what colors can dogs see
Dogs can enjoy television for the light, motion, sounds and colors — because dogs can see blue, yellow and shades of gray. ©Jena Ardell/Getty Images

What Colors Can Dogs See?

Can dogs see colors? Dogs see some colors better than others. Here are tips on choosing the best and brightest toys, products and TV shows for your dog.
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What colors can dogs see?

Although dogs don’t get to enjoy the entire rainbow of colors like humans do, they can see certain colors like yellow and blue, plus shades of gray.

So if you were you ever told that dogs can see only in black and white, this isn’t actually true.

The colors that humans and dogs see is determined by nerve cells in their eyes called cones. Humans have three cones that discern combinations of red, green and blue. Dogs have only two cones that identify shades of blue and yellow. This two colored, or dichromatic, vision makes a dog’s perceived colors less bright and vibrant than ours.

However, the bonus for dogs is that they actually have more rods in their retinas than humans do. Rods detect motion and different levels of light. This is why they can see better in darker lighting, and why they often see small critters moving around that humans don’t notice. Dogs use both color and brightness level to see the world around them.

What color toys should you buy for your dog?

To help your dog see his toys clearer and brighter, pick toys that are shades of blue or yellow.

What Colors Can Dogs See
Buy blue or yellow toys for your pup since dogs can see colors like shades of gray, blue and yellow. ©Melissa L Kauffman

If you throw a red ball or frisbee out into the yard for your pup, he will have a harder time finding it because both the grass and the red ball could appear grayish to him. But, if you throw a blue or yellow toy, he will more easily distinguish between the colors.

What colors should you stay away from if your dog is hard of seeing?

If your dog already has vision problems, whether from old age or a health problem, avoid:

  • red
  • green
  • purple
  • orange
  • pink

By giving your dog blue and yellow products, he’ll love those toys, blankets, crates and bedding even more.

Can dogs see TV?

Yes! Dogs can not only see what’s on the TV, but they might even enjoy watching it. While your dog may not follow the plotline of your favorite show, he’ll enjoy the light, motion, colors and sounds, especially nature and other animal sounds.

Some dogs may even start barking when they see or hear another dog on TV. If dogs on the screen stress out your dog, avoid any shows or movies with dogs when your pup is in the room.

What TV shows do dogs like?

Did you know there are TV shows and streaming services that are created just for dogs? The most popular one is DOGTV. This company has scientifically created programs to enrich your dog’s environment and expose them to new stimuli. The colors, movement and sounds are strategically planned for your dog’s senses.  You can also find videos on YouTube made especially for dogs to watch.

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