Dogs’ eyes are beautiful, and their colors can range from brown to blue, green, gray, and even amber. Many pet lovers wonder when a dog’s eyes will change color, and while the answer can vary, it is an interesting topic to delve into.
Why do dogs’ eyes change color?
The color of a dog’s eyes is determined by the concentration and distribution of melanin in the iris. Melanin is a pigment that gives colors to different body parts, such as eyes, skin, and hair. As the puppy grows into adulthood, the amount and distribution of melanin in the iris can change, leading to a variation of eye colors. The color-changing process can also occur due to various health conditions or genetics.
When do dogs’ eyes change color?
Birth to Six Months
Most puppies have blue eyes at birth, and the color can vary over time. Generally, most puppies will have their full eye color by the time they are six months old.
Six Months to One Year
Some dogs’ eyes will change color as they move from puppyhood into adolescence. For breeds with lighter-colored eyes, such as Siberian huskies or border collies, the eyes may lighten or even darken. Blue eyes can also turn green or brown over time.
After One Year
The majority of dogs’ eyes will reach their permanent color by the time they are one year old. Although some dogs’ eyes can continue to change color throughout their lives, the change is usually only slight.
Factors Influencing Eye Color Changes
Genetics play a vital role in determining dogs’ eye colors. Some dog breeds come with specific eye colors, like the Australian Shepherd, which has striking blue eyes. Many other breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, Boxers, and Labradors, have brown eyes. Other dog breeds with multi-color coats, like Dalmatians, often have eyes of different colors to match their fur. While genetics play a significant role in eye color, it is still possible for the eye color in a Dog to change over time.
The age of dogs also impacts eye color. As mentioned above, younger puppies will often have blue eyes that will eventually change. The leading cause of eye-color changes in senior dogs is typically due to the development of cataracts, which can cause the eyes to appear cloudy and opaque.
Diet and Nutrition
A dog’s diet affects their overall health, including their eyes. Healthy foods containing nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E help maintain healthy vision. The lack of these nutrients in the food can lead to health problems, including cataracts, glaucoma, keratitis-outer disease, and corneal ulcers. Proper and balanced nutrition in a dog’s diet can help them achieve and maintain optimal eye health throughout their lives.
Health Issues Affecting Dog Eye Color Change
Cataracts are cloudy areas that form in the eye’s lens, progressively obstructing vision as they attempt to prevent light from passing through. In severe cases, cataracts may require surgery to regain vision. Cataracts can cause eye color changes, making them appear cloudy and opaque; the eye may appear cloudy or gray, as well.
Corneal ulcers result from bacterial infections, trauma or other diseases. An ulceration is an abrasion in the eye’s outer layer, such as occurring when a foreign particle hits the eye. While it is usually minor, several underlying reasons cause this condition and can result in eye color changes.
Keratitis is a condition that affects the cornea’s front layer that can lead to inflammation and a more pronounced pigmentation seen around the eyes. This condition is painful and can cause severe scarring that can lead to impaired vision, resulting in blindness.
While dogs’ eye color changes are a gradual process that happens as a dog grows up, it is essential to know about changes that occur due to health conditions. Regular vet checkups can help diagnose and treat any vision-threatening conditions before they cause permanent damage.
- Can a dog’s eye change color in adulthood? Yes, but typically only slight variations in the color of the dog’s eyes occur.
- Why do dogs’ eyes change color? Changes in the distribution and concentration of melanin in the iris cause changes in dogs’ eye color.
- Is a change of color in a dog’s eyes a cause for concern? Any changes to a dog’s eyes should prompt a visit to the vet for a checkup, as it could be a sign of an underlying health issue.
- What are the most common eye health issues that cause changes in a dog’s eyes? Cataracts, Corneal Ulcers and Keratitis-Outer Disease are among the most common health issues that affect dog’s eyes and can frequently cause color changes.
- “Eye Disorders of Dogs.” MPVD. July 2018.
- “How and When Do Dogs’ Eyes Change Color?” AKC. 6 April 2020.
- “Common Eye Problems in Dogs.” PetMD. 13 December 2019.