How to care for your blind dog
Discovering that a dog is blind can be one of the most devastating experiences for a pet owner. If you are such a person there are definitely so many questions running through your mind.
From wondering whether the dog is truly blind to fretting about what steps to take, worries kick in from the moment you see something unusual with your dog.
Below is a complete blind dog guide with steps of how you will deal with your pet in such a situation.
The good news is that most dogs are good at adapting to blindness. So, read on to know whether your dog is blind for real, and how to provide care if that’s the case.
Is your dog blind?
You will be surprised how many dogs are blind and still living a full happy life. Some of these dogs have been born without sight. Others have gradually lost their ability to see due to different diseases.
One common disease that affects dogs is Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) that mostly attacks collie breeds and some spaniels. Another thing that might have caused your dog’s blindness is diabetic cataracts that impede vision.
Here is how to know if your dog is blind in the first place:
1. Focus on your dog’s eyesight- A dog that is slowly becoming blind will ironically adapt very fast to this handicap. It can be difficult for an owner to realize that the dog is losing its sight. One way to know is if the dog bumps into things especially after you re-arrange the house. Also, if you happen to change your regular walk and the dog refuses to move, that should alert you that something is amiss.
2. Search for definite signs- A blind dog will usually give its owners some signs that show it has eyesight problems. Some of these signs are like having a hard time locating objects (a lot of sniffing instead of instant locating by sight), seeming lost in unfamiliar surroundings, clumsiness (falling down a staircase), and dilated pupils.
3. Consult a vet- If you are not sure whether your dog is okay or not, one logical thing to do is to visit a professional who will access your pet. A veterinarian will give you definite answers about the problem with your dog. Keep in mind that PRA has no cure.
Now that you have confirmed that indeed your dog is facing vision impairments, the next step you should take is to ensure that it is comfortable.
A bling dog’s environment
The truth is that your dog will prefer spending a lot of time in the familiar surroundings of the home once it is facing difficulties seeing.
Here are steps that you should take to ensure that your dog lives a convenient life at home despite being blind:
a) Get rid of exposed hazards. Go through your house with the eye view of a dog and identify things that might injure it as it moves about. This includes making use of safety devices around sharp edges and risky areas.
b) Avoid radical makeovers. Once your dog is blind, changing the entire set of your house would definitely be a bad idea. This is because a blind dog uses the memory of a familiar layout to move up and about.
c) Tidiness is paramount. Just as a human being has a high chance of tripping in an untidy environment, the same applies to dogs. It is important to ensure that your house is neat. A dog destitute of vision might lose its self-confidence after falling, causing it to avoid a lot of movement.
d) Try not to startle your dog. A dog that cannot see will easily snap because of fear since it won’t see you coming. All parties around such a dog should adapt to talking to it, whether approaching or moving around, to alert it to movements.
Assisting in your dog’s navigation
Even though blind dogs might easily adapt to their environment, you can also assist it in moving about to quicken the adaptation.
Here are some things to do to help your dog learn how to move about once it is blind.
• Make use of auditory makers. Use different sounds for different areas. An example is to place radios tuned to different channels in different rooms. This helps the dog to orient itself easily by using the various sounds. Remember to have the radios on low volume.
• Mark other pets. If you are an owner keeping more than one pet, it is advisable to dress the other pet with something like a bell to avoid them startling your blind dog.
• Identify areas using different rugs. This will ensure that your dog knows the room it is entering and its precise location within your house.
Training a blind dog
Once a dog goes blind, its training routines have to change. You cannot use hand signals as is normal with sighted dogs. Here are ways to train an unsighted dog.
a. Use a leash when outdoors. This ensures that you control your dog when the two of you are moving together.
b. Having more one-to-one sessions when training is massively beneficial. Your voice and your presence will ensure that your dog learns to obey you when outdoors thus enabling you to effectively keep it out if trouble.
c. Adopt clicker training. Sounds made from instruments like clickers or whistles are very penetrating to a dog’s ears. In case of a busy environment like an overcrowded park, your blind dog is able to locate you by identifying with such specific noises.
d. Dog Bumper. If you find that your dog is bumping into things, you may want to purchase Muffin’s Halo (use coupon code Molly10 to get 10% off) I highly recommend this as this is great for helping your dog not get head injuries. I actually purchased one of these for my blind do Molly and it has changed her life.
Important points to note
*An unsighted dog is liable to attacks from other dogs. Be ready for early intervention if such cases occur.
* When traveling with your blind dog, it is likely that as sharp bend will throw it off balance. Use verbal cues with your dog to help it know when to be firm on its seat.
*A sighted dog likes to play; an unsighted dog loves to play. Spare adequate time to play.
Although living with a blind dog can be challenging, it can also be a very rewarding experience at the same time. If your dog is blind or currently developing blindness, you can help him live a happy and comfortable life. Just remember that a blind dog sees with their heart and as such, it can still leave a normal life with your help.