Dogs seem to enjoy staring out the window, heads darting back and forth with a little whimper at times.
Sometimes you’ll look out the window and see nothing that you think would interest your dog.
So you might wonder, can dogs see through the glass just like humans?
So Can Dogs See Through Glass Like Humans Can?
Dogs can see through glass. However, dogs don’t have the same vision capabilities as humans.
They can still see as if the glass wasn’t there, which can be dangerous sometimes.
Dogs use other senses (such as smelling and hearing) over vision, so most dogs can sense that glass is a barrier.
This article will explain why dogs can see through glass, how they use their other senses to get a clear visual understanding of their surroundings, and when glass can become a problem for some dogs.
BUT… Before we go on, you should check out this short and adorable video for evidence that dogs can not only see through glass but can also fall in love through it!
It’s a lovely story and shows how lucky we all are to have dogs and other pets in our lives. Just click on the image to watch:
NOTE – You might enjoy reading this post looking at the question: what colors do dogs like best?
Why Dogs Can See Through Glass
Glass is only a transparent barrier, so when you look out the window, you can see the same view, almost as if the glass wasn’t there. The same goes for your pup.
Windows and glass doors are considered an environment enrichment for indoor dogs by giving them mental stimulation.
Looking through the glass and seeing what’s going on outside is a source of entertainment, and it’s beneficial for relieving stress from being cooped up inside.
They enjoy watching the day go by and seeing what activities are happening in the outside world around them.
Dogs may also sit and stare out of the window, waiting for their owner to come home around the same time every day.
NOTE – You may enjoy reading this post about why dogs look out the window so much.
Can Dogs See Through Glass at Night?
Dogs, like humans, have a more challenging time seeing in the dark than in daylight.
While dogs have better night vision than humans, their ability to see through glass at night would largely depend on the amount of light available on either side of the glass.
If it’s dark inside the house, but there’s light outside, a dog would likely be able to see through the glass to the outside.
However, if it’s light inside and dark outside, the glass could act more like a mirror, reflecting the light inside the house and making it difficult for the dog to see through to the outside.
So, while dogs can see through glass, their ability to do so at night is influenced by lighting conditions, just like it would be for a human.
It’s also worth noting that individual dogs might have varying levels of vision quality due to age, health, breed, and other factors, which could further impact their ability to see through glass at night.
Do Dogs Understand What Glass Is?
Dogs are incredibly perceptive creatures, but their understanding of the world is primarily shaped by their sense of smell rather than their visual perception.
Dogs do see glass – they learn that it’s a barrier and they cannot move through it.
However, understanding what glass is in human terms is beyond their cognitive abilities.
In terms of visibility, dogs can struggle with clean glass, like a closed glass door or a window, because it’s transparent.
This is why you may sometimes see a dog try to walk through a glass door, mistaking it for an open space.
On the other hand, they can more easily recognize glass if it’s marked in some way – for instance, if it’s dirty, covered in condensation, or has some kind of decal or sticker on it.
Dogs learn from experiences. If a dog has had an experience where they’ve walked into a glass door, they’ll typically remember this and be cautious in the future, which is a form of understanding that there’s a barrier there.
While dogs may not understand glass in the same way humans do, they can certainly learn its properties and adapt their behavior accordingly.
Understanding a Dog’s Vision
It was once believed dogs only saw in black, white, and gray shades until that was proven untrue.
Dogs have dichromatic vision, limiting the colors they see to violet-blue, yellow, and shades of gray.
Psychology Today states that a pattern most dogs can barely recognize at 20 feet (6 meters) is large enough for humans with normal vision to identify at a distance of 75 feet (23 meters), concluding they have 20/75 vision.
Therefore, their vision isn’t as colorful and acute as ours, and they won’t necessarily see the actual glass surface (unless it’s dirty), but they can still focus on everything beyond the glass.
They can see through the window even after dark because of their eye structure. We have more cones in our retinas, allowing us to see more colors.
However, dogs have more rods and the tapetum lucidum, which collects dim light to give them better night vision.
Along with night vision, dogs are excellent detectors of anything in motion.
Remember, even if you can’t see what they’re barking at outside (day or night), it doesn’t mean there’s nothing there.
Since their vision is less than impeccable, they rely more on scents and sounds.
NOTE – You might also be interested to read about why dogs bark when the doorbell rings.
Other Senses Dogs Use To Recognize Glass Windows and Doors
Even though dogs see the world differently through their eyes than we do, it doesn’t mean they don’t have a good visual idea of what’s going on.
These clever creatures combine sight with their other incredible senses to give them an overall picture of the world around them.
Even at birth, they first learn and rely on their sense of smell to find their mother and the milk.
So, when an object like glass is newly introduced, dogs must learn what it is by using their senses.
The Sense of Smell
Dogs have an excellent sense of smell due to having 100 million or more scent receptors (humans only have 5 to 6 million).
Because of the numerous receptors, they can smell up to 12 miles away (20 km), having one of the best noses in the animal world.
Dogs receive much information about their surroundings, objects, humans, and other animals through scent.
You might notice them sniffing and occasionally licking the window or door to make sense of the strange object separating them from what lies on the other side.
Most windows and glass doors aren’t airtight, so dogs can smell what’s outside from the small amount of airflow that seeps through.
If you put a glass of water in front of your dog, it will give it a sniff to get a sense of what you just put down.
The Sense of Hearing
Dogs have an acute sense of hearing that goes beyond human hearing capabilities.
They have 18 muscles in each ear to maneuver them in all directions, working as funnels to capture the sounds around them.
With the ability to turn off their inner ear, they can filter unnecessary noises and focus on specific sounds.
Their well-structured ears allow them to hear four times the distance than humans.
So, unless your walls, windows, and doors are soundproof, your pup will be able to listen to animals, passing cars, and even humans outside.
Many dogs will dart to the window or door to see who’s coming down the driveway before you can even see a vehicle.
Additionally, their keen sense of hearing is why dog owners have those funny door signs that say there’s no need to knock.
They have dogs, so they already know you’re there!
The Dangers of Dogs and Glass Doors
Take caution with introducing dogs to windows and glass doors because they don’t always see the glass itself; they see through it.
Some dogs may become excited about something they see outside and run into a glass door without paying attention.
To help prevent this, hang or tape something to the glass or put decals on it. You can also place a chair in front of it until they learn not to run into it.
Dogs with health conditions affecting their senses are also susceptible to running into glass doors.
Final Thoughts On if Dogs Can See Through Glass Windows, Doors, and Double Glazing
Since windows and glass doors are transparent, dogs can entertain themselves by watching outside activities.
Combining information from their senses allows them to recognize humans, objects, and barriers (like glass surfaces).
However, because dogs can see through glass (even double-glazing), you should always introduce them to windows and doors they can see out of so they don’t injure themselves by running into them.
That is all I have in this post answering the question: can dogs see through glass?
Thanks for visiting The Factual Doggo.
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!