Pug Night Vision: Can Pugs See in the Dark? 

Can Pugs see in the dark?

Yes! Unlike us humans, dogs’ eyes are well adapted to help them see in the dark. 

Everything from larger pupils to their unique tapetum (more on this later) means that the physical structure of the Pug eye makes them much better adapted to seeing in the dark than us mere humans. 

Today we will discuss how our Pugs see in the dark and the best way to make your Pug feel comfortable and safe during the darker hours. 

Image from https://pixabay.com

Can Pugs See in The Dark?

Yes, Pugs can see in the dark. Canines have superior night vision capabilities than humans, which means that a healthy Pug can see relatively well in dim settings. 

Dogs can perceive light and movement even in dark and low-light settings. This is because they have lots of light-sensitive rods in their retina, allowing them to collect dim light and see in the dark. 

Can Pugs See in Total Darkness?

Whilst most dogs can see pretty well in the dark, that’s not to say they have perfect night vision. Pugs and other canines are not able to see in total darkness (aka when there is no light source, at all).

However, dogs can perceive objects in low levels of light much better than humans as a result of their ocular structure and the predominance of light-sensitive rods in their retinas. 

Canine vs. Human vs. Feline Vision 

For purposes of comparison, let’s take a look at the difference in visual acuity between humans, dogs, and cats. 

Perfect human eyesight offers a visual acuity of 20/20. That means that people can see things from a distance of 20 feet. 

Canines, on the other hand, have 20/75 vision. That means their visual acuity in normal conditions is actually slightly inferior to humans. Most dogs will need to be 20 feet away from an object to see what the average person could see from 75 feet. 

Cats have a visual acuity of anywhere between 20/100 and 20/200, meaning that they need to be 20 feet from an object to see what the average human could see from 100 or 200 feet away. 

You might be thinking, if human eyesight is so much stronger, then how could a dog possibly see in the dark?

Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about next. 

Human and canine eyes are built differently. What our dogs and cats lack in visual acuity, they certainly make up for in nocturnal vision. 

Canine Eye Structure: How do Pugs See in the Dark? 

The structure of the canine eye allows most dogs to see in the dark and get around in dim settings. 

Let’s take a look at some of the physical features that allow our Pugs to get around in the nocturnal hours. 

Image from https://trialrunners.com/

Large pupils

The diameter of a dog’s cornea is greater than that of a human. This results in a larger iris and pupil. Dogs have large pupils that allow more light to pass through their eyes. ]

Canine pupils can dilate to a larger diameter than a human’s and some dogs’ lenses have been shown to measure up to four times that of a human being.  

Light-sensitive cells

The canine eye has a large number of light-sensitive rods within the retina. These rods collect light (including dim light) and help distinguish between light and shadow, allowing dogs to perceive their surroundings in the dark. 

The human retina is structured differently and contains more cones than rods. This means that we detect color better than our canine companions – but only when light is present. 

Lens positioning 

In most dogs, the ocular lens is positioned closer to the retina than in humans. Because of this, when light enters the eye, the image on the retina is brighter, even when in dim light conditions. 

Tapetum Lucidum 

Another physical feature that helps dogs see in darker conditions is a membrane in the eye called the tapetum lucidum. This membrane is located at the back of the eye and functions a bit like a mirror. This is what makes a dog’s eyes appear to glow or shine at night

The Tapetum reflects light back and forth to create an eerie hue that can appear in a range of colors. If you’ve ever tried to take a photo of your Pug at night, you’ll no doubt have noticed their shining eyes. 

The layer of reflective cells can be found behind the retina and reflects the light that enters the eye, giving the retina more time to register the light and magnify visual sensitivity. 

Humans do not have a tapetum lucidum. The feature is more common amongst predators like dogs, cats, birds, and even fish. 

Flicker Fusion Frequency (FFF)

Flicker Fusion Frequency, or FFF for short, refers to the rate at which intermittent frames of light are perceived as a continuous image. 

Fast-moving animals, such as dogs, tend to have higher flicker fusion frequencies. This means that many dogs are able to see flickering light and movement in dark settings. 

Can Some Breeds See in The Dark Better Than Others? 

The majority of dog breeds will be able to perceive objects and movement in dark settings to a similar degree. 

Most experts also agree that all breeds also perceive the same spectrum of colors. The only factors that might alter a dog’s ability to see in the dark are characteristics separate from the internal eye structure that might alter their field of vision. 

A long snout, for example, or eyes that are further apart or closer together. 

Should You Leave Your Pug in The Dark?

You should never leave your Pugs in the dark for a long time. 

However, if you have to leave home for a while at night, most Pugs will be able to get around just fine in the dark. 

If your Pugs start screaming or crying, they may suffer from separation anxiety. To help your furry friend, keep a nightlight or set light timers for your Pugs when you are not at home in the evening.

Do Pugs Like to Sleep in The Dark? 

The circadian rhythm of mammals is affected by light15, so if it is dark or dim, your dog will be more likely to fall asleep at night.

Most Pugs will be fine sleeping in the dark. We like to keep Sid sleeping with us without keeping a night light.

The only reason to leave a night light on for your Pug would be if they have a visual impairment of some kind or if your Pug is afraid of the dark. 

Some animals are scared of sleeping in the dark. If you have an animal like this you might notice some problematic behaviors. 

Signs that your Pug is afraid of the dark include:

  • Destructive behaviors like chewing and tearing when left alone at night. 
  • Crying, whining, or barking at bedtime. 
  • Jitteriness or becoming easily startled by noises at night. 
  • Hiding or crawling up in small spaces like closets at bedtime. 

If your Pug is showing signs that he or she is afraid of sleeping in the dark, then it’s a good idea to leave a light on. 

Oftentimes Pug puppies will feel more comfortable with a comforting night light, as this can alleviate their feelings of separation anxiety and help them sleep. 

Remember, that all of these symptoms are also symptoms of separation anxiety. It may not be that your Pug is afraid of the dark at all. 

They may just be anxious about being left alone in general.  If in doubt it’s worth visiting your vet or an animal behavioral specialist.