How Old Are Puppies When They Open Their Eyes

If you are a dog owner or have ever stayed in a homestead with dogs, you might be aware that puppies are born with closed eyes.

If you were not aware, then now you are. During the first few weeks of a dog’s life, it requires extra care from the owner because these young pets cannot see.

How old are puppies when they open their eyes

Puppies are born with closed eyes but often open up within one to two weeks because their central nervous system eyes and the optical nerves are fully formed.

However, the eyes need to open immediately if there are any bulging or swellings under the eyelids, pus, or any discharge noticed. If you see any of the abnormalities, it is advisable to call a veterinarian.

Still, if impossible, you can open the eyes by yourself gently by caressing them with a cotton pellet moistened with lukewarm water. Seek instant veterinary care if your puppy’s eyes do not open by two weeks or if you are worried about your puppy’s abnormality.

The rule of thumb is to leave the eyes to open naturally because the eyelids are supposed to unfold on their own once the eyes and the nerves are ready, and forcing them to open earlier will put the puppy in danger.

Why can’t puppies open their eyes when they are born?

Puppies cannot open their eyes after they are born because, at birth, their central nervous system is not yet developed completely, including the visual nerves.

Since their optical tissues are not fully developed at this stage, they are too delicate for bright light; therefore, the eyes remain shut until the nerves finish developing.

The nerves need more time to establish and also give time to the eye to form fully. This means that being born with shut eyes allows the eye to develop safely without interference from foreign materials like dust or dirt.

What can you do to protect your dog’s eyes until they are ready?

At birth, the dog’s eyes are not fully developed and therefore delicate. For this reason, they need special care to protect the soft eyes until they are formed. To protect those tender eyes, there are things you need to do:

  • Avoid touching those eyes unnecessarily and, if possible, avoid touching them at all.
  • This includes even trying to unfold them, instead, wait for them to open naturally.
  • Provide the puppies with a safe and clean environment

At birth, the puppy needs to be put in a clean and safe environment. Since they cannot see, they are likely to fall victim to dirt or even predators and pests.

Give the mother nutrient-rich foods

At that young age, puppies need nutrients to support their growth. The best way to do so is by feeding their mother with a quality veterinarian-recommended premium food so that the pups can get the nourishment from the milk.

If your puppies don’t have teeth yet, you can see our article about soft treats to give dogs with no teeth. These treats are great for dogs that are food-driven and could use some encouragement but lack the ability to chew through real dog treats.

Alternatively, you can give safe dog chews for aggressive chewers if you’re facing some over-active food driver puppies.


Puppies are born with closed eyes, which eventually begin opening at one to two weeks. At birth, a dog’s central nervous system is still under development and therefore delicate to light.

The optical nerve would have developed fully by two weeks; hence the eyelids can naturally open up.

To care for your puppy’s eyes, ensure you provide it a clean and safe environment and avoid touching the eyes until they open up.