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When Do Puppies Open Their Eyes?

Newborn puppies are the sweetest things in the world. They’re small and helpless. They’re even blind also. So, when do puppies open their eyes, anyway?

Puppies need a lot of help. Part of your job as the human overseeing the birth and early development of your puppy is keeping your eye on when their eyes open.

If you have a new litter of puppies at your house, you may wonder when do puppies open their eyes? It feels like it is taking forever. Let me help you demystify the question when do puppies open their eyes.

When Do Puppies Open Their Eyes?​

You know there is no way I can write this article without giving you a video of newborn puppies, right?

These adorable little ones are about 10 days old, according to the video’s uploader. These puppies are also foster dogs. That makes the whole story more heartwarming.

Sure, these puppies are cute, but I’m also showing them to you to illustrate a point. The timing in the video is very common. Puppies open their eyes between one and two weeks after birth. They will also go through several other developments after they are born.

Anyway, you can see the puppies are beginning to open their eyes. They aren’t very aware of their surroundings, however. It will take a bit of time for the puppies to see clearly. They’ll only see shapes and shadows for the first couple of days.

Their new sight will develop quickly after that, however.

Your dog’s breed also influences the rate of their development. Therefore, Cocker Spaniel puppies open their eyes sooner than Fox Terriers.​

Stages of Puppy Development

It’s fascinating to watch puppies grow. For instance, they open their eyes, they start to walk and run around, and also wean from their mothers and eat solid food. Because some breeds to develop faster than others, the time periods I reference here are all approximate.

Your dogs may vary slightly on this common scale.

Puppies At Birth​

Newborn puppies are completely blind. They are also deaf and lack teeth. Additionally, they can’t urinate or move their bowels on their own. They’re quite a lot like human babies, actually.

Interestingly, puppies also can’t stabilize their own body temperatures. This explains why puppies huddle together and stay close to mom. A puppy that separates from the others can, for instance, become dangerously cold from hypothermia.

The mother dog licks her puppies to communicate with them, to help them perform necessary bodily functions, and also to bond with them.

Additionally, puppies obviously vary in size at birth. Some breeds will be very small and some will be large. Basically, they start out and grow proportionately depending on how big they will be as adult dogs.

Newborn puppies can smell and feel, two senses that help them find their mother to nurse. The milk the mother dog produces in the first days of the puppies lives is rich in antibodies that the young puppies need to strengthen their immune system.​

Stage Two: Puppies Are 2-4 Weeks Old

Puppies sleep most of the time during the first few days of their lives. When they are awake, they’re usually nursing. Puppies need a lot of energy to grow and to fuel the changes they are going through. For instance, they gain up to twice their body weight during this period.

While newborn puppies fumble around and learn to move on their own, their muscles get stronger. Therefore, all of the struggling isn’t in vain. As they gain strength, puppies get more rambunctious and start to interact with and crawl on mom and each other.

This is around the time owners start asking themselves, when do puppies open their eyes. The answer, as we already know, is right around the two week mark. If you are worried about how long it is taking for your puppies to open their eyes, read on for signs to look out for.

Stage 3: 2-4 Weeks​

Not long after a puppy opens his eyes he also starts to hear. Puppies’ ears are sealed at birth but open between weeks 2 and 4. Suddenly, puppies can take in much more of the world around them. This sets them up for the next stage which is all about interacting with that world.

At this point, puppies can also hear their mother and each other and a learn a bit of doggie vocabulary. They’re starting to understand the basic concept of communication.

Little dogs get on their feet around their 15th day of life. They will be walking by day 21. You’ll be chasing them all over the place and pulling out your baby gates around this time, also. They’re on their toes and so are you!

At the three week mark, puppies are in their transitional stage of development. They start to get more independent. For instance, they play together and show interest in solid food. They even start growing teeth, as well.​

They are also in charge of their bodily functions now and know to get away from the group when they have to go.

By the end of this stage, you have puppies on the go who are curious and engaged in the environment around them.

Stage 4: Weeks 4-12​

Puppies get social between weeks 4 and 12. This is the best time to start playing with the puppies in your home. Keep your interactions short and don’t tire them out too much. They are forming bonds that will last them all of their lives.

You can also begin some very simple training at this time. Encourage your puppies to sit and stay. They won’t have long attention spans, but you’re programming some groundwork for further instruction.

​Your training at this stage should be more fun than firm. Puppies are still small and may not quite understand what is required of them. I wouldn’t recommend disciplining puppies too much at this age. Of course, it is appropriate to redirect them away from chewing shoes and furniture.

That being said, don’t risk your puppy forming negative associations with humans and training just to save a shoe. Remain firm and calm and reinforce the messages you are trying to send with patience and empathy.

​Formal Puppy Training

You can get a bit more invested in training your puppy between two months and six months of age. Start with commands like ‘no’ and try teaching your puppy to sit if you haven’t already.

You still want to be gentle at this point, but you can start becoming more firm. You’ll have that puppy attention span to battle with, but your little one can handle it.​

When Do Puppies Wean?

Milk production from the mother dog starts to decrease around 4 weeks after the puppies are born. The puppies obviously sense this, and they are also becoming more active and burning more energy. This natural transition ushers in the puppies’ interest in eating solid food. Almost like magic, their teeth also arrive.

Milk production from the mother dog starts to decrease around 4 weeks after the puppies are born. The puppies obviously sense this, and they are also becoming more active and burning more energy. This natural transition ushers in the puppies’ interest in eating solid food. Almost like magic, their teeth also arrive.

Possible Complications Related To When Do Puppies Open Their Eyes- When To Call The Vet​

Another possible reason you could be asking, when do puppies open their eyes, is because you suspect something is wrong. I’ve found some important information for you to help you decide when to call the vet.

If it’s day 14 and your puppy’s eyes aren’t open, check for bulging or swelling around the eye area. If an infection is at work, you will also notice some discharge. In this case, you need a vet’s assistance to open the puppy’s eyes. Don’t delay, make a call right away and explain the situation to your vet.​

Delayed eye opening can also be caused by trauma and cognitive problems. If you suspect that your puppy has injured its eye, make a vet appointment. It is possible for puppies to scratch their corneas on debris or even their own eyelashes.

Additionally, some small breeds with prominent eyes are more prone to complications.

How Old Should A Puppy Be Before It Can Be Adopted?

All this puppy talk leads me to another common question, when can a puppy safely come home with a new family. Technically, a puppy can leave its mother once it weans. As you already know, that happens around week 8 after birth. Puppies can benefit from a little extra time with mom, however.

Puppies that are adopted too early can show lasting problems like the inability to adapt to new environments. For instance, these dogs may have separation anxiety or have problems settling into their new home.

When you are buying a puppy, check for the following before bringing him or her home:

  • The puppy is eating on its own.
  • The mother dog is also on the premises.
  • Your puppy’s breeder has a good reputation.
  • Puppies in the litter yours comes from seem friendly with each other and act independently.
  • Before your puppy comes home, he seems curious and not overly fearful.

My Similar Experience With Kittens

I’ve never had problems with puppies, but I did once adopt a kitten too young. His mother was a stray cat and I believed I was doing the right thing. It didn’t turn out ideally, however.

This kitten had obvious social handicaps. It wanted attention but wasn’t comfortable receiving physical affection. It developed a very strong bond with my other cat at the time and couldn’t quite relate to the humans in the household.

We also had litter box issues that lasted the cat’s entire life. Bless his heart, but he always did his business in front of the box instead of in it. This could be coincidence, but I have a feeling he didn’t see enough of this behavior from his mom before I adopted him.

The cat did a number of other strange things like standing over me while I slept, for instance. That could have just been Kitten being Kitten, of course. Either way, if I had it to do over again, I would have waited a week or two before bringing Kitten home.

Because of this, I always advise people to wait until they feel confident that their new family member is ready to join up.

At the same time, don’t let my cautionary tale scare you. If you deal with a reputable breeder and do your own research, you’ll know when it’s time for your puppy to join you at home.​

When Do Puppies Open Their Eyes- Now You Know

Now you have the answer to when do puppies open their eyes. This was an especially fun topic for me to break down for you because I got to look at lots of pictures of brand new puppies! I hope you enjoyed some of the ones I’ve picked to share here.

I also got to reminisce about little Kitten. He had such a sweet face and it makes me smile to think of him.

As always, I also hope this article helped you in some way. I’m wishing you and your new puppies the best of luck and a wonderful time playing and bonding together.

Please share this article with anyone of your friends who has new puppies in their life. My comments section here is just waiting for photos, too.

Read Even More About Puppies​

You can read more about puppy care by sticking around the site. I recommend How To Be A Great Puppy Owner and Why Is My Puppy Always Hungry!?

In addition to those pieces, there are all sorts of articles on the site about dog care. I hope I’ve become a place you can trust to give you the information you’re looking for. I want to build a resource for dog lovers across the world.

Let me know what other topics you’d like to see me cover and I’ll see what I can do!


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Lauren is a young woman with a true passion for animals. She has kept many pets over the years and has intimate knowledge of their needs both emotionally and physically. She loves that her dogs keep her so active and satisfy her desire to spend lots of time in nature.

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