Compliments of the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society
The notion that pets see in black and white is false. People once thought that their furry companions couldn’t see the color spectrum. However, new research and conclusions about canine anatomy point to dogs having color vision, after all — it’s just a bit more muted than that of their human friends.
According to the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society, dogs have more rods than cones in their eyes, which improves low-light vision. Cones are responsible for controlling color perception. It is is believed that a dog’s vision mimics that of a person with red/green color blindness. Color is perceptible for dogs, but not in the spectrum enjoyed by humans with healthy vision.
Cats can also see in color, but not with the same level of detail as people. Their vision is much more attuned to up-close sight than to focusing on objects that are far away. Meanwhile, birds have arguably the best eyesight and ability to detect color of any member of the animal kingdom. Birds can see more color than humans because they have a fourth type of light-receiving cone in their retinas (humans have three). Therefore, a pet bird will be in tune with vibrantly colored items in and around his environment.
See https://askabiologist.asu.edu/colors-animals-see for an interesting chart that illustrates colors certain animals can see. People who want to know if their pet rabbit can see color, or what those fish in their home aquariums can see, can consult the chart.
The Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society, comprised of more than 75 small animal hospitals and 225 practitioners in Erie and Niagara Counties, advances awareness and understanding of appropriate, compassionate pet health care, veterinary services, and the veterinary profession.