I am about to adopt my very first deaf dog and I am working to prepare my house for the new family member.

I've read Living With Deaf Dogs by Susan C. Becker, The Complete Guide to Owning a Deaf Dog: A Practical Guide to Adapting, Training, and Thriving As a Deafie Owner by Amanda Brahlek, and Deaf Dog: A Guide for Enriching Your Deaf Dog's Life by Christi Bender.

I know that I should acquire some nightlights since most of those resources recommend them. (The advice given is that, since your deaf dog cannot hear and relies more on their sight, it's important to not leave them in total darkness.) Additionally, I know that bright, flashing lights are like yelling for the deaf and hard-of-hearing (you see them used in place of audio alarms in doorbells and the like.)

With that in mind, is it safe to pick up a few "aesthetic" lights that softly cycle or should I opt for more simple white lights with no fancy effects?

  • Would a deaf dog really rely more on sight? Can you give some references for that (I mean ones I can get to without buying the books, I'm sure you're right, I'd just like to learn more)? It seems like a very odd claim given how poor dog eysight tends to be and how much more important their sense of smell is. I would have guessed that sight would be slightly more important for a deaf dog, but still mostly irrelevant.
    – terdon
    Oct 28, 2021 at 15:35
  • Sure thing! It appears here in one of Deaf Dogs Rock's tips: deafdogsrock.com/15-ddr-life-hacks-for-deaf-dog-families My understanding is that, with their poor sight and no back-up from their ears, deaf dogs can be more scared of shadows and odd lights. Oct 28, 2021 at 17:10

1 Answer 1


As far as I understand the matter, the color of the light doesn't matter. Dogs are very social creatures and like to know they're not alone, even at night. Since a deaf dog cannot hear you at night, they might want to look at the lump in the bed that indicates your presence.

Physiologically and biologically the sense of sight is created by 2 types of cells in the eye. Rod cells perceive any light in the visible spectrum and signal us the brightness of the light, whereas cone cells only perceive a certain wave length of light and signal us the color of the light. Dogs only have 2 types of cone cells and can only distinguish between shades of yellow and blue, so they are colorblind to the rest of colors (Source: Pet MD). The rod cells of your dog can perceive the light of any nightlight you choose and your dog will be able to see something.

However, you should consider how the light affects you. Light in the blue spectrum is known to inhibit the production of sleep hormones, even if your eyes are closed. Nightlights for children are usually a muted warm light with more red than blue.

From "Blue light has a dark side" by Harvard Health Publishing:

Exposure to light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms. Even dim light can interfere with a person's circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion. A mere eight lux—a level of brightness exceeded by most table lamps and about twice that of a night light—has an effect, notes Stephen Lockley, a Harvard sleep researcher. Light at night is part of the reason so many people don't get enough sleep, says Lockley, and researchers have linked short sleep to increased risk for depression, as well as diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

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