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Can Dogs See Infrared Camera Light? 5 Surprising Facts

Can Dogs See Infrared Camera Light

Infrared cameras capture what our naked eyes can’t see.

Most especially in the dark.

And dogs are known for their excellent night vision.

So you might wonder…

“Are canines also sensitive to infrared camera light?”

Continue reading to discover:

  • Whether dogs can see infrared camera light or not.
  • If infrared light bothers dogs and how they may react to it.
  • 5 mind-blowing facts on dogs and infrared light that you should know.
  • The answer to “Do different dog breeds see camera light differently?”
  • And many more…

Can dogs see infrared camera light?

Dogs can’t see infrared camera light. This ability isn’t possible for them because of their eye structure. However, they can sense it. Canines do this with the use of their rhinarium. It’s the moist, tip part of their noses that’s sensitive to heat radiation. So it helps them in detecting infrared.

Infrared camera light and dogs – 5 surprising facts

Now that it’s clear that dogs can’t see infrared camera lights…

Let me tell you that some animals can see it. Such as:

  • Snakes.
  • Salmons.
  • Piranhas.
  • Goldfishes.
  • Vampire bats.

“What about us?”

Can humans see infrared light?

It’s a well-known fact that it’s beyond our perception.


A 2014 study argues that humans can see infrared light under certain conditions.


According to scientists, when they flash laser light rapidly on a human retina…

The cells inside were hit twice by infrared energy.

And the shorter you flash the light, the more likely it’ll be visible to the naked eye.

Mind you. They’re not talking about a regular laser pointer that professors use.

It’s a more powerful one they use in work.

As for dogs, there are no similar studies on this. So the verdict remains that they can’t see it.

However, there are interesting facts about dogs and infrared camera lights. Some of which are:

#1: Dogs can sense infrared

Although our four-legged friends can’t see infrared light like bats and snakes…

A recent study found that dogs can feel infrared instead.

So, where do canines owe this incredible gift?

Well, it’s all thanks to their rhinarium.

“What is it?”

It’s the scientific term for a dog’s ‘wet nose’ or ‘nose leather.’

To be precise, the rhinarium is the naked tip of a Fido’s nose. It’s that part that you’d like to boop with now and then.

And I’m sure you’ve observed that it’s often wet.

But don’t worry.

It doesn’t necessarily mean a dog has a cold and runny nose. 

This is because the moistness or coldness of their nose helps them detect infrared.

“Really? How?”

Here’s a little trivia.

Did you know that compared to herbivores, carnivores’ rhinaria are colder?

Yup. And it’s more evident in dogs.

So, researchers wanted to know if their noses are also more sensitive to heat.

And the results?

All dogs in the study could sense weak thermal radiation.

For example, the body of heat of a mammal. So it’s like dogs have a built-in sensor – similar to those in infrared cameras and snakes. 

But it only works with the help of their cold, wet noses.

#2: Dogs’ noses are filled with nerves 

Dogs' Noses Are Filled With Nerves

Next, besides moistness, dogs can also sense infrared due to the nerves on their noses.

“How does it work?”

Let’s first define nerves.

These are fibers that receive and send signals to the brain and other body parts.

So they’re like small carrier pigeons. And they act as messengers inside our bodies.

Now, research shows that the tip of a dog’s nose has a bunch of nerves. 

You’ll find these in the ‘central dermal papilla.’

And those fibers aid dogs in sensing things around them – such as thermal heat.

How convenient, right?

#3: Dogs’ eyes have a different anatomy

Let’s now move on to the structure of a dog’s eye.

At a glance, it may look similar to ours.

But, in reality, your eyes and dogs’ have many differences.

“What are those?”

First is the amount of rods in the retina.

It’s the part of the eye that’s sensitive to light. And inside it, you’ll find 2 kinds of cells – cones and rods.

  • Cones – are responsible for details and colors in our sight.
  • Rods – help us sense motions and see in low light conditions.

Now, according to experts, human eyes have more cones than rods. 

And in contrast, a dog’s eyes are the opposite.

So it’s the reason why we, humans, can’t see well in the dark. But, we can see the different colors of the rainbow. 

In comparison, dogs don’t have problems seeing in dim areas.


#4: Dogs can only see limited colors

Infrared light isn’t necessarily color red.

Based on ScienceDirect, it’s not usually visible to the human eyes.

This is because its wavelength is longer than what we can perceive.

Now, the longest wavelengths are the color red. That’s why it was given the name infrared or ‘beyond red.’

“So, what’s the color of infrared light?”

Experts say that there’s no exact color.

It could be anything that comes after red.

But, there’s a thing called ‘NIR’ or Near Infrared.

“What is it?”

It’s an infrared light that has a wavelength closest to visible light. 

This is why when you look at your TV remote, you may see it as a pinkish to purplish light.


Our furry pals are dichromatic

“What does that mean?”

Apparently, they can only see two colors – blue and yellow.

But they can tell the different shades of gray apart.

“So, what do red and purple look like to dogs?”

VCA Hospitals says that canines may see the color red as black to brownish gray.

Meanwhile, purple looks blue, while orange and green look yellow.

#5: Dogs have excellent night vision

So, dogs aren’t physically able to see infrared light. 

But, we can do it under certain conditions.

However, there’s still one thing where dogs are superior to us…

And that’s seeing in the darkness.

“How do they do it?”

Dogs have a tissue layer in their eyes called tapetum lucidum.

Interesting fact: Vets say that a dog’s tapetum lucidum lets in light 130 times more than its counterpart in a human’s eye.

Moreover, according to PetMD, it reflects and allows more light into their retinas.

Also, it’s the reason why their eyes glow in the dark.

The tapetum lucidum lets in more light into their eyes. And this causes them to see better in dim light conditions.

How neat, right?

This is why you may see a dog freaking out at night or growling at nothing

Regardless, this quality is particularly helpful when detecting an intruder…

Or a little bit annoying because they’ll be reactive to whatever moving object they see at night.

So, to summarize it all…

Dogs can feel infrared or thermal heat. And they may also see the infrared camera we use for security at night.


They can’t see infrared light.

Do different dog breeds see camera light differently?

Different dog breeds may see camera light differently. All canines, regardless of kind, perceive the same color spectrum. But some breeds have better visual acuity – e.g., Labrador Retrievers.

Labradors are known for having eyesight close to humans – 20/20.

But, other factors can also affect how dogs see camera light, such as:

  • Position of their eyes.
  • Length of their snouts.

Say, there’s a Fido with a short snout and eyes that are close together. And there’s also a dog with a longer snout, but their eyes are further apart.

The former will have an overlapping vision. Meanwhile, the latter won’t.

So, as a result…

The 2 dogs may see an object differently.

Does infrared light bother dogs?

Infrared light doesn’t bother most dogs. But, some canines may react to it when they sense it. They can become more alert, bark, or howl – especially when they see it as a threat.

However, dogs don’t usually react to infrared light.

So, don’t fret.

Just imagine the chaos in every home if all dogs go crazy every time you use the TV remote or electric heater.