Suddenly, one day last month, my little guy developed glaucoma in one eye. It had been growing but there was no warning. Even though I got him to a eye specialist in hours, he went blind almost immediately. However, he has not changed. He plays, barks, runs and eats like there is nothing wrong. I did find some tips to living with a blind dog on The Spruce.com and though I may share a couple with you. Besides the obvious such as keeping food and waters bowls in the same spot and not moving furniture these tips are useful.
- Keep stairs and other dangerous areas blocked off with baby gates or other barricades to prevent falls, especially until your dog gets the lay of the land.
- Place different textures of rugs and mats in front of steps, bowls, and other obstacles to alert your dog.
- It can take a little while for your recently blind dog to get used to stairs again. Help him by putting him on a leash and walking by his side on the stairs. Use your voice to guide him.
Consider special equipment to help your blind dog, like a “bumper” to protect his face and alert him to obstacles. You can build your own blind dog hoop harness (as demonstrated on HandicappedPets.com) or you can purchase something like Muffin’s Halo Guide for Blind Dogs.
- Take walks in familiar areas when possible. Stick to evenly-paved sidewalks and trails without rough terrain. Don’t let your dog get too far ahead of you on walks. Teach loose-leash walking and try to keep your dog by your side using sounds. Go slowly in unfamiliar areas, especially if there are steps up or down. The “wait” command can be a big help if your dog is approaching an obstacle. Also, consider teaching your dog words like “step up” and “step down” to alert him.
- Use verbal cues to guide your dog. Teach your dog as many basic commands as possible.
- Alert others to approach your dog slowly and to greet your dog with speech. Make sure they let your dog get a good sniff and only touch if your dog is receptive. Consider teaching your dog a phrase like “say hi” to let him know there is a person approaching.
- Don’t forget to play! Just because your dog is blind, it doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy fun games and toys. Fetch may not be a good option, but games like tug-of-war are great. Choose dog toys that make noise or dispense treats for extra fun.
- Be patient. Be consistent. Keep it positive. The adjustment period for a recently blind dog may be shot or long depending on your dog. Don’t worry, you will get there!