Just like humans sometimes do as they age, dogs can also lose their eyesight to one of several different conditions.
Sometimes you can have it reversed – just reach out to a Toronto veterinary surgery clinic.
Sometimes, though, it can’t be fixed. However, your pup WILL adjust to their life with diminishing eyesight.
This isn’t a terribly pleasant subject to think about for dog owners, but it’s an unfortunate fact of life. Being prepared for such an event can sometimes help ease the transition.
Signs Your Dog Is Starting To Lose Their Vision
It may be time to go visit the canine ophthalmologist if you notice one of the following signs:
• Difficulty finding toys
• Getting startled easily
• Increasing clumsiness
• Reduced energy levels
• Eye pain
• Cloudiness or red blood vessels in their eyes
How To Care For Your Blind Dog
Although your dog will lean the new skills they need to survive in their darkened world, there are many things you can do to help them feel more comfortable and adapt more pleasantly.
1. Make Sure Others Know Your Dog Is Blind
Like people, dogs don’t like being startled, which can happen easily if someone suddenly touches them who they weren’t aware was there.
One good way of helping this problem is to get them a t-shirt or sweater that says “I’m blind” on it, so people understand to be careful.
In case your dog gets out or gets lost, also consider getting a collar that says “I’m blind,” or at least a tag.
2. Don’t Rearrange Your Dog’s Things
Dogs will remember where their stuff is, such as toys, food bowls and beds. If you move those, it will disorient them and make them uncertain of their surroundings.
Especially their food and water bowls should never be touched, which helps your pet orient themselves through the smell of it.
3. Don’t Rearrange Your Things Either
As well, don’t start moving your people furniture around, because your pet will be completely thrown off by a new decor layout.
They may even injure themselves walking into something that wasn’t there yesterday.
4. Set Up A Safe Zone
For a blind pet, a safe zone might include gates at the top of staircases, or limiting them from areas they may find difficult to navigate.
Create a safe zone, as well, through the use of carpeting and rugs – having runners can help them stay in the middle of the hallway, and having a different rug texture in each room helps them understand where they are.
5. Play With Your Dog Using Scent Or Sound
The best kinds of toys for blind pets would definitely be squeaky toys or other ones that make noises when they are thrown or chewed on.
Alternately, you can still play fetch with your dog, but you will have to use some sort of scent for them to sniff and chase down after you’ve thrown the toy.
If you want to use something natural like an essential oil, proceed with caution, as some essential oils are actually poisonous to dogs, including cinnamon, tea tree, any citrus, ylang ylang, peppermint, and many others. And even those that aren’t actively poisonous can end up stressing your dog out further as a result of the strong scent (don’t forget their noses are stronger than ours)
Dogs love to play, even with disabilities such as blindness – you just have to ensure they have a place to play that they can feel safe in, and make a few small modifications.
6. Talk To Your Dog
You’ll have to be a lot more talkative with a blind pet, because your voice is how they’ll locate you.
If you talk as you walk up to them, it helps them gauge your distance from them, and when they can expect to be touched.
As well, it helps prevent loneliness.
7. Have Ambient Noise In The Background
Another way to ensure your puppy doesn’t get lonely when you’re gone is to have ambient noise in the background.
Something such as the radio, or even music playing softly in one area of the house helps a blind pet to orient themselves in relation to that room, helping them to move around.
8. Keep The Floor Clear And Safe
Tripping hazards can cause your pet to be reticent to roam, so try your best to keep laundry off the floor, shoes put away and other items off to one side.
Pets can easily get caught up and injure themselves if they aren’t able to see the hazard.
9. Take Your Dog On A Tour Of New Places
A great way to introduce a newly-blind or new and blind puppy to your home is to take them for a walk around while still leashed.
Through their leash, your dog will trust you and follow; it will inadvertently learn the routes around the house for when they are unleashed.
If you need to, start with a small route, and add to it every few days by introducing a new room for them to learn and explore safely.
10. Dog-Proof Your Home
This one is a good one to do on your hands and knees, so you can see all the sharp corners, tripping hazards and protrusions that might injure your pet.
Another idea is to get a water dish that has continually-running water, so they can hear where it is.
Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital
If your pup is aging and you feel like they may be losing their vision, you can always book a veterinary ophthalmologist – it’s possible to treat conditions such as cataracts or glaucoma with either meds or surgery.
Nevertheless, to help you prepare for the road ahead, and help your pet adjust to their adjusted life, we recommend you contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital and set up an appointment to speak with a vet.
We’ll be able to help you think of what you need to do next, and make sure your pet can continue living a healthy and happy life despite their blindness.
Bickford Park Animal Hospital is a veterinary clinic in Toronto, located across from Christie Pits park, committed to the highest level of caring and treatment for cats and dogs.