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Why the Best Colors for Dog Toys are Blue and Yellow

Dogs are not color blind and prefer dog toys that are blue or bright yellow.

July 3, 2024 4 min read
Why the Best Colors for Dog Toys are Blue and Yellow

Despite what you may have heard throughout your life, dogs are not actually color blind. Your canine companion can see certain colors due to the presence of rods and cones in the retina of the eye, which differentiate colors.

While they don’t see in black and white, their ability to see certain colors is limited. A dog’s normal vision is similar to what a human with red-green color blindness would see, meaning blue and yellow are dominant colors in a dog’s vision. For this reason, many pet owners choose to purchase dog toys that contain blue and/or yellow colors.

How Dogs See Color

To really understand why dogs are drawn to blue and yellow toys, consider the unique way that canines see the world around them. Just like humans, dogs have two types of cells located in the retina, which are responsible for detecting motion and light. The retina also contains cones, which are used to see various colors.

While humans have three types of cones, which allow us to see combinations of blue, red, and green, dogs have just two types of cones, allowing them to only see yellow and blue. This means that canines are red-green color blind.

Without having the same spectrum of colors available to them compared to humans, dogs see shades of red and green differently. For example, something that is red may appear as a dark brown or black to your pup. Green and orange may appear as a type of yellowish shade.

What Colors Can Dogs See?

While your pup can’t see all the same colors you can, they can see certain colors, although they may appear differently to your pet. In addition to seeing shades of blue and yellow, dogs can also see gray tones. Oftentimes, a dog will see colors like red and green as a shade of gray.

You may be wondering how dogs view colors in the dark. One unique feature of canine vision is that they can see very well in the dark. This is due to their larger pupils and extra rod photoreceptors, which are responsible for receiving light. Dogs also have a tapetum lucidum, a thin tissue layer found in the eye that reflects light through the retina.

While dogs can see better at night compared to humans, being in a poorly lit space does not change the colors they can see. This means that their color spectrum remains limited compared to their human counterparts.

Dogs are believed to see colors in the following ways:

  • Red: May appear as gray or dark brown
  • Green: May appear a yellowish hue
  • Purple: May look blue to dogs
  • Orange: May appear yellow to dogs

Although dogs are thought to be able to see toys and other items that are bright yellow, the overall best toy color for a dog is blue, which stands out against grass and other backgrounds easily.

How Color Affects a Dog’s Toy Preference

When choosing toys for your pet, color should be a main factor in your decision. Many dogs favor toys of certain colors, primarily blue and bright yellow. This is due to the way that your dog sees and plays.

Imagine that you purchase a red ball for your pet and bring Fido out for a game of fetch. As dogs cannot distinguish the red ball from the green grass, the ball may blend into its background, making it difficult to see. However, if you throw a ball that’s blue or yellow, it makes it stand out against its background, making it easier for your pet to track it.

Just because your dog can mostly see only blue and yellow hues, doesn’t mean that you need to purchase toys in only these colors. There are many other things to consider when buying dog toys, such as safety, material, size, and function.

Tips for Choosing Dog Toy Colors

Knowing what colors canines can see best can make a big difference when buying products for your pet. For example, buying a blue or bright yellow dog toy can help ensure that the toy is very visible in all environments, making play more engaging for your pup.

Choosing an appropriate toy color can also help stimulate your pet’s mind, especially during training. When setting up a training area at home or in the yard, introduce colors that your pet can easily see. This will help reduce frustration and make it easy for your dog to follow commands, such as bringing back the ball.

The colors you choose for dog toys can even influence your pet’s mood and energy levels. Your pup may show more excitement when they are visually stimulated by a toy that they perceive to be as bright. Dog toys that tend to blend into the background may not elicit as much of a response.

Choosing the Best Colors for Dog Toys

Many dogs enjoy playing with toys, and now you can make their play sessions even more engaging by choosing toys that are blue, yellow, or both. Blue and yellow dog toys are more likely to spark your pet’s interest and enhance their overall play experience. Keep this in mind the next time you’re strolling through the dog toy aisle.

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