When discussing loss of eyesight in a dog, it is important to know that humans are more dependent on their eyes than dogs are.
There are many reasons a dog might lose all or some of its eyesight. Normal aging, injury, untreated eye infections, and disease can cause vision problems and even blindness, just like in humans. The big difference is that a dog can't tell us what's going on.
No pet owner wants to think about their beloved pup losing vision or hearing, but it might still happen, and if it does, we can help the dog adjust.
How do you know if your dog's eyes are failing?
Different dogs react in different ways, but here are some signs to look for:
- Difficulty finding things
- Startle easy or appear jittery
- Appear clumsy and bump into furniture, or trip
Take your dog to the vet and have its eyes checked out.
Ideas on helping your dog adapt
Look over your home and yard and remove anything that can be dangerous to a blind dog. Close off areas like stairs and swimming pools
Keep things in their place. Avoid moving furniture around, and keep all the dog's things in the same place so he or she can find them.
If you use hand signals, you need to phase them out and transition into verbal commands. For example, many teach their dogs that a downwards movement with open hand means "lie down." Start using the verbal command with the hand signal, and gradually move over to verbal command only. Clicker training works great for many blind dogs.
It is also a good idea to stimulate the dog's other senses. There are, for example, toys and balls with scent, so a blind dog can find them.
Have you had a dog who lost eyesight? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments!
~ Maria Sadowski ~