The eyes are the windows to the soul, and they are also the windshield of our lives. Vision plays such an important part of day-to-day life, it is hard to imagine life without it. Our four-legged friends depend on their eyes as well, although animal vision differs from our own. Take a moment to see through the eyes of our animal counterparts.

Animal Vision Basics

Vision works similarly in most mammals, whether human, canine, or feline. Light enters the front of the eye through the clear covering called the cornea. From there, it passes through the lens where it is focused onto the back of the eye, called the retina.

The retina contains two main types of cells: rods and cones. The rods are responsible for vision in low light and are poor communicators of color or spatial perception.

Cones are the cells that are responsible for our perception of color. The human retina contains three types of cones:

  • Red
  • Green
  • Blue

The rods and cones collect the information transmitted to them and send it to the brain through the optic nerve for interpretation.

Canine Vision

It only makes sense that dogs utilize their peepers for different purposes than we do. Animal vision differs from ours because different species rely on eyesight for their safety and nourishment. Some of the main differences between canine and human vision include:

Color differences – Dogs only have two color-sensing cones to our three. This means that our pooches see the world much like a person with red-green colorblindness.

Field of vision – It varies from breed to breed, but dog’s eyes are positioned on the head a little differently than our eyes. Because their eyes are more wide set, they have a greater range of peripheral vision (about 60 degrees more than our own), but less capacity for depth perception.

Clarity – Dogs make good use of their other senses and don’t need as clear of vision as we do. While people often have 20/20 vision, dogs range closer to 20/75. This means that your canine companion can sees things at 20 feet with similar clarity that you perceive at 75 feet. A lot more blurry than you might expect!

Feline Focus

Cats are not small dogs, and this is reflected in their visual capacity as well. Felines use their eyes differently than people or dogs do.

No such thing as color – Cats are much more active at night and rely on a high density of rods in their retinas to see their prey. They have very few cones overall and probably see in blue and gray tones.

Clear as a bell – Cats need to focus quickly and with deadly accuracy on the task at hand, be it a mouse or a shoelace. Their vision focuses much more quickly than ours at close range (around 20 feet).

I see all – Felines strike a compromise between dogs and people when it comes to field of vision. Their peripheral vision is slightly better than ours (about 20 degrees), but not so extensive as that of a dog. This means, however, that they have better depth perception than do their canine counterparts.

Vision is important to the functioning of most species. While humans, cats, and dogs have very different ways of seeing the world, each species’ visual capacity has adapted to best suit their individual needs. Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital appreciates you taking the time to see the world through the eyes of your pet and understand why pet eye care is so important.