Dogs are not just man’s best friend, they’re also one of the most popular animals in the world. With breeds ranging from Poodles to Pitbulls, there is a dog for every person and situation.
However, what many people don’t know about dogs is that they blink! Do dogs blink? What’s entropion? Read on to find out all you need to know about this fascinating topic.
Dogs are known to have some of the most expressive eyes out there. It’s not just us humans that can communicate with our eyes, dogs do it too!
They use their eyelids to show different feelings – many of which we understand, but some we don’t. Our furry friends have more to their blinking than we perceive. Let us begin with the definition blinking.
How Is Blinking In Dogs Defined?
- Blinking is defined as a closure and opening of the eyelids in a short span of time. In the case of dogs it can mean either one eye or both. This blink typically lasts for a second.
- Dogs have eyelids, just like humans do and They have an upper lid and a lower lid, which move in rhythm with each other when blinking. Dog’s eye lids are much more sensitive than ours are so they tend to blink less often.
- Dog blinks are of different types like short blinks, long blinks, and sleep-blinking where you might see your dog rolling its eyes back into their head before closing them.
Interestingly I found a study conducted by W.P. Blount published way back in 1927 titled “studies of the movements of the eyelids of animals: blinking“.
Although you may feel that this is a very old paper I would say it is a good one because I found the definition of a blink to be very perfect.
Blount defines a blink as:
- Closure of Eyes: a temporary closure of both eyes,
- Movement of Eyelids: involving movements of the upper and lower Eyelids.
- Hidden Pupil: The pupil is momentarily hidden from view,
- Stationary Eyeball: but the eyeball does not necessarily move its position to an observable extent.”
Blount studied animals in zoological parks, veterinary colleges, universities, veterinary infirmaries, farms and parks too.
He finally Came to the conclusion that a dog has an average interblink period of 26.7 seconds. For a puppy he records 7.7 seconds.
I am rather surprised that he even studied the inter-blink of a polar bear and reported it as 12.3 seconds.
Here is the link to this really interesting paper: STUDIES OF THE MOVEMENTS OF THE EYELIDS OF ANIMALS: BLINKING – Blount – 1927 – Quarterly Journal of Experimental Physiology – Wiley Online Library
Reasons Why Dogs Blink – Overview
The reason dogs blink is far more interesting! While this knowledge may be nothing new to some, others might find it fascinating.
- Dogs use blinking as part of their communication system. They can communicate with us using their eyes alone by imitating our own mannerism like blinking.
- Blinking helps dogs imitate human behavior. There’s also another side to why dogs want to imitate humans – it all has something to do with evolution and survival instincts! In fact, dogs may blink to seek attention.
- There’s an additional reason for dogs to blink. They’re trying to get rid of foreign objects. Many people don’t know this, so it can be quite surprising.
- The main thing that you need to know here is that excessive blinking in dogs indicates that it requires medical attention and must not be confused as an expression of affection.
This is not an exhaustive list. There is more. Let us explore all these aspects in detail in this article.
Dogs Blink Just Like Humans
Blinking is a natural process that occurs when your eyes get dry or irritated. Humans blink 10 times less than dogs on average per minute while dogs will blink around 20 -30 times per minute. Some dogs can go up to 40 blinks per minute.
Once they’re done, you’ll see their eyelids close and open again in a matter of seconds. For most dogs, this is just an automatic reflex that helps keep the eye lubricated. The blinking count varies by breed.
Dogs Blink To Imitate Humans
Dogs aren’t just man’s best friend. They’re also one of the animal that can blink to imitate humans. Dogs use blinking as a way of communicating with humans – i.e., they will often mimic human behaviors like smiling or winking.
We all know that dogs imitate their owners. They learn our words, mirror our behaviors and even mimic us with a wag of the tail or a tilt of the head. It turns out that they also imitate basic human actions like blinking.
In a study by Dr. Stanley Coren published in Psychology Today, he observed that dogs who were raised with people will often mimic human behaviors such as blinking.
This is because they want to be accepted into the pack just like their owners do! Dogs have been observed mimicking other animals as well so it’s not surprising that they would imitate us too!
It makes sense why dogs might want to become more human-like since we always try to make them feel part of the family.
Dogs Blink To Express Peace Or Submission
Dogs blink to express peace and calm. It is a reflexive action that is used as a way to show submission. Dogs also have nonverbal cues that speak volumes about their feelings, which you just might not know if you’re not paying close attention!
Blinking is a form of nonverbal communication dogs can use to express truce or peace. When dogs are stressed, their natural response is to blink and break the stare.
When dogs don’t know how to respond appropriately (i.e., fighting back), blinking may be one way for them show submission and willingness to cooperate without having any negative impact. Dogs will also blink as a sign of submission when they feel as though the other party has dominance over them.
This may happen right before an aggressive fight breaks out between two dogs who are fighting for leadership within the pack! If you notice your dog blinking while he is being petted, this is likely his way of expressing peace.
Even when dogs feel calm and content, they often blink just one eye at a time because this pattern is thought to convey peace and calmness on some level. It also encourages people who may be nervous around new dogs to approach them more confidently.
Dogs Blink To Clear Their Eyes Of Foreign Substances
Blinking is also used by dogs as a way of clearing their eyes when they get something in them that causes discomfort and irritation! This may happen if dogs are exposed to allergens, irritants, smoke or tear gas during a public emergency situation.
So it’s important to interpret the blink in accordance with the attending circumstances . If you’ve ever felt something scratchy near your eyes (like dust) then you’d understand why our furry friends need to wipe away anything irritating from their eyeballs.
Dogs also have an inner eyelid that serves as a second line of defense against any foreign materials entering the eye. Dogs blink to get rid of foreign substances and this is the time when dogs will lick their paws and rub their eyes.
This motion helps remove unwanted materials from your dog’s eyes. If your dog’s face is dirty and they are blinking a lot,
- you should wipe it clean with a damp cloth to make sure there isn’t any harmful material present.
- Ensure The cloth does not go inside the eyes and
- you only wipe outside the eyes.
Pro Tip: If you need to clean your dog’s eyes, you must use only sterile water and that too with the tip of the container being extremely clean. It always better to use a new one. Ensure that the tip is untouched to keep it free from contamination.
Dogs blink by using their nictitating membrane (also known as “haw”) which moves over the eye and sweeps across it like a windshield wiper.
The haw lifts away debris from the surface of the eye and lubricates it with tears at the same time. A dog will usually do this several times in quick succession to get rid of the external particle.
Dogs Blink To Moisten Their Eyes
Dogs actually blink quite often because the membrane on the inside surface needs moisture! It does seem like dogs will always be dogs no matter how much we think we understand about them though, right?
They’re just too interesting and there’s always something new you can discover about these beautiful creatures that makes us appreciate even more.
A dog’s eye has a protective membrane called the nictitating membrane that helps keep the eyeball moist and clean.
The membrane is located between the eyelids and can be pulled across the eye for protection against dirt or other irritants.
When a dog blinks you will notice this nictitating membrane move over his eye as it sweeps across it from one side to another before returning back into place again.
This movement of this special “third eyelid” occurs every few seconds.
Dogs Blink To Seek Attention
Have you ever wondered why your dog blinks at you? If so, then read on! Dogs blink to seek attention. Ever notice how your dog will look back and forth between their eyes and yours while they are being looked at?
According to research done by Daniel Mills of the University of Lincoln in England, dogs can recognize when they are being watched by humans.
This means that when your dog is blinking to get your attention. Dogs are social creatures that need attention to thrive. Dogs blink rapidly when they want your attention, so if you notice your dog blinking at you it means he or she wants something! You can probably guess what the “something” is…your love and affection.
Dogs blink in order to seek out their owners, which is an instinctual behavior that they inherited from wolves. This is also true for humans, who will naturally try to seek out eye contact with someone else when talking.
So next time the woofy friend starts giving those cute little blinks, just give him some affection.
Dogs Blink To Acknowledge Attention
Dogs are well-known for their affectionate personalities. Sometimes, it can be difficult to catch them in the act of blinking because it takes place so quickly. I have seen my dog blink at me as if she acknowledges my attention too.
I definitely feel they know it when they are being loved. And I suspect she knows exactly how much she is actually adored. I can go on and on about her, lol, but let’s get back to the topic.
When you pet your dog, they will close their eyes and often wag their tail. This is a form of communication used by dogs and humans. Dogs do not have the ability to talk like we do, so this is one way that they can communicate with us!
Dogs have a social hierarchy and when they acknowledge someone else’s attention, it gives the other animal a chance to see what is happening around their face.
Dogs are intelligent animals who have been known to understand more than 200 words, including hand signals.
They also respond well to tone of voice and body language, which is why when you give them your full attention they will blink softly at you in acknowledgement. So have no doubt that the clever guy is responding.
Dogs Blink When Their Eyelash Is Inward
Did you know that dogs blink when their eyelash is inward?
- Inward growth: That is, the eyelash has grown inward and in to the eye so as to irritate it.
- Improper Grooming: A dog’s eyelash grows inward in to the eye if it has not been groomed properly or is too long.
- Immediate Care: If left untreated, this can cause blindness.
- Trigger: The inward eyelash constantly triggers the eye to tear up and cause further problems.
The solution to this is however very simple. Your vet will remove these eyelashes which removes the source of irritation thus arresting the symptoms.
Do not attempt this on your own because the dog may move and anything that you may be using can harm your dog permanently. It is always best to take professional help.
Dogs Blink When They Are In Trauma
Dogs can’t talk, so it’s a little hard to tell them when they’re in pain. But did you know that dogs also “blink” when they experience trauma?
So the next time your dog blinks at you, be sure to keep an eye on him and take note of any sudden changes he might make. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, it means that he needs help.
Dogs Blink As A Reflex Reaction
There are many different reasons why dogs will blink, but when they do you should always be aware of the surrounding area and what may have caused your dog to react in this way.
Dogs blink their eyes to protect the eye surface and to prevent any irritants from getting inside an eye. Dogs are more perceptive than we are and can see an insect more clearly than we can.
So can they see pollen and other mini particles. They may blink to avoid it getting in their eye. It is just like we automatically close our eyes as a reflex reaction.
Dogs Blink Due To Entropion
Dogs have an evolutionary adaptation called entropion, where the eyelids rotate inward and touch the surface of their eyes. This causes a sleepiness or irritation-induced blink to keep them from scratching their eyes.
Although this is not a serious condition for most dogs, some breeds like Pugs and Bulldogs are more susceptible to it and can develop chronic dry eye syndrome.
This condition is often found in dogs with long or heavy coats that rub against their eyes, but it can also be seen in other breeds.
Some signs of entropion include: eye discharge and redness; excessive tearing; squinting; light sensitivity; and constant blinking. If you notice any of these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian right away for an examination.
Brachycephalic Dogs Are Prone To Entropion
Brachycephalic dogs are prone to entropion, which is when the eyelids roll inward and rub against the eye. This can cause corneal ulcers that may lead to blindness.
Brachycephalic breeds include pugs, bulldogs, shih tzus, pekinese and boxers; but any dog with a short-nosed face has an increased risk of developing this condition.
To help prevent it from happening at all, make sure you wipe your dog’s outer eyes every day with moistened cotton pads.
The term comes from two Greek words: brachys meaning short, and cephalon meaning head. Brachycephalic breeds have shorter facial bones which can lead to their eyes being lower on the face than normal.
This causes them to have a bulging appearance called buphthalmia or prominent eyes. Entropion is an abnormal turning inward of the eyelid margin (the skin around your eye).
If there is already some irritation present in one or both of their eyes (usually redness), consult your veterinarian about how best to treat it.
What is Canine Blepharospasm?
Canine blepharospasm is a disease that affects dogs, causing them to blink excessively. While it may not seem like the most serious of conditions, canine blepharospasm can cause blindness if left untreated.
Some dogs are born with canine blepharospasm, which is characterized by involuntary spasms in the muscles around the eyes. These spasms often cause squinting and excessive blinking.
The good news is that this condition can usually be treated successfully with medication. It’s a condition that affects one in ten dogs, and it can last for years.
It starts with an eye twitch or two, then progresses to blinking or squinting, which worsens until the dog has trouble opening the eyes.
The muscles around the eye become spastic and contract involuntarily. It is best that you contact your vet immediately since your early vet visit makes it easier for both the dog and the vet.
When Should You Take Your Dog To The Vet?
Differentiate: It is very important that you know the difference between a normal blink and a blink which needs attention.
Observe for redness: It is very important that you observe the eyes of your dog to spot any redness
Blinking more than normal: you find your dog blinking more than normal or using its paws to clean its eyes more than a few times.
Precaution: One should always remember that prevention is better than cure and there is no harm in taking your dog to visit the vet which is better than allowing the symptoms increase and worsen.
During the course of this article we have seen that there is a possibility of foreign substances getting into the eye of the dog. If you feel that this cannot be removed and the dog is tearing too much then you must be visiting the vet.
Another symptom that you must not ignore is constant tears which indicate either in infection or some other inconvenience in the dog. Do take time to check the growth of their eyelashes and if any eyelash is triggering the eye.
If you have a dog with a sharp nose or a punch nose then it is important that you pay extra attention to their eyes since they are prone to such conditions.
Dogs blink for many reasons, and it is important to identify the nature of a dog’s blinking before you react.
Look at the circumstances which is very helpful in identifying the cause If your pet blinks excessively or if they have excessive tear production in their eyes, then there could be something medically wrong with them that needs veterinary attention.
However, dogs also blink to imitate human behavior and communicate with humans like acknowledging love from humans. So next time you see your dog start blinking at you lovingly after being scolded, just know that this might be trick to get you feel sorry. Lol.
Why does a dog stare at me without blinking?
Dogs stare without blinking because they are intently looking at something. When a dog is staring, it might be trying to determine if the object in front of them is food or not.
This can also happen when there’s another animal that the dog finds interesting. Dogs have a natural ability to stare without blinking for long periods of time, which is how they are able to track their prey.
They use this same skill when looking at the world around them. This behavior stems from the wild dog’s need to catch food or watch out for danger. The wild dogs’ ancestors were wolves, and these animals also employ this technique in order to hunt down prey by watching it closely before leaping upon it with an attack.
When intently focused on something interesting, most dogs tend not to blink because it could mean missing out on something important happening right in front of them!
It may even be food or it may be your attention. Dogs can stare even when they are bored. You may see them lying on the floor and looking at something with a slightly sad expression.
It’s all about understanding your cute eyed bestie.