Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Is your dog losing its eyesight?

Compared to humans, dogs have superior night vision, and they see things that move better than we do. They see other colors than we do and have a wider field of peripheral vision, but we can focus on things from a longer distance than a dog.

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 ~


  1. Actually, the vet says Katie's eyes are real good still, but her hearing is starting to decline.

    1. I'm glad to hear her eyes are still good. Last time Bonnie went to the vet they warned me that her eyesight might be getting dimmer, but she still appears to see fine. =)