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Can dogs see all the colours of the rainbow?

Golden retriever eyes

Step inside any pet shop and you’ll find a dazzling array of dog toys in all shapes, sizes, and colors. But have you ever wondered if dogs see the world in the same vibrant hues as we do? 🤔Can dogs see all the colours of the rainbow? Let’s dive into the fascinating world of canine vision and explore how colors appear through their eyes!

How do dog eyes work?

You have probably heard different things before. Dogs can only see black and white or no dogs can see more colours than humans. But what is really true? Since we cannot just ask a dog to understand how their eyes work, scientists went a different way. Similarly to humans, dog eyes consist of multiple aspects. In the back of our and our dog’s eyes is something called a retina, which has two types of cells. Some cells can detect light and movement, these are called rods. Others can detect colours, these are called cones.

Have you ever noticed your dog has no difficulty maneuvering in the dark, while you bump into everything along the way? There is an easy explanation for this. Dogs can see much better in the dark than us. Their retinas are more focused on the rods, instead of cones. Consequently, their vision in the dark is far superior.

During our walks, Eva sometimes stops to stare at something next to us. I cannot see anything, but she has her eyes fixated on something. As I took a closer look, I can finally notice a moving cat or something else that grabbed her attention. I’d like to think my eyes are not bad, but she is able to spot action better than me. This is normal too. Since rods in the dog’s eyes are able to pick up movements faster.

Sometimes, Eva keeps staring into nothing inside the apartment. I’m not sure which movements I’m missing then, but it can be creepy… Does your dog ever do the same?

Stationary items on the other hand are much harder for dogs to spot in comparison with humans.

What colours can a dog see?

I can see clearly now the rain has gone… And a beautiful rainbow appears. All the colours seem to glide into one another. You tap your dog and point in the direction of the phenomenon. If your dog could answer, he would probably say it’s beautiful. But does he see the same spectacle as you do?

Colour spectrum which dogs can see

You and I have three cones in our retinas, which help us detect any combination of green, red and blue. Dogs on the other hand only have two cones. Therefore, they can see any combination of blue and yellow. So shortly answered, no, your dog does not see a rainbow in the same way you do. But, they do see some of the colours. Dogs are able to see a similar colour spectrum as people who are red/green colour blind. In other words, dogs cannot detect red, orange and green tones. So, for instance, the colourful Rudolf the red nose reindeer toy Eva has, looks different to her than it does to us.

Which toys are most interesting for dogs

🔹 Now that we understand how dogs perceive colors, let’s explore the types of toys that can truly captivate them. Toys in shades of blue, violet, and yellowish hues align more closely with their color spectrum.

🔹 But color isn’t everything! Every dog has unique preferences, so it’s worth experimenting with different types of toys. Consider sensory toys that provide mental stimulation, like squeaky or moving toys. Some dogs transform into toy surgeons, determined to find the squeak!

🔹 Food-motivated pups might adore treat dispensers, where they can sniff out and maneuver treats until every last morsel is devoured.

🔹 For the chasing enthusiasts, a ball launcher could be a game-changer, sparing your arm from exhaustion. You can even teach your dog to launch the balls themselves!

Remember:💡 While toys are fantastic for entertainment, always keep an eye on your furry friend to ensure their safety. And remember, toys are no substitute for the love and attention you provide—they’ll always cherish your personal affection the most.

Limited edition dog rainbow

Next time you stroll past those enticing piles of dog toys, know that your dog sees the world through a different colour lens. The vibrant reds may not hold the same allure, while gray, yellow, and blue hues will catch their attention. Explore various toy options to find what truly sparks joy in your four-legged friend.

📸 Share a picture of your dog’s favourite toy and let us know what makes it special! We’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for joining us on this eye-opening adventure!

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