Why Dog Eyes Glow at Night


Have you ever noticed your dog’s eyes glowing at night, and wondered why they do that?

At the back of their eyes dogs have a mirror-like layer of cells called the tapetum lucidum.

The job of the tapetum lucidum is to improve your dogs vision in dim light, and it does this by reflecting light back to the retina.

The more light the retina receives the more information it has to work with to translate that light into images (that’s a very simplistic version of how our eyes work!).

So when your dog’s eyes are glowing, what you’re seeing is light being reflected by the tapetum lucidum.

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  1. Useful info. I saw dog eyes glowing at night, but I couldn’t even suppose why. Thank you, now I feel myself so clever.

  2. Linda Bolzenius says:

    I am a very big dog lover, I have owned several dogs, but I have a lab and golden retriever now, At night the labs eyes glow bright blue, like flashlights, and the golden’s glow orange, which really amazes me because the dogs I have owned in the past either glowed green or red. I was wondering if anyone could tell me why that is.

  3. Hi Linda, that’s an interesting question.
    I think it is to do with the eye tissue that forms the tapetum lucidem and the shape of your dog’s eye lens – light travels through these at different speeds depending on their density and shape respectively. As a result we see the light as a different colour depending on the speed its travelling at.

  4. Marilynn Tillman says:

    I searched to find this subject because I have been around hundreds of dogs throughout my life and I have never seen their eyes glow anything other than green or red. I have just recently adopted a pure white pitbull and her eyes glow the most beautiful bright blue. I was wondering how common it really is. I guess not very. Thanks for your information everyone.

  5. Lucy Lucy says:

    I also have a Pitbull, and her eyes glow bright blue at night. My last dog was a pitbull, too, and hers also glowed blue. Maybe it’s a pitbull thing?

  6. I have a pitbull, and when she was about a year old her eye’s would glow almost purple. Now that she’s 6 years of age her eyes glow a greenish white. so i think that age must play some role as well? A close friend had a pit bull whos eyes each glowed a different color, one red and one blue, yet in the daylight her eyes seemed identical. very interesting…

  7. I have 2 daschunds and their eyes glow yellow. My other dog which is a mix that looks like a lab and pit bull mix’s eyes glow green.

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