Can Dogs See Through Glass? [Not All Dogs]

dog looking through the glass in the rain

A dog with healthy eyes will have no issue seeing through glass. However, there are some eye issues that could prevent a dog from seeing through glass. Any type of glass we can see through, dogs should be able to see through it as well.

We all know dogs have an amazing sense of smell, but there are a lot of myths out there regarding their sense of sight. One of the most popular myths is that dogs are color blind. Recent research has shown us that although dogs can’t see color as well as humans, they certainly aren’t color blind.

You may have also heard that dog’s can’t see through glass. Is this true? Or is it another old myth that needs to be busted?

In order to provide a detailed answer, we first need to understand how dogs’ eyes work AND understand the materials that make up glass.

Understanding a Dog’s Sense of Sight

In order to understand a dog’s sense of sight (which is definitely not its strongest sense), we first need to understand two things.

1) What dogs are able to see
2) Dog’s eye structure.

Eye problems are common in dogs, but for the remainder of this article, we are going to assume your dog has healthy eyes.

What Dogs Are Able to See

Dogs don’t see the world as clearly as we do, but they can still see the general shape of objects. They even have the ability to see a small amount of color (more on that in a moment).

Their vision is a bit hazy and lacking color. They also don’t have the ability to see as far as humans can. The average dog has 20/75 vision. This means they have to be 20 feet from something to see it as well as what we can see from 75 feet away. Regarding color, dogs can see variations of greys, yellows, and blues.

Although they may not be able to distinguish what an object is based on shape and color, dogs can distinguish movement very well.

This allows them to notice sudden movements, although they do not know “what” is moving. When they see a sudden movement, they will usually react using their instinctual drive to hunt prey.

Dogs have similarities to their wolf ancestors. They have characteristics of nocturnal hunters, which involves tracking and catching their food at night. This means that dog’s eyes have adapted to see well in the dark and detect movement.

Your Dogs Eye Structure

In the wild, dogs are nocturnal hunters, so they can see well in the dark and easily spot movement, but can’t see objects clearly, especially at a distance.

This all has to do with the structure of their eyes. Dog’s have a very large lens and corneal surface. It also has a reflective membrane, or tapetum, further enhancing a dog’s ability to see at night.

Like humans, a dog’s eye contains a retina with millions of light-sensing cells, including rods and cones. The rods are very sensitive, able to catch movement, and work well in low light. The cones work in bright light and control a dog’s color perception.

Unlike humans, dogs have more rods than cones and only have two types of cones versus our three, which explains why their sight is so much different than ours.

Can Dogs See Through Glass?

Now that we know the science behind your dogs vision, we can use that science to determine if dogs can see through glass.

Glass is primarily made of sand, but may also contain other additives for color and texture. Once the sand and additives are subjected to high temperatures, they turn into a liquid, which can then be cast into whatever shape is needed.

Regardless of the type of glass, or additives within it, the way light passes through it can be distorted due to its reflective properties.

However, different types of glass can have a different refractive index property, which changes how light is transmitted. In other words, when light hits the glass, part of it is reflected and part is absorbed. Depending on how much light passes through, this can impact what something looks like on the other side.

There are several factors that affect a dog’s ability to see through glass. It goes without saying, but some dogs have eye issues that cause their sight to be much poorer than an average dog. This could obviously prevent a dog from seeing through a glass.

However, a good rule of thumb is that if we can’t see through it, a dog won’t be able to either, considering their sight is much poorer than ours.

This means most healthy dogs will be able to see through a standard window with no impurities, assuming it is clean.

In fact, in some cases glass might give them a better line of sight because the glass absorbs or reflects some of the light. Since dog’s eyes were created for nocturnal hunting, light can affect the process of sight and what they can see.

At the same time, dogs may have trouble seeing through glass if the glass is not clean. Dirty, colored, textured, or impure glass can impair a dog’s ability to see what’s on the other side.

Since dogs do not have the ability to see a wide range of colors, they may not be able to see through thick or colored glass as this would significantly distort the objects on the other side.

If We Can See Through it, So Can Dogs

Although a dog’s sense of sight can help them interpret the world around them, it’s not a sense they rely on.

They may not be able to see with as much clarity as we can, but they can still see if an object is in front of them and can easily spot a moving object.

Assuming it is fairly clean, a healthy dog should be able to see through glass without any problems. If we can see through it clearly, a dog should be able to as well. Even if the images aren’t clear to us, if you can see movement, they will see it too.

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