washable.
JW Pet Hol-ee Roller Do It All Dog Toy
The JW Pet Hol-ee Roller Toy comes in two sizes for small and large breed dogs. Made of durable and safe rubber, this chew toy is also a puzzle toy for teething puppies.
But it’s also great for adult dogs who need to stay mentally stimulated.
The blue rubber material is gentle on your dog’s gums and teeth. You can put healthy treats inside or other toys for them to get out.
PEWOD Teething Chew Toy
A multi-purpose and vibrant toy for your dog is the PEWOD Teething chew toy. Your dog can enjoy chewing on this yellow, bone-like corn-like toy while their teeth are being cleaned.
This 360-degree dog teeth cleaner is also squeaky, so it attracts their attention and helps reduce stress. It has small holes so you can squeeze dog toothpaste into it.
There is also an “attractant aisle” where you can squeeze peanut butter or any tasty treat your dog loves.
The toothbrush is also soft enough for your dog to chew on and helps to prevent oral diseases without hurting their gums and teeth.
This chew toy helps to reduce boredom by keeping your pup’s attention. It’s indestructible and lightweight, too.
FAQ Dog Senses
Do Dogs Close Their Eyes When They Sleep?
Dogs close their eyes when they are sleeping, the way humans do.
But some dogs sleep with their eyes open because it is hardwired in their DNA. Our dogs’ ancestors slept with eyes open so they could protect themselves from predators.
Sometimes, the eyes even roll back in their head with the whites exposed.
Aside from their wild heritage, breed, dreams, and seizures are other reasons why your dog does this.
Learn what to do about your dog sleeping with eyes open.
Why Does My Dog Always Follow and Smell Me?
Your dog always follows and smells you because it is in their DNA as pack animals.
Your pack-oriented furry friend has ancestors that like exploring, looking for food, and surviving in groups. These wild dogs slept, played, and ate together all the time.
Your dog brought this trait with them even when they are in a new environment. So, they simply follow and smell you anytime and anywhere because it’s a habit.
There are other possible reasons why your dog might be following you.
Why Does My Dog Always Touch Me?
Your dog’s sense of touch might be the most underrated sense of theirs. If your dog keeps touching you, it could be because they are protecting you.
They want to ensure you are safe and secure, especially when you are sleeping. It is also paired with them monitoring their surroundings.
Sometimes, they touch you because they want to be safe and comfortable. As mentioned, dogs are social animals who enjoy the company of their humans or fellow dogs.
Understand why your dog always touches you so you can respond to their needs.
See What Your Dog Sees
The world doesn’t look the same through your dog’s eyes. But it doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.
Dogs see the world with joy and beauty despite only recognizing blue and yellow. Differences in your dog’s rods and cones are natural and should not be a cause of concern.
Your dog’s vision is powerful, especially when it is accompanied by their other senses.
Make sure to take care of their eyes by cleaning them and making them part of your dog grooming routine at home.