Can Dogs See in the Dark?

Dog in the Dark

People might wonder whether dogs can see better in the dark than humans or not. If so, they should know that this is indeed the case. Essentially, there are two kinds of photoreceptive cells that can be found in a vertebrate animal’s retina. One would be rods, which are responsible for picking up on the size, the shape, and the brightness of visual images. The other would be cones, which are responsible for picking up on the color as well as the fine details of visual images. Dogs have a higher number of rods in their eyes when compared with humans. Thanks to that, they are better at seeing in the dark because they are better at making do with low levels of light.

Besides that, dogs have other advantages that are working for them. For example, their eye has something called a tapetum lucidum, which can be described as a layer of reflective cells that can be found behind the retina. It reflects light, meaning that a dog has not one but two chances to pick up on the light that reaches the retina of its eye. Similarly, their eye has an increased ability to pick up on flickering light than the human eye. Something that makes dogs much better at noticing small movements under low light conditions than otherwise possible. Combined, these characteristics mean that dogs are indeed better at seeing in the dark than humans. Of course, it is important to note that dogs aren’t the same as one another. Instead, dogs come in a wide range of breeds with a wide range of characteristics. As a result, some of them have better sight than others and some of them have worse sight than others. Some of these differences in their sight are connected to differences in their eyes. However, other differences in their sight can be connected to other causes.

How Else Do Dogs Differ From Humans in Their Senses?

Here are some of the other ways that a dog’s senses are different from a human’s senses:

Better Sense of Smell

Dogs are famous for their sense of smell. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that they are much superior in this regard when compared with humans. After all, there is a reason why dogs rather than humans get trained to find people, find toxic substances, and find other subjects of interest using nothing but their noses. There are some dog breeds that have much better noses than others. In particular, it is worth mentioning scenthounds, which refer to dog breeds that were created for the purpose of following prey using their nose rather than their eyes. Meanwhile, dog breeds such as Pugs don’t fare very well in this regard, not least because they have smaller noses. Still, even the latter have a much better sense of smell than humans, so much so that there is no point to making comparisons between the two species.

Better Sense of Hearing

People should be familiar with the concept of a dog whistle. They might be familiar with the device itself. Alternatively, they might be familiar with how the device has managed to pick up additional meaning in the context of politics. For those who are unfamiliar, the first is a whistle that makes sound in the ultrasonic range, which can’t be heard by humans but can be heard by dogs as well as other species. As such, they are very useful for training these animals without being a huge nuisance for humans in the area. The second means coded language that is understood by some segments of the population but not by others. Thanks to that, this kind of dog whistle is very useful for getting support from the segments of the population that understand it without alienating others in the process. By this point, it should be clear that dogs have a better sense of hearing than humans. Moreover, they won’t be distracted by this because they have the ability to just filter out sounds by shutting their inner ears.

Worse Sense of Taste

Amusingly, the sense of taste is one of the things that dogs are just flat-out worse than humans at. This is one of the reasons that dogs can be so indiscriminate about the things that they eat when they are out and about on their own. If they can’t taste the nastiness, they aren’t going to mind it as much. In contrast, well, suffice to say that pretty much everyone has reacted poorly to something that they find objectionable-tasting at one point or another.

Better Sense of Sight Under Certain Circumstances

Low level conditions aren’t the only scenario in which dogs are better at seeing than humans. To name another example, dogs have eyes that are set further towards the sides of their head than humans. This provides them with a wider range of vision, which in turn, means that they are better at picking up on the things around them than we are. Similarly, there are some dog breeds that are very good at seeing things at long distances because they were specifically bred for the purpose of hunting prey using their sense of sight rather than their sense of smell.

Worse Sense of Sight Under Certain Circumstances

Having said that, there are also definitely situations in which dogs are worse at seeing than humans. As mentioned earlier, dogs have more rods. Meanwhile, humans have more cones, so it should come as no surprise to learn that we are believed to see a richer range of colors than our canine companions. Furthermore, humans have the advantage when it comes to seeing up close as well as judging distances to objects.

What Happens to Living Beings that Live in Total Darkness?

Strictly speaking, there is nothing that can see in total darkness. Sight is reliant on light, so it wouldn’t make sense for sight to function even when there is no light. This is the reason that species that live in total darkness often lose their eyes plus anything related to their sight over the course of generations. From a survival perspective, those things are expensive, meaning that eyed animals that live in total darkness are pretty much taking a serious loss in exchange for no benefits whatsoever. As a result, being blind makes them more fit for their environment, thus providing them with better chances of survival.

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