Have you noticed your pup is a little clumsier than usual? Bumping into walls and tripping over her toys? Is she suddenly more apprehensive about going new places? Or, less interested in venturing out at night?
While there are many causes of blindness in dogs, by far the most common is due to the natural aging process. It can be heartbreaking for a pup parent to discover their fur-kid is losing his/her sight, however, the truth is that our dogs deal with the loss surprisingly well. The realization may be news to us, but they’ve most likely been adapting for months or years.
There’s a few things you can do though, to make their transition much easier.
1. Keep your furniture where it is
The easiest thing you can do for a pup who’s losing their vision is to keep their surroundings consistent. Now is not the time to go rearranging your furniture. Keep their dog bowls and beds in the same spot they have always been. Ask your family and friends try their best to put things back as they found them. Remember to close all cabinet/closet doors and drawers and return chairs to their original positions.
2. Remove all harmful objects that may be within reach
Make life a little easier for your best buddy by removing all dangerous objects out of their way. It will take him time to learn how to navigate his domain with diminished vision. You want the transition to go as smoothly as possible so he maintains his confidence! Keep things off the floor, and secure all wires.
3. Gate off any dangerous areas
Safety is key! Keep your pup safe by gating off dangerous areas such as swimming pools and staircases.
4. Stick with a few familiar places
Going on walks and out for car rides may become a little more intimidating as vision loss progresses. If your dog seems anxious about losing her eyesight, help build up her confidence by sticking to a few familiar locations initially. As she learns her way around each one and can move about with more confidence, slowly add on new destinations one by one.
5. Master training commands
Limit your pup’s off-leash time until you’re certain he has mastered his safety commands.
6. Engage their other senses for play
As early on as you can, begin engaging their other senses for training commands and play. Use verbal commands and clickers for training on new skills. Look for scented toys at your local toy store and then send your pup on search and find missions for play.
7. Touch and talk to your pet more
Possibly the most important thing you can do for a pet who’s losing their vision, is to comfort them often using your voice and touch. After all, it’s your #1 job as their owner to make sure they know that they feel safe and know that everything will be OK. You’ve got their back. You might think that they know this already but, it won’t hurt to remind them a little more frequently while they’re getting used to a whole new way of navigating their universe.