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How to Care For a Blind Dog

How to Care For a Blind Dog

Sharing your home with a blind dog may be less worrying, and more rewarding than you think. In fact, blind dogs can be some of the most obedient and affectionate canine companions around.

There are several conditions that can lead to blindness in dogs. Birth defects, injury, illness and age can all cause or contribute to loss of sight. The good news is, dogs live very much in the here and now, and their remaining senses will more than make up for any loss of vision.

Whether your dog was born blind, has gone blind later in life, or is in the process of losing his sight, these top ten tips will help ensure your pooch leads a happy and comfortable life:

1. Scatter Kibble – When introducing your blind dog to a new space try scattering kibble throughout the area. The dog will search for the kibble but as he is using his nose and moving slowly, he will learn the layout of the space without running into as many objects.

2. A Sighted Buddy – Having a sighted buddy that your blind dog can use as a guide is incredibly helpful. A seeing canine companion will help show them the ropes and if you have the helper dog wear a jingling tag or bell, the blind dog will hear when she is nearby or approaching.

3. Use Texture – Textures are an effective tool for helping your blind dog distinguish objects and generally get around. For example, if you place a mat under the food bowl, when he feels the texture change he’ll know what to expect next.

4. Establish Routines – Establish a daily schedule with routines so your blind dog knows what is about to happen. This means keeping meal times, play times and walk times as consistent as possible. It is also important to keep everyday objects like food and water bowls in the same place.

5. Dog’s Eye View – To make sure there are no sharp objects that your dog can bump into, get down on your hands and knees and look out for anything that could be a potential hazard. Table edges, cabinets, door facings — cushion anything that he may run into while he adjusts to his setting.

6. Stair Gates - To prevent your dog from tumbling down the stairs, install a stair gate. Stairs and steps are scary for a blind dog and disorientation can cause them to slip and fall. If he needs to go up (or down), always carry him.

7. Verbal Cues – Be sure to use verbal cues throughout the day to reassure your dog and help him feel more connected to your daily interactions. Short directional words such as sit, down, stay, come, walk, and dinner will act as the perfect guide.

8. Use Scents – Use scents to map out locations or forbidden areas in and around your home. For example, you can use a specific scent to cue your dog to avoid ledges or to make them aware of an important place in the room. These same scents can then be used to comfort him when he is in an unknown environment.

9. Be Affectionate – Sighted dogs will look at your face for affection, but blind dogs can’t. Liberal touching, petting, cuddling and rubbing are their only signs that you are affectionate towards them.

10. Build Confidence – To help build your dog’s confidence ,make sure you talk to him often. By always encouraging him with positive reinforcement, he will feel like he can still do things for himself.

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4:50AM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

And for a blind anteater?

4:43AM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

We had a Cocker Spaniel who went blind at 2 years old. The breeder inbred her dogs and our pup was the result. Anyway, - she knew the layout of the house and got around pretty well. Now, if we had people over, she got a little confused until we touched her and showed her where she was.
When she got older, she would lean against us all the time. I guess to make sure we were there. She's gone over the Rainbow Bridge now, and I miss her every day!!

3:06PM PDT on Jul 21, 2014

Great Ideas.I think once the dog is trained he would be a great service dog for Me.

4:03AM PDT on Jul 19, 2014

great to know!thanks!

9:21PM PDT on Jun 13, 2014

Very informative. Some of these things I never would have thought of.

3:46PM PDT on Jun 8, 2014

Some good info, thank you.

2:59PM PDT on Jun 7, 2014

I've read stories where there's another sighted dog or cat that will take them under their wing and guide them. They still need lots of love and affection as all cats and dogs do.

2:09PM PDT on Jun 7, 2014

Great article. With help, animals are amazing at adapting with their handicaps. They're amazing creatures.

1:46PM PDT on Jun 7, 2014

thanks for this wonderful article. Blind dogs are just as loving and lovable as any other dog or other pet. Just because they can't see, shouldn't make them any different than anything else. :) :)

6:58AM PDT on Jun 7, 2014

Anche il nostro cane è stato cieco per circa un anno, ha vissuto più amato che mai.

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