When do Puppies open their eyes? Puppies are born with their eyes closed but they open their eyes after one to two weeks. Unlike human babies, puppies don’t open their eyes right after birth. They don’t need vision right away because newborn puppies are fairly immobile and spend most of their time sleeping and drinking mother’s milk.
It generally takes 10–14 days for newborn puppies to open their eyes. Some breeds may even take longer. Most puppies will open one eye at a time over the course of a few days. Be patient. Don’t try to open their eyes before they are ready. You can damage your pup’s sight if you try to force the issue. Let nature take its course.
Newborn – 2 Weeks:
At one week old, puppies’ eyes are still closed. Their eyes will begin to open in the second week of life, usually between 10 to 14 days of age. However, they won’t be able to see clearly at first. The eyes will gradually open wider, revealing grayish-blue eyes with a hazy appearance. Puppies’ eyes will continue to develop over the next several weeks, reaching full vision around eight weeks of age.
Newborn puppies cannot support their weight for the first two weeks of life, so they crawl around on their bellies, paddling and pushing with their legs and building strength. Most puppies will be able to stand on their legs between days 15 to 21. They usually begin to walk with a wobbly gait around 21 to 28 days of age.
2 – 4 Weeks:
Puppies’ ears begin to open soon after the eyes do, generally around 14 to 18 days old. Their hearing will continue to develop until the puppies are around eight weeks old.
3 – 4 Weeks:
Puppies need to be stimulated to urinate and ■■■■■■■■ for the first several weeks of life. Mom does this by licking the ■■■■ and ■■■■■■■ areas. If you are raising an orphaned pup, you can use a warm, damp cloth or cotton ball to stimulate the area. Puppies gradually develop the ability to urinate and ■■■■■■■■ on their own around three to four weeks of age.
Puppies are born without teeth. Their baby teeth, or “milk teeth” will begin to come in between two to four weeks of age and remain until about 8 weeks of age.
For newborn puppies, the first two weeks of life are all about sleeping and eating. After 14 days of age, physical changes open up a whole new world. They begin to see, hear and walk. By the age of 21 days, they begin to explore the world and learn about being dogs. This is also when the socialization process begins. She is learning how to interact with other dogs by interacting with her mother and littermates. Human socialization is important at this time as well.
Around seven to eight weeks old, the first “fear period” will begin. This is a time when most puppies seem to be afraid of new things. Anything you can introduce her to before this time may help make the fear period go more smoothly.
What Newborn Puppies Can See?
Don’t expect your newborn puppies to score well on an eye exams even once their peepers are open. Zazie Todd, PhD, author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy Says the time in which newborn puppies open their eyes is called the transition period from week 2 to week 3 of a new puppy’s life.
When a newborn puppy’s eyes first open, he isn’t able to focus very well. “Their eyesight is a bit blurry,” Todd says. And they don’t tolerate bright light. So you should keep puppies at this early age in a dimly lit location to protect their eyes. Don’t take them into full sunlight.
What if your puppy doesn’t open is eye?
If the puppy hasn’t opened his eyes after 16 – 18 days, you can help him by cleaning his eyes. Sometimes pups find it difficult to open their eyes because of birth buildup that is on their lids and lashes, fusing their eyelids. Dip a cotton ball in warm water and very gently and lightly wipe the pup’s eyes, to remove any buildup. This should make it easy for him to open his eyes. It should work the first time, but in case your puppy doesn’t open his eyes the day you wipe them, try again the next day. Be gentle, keep your touch light and make sure the water is not too warm.
The same treatment can be given if there seems to be a swelling in the pup’s eyes, and pus is oozing out. Using a q-tip dipped in warm saline water, very gently wipe his eyes in the outward direction, so that the pus oozes out from the corners. Clean this off with cotton balls dipped in warm water. You can put a drop or two of saline water in the infected eye(s), twice or thrice a day to clean it and remove the bacteria.
Overall, the best thing to do for your puppy when it comes to early eye care is to let nature take its course. Certainly, you should watch for any crusty build-up on the eyes or any other sign that something might be amiss, but in general, just enjoy your puppy transforming itself from a blind, deaf, fur ball into a bouncing, happy animal.
How Your Puppy’s Eyes Develop
When puppy eyes first open they start out with a milky, grayish-blue appearance but that clears with time. As a puppy’s eyes start to mature, his tapetum lucidum is developing. That’s the layer of tissue that lies behind the retina that helps the animal develop night vision. (It’s also what causes that eerie green glow when you take a photo of your pet with a flash camera.)
Puppies can have eye infections that develop before they’ve even opened their eyelids. You might see some swelling or discharge coming from their closed eyes and, if you do, it’s important to take the puppy to the vet or have the vet pay a house call to check on the puppy. Your vet will likely open the puppy’s eye (even if they haven’t opened on their own yet) and treat the infection with an antibiotic cream.
Remember, not treating an infection can cause long-term problems with vision or even blindness, so if you suspect that there might be a problem, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
It’s also possible for a puppy to hurt their eyes once they are up and moving around. This can also happen if something occurs in the whelping box that injures the pup’s eye. There have been occasions when newborn pups have experienced eye irritation, corneal scratches, or problems with their eyelashes before they were even a couple of days old.
If at any time after your pup has opened his eyes and you notice discharge or rubbing, it’s a good idea to have the issue checked out by a vet. Most eye problems are not a big deal if treated quickly.
Sometimes puppies are born with congenital eye problems. These can include:
Puppy dry eye:
The tear glands are located along the margin and also in the folds of the eyelids. If the eyes open too early it may disturb the development of the tear glands, thus hampering the production of tears. It requires medical treatment consisting antibiotics and ointments a couple of times a day, until the tear glands begin functioning properly. The eyelids also produce tears and help in cleaning the eyes by spreading the tear film. The lachrymal glands situated in the folds of the eyelids produce thirty to sixty percent of the watery portion of the tear.
The eyelids of a puppy have to develop fully before they are ready to open, since they have many functions. They not only protect the cornea, but also prevent the eyes from drying out.
Veterinary attention is required to treat all of these conditions. Puppy’s eyes, even more so than the rest of their body, are incredibly vulnerable and susceptible to injury. Eye health issues can be serious, but most puppies recover from problems that develop with their eyes when they are young.
As long as you treat the problem quickly and seek professional attention if you notice a problem, your puppy will live along and happy life, even if there is a long-term vision issue that develops. The important thing is to have a vet assess anything you think is out-of-the-norm.
Interesting Facts about puppy’s eye:
A puppy’s eyesight continues to develop for a few weeks after he is born. Ditto with the hearing!
When a puppy opens his eyes his eyesight is still not fully developed. His vision is fuzzy or blurry and focusing takes time.
Dogs have more rod cells than cone cells in their eyes, giving them good night vision. But although they can detect motion at night, focusing is less so their vision is more blurred.
The first few days after opening his eyes, a puppy can only make out lights and shadows. Not even shapes, really.
Dogs have dichromatic vision, meaning two colors stand out prominently – green and blue.
Dogs need sunglasses just like we do! And doggie sunglasses are called doggles!
Most puppies are born with blue eyes and this color usually changes after 3 – 4 months, which is when they will turn a color that will stay for the rest of the pup’s life. Sometimes the color may change twice!
Dogs can get glasses too! They are usually near-sighted, i.e., myopic. Getting them glasses or contact lenses will solve the problem in case it is too severe!
When should the puppies start to stand and take an interest in their surroundings?
As soon as the puppies’ eyes open, they rapidly begin to mature physically. By two weeks of age, they should be alert and trying to stand. By three weeks, they should be trying to climb out of their nest or whelping box. By four weeks, all the puppies should be able to walk, run, and play. A puppy that fails to meet these basic developmental milestones is at great risk for death or permanent impairment. Notify your veterinarian if you observe any abnormal development in your puppies.
How to take care of the puppies?
Mom will still be taking on most of the care for her puppies until they are fully weaned between five to seven weeks of age. However, her puppies will become less and less depended on her after three to four weeks of age. You may find that the puppies wander out of their little “nest” and try to check out more of the house. It may be best to keep mom and pups in an exercise pen when you are not home.
The first few weeks of life are a time of vulnerability for the puppies. If a puppy is not growing at the same rate as her littermates, she should be seen by a vet as soon as possible. In addition, any sign of illness, no matter how subtle, should be taken seriously.
Food and Nutrition
For the first three weeks of life, puppies get the nutrition they need from their mother’s milk. If the puppy was orphaned or needs supplemental nutrition, puppy formula can provide the necessary nutrients.
After baby teeth have erupted, around three weeks old, the puppies may be ready to begin weaning. Mom may naturally begin this process as she feels those puppy teeth nipping at the teats. If you notice a mother dog pushing her puppies away when they are trying to feed—this is usually an indication that the teeth are coming in. However, puppies will still nurse for a few weeks after teeth have erupted, but it will be less frequent. This is the time you need to begin to transition the pups to canned food or kibble.
It’s important that puppy food is formulated for their nutritional needs and that their kibble is not too hard. If you buy puppy kibble, make sure you add some water or warm puppy formula to make it softer. You’ll also need to show the puppies how to eat and encourage them to try the puppy food by putting some on your finger and letting them sample it. Most pups are fully weaned between six and seven weeks of age and are able to eat on their own without hesitation around that time. Puppies should never be offered food until they have begun the weaning process unless they’ve been orphaned. Introducing a puppy to food too early can discourage it from nursing, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Puppies might be little and need help with a lot of things in their world, but they are also smart and eager to learn. Once a puppy has open eyes and ears and is moving around you can begin the training process. This usually occurs around three to four weeks of age, when they are able to ■■■■■ on their own, see, hear, and walk. Puppies still need to stay with their mothers during this time, but they are able to explore the world and interact with other dogs and humans.
Around three to four weeks you’ll want to begin working on ■■■■■ training and crate training. This is important whether the puppy will live with you or go on to live in another home. It’s also important for puppies to socialize during the first few weeks of their lives, especially from four to seven weeks. This is a great time to allow people to handle puppies (very carefully) and to expose them to new sights and sounds.
Puppy behavior and their energy levels change with time. Here are the stages.
From Birth-10 Weeks
Puppies at this age are like “babies.” They have boundless energy and curiosity. They spend most of their day playing as well as learning the foundations to being a dog: chasing, running, pawing, biting and fighting. Their enthusiasm for life and its surroundings can be exhausting, but this is also the perfect time to start thinking about a puppy care and training plan.
From 10 Weeks-16 Weeks
Puppies at this age may still have a lot of playful energy. But they are also starting to test their boundaries. Like teenagers, they may seem to “forget” the rules or commands that they once followed. This is normal developmental behavior for puppies in this juvenile phase. Some of this behavior may be due to teething as puppies begin to lose their first set of teeth around 3-4 months of age.
From 4-6 Months
You may notice that your puppy likes to play-fight with other dogs around this age. This is how puppies start to identify where they fit in with a group. This is normal behavior. It’s also around this age when some puppies show fear. If your puppy does show fear, it’s best to ignore the behavior and build his confidence through training.
From 6-12 Months
While your puppy may now look like a full-grown adult dog, he’s still a puppy. At this age you might see a burst of puppy energy and continued boundary testing. That’s why it’s important to make sure your puppy still gets plenty of structured play and exercise. Continuing with training and socialization with other dogs is also essential at this age.
From 1-2 Years
Congratulations! You’ve survived puppyhood! As your puppy nears age one (up to two years for a large breed), he’s beginning to look and act more mature. He will probably still be very playful, but by now he’s learned the ropes and is much better at following the rules.
Most Important Things Puppies Need during Their First Few Weeks of Life
- Mother dogs to feed them and care for them
- Surrogate mothers—if they are orphaned—to feed and care for them
- A warm, enclosed environment with blankets and supplemental heating
- Protection from bright lights, loud noises, and too much handling until they are at least a month old
Final Thoughts Checklist for your puppy:
There are many things to get ready for as you bring home a new puppy. Make sure you have the following in place for your new canine companion:
Home items such as bed, blanket, bowls, etc.
- Preventative care
- Long term care
- Toys – indoor and outdoor
- Time for training, exercise, and bonding
- Grooming at home supplies or with paid professional
- Dental care items
- Healthy Food and Treats
Frequently Asked Questions
1- When can you touch a newborn puppy?
You can touch handle puppies 3 weeks after they are born. You should not really touch them before this age unless you really have to. Be careful though, as some mothers can be aggressive particularly it held when being nursed.
2- At what age do puppies ears open?
Puppies’ eyes will continue to develop over the next several weeks, reaching full vision around eight weeks of age. Puppies’ ears begin to open soon after the eyes do, generally around 14 to 18 days old. Their hearing will continue to develop until the puppies are around eight weeks old
3- What happens if you open a puppy’s eyes?
Remember, you should never force a puppy’s eyes open. Every breed, litter and puppy within that litter will open their eyes at their own pace when they are ready. Forcing their eyes open before they are ready can lead to infection, eye damage and even permanent blindness.
4- What should 3 week old puppies be doing?
They may start wobbling around, stand, and sit without falling over. It is also when they start teething, which is why they can dive into that solid food mixed with milk replacer and water. The puppies should also begin socializing with each other at this time.
5- Does a father dog know his puppies?
It’s unlikely that a male father dog would recognize his puppies by scent or familiarity. Most dog dads don’t even get to meet the puppies at birth, and so don’t have the paternal bond that a dog mother might have maternally.
6- Do dogs get sad when you take their puppies away?
MYTH: They’ll already be sad having “lost” their mother; therefore, separating pups from each other is cruel and it’s what causes them to cry the first few nights in the home. Dogs don’t have the same emotional bond with their families that humans do. A dog can be perfectly happy raised away from his littermates.
7- At what age are puppies most destructive?
It’s no surprise that many owners become exasperated, possibly even giving up on the pet. Owners report destructive chewing when the dog is anywhere between six and ten months of age. Different breeds and sizes of dogs hit this stage of development at different times.
8- When should puppies start drinking water?
The best time to introduce water and puppy food is around 3 to 4 weeks of age. This is the time to start to slowly wean the puppy from her mother’s milk and care so she can become more independent.
9- What happens if a puppy is taken from its mother too early?
For his first two to three weeks, your puppy can’t see, hear or eliminate without his mother’s help and she also helps to keep him warm. If separated from her care too early, your puppy can become hypothermic, hypoglycemic and dehydrated, warns the VCA Animal Hospitals website.
10- Why do puppies die at 8 weeks?
Cannibalism at the time of delivery can also occur, leading to puppy death. Neglect of the newborn either due to a nervous, high-strung new mother or due to illness usually results in early puppy death
11- How old is a puppy at 4 months in human years?
At four months old, he is probably roughly the same age as a two or three-year-old human.
12- Where should puppies sleep the first night?
On the first night, and for about three weeks, have the puppy sleep in a dog crate next to the bed. Line the base with blankets so that it is cosy and drape another blanket over the top to help it feel more secure. Give the puppy the stuffed toy that has its littermates’ scent on it to snuggle up to.
13- Can a puppy go all night without eating?
Between four and six weeks old a puppy can be fed every five to six hours. No puppy should go without eating more than a couple of hours beyond the required feeding periods. The exception to that would be how long puppies can go without eating at night, as they will be asleep – more about that in a moment though.
14- Can a puppy cry itself to death?
Puppies can quite literally cry themselves to death. A little crying is OK, just not hours. Do not leave the puppy alone during the day until he has completely adjusted to his new home.
15- What disease can kill a puppy?
Parvo” is a virus that kills many dogs each year in the North Country and around the world. It typically causes vomiting and diarrhea that often contains blood and has a very sour smell to it. The puppy gets very lethargic and dehydrated.
Puppies are born with their eyes closed but they open their eyes after one to two weeks. Young puppies need special care. At the tender age of one week old, a puppy is still a newborn and extremely dependent on her mother. Over the coming weeks, she will begin to grow out of her infancy into a young puppy. Many exciting changes happen for puppies between the ages of one to eight weeks.
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