We want our dogs to enjoy the toys we buy for them, and part of that enjoyment is based on their visual affinity for it, meaning the toy’s color and shape. Dogs can see shapes just as well as we can, but colors are a different story
How Dogs See Color
Since we know that dogs are colorblind, we think of them as only being able to see black, white, and variations of gray, but in reality, they can see certain colors. Humans have more cones than dogs, so our color spectrum is wider than theirs. The cones in our eyes allow us to see variations of red, green, blue, and yellow, but dogs only have the cones that allow them to see variations of blue and yellow, leaving them with a red-green color blindness.
As such, when choosing a new toy for your dog, get one with a color that they can see and differentiate from other environmental factors, like grass, for example. It’s better to choose the colors that they can see, so they can find the toys easier and enjoy them more.
Which Colors Are Best for Dog Toys, Then?
Toys for Outside
If you’ll be playing outside, opt for a blue toy. Since dogs have a hard time seeing reds and greens, a blue ball will stand out more for them because the colors will be different. Reds and greens come across as a yellowish-gray color to dogs, and blues, yellows, and purples are more of a range of blue colors.
Toys for Inside
Indoor toys have more wiggle room as to what color they can be, because it depends on the carpet or flooring in your house as to how well your dog can see them. If your carpets are purple and you choose a purple toy, your dog will have a hard time seeing the toy over the carpet, so choose multi-colored toys or toys with contrasting colors to the décor in your house.
Other Factors to Consider
Because dogs don’t have a wide range of color, other elements are important as to whether a dog will enjoy a toy. Smell plays a huge role in a dog’s enjoyment. It also helps them find the toy if they can’t see it very well. A dog can smell themselves on it or their owner’s scent. Smells can be masked if you’re in a public or outdoor setting, though, as there are many smells to compete with. Sounds also play a role in your dog’s enjoyment of a toy. Squeakers or other noises help them find toys or be able to differentiate one from another if they look alike.
Although color does play a role in how a dog enjoys their toy, there are other factors that affect their enjoyment as well. Just remember that dogs don’t see color the same way we do, and considering a toy within the environment where they’ll be playing with it can help you choose the color that will work best for your dog.
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.