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10 Weird Things Dogs Can See…But Humans Can’t!

Some dogs are scared when they see power lines…and the reason is kind of terrifying. But have you ever wondered why some dogs are so intrigued with watching television? Well, you’ll be surprised at what they’re actually seeing.

And if you’re curious about the colors a dog sees…stick around til’ the end – we explain to you what “dog vision” really looks like. Here are 10 weird things that your dog can see…but you can’t.

RECOMMENDED: 100 Most Interesting Dog Facts

1. Dogs can see anything blacklight, without using a blacklight.

Anything that’s branded as “blacklight,” including highlighters, shirts, shampoos, tattoos and chalk, are all something that requires a blacklight for humans to see. Well, this isn’t the case with dogs.

According to a 2014 study, dogs are able to naturally see ultraviolet light, which is essentially what black light is. For us humans, it’s blacklight. For dogs, it’s just…light.

So if you’ve ever wondered why your dog is able to accurately pee in the same spot over and over again. The fact that they can actually see a history of their pee marks probably helps.

2. Dogs see a flickering TV (and other screens).

Many dogs love to watch TV. But what are they actually seeing? On a standard TV, dogs see a flickering screen. This is because dogs perceive the world around them at a faster refresh rate than us humans.

You see, dogs have a higher “flicker fusion rate,” allowing them to detect and interpret rapid changes in visual stimuli. While we perceive TV screens at around 60 cycles per seconds, or 60 Hertz, dogs have a higher threshold. 

Their flicker fusion rate is estimated to be around 70-80 Hz or even higher! This means that when dogs watch videos or movies with lower frame rates, dogs may see individual frames or at the least, detect a subtle flickering effect that we might miss.

However, if you set your smart TV’s settings to 80 to 120 hz, they’ll likely see a smooth image (just like us). It’s like they have their own supercharged viewing experience!

3. Dogs see electricity flowing through power lines.

Have you ever wondered why your dog seems so captivated by power lines during your neighborhood walks? It turns out that there’s a fascinating reason behind it!

You see, to us, power lines are just ordinary metal wires. But for dogs, they perceive them as glowing and flashing bands stretching across the sky!

The secret lies in the fact that power lines emit a significant amount of UV light. While we can’t see this “invisible” light, dogs (and other animals, such as cats, reindeer, bees, hedgehogs, butterflies, and birds) have the remarkable ability to perceive it.

This unique visual experience can be quite unsettling for wildlife, and possibly even influence changes in with migration routes as more power lines are built in their habitats. So the next time your dog hesitates to walk under a towering power line, you’ll understand the apprehension. 

4. Dogs can see the Earth’s magnetic field.

Our planet harbors an extraordinary feature that envelops us all: the Earth’s magnetic field. Now, here’s something truly intriguing: while we can’t perceive it ourselves, dogs and other primates possess a remarkable ability to see and sense these magnetic fields.

This phenomenon is known as “magnetoreception.” It might sound far-fetched, but how do we actually know that dogs can see these magnetic fields? After all, they can’t communicate it to us directly, can they?

Well, scientists have devised an ingenious way to investigate this phenomenon. They observed a group of 70 dogs during their outdoor excursions for, let’s say, “bathroom breaks.” What they noticed was quite captivating.

As these dogs engaged in their typical behaviors—pacing, circling, and sniffing—the majority of them consistently ended up facing either north or south when they relieved themselves.

Through this fascinating observation, scientists concluded that when the magnetic fields are calm, dogs instinctively align themselves along the north-to-south axis.

This alignment wasn’t mere coincidence. It’s evidence of dogs’ innate ability to perceive and make use of the Earth’s magnetic field.

5. Dogs can see counterfeit money.

These incredible canines play a vital role in sniffing out narcotics and other illicit substances. But their talents don’t stop there. They’re also skilled in detecting counterfeit money.

Yes, you heard that right. Many criminals attempt to create counterfeit banknotes, but they struggle to replicate the precise security features embedded in the bills. 

Take, for instance, US banknotes. They possess a hidden security strip that can only be revealed under black light. However, here’s the fascinating part: while humans may require a black light to spot this feature, dogs can identify it effortlessly.

In fact, some remarkable dogs undergo specialized training to specifically detect counterfeit money. These talented dogs serve as invaluable allies in the fight against counterfeit money, helping to protect our financial systems and economies.

6. Dogs see more stars in the night sky.

Living in a bustling city often means missing out on the breathtaking sight of stars in the night sky. Light pollution obscures the celestial beauty we long to behold. But here’s an intriguing fact: dogs seem to have an advantage in this regard.

Unlike humans, dogs possess larger pupils that enable more light to enter their eyes. This means a dog’s vision is far less affected by light pollution, and they can appreciate the mesmerizing expanse of stars without the hindrance of urban glow.

However, there is a trade-off. Because their eyes are designed to absorb more light, dogs’ visual acuity is not as sharp as ours. While they may observe a greater number of stars, they lack the ability to distinguish individual stars like humans can.

So, the next time you gaze up at a starlit sky, remember that your furry companions might be sharing in the awe-inspiring view. 

7. Dogs can see anything in the dark (night vision).

Dogs possess remarkable abilities to navigate in the dark. They rely on their heightened sense of smell, exceptional hearing, and something truly special: their natural night vision eyesight.

Dogs have a secret weapon when it comes to seeing in low-light conditions. It’s called  the “tapetum lucidum.” The tapetum is a unique layer of reflective cells situated behind a dog’s retina. Think of it as a mirror that reflects any incoming light within their eyes. 

In fact, you may have noticed this phenomenon when taking pictures of your dog at night with a flash—their eyes appear to glow. But here’s the fascinating part: the tapetum enhances a dog’s visual sensitivity in low light. 

It’s like having built-in night vision goggles! Unfortunately, humans don’t have the tapetum, and we’ll need to continue relying on flashlights. 

8. Dogs can see your teeth glowing.

Did you know that when you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, it can actually make your smile glow from a dog’s perspective?

Toothpaste containing fluoride, which is commonly used for whitening purposes, can create a unique luminosity when viewed by our furry companions. The reason behind this fascinating phenomenon lies in the properties of fluoride. 

When exposed to certain types of light, such as black light, fluoride causes a bright glow to emanate from your teeth. Don’t believe it? Try it for yourself! Just like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, your teeth may appear to have a magical glow. 

9. Dogs can see objects behind them.

No, dogs don’t have eyes on the back of their heads. But they might as well. While we humans have our eyes positioned frontally, dogs have theirs on the side of their heads. This unique placement gives them an expanded range of vision compared to us.

Typically, humans possess a field of vision of around 200 degrees. However, dogs boast an even more impressive visual range of 240 degrees! In fact, certain dog breeds, such as the Greyhound, take it to another level with a remarkable 270-degree field of vision.

This remarkable visual acuity can be traced back to their ancient ancestors, the prehistoric wolves. Wolves needed a broad range of vision to detect movements from their potential prey, while avoiding sneaky predators.

So, if you ever attempt to sneak up on your dog, hope you’re up for the challenge. 

10. Dogs see a world with primarily blue and yellow highlights.

Our understanding of the dogs’ vision has come a long way, dispelling the long-standing myth that they can only see in black and white. Recent studies have shed light on their unique color perception, albeit with certain limitations.

To comprehend how dogs see colors, we need to delve into the two types of photoreceptor cells found in our eyes: rods and cones. Cones, specifically responsible for color vision, play a crucial role when it comes to differentiating various hues.

While humans possess three types of cones, granting us a vast spectrum of color perception, dogs have just two types. As a result, their range of colors is limited to shades of blue and yellow, as well as combinations of these two hues.

In simpler terms, the visual acuity of a dog is comparable to the visual acuity of those with red-green color blindness.

Because dogs see a world with primarily blue and yellow, it’s probably a good idea to buy your dog toys with primarily blue and yellow hues.

Which is the coolest thing dogs can see with their “dog vision?” Let us know in the comments below!

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