There are many health conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma and cancer, that can lead to blindness in dogs. Sometimes the loss of sight will be gradual and, in these instances, you have time to adjust to your dog's disability, prepare your home and translate any visual commands into verbal ones. However, blindness can occur suddenly, which may be more difficult to cope with.
How Dogs Adapt to Blindness
For a dog, blindness is usually adapted to quite quickly. Unlike us, dogs do not depend predominantly on sight, their wonderful senses of smell and hearing allow them to compensate for loss of sight. In fact, many owners are surprised by how quickly their dogs adjust to sudden blindness.
That said, there are a number of things that owners should bear in mind when living with a blind dog. Whether your dog has lost his, or her, sight or you are considering adopting a blind dog, you can make the life of that pet easier and safer with the following tips.
Tips for Living with a Blind Dog
When it comes to the home, there are safety issues that should be borne in mind. Some owners find that it is helpful to toddler-proof their homes for blind pets. In other words, any items that can cause injury or danger (such as knives and electrical cables) should be kept out of the dog's reach. In addition, swimming pools and other hazardous areas should be kept fenced off to avoid accidents.
As well as safety, you should consider your dog's comfort and ease of mobility. He, or she, will not appreciate sudden moves of furniture for example. It is always advisable to keep your dog's food and water bowls in the same place and it can be helpful to have a rigid daily routine, as this will help the dog feel secure.
If your dog has suddenly developed blindness, it can be tempting to help your canine companion by bringing food to him, or her, etc. However, you should try to avoid coddling your dog, because he, or she, will not want to become dependant upon your assistance and will not be able to adapt to a life without sight as quickly as he, or she, otherwise would.
However, if you are concerned that your dog is not adjusting well to the disability there is always the option of a guide dog. Just like guide dogs for humans, a guide dog for dogs is able to lead his, or her, companion.
How to Care for a Blind Dog Outside the House
Just because your dog is no longer able to see, does not mean that he, or she, will not enjoy the great outdoors. New smells and sounds will enrich your pet's life, so it is important to maintain outdoor activity. However, it is crucial to keep your dog on a leash, as sudden sounds or smells may frighten your dog and cause it to run.
Even when in your own yard or garden, it is wise to keep a close eye on your dog to ensure that he, or she, is safe. Additionally, as with inside the home, it is wise to keep all garden furniture and kids' toys in an orderly fashion.
In cases of dog blindness, our pets are often very resilient and adaptable. However, by keeping the above tips in mind, you will make the adjustment period much easier for your dog.
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