As your dog ages, there are many conditions he may develop as a result of getting older, like arthritis, hearing loss, or even blindness. Vision loss can occur for many reasons such as birth defects, illness, or injury, not just age. However, if your dog develops blindness later on in life, you will both need to adjust to this new situation. Just like in people, dogs that are healthy aside from blindness, can live happy, normal lives. Their remaining senses can help them adapt to their surroundings and you can play an important role in helping them navigate their way. You can use the following tips to adjust to living with your blind dog and make his surroundings stress free.
1. Speak in a normal, cheery voice
Your voice can be soothing for your pet. Be sure to talk to your dog in a normal, cheery voice and let him know when you’re approaching and before you touch him. It’s important to talk to your blind dog often to let him know you are there. Walking towards him, he should also be able to feel the vibrations that you are coming over. You and your family members can also wear small bells while in your home to help alert your dog and let him keep track of your whereabouts.
2. Don’t change furniture around
Changing the location of your furniture will make it much more difficult for your dog to find his way around your home. It’s also important to keep your floor clear of objects. If your dog is bumping into things or tripping over items on the floor, chances are he will become scared and disoriented. Cushioning sharp corners throughout your home, like cabinets, or door facings, will also prevent your dog from any unexpected accidents.
3. Use a short leash
When taking your blind dog for a walk it’s a good idea to use a harness with a short leash. This will give you much more control over your dog and he will feel more secure because he can feel where you are. In-ground pools, ponds, and other hazardous areas outside your home should be fenced off to protect your blind dog.
4. Alert others that your dog is blind
When taking your blind dog out in public, he should wear a bandana or safety vests that says “I’m blind” to keep strangers aware of his condition. You can also get an identification tag for his collar that says “I’m blind.” If your dog will be visiting a kennel or veterinary clinic, you should make a sign for his cage that explains his condition. Be sure to inform visitors to let your dog sniff their hand before petting him, so that he has time to get familiar with their presence and he is not startled.
5. Create a base camp
It’s beneficial to create an area that is your dog’s alone and where he can go to reorient himself if he feels lost. This area can have his crate, his bed, and food bowl. A large plastic mat for your dog’s food and water can help him identify his location. He will feel the mat and know where he is. His base camp area is a good place to have a unique scent to help your dog identify the area too. If your dog sleeps in a crate be sure to tie the door open to prevent your dog from running into the door or accidentally closing the door and not being able to get it back open. Drinking fountains also work well for blind dogs because the bubbling sounds of the water fountain helps them locate their water source and their base camp area.
As you can see, there are many ways to help acclimate to his new situation without vision. There is no reason you can’t help your dog live a healthy and rewarding life, even if he can’t see. By using these practical tips your dog should be able to get around easier and become stress free. As your dog ages, you can be prepared to adapt and support him through all of life’s changes. Do you want to learn more about helping your dog age gracefully? We can help. Download our free eBook by clicking the image below.