While they may not see, blind dogs can play, run around and give just as much love as any other dog. Caring for a blind dog isn’t that different from caring for a sighted dog, but there are a few things you can do to make sure they are as safe and comfortable as possible.
Blindness in dogs can come on gradually or completely out of the blue, depending on the cause. Either way, learning that your dog is suffering from vision loss can be heartbreaking. If you’ve stumbled upon this article, the odds are your mind is swirling with questions about what this means for your dog’s quality of life and you as a caretaker.
Suppose you are thinking of adopting a dog or a blind puppy that has experienced vision loss or impairment, or the dog you already have at home has an accident or condition that has led to some form of blindness. In that case, it’s important to understand how the care you provide your pet will need to change.
Read on to learn more about how to spot the early signs of blindness and what you can do to help your pup cope with their new impairment and know how to care for a blind dog.
Make Sure Your House Is Dog-Safe
Life at a dog’s height can come with many hazards, especially when they can’t see them. Make sure any sharp edges and corners have protectors on them and that anything they might bump into won’t cause any harm. Look out for anything your blind dog might accidentally fall from or into, and it’s a good idea to use baby gates at the top of any stairs while they get used to where they are or learn to use them.
Don’t Move Their Food And Water.
Consistency is very important for a blind dog. Once they have learned where things are, like their food and water, they will find them easier to return to on their own. Keeping things as familiar as possible will help them get to grips with the layout of their environment and learn their way around.
Talk To Your Dog
Without their vision, your dog’s other senses, like their hearing and sense of smell, are even more heightened. Talking to your blind dog will reassure them and help them understand where you are concerning them. It would help if you always talked to your dog before touching them to let them know you’re there and make sure you don’t scare or startle them to care for a blind dog.
Use Scents During Playtime
Blind dogs need walks and playtime just like any other dog going blind, but they may need a bit of help finding and chasing things. Try rubbing strong-smelling food or treats on their toys before you throw them to help them sniff them out. Always play in a safe, open area and give your blind dog a chance to explore the area with you first before you start.
Add Some Recognisable Features To different Rooms.
Adding different distinctive items your dog might interact with, such as a textured rug, can help them recognize which room they’re in as they move around the house to care for a blind dog.
Create A Comfy Space Where Your Dog Can Retreat
Every animal needs their own space from time to time, but it’s especially easy for a blind dog’s eye to become overwhelmed. Create a safe, cozy space that your dog can call their own when they need some time out. A soft padded dog bed should work, and you could try adding familiar-smelling blankets to make it even more appealing.
Teach Your Dog Commands To Keep Them Safe
Training blind dogs with your care is a constructive way to keep them active. With a blind dog, it’s even more important to teach them commands to help keep them safe. Commands that let your dog know about obstacles, such as “Step up” or “Step down,” or even “Danger,” can help you to help them navigate the world. “Left,” “Right,” and “Stop” are useful commands for blind dogs to recognize both inside and outside.
Blind dogs see with their hearts. We’ve all heard it, but what does it mean? I look at my newest foster — a frightened and completely blind senior Yorkshire Terrier mix from one of the busiest shelters in the country. As I gently wash away the physical and emotional scars from his body and mind, a process which may never completely end, I do not doubt that he sees me just as clearly, maybe more so than any sighted dog. He may not see my face, but he can read my heart.
What are some myths about blind dogs, and what’s the real story?
The story is blind dogs do not require extraordinary amounts of care, nor are they difficult to take care of unless there is a medical or behavioral issue separate from their blindness. They likely require no more attention to detail than a sighted dog.