Living with a blind dog can be challenging. If the dog was born with that handicap it can be a bit easier but if the blindness was caused by a common eye disease or trauma, it might take a while for the dog to learn to trust his other senses. Regardless, your buddy will have to rely greatly on you. But don’t despair. You can help him live a perfectly healthy, long and normal life and, in the meanwhile, you will be creating a bond stronger than anything you might have imagined.
Baby-proof your house
Get to your dog’s eye level, picture a baby and try to spot any hazards around your house
Use edge and corner protectors anywhere he might bump and injure himself. Consider removing some furniture or decorations so the path is clear and the dog can move more freely.
Baby gates might also be required to block stairwells, as a blind dog won’t be able to tell by scent changes to the floor.
Provide location cues
You can use different air fresheners or essential oils in each room so the dog can tell where he is by scent.
To help him out with his specific location you can also insert other clues such as rugs with different textures. Then he will be able to tell exactly where he is or where he is heading to.
If you don’t want to cover your floors with rugs, consider at least to make a path to his food and water bowls so he can locate them easily.
Use word cues
Cues are extremely important when it comes to a blind dog. That is the only way you have to communicate with him without having to physically touch him. Things like “watch out” or “stay” should be your priority to warn them of any danger.
You will need to rely on cues and touch to teach them exactly what you mean, but other than that, it will be like teaching a regular dog.
Talk to him
Since a blind dog can’t see you, the only way for him to understand you and your moods is through language. Keep talking to him to provide company in his dark world. Your bond will be naturally reinforced by this too.
Your intonation will also work as a cue for the dog to assess what is going on around him.
Tell other people
Let everyone know about your dog’s handicap and consider letting him use a vest or a bandana with that information when you take him out too.
People will be less likely to approach your buddy without making their presence noticed first. If not, he might get startled and become anxious, try to run away in fear or, worst case scenario, attack the person.
Play with scents
Your dog may be blind, but he will likely enjoy fetching balls and frisbees as much as any other canine.
Since he can’t see your movements or to where you make your throw, the key is to use scents. Essential oils are usually a good option as their fragrance is strong and concentrated. Put a few drops inside a ball, for instance, or in a little corner of a toy.
The goal is for the dog to be able to smell it easily not for him to ingest them, so a few drops are enough.
And play with noises
When choosing toys to give to your blind dog, focus on those with different textures and that make noises, like squeaky toys or toys with bells.
This will help him recognize the which toy is he picking up, it will funnier for him and it will also be easier to locate the toy in case he lets it roll around.
If you have a yard and let your dog around it, consider putting a wind chime next to the entry back to your house.
The sound will not only guide the dog to the right door, but it will also help him have a better sense of where he stands in the yard.
Keep the floor clean
Don’t leave toys, clothes or shoes on the floor to reduce the risk of the dog tripping and injuring himself.
Clutter will also make it harder for him to navigate and understand his location.
Try leaving the TV on
He can use the sounds coming from the TV to identify a specific room and he can follow it to trace his steps back in case he gets disoriented.
Besides, it will also provide him for some company when you’re away.
A blind dog is just like any other dog, just that he can’t see. They also adore their families, love to play around and feel the fresh air on their muzzles when going out and are also willing to move worlds if necessary to protect you and show you their affection. It can be challenging to care for a blind dog, but ultimately, the bond that you create and the love your share will make everything easier and worth it.