Have you noticed that your dog is suddenly bumping into things and appears to be losing its vision? Or perhaps, you've fallen in love with a puppy at a rescue, but the little one is blind. You'd love to take this pup, but you don't have a clue on how to care for a blind dog. Plus, you're almost certain that a blind canine would have a sad, limited life.
The truth? Blind dogs are often able to live full and active lives. Are you thinking about getting a vision-impaired pup, or do you already own a dog that is losing its sight? Then please see these five common questions about blind dogs.
1. What can I do to create a safe home environment for my blind dog?
A blind dog is a lot like a human toddler. Both are dependent on you to create a safe environment for them in which to live and explore. Remove any dangerous items that your dog could run into, such as sharp branches. Block stairs with baby gates. Try to limit moving the furnishings in your house. Over time, a blind dog will commit the layout of your home to memory. The last thing your pup wants is for you to rearrange the furniture.
2. How do blind dogs navigate if they can't see where they're going?
Dogs rely more heavily on scent than humans to navigate and "see" their world. If your dog is visually impaired, one of the ways that experts recommend helping your dog to travel through your house is to apply unique essential oils or other scents to obstacles that might get in your pet's way or to important areas of your home, such as the doors. You can also help a blind dog navigate by touch. For example, you could strategically lay hallway runners to lead pets to and from rooms. Or you can add small pebbles or mulch along your fence line. That way, your blind canine will know where to stop before running into your fence.
3. Why do dogs go blind?
Canines can lose their vision for numerous reasons, including conditions related to old age, injuries and cataracts. Glaucoma, which is a buildup of fluid and pressure in your canine's eye, is another reason why a dog may go blind. In fact, 40% of dogs who are affected with glaucoma may lose sight in their affected eye(s) within the first year after diagnosis.
4. Why do my dog's eyes appear cloudy?
There are several reasons why your dog's eyes may appear cloudy, but the two main ones are nuclear sclerosis and cataracts. If your dog is middle aged or older, it may develop a condition called nuclear sclerosis, which is a hardening of the center (nucleus) of the eye. This is a normal change in a dog's eyes that is associated with aging. Fortunately, most dogs with nuclear sclerosis are still able to see.
The second reason is cataracts, which is a permanent opacity or a cloudy spot in the lens of the eye. Cataracts can range in size from tiny to so large that they can completely obscure your canine's vision. If you suspect your pet has cataracts, take it to the veterinarian immediately. Smaller, or immature, cataracts can be treated with an anti-inflammatory cataract eye drop.
5. Does diabetes cause blindness in dogs?
Unfortunately, the majority of dogs with diabetes will develop cataracts, which can also lead to blindness. In fact, 80% of diabetic dogs will develop this condition within 16 months of diagnosis.
Owning a blind dog can be extremely rewarding. It will inspire you each day as your four-legged pal overcomes hurdle after hurdle in the dark. With time and patience, a blind dog should also be able to navigate your home as well as a sighted one. You may even forget on occasion that your precious friend has lost its vision.