Help your vision-impaired pet live their best life and give them the care they need. Luckily there are a few changes you make to help your blind dog or cat adjust to their new life. will A pet’s changing eyesight is a big adjustment for both them and you, here are a few simple tips to help ease the adjustment to a life without sight.
Create a Safe Environment
A pet dealing with sudden vision loss, or a change in eyesight is scared and confused. Since they don’t know how to make sense of what’s happening to them, they need help. Unable to understand what is happening, they need a pet parent’s help to adjust to their new world. There is no doubt that your dog’s vision loss will impact your dog’s life, it’s your job to help them adjust.
Help Your Pet Map Their Home
Help them to map their home and relearn where everything is located. Start with a small room in your house, preferably a room they’re already familiar with. Walk them around, make sure they know where their bed, food, water, and favorite toys are located. As they gain confidence and can navigate the room on their own, open up another room to them. Take things slowly, introduce them to one new room at a time. Every new change is disorienting for blind pets.
Tip: This goes for the outside too! Newly blind dogs and cats should be leash walked for their safety as they map the outside.
Provide Blind Pets With a Clear Path
Nothing is more important than the safety of your pet. Before giving them access to a new space, get down on their level and look for potential dangers. Are there sharp corners they could bump into? Is the floor clean or is there anything that could cause them to trip? Block off any stairways and make sure there are no clear obstacles in their path.
Maintain a Consistent Routine
Once your dog or cat has learned where everything is, never move them. Furniture should not be rearranged. And you should always keep their food and water in the same place. Once something is moved or a new item is introduced into a room your blind pet has to relearn their space.
Tip: Some blind pet owners will switch their dog’s standard water bowl out for a fountain-style bowl that sounds like running water.
Utilize a Blind Dog’s Other Senses
Luckily, a dog’s eyesight isn’t their primary sense they rely on. And in a blind pet their other senses will become heightened. Use this to keep them stimulated and help them adjust to a life without vision.
Tip: Think about the different flooring textures in your house. The change from carpet, to tile or hardwood may help your blind pet navigate your home.
Playtime with a Blind Dog
Pets who lose their vision can become depressed and feel isolated. Keeping them active and engaged will prevent depression and ease the adjustment into a life without sight. Think about the toys they use. Select toys with sound, squeaky toys, bells, and other toys that make noise. Also, scent can help make playtime more fun. Select dog toys that can be filled with treats or rub scents or smelly treats on toys will make them easier to find.
Communicating with a Blind Dog
Avoid startling your pet. You need to find new ways to communicate with your recently blind dog and let them know where you are and how to find you. Pet’s just beginning to lose their vision, may be able to sense light and shadow. Turning lights on when you enter a room may alert them to your presence.
Dog’s that have previously learned hand signals will now need to learn to follow verbal and touch commands. Even a light touch and talking to your dog may be enough to let them know you’re near. If you have other pets in the house, consider attaching a bell to their collars, so that your vision-impaired pet can still play and interact with them.
Blind Dog Halo
The biggest change you can make in a blind pet’s life is to give them back their independence. Wearing a mobility aid like the Blind Dog Halo can help a dog regain their confidence. The halo encircles a dog’s head to create a barrier between them and any obstacles. Alerting the dog to any nearby walls, corners, or furniture that may be nearby. The halo helps blind pets comfortably explore their surroundings and move around their house safely.