When Do Puppies Open Their Eyes?

Do you love puppies? It is such an interesting experience to wait for your pup to open his eyes and then introduce him to this wonderful world, right? How long have you been waiting for this special occasion? Are you nervous about what you should do?

Don’t worry! Our topic today is about to give you a comprehensive understanding of what you should do when your little dog opens his eyes.


When do puppies open their eyes?

It is so cute to look at these tiny creatures sleeping well and snoozing in the cozy comfort of their mother’s body, right? So what stage would your small pup start to open his eyes? Before starting, let’s understand why these tiny creatures are so helpless and incomplete when they are born.

Why are the puppies born with closed eyes?

Well, as you may know, in the first few weeks after birth, their central nervous systems are still developing. So are the optical nerves. They are not fully developed; therefore, the optic mechanisms and photoreceptors are still extremely delicate for bright light and they are able to be damaged if they are exposed to such intense light.

In addition to their developing optical nerves, their eyes are still fragile and not fully formed in their first days of birth. So why closed eyes? It prevents the risks of any foreign objects such as dust or dirt that can hurt their eyes so that they can develop in safety.  As you can see, the eyes closed are not helpless; they play, in fact, an important role in the beginning of your pup’s development at his first days in this new world.

How should I care for puppies in this period?

Many of you are wondering about this question, right? These little pups are so fragile that they would be easily hurt if there is anything wrong happens to them.


Fortunately, it is the mom that has to do most of the things relating to daily care for her little “kid”, which means you – the human caregiver has little thing under control. However, in case you adopt an orphaned puppy, whose mom is not coping or unwell after birth, you have much more responsibilities for early feeding and cleaning of the puppies.

Not only are you considered to keep a careful eye on the mom and the puppies during these first days, but you should also ensure that some potential concerns would be solved promptly. For example, while their eyes are still shut, there can be bulging or swelling under the eyelids. What should you do?

In this case, it is the best solution to take your pup to a vet immediately so that he can check your little puppy up and diagnose the problem. However, if you are unable to do that, then gently opening the eyelids is better than nothing. It is highly recommended to dampen the cotton bud into warm, not hot, water, then massage the eyelids with this cotton bud.

Nevertheless, in case the bulging or swelling is worse, a vet check-up is a must because if left untreated properly, it can cause infection, affecting their eyes in a long time.

What happens next? When do puppies eyes open?

Are you eager to witness this special occasion of your pup? Do you often look at them and wonder “When do puppies open their eyes”? No matter how avid you are, be patient and let it take time. You should never force this process and try to open their eyes. Let it be a natural process! As long as the optical nerves and the eyes are ready, the puppies’ eyelids will open, so making them open by force is the worst thing to put your pups at risk.


Frequently, though it varies from breed to breed, puppies open their eyes after between 10 and 14 days old. Let’s look at their physical and behavioral development during this period!

Physical Development

Even though these little pups are able to open their eyes to see this wonderful world, they can not see all that well, which means that they have yet functioned completely. Both of their eyes do not open at the same time. In general, one eye would open for one to two days, and then the other would open.

For this first time, the vision of the pups is very blurry. After that, their eyes open further and their vision improves, which motivates them to explore their surroundings. If you notice at their eyes in these first days, you will find out that they have somewhat gray-blued hued eyes, regardless of their dog breed. However, it won’t last for a long time. They will later develop their true eye color as they grow up.

When do puppies fully develop their vision? Frequently, it takes them about eight weeks of age to have a completely functioned vision.

Not only are they born with closed eyes, but they also come into the earth with closed ears, which is less noticeable. It takes them a little bit longer time to open their ears, around 14 to 18 days of birth. Similar to the eyes, even though the puppies’ ears open, they are not able to hear well. They will need about 8 weeks to reach full development.

So, when do puppies start walking? After between 15 to 21 days, your little pup will try to stand, but not really walk. Until the 3rd or 4th week, with the help of the mom dog, they will learn how to walk; however, like human babies, during the first days, they are likely to be wobbly and fall often.

Similar to the way our babies come into this new world, the puppies are born without teeth. When they reach their about two to four weeks of age, the baby teeth (often considered as milk teeth) start to develop. Nevertheless, they are able to lose these teeth as early as eight weeks. Until their first birthday will most pups have their adult teeth.

Behavioral Development

During their first couple of weeks, they look like potatoes whose main responsibilities are sleeping and eating. Besides, the only sense organs that a pup can feel are the sense of touch and smell. When their eyes and ears are able to open, they will be eager to explore the completely strange world around them.

As these pups reach their third week of age, they will start to learn and imitate the lives of dogs, with lots of help from their mom. This is the essential period for a dog because what he has learned from his mother during this time can really help him in later life.

With the presence of other cousins in the box, they require socialization not only with their mates, but also with humans. Early socialization is very important because it will support their confidence and dependence when meeting strange visitors.

If you can not resist yourself from their cuteness, you can hold them during the first couple of weeks. However, it is very sensitive for the mother; she can be very protective because any interaction with little pups at this time is not a really good choice. Therefore, be patient until the third week, when these tiny creatures are able to be handled and ready to play with you.

During the third and seventh week, the more you introduce your little pup to, the better effects it brings about as when they reach their seven or eight weeks of age, they are most fearful of new things that happen around them.

How to care for the puppies that have just opened their eyes?

After understanding “When do puppies open their eyes?”, there comes a problem relating to caring since taking care of a dog, especially a newborn pup, is never a piece of cake. There are a lot of requirements that you should take into consideration.

Fortunately, it is the mother dogs that have the most responsibilities to take care of their small kids during this period. BUT… If you adopt an orphaned pup, what should you do?

If so, you have to do a lot of works as a surrogate mom. This can be considered to be somewhat a full-time job. The puppies need to be fed every two hours, including overnight. Also, it is necessary for them to be burped and assisted with defecation and urination. Are you ready to do these things?

However, as far as we are concerned, the last option is that humans play the role of a mother for newborn pups. In any case, even a surrogate is always better than human care. Their real mom dogs are absolutely the best option ever.

When they reach their five to eight weeks of age, they tend to be weaned off their mother’s milk. At this time, they will be delighted to discover their whelping box and discover their surroundings.

In the first few weeks of their life, it is highly recommended to take your pup to a vet so that he can have an overall check-up. In case there is any problem, it would be treated properly and not affect your pup’s long life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Relating to the question “When do puppies open their eyes?”, there must be some other questions that you want to ask us, right? The followings are 3 main issues that we often receive by dog lovers.


How to feed the puppies?

In their first 3 weeks of birth, the mom’s milk is the most nutritious source of food for the small pups with an adequate quantity of minerals for their development. That’s it. What they need is the mother breast milk! In terms of orphaned pups, they need to be bottle-fed with the suggested milk products from your vet.

As soon as they begin to have teeth, their mom will start the weaning process. She can realize their tiny teeth touching her breasts when she is feeding. In case you notice that the mom dog tries to push her kids away while they want to be fed, then this means that their teeth are coming. It also means that it is the right time for you to change these puppies’ diets into canned food or kibble.

It is important to choose the right food products which fit their nutritional needs and the kibbles must not too hard. If you are wondering what is the best food for your pup, then advice from your vet is a good idea because every dog requires a different diet.

When should you train the puppies?

As soon as they can open their eyes and ears, they will be eager to learn even though they need lots of help in all things. These pups still need to stay with their mom, but they are able to interact with other mates and humans to explore the new world.

Do dogs sleep with their eyes open?

Interestingly, there are some situations that you think your canine companions are awake with their opened eyes, but in fact, they are sleeping. To some extent, perhaps they are dreaming of something or having a seizure. When your dog is in deep state sleep, a dream comes and he can be dived in that world with a little bit opened eyes.

Another reason why your dog sleeps with his eyes open is when he has a seizure. If you notice that he moans, howls, or makes noises of distress, then maybe he is lost in the seizure.

When do puppies open their eyes? Most important things to know

In short, during the first weeks of their life, there are 4 main things that are necessary for these tiny creatures:

  • The mother dog is always the number 1 option to feed and care for them
  • For orphaned pups, a surrogate mother is the best choice
  • The ideal environment is a warm, enclosed area with blankets and heating (if possible)
  • Protection for bright and intense light, loud noises, and too much interacting

We hope that this article will satisfy your question “When do puppies open their eyes and what I should do?”. By far, puppies are the cutest creatures ever that come to our world.

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