There’s nothing more adorable than a puppy, with their tiny wet nose, warm snuggles, and puppy breath! But puppies aren’t born like this. In fact, at birth, puppies can’t see or hear and are completely dependent on their mother.

Whether you are caring for newborn puppies or just a curious pet parent, here’s what you should know about when newborn puppies' eyes open. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Puppies typically open their eyes between 10 to 16 days of age.
  • Puppies' vision is still developing after their eyes open, but they should be able to visually navigate their surroundings fairly well.
  • Seek veterinary care if there are concerns about the puppy's eyes, such as swelling, discharge, pain, delayed opening, or apparent blindness.

When Do Puppies Open Their Eyes For the First Time?

Puppies typically open their eyes around 10 to 16 days of age. Before this milestone, their eyelids are tightly shut to protect their developing eyes from bright lights. Since the gestational period for dogs is relatively short, around 63 days, their eyes and other body parts need some additional time to form fully.

During this period, the eyelids serve as a protective barrier, allowing the eyes to continue developing without exposure to potential damage. While their vision is still developing, puppies rely on their sense of touch and smell to navigate the world around them.

In the third week of their life, their eyes and ears open, they start exploring without stimulation from their mother, their puppy teeth begin to emerge, and they take their very first steps. This period marks a significant stage in a puppy's development as they engage more actively with their surroundings.

How Well Can Puppies See?

Even when their eyes open, puppies do not yet have excellent vision. According to veterinary ophthalmologists, the retina continues to develop until approximately four months of age. However, by the time the eyes open, puppies should be able to visually navigate their surroundings fairly well.

If you are concerned that a young puppy has vision problems, it is best to schedule a consultation with your veterinarian for further evaluation. 

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How To Take Care of a Puppy’s Eyes

There shouldn’t be much you need to do to specifically care for a young pup’s eyes, as the mother dog will do most of the work. Never force a puppy’s eyes open. If you have concerns, check in with your veterinarian. Be sure to provide mom and puppies with a safe, warm nesting box or pen, away from bright lights and loud noises, and where they cannot get into danger. 

When To Seek Veterinary Care For a Puppy’s Eyes 

It is important not to help a newborn puppy open their eyes, as this can cause damage to this highly sensitive organ. There is variation in how and when puppies open their eyes. Sometimes one eye opens before the other, and sometimes the eyes do not open until closer to 21 days after birth. If you are concerned that a newborn puppy has not yet opened their eyes or if you notice any of the following symptoms, please schedule a visit with your veterinarian.


Remember that even if they are developing on track, they will still need to see a veterinarian for a checkup to look for any congenital defects and begin puppy preventative care, including deworming, vaccinations, and flea/heartworm/intestinal parasite prevention.

Your vet will also discuss key aspects of puppy care, such as nutritional planning, puppy classes, house training, and socialization

How Big Will My Puppy Get?

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Frequently Asked Questions

When will a puppy’s eyes change color? 

Just like babies, the color of a puppy’s eyes can change to various hues. A puppy’s iris (colored part of the eye) is initially blue-gray for approximately the first month of life. By around eight weeks of age, most will have developed their permanent eye color. 

When do puppies’ ears open? 

The external ear canal generally opens between 12 to 14 days. They will be able to respond to sound by two weeks. However functional hearing is not present until weeks three or four.  

Can puppies smell at birth? 

Yes, however, their sense of smell is not yet fully developed. 

When do kittens open their eyes? 

Kittens open their eyes slightly earlier, around five to 14 days after birth.