Friday, March 5, 2010

Why are puppies born with their eyes closed?

Puppies are born with their eyes closed. They typically open them between 10-14 days of age, sometimes up to 18 days of age.

Some animals develop their senses at birth, while others develop their senses after birth. The development of these senses relates to their defense mechanisms. Dogs, unlike horses for example are predators. Horses are prey.

Predators normally develop their senses after birth as they have to hunt for their food. It is advantageous for a female dog to have a short gestation period, deliver the puppies early, loose the weight as it works against her when hunting. And since she does not hunt daily, she can care for her pups in between.

Horses on the other hand are prey animals. They have a longer gestation period giving their unborn plenty of time to develop so that they are ready to stand up and trot within minutes after birth. Their senses must be developed at birth in order to reduce chances of becoming prey to predators.

Many of the puppy's critical organs including its brain are not fully formed at birth. Puppies will spend several weeks developing rapidly, not just in organ development but in size and motor skills.

A puppy's eyelids are closed at birth for this reason, while the eye develops. Their eyelids are tightly shut during this period as a measure of safety as the eye itself is very fragile.


Baris said...

Interesting. My guess was they are born with closed eyes so they will learn to rely more on their powerful sense of smell than sight. The pups are cute!

Teena Patel said...

Interesting thought! Maybe that is true to, but how does one prove that you know?

But good point.