There is a number of reasons why dogs go blind, and it can happen to almost any dog, regardless of age.
If this has happened to your dog or someone’s dog you know, unfortunately, you might need to learn how to care for a blind or vision impaired dog.
There are many things you might know already but also some of the things you never thought of.
And that is why you are in the right place as down below; you will learn everything there is to know about caring for a blind or vision impaired dog.
Why Dogs Become Blind…
The two most common reasons are either disease or old age. Disease-wise, the most common issues are glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, and retinal degeneration, cataracts.
If a dog suddenly goes blind without any previous signs, it is sudden acquired retinal degeneration, also known as SARD.
However, it can also be diabetes mellitus induced mature cataract and immune-mediated retinal detachment syndrome.
Unfortunately, most of these sudden syndromes are unpredictable and there is not much you can do about it before it strikes your dog.
However, if a dog suddenly loses sight, it does not have to mean that it is permanent.
Can You Restore a Blind Dogs Vision?
Luckily, not all blindness is permanent, and therefore, there are ways you can try to restore a dog’s vision, or at least improve it.
However, prompt treatment of some blindness causes can be reversible. Acute and complete blindness is always the most devastating case but be aware that vision loss can also occur gradually.
On the bright side, even the SARDS can be restored with proper treatment and there are case studies where two dogs got their vision restored thanks to the helpful treatment.
Of course, this might not be the case for all dogs, but it is definitely a possibility to look forward to.
How Do You Care for a Visually Impaired Dog?
One of the most important things you can do when a dog suddenly goes blind is to keep your apartment and furniture the same.
Do not make any changes as it could change the layout of the home your dog is used to.
This also means you should keep the food and water bowls in the same place.
However, one thing you can do is to “pet-proof” your home for things they might want to avoid and yet cannot be due to the blindness.
If you have stairs, this is a wonderful time to protect your dog from falling down the stairs.
Whenever your dog is going out with you, you will have to be his lookout, and if you want to guide them, you can do so by your voice.
However, another innovative idea is to bring a bell on your walks if your dog tends to leave your side.
If you are not sure if your dog will be able to have walks all by himself, you should definitely keep the leash and gradually remove it.
Dog-only parks are an ideal place to start getting your dog off the leash as if you are training a puppy.
When at home, you should definitely give your dog a safe zone, somewhere where both of you can be, where your dog will be at peace.
By talking to your dog frequently, he will feel more relaxed to stay in his comfort zone.
But you can also keep your dog safe and even help him out by keeping a consistent routine, a routine he already had in his life, just with a couple of improvements.
Lastly, scents can also work if you want to guide your dog in or out of your home so that is something with which you can experiment.
Is Taking Care of a Blind Dog Hard?
While many people and even dog owners think that it is extremely hard to care for a blind dog, that is not true.
In reality, blind and visually impaired dogs do not require any extraordinary amount of effort and care.
Instead, you and your dog just need to get used to the new situation. As long as there is no medical or behavioral issue, you will not have a challenging time caring for a blind dog.
In fact, blind dogs might not even require any more attention than sighted dogs, so that is something to keep in mind.
Do Blind Dogs Suffer or Can They Still Be Happy?
While many people think that blind dogs are suffering, it is proven by veterinarian ophthalmologists that dogs can actually have a happy life.
In fact, blind dogs will still remain well and behave normally in their own home (of course, as long as you do not move stuff around).
Keep in mind that dogs that lose sight visually tend to adjust to blindness better than dogs that lose sight all of a sudden.
How Do You Comfort a Blind Dog?
You can feel really sorry because your dog is going through something serious as blindness, but you can do a couple of things to make your blind dog even more comfortable around you or around the home.
While the earlier tips are great for homes, here is what you can do as the owner to improve your dog’s situation.
Becoming more vocal with your blind dog can help since the dog will rely on his hearing and even smell.
Therefore, incorporating different type of smell in every room or around the home will help your dog know when he is home. Therefore, tuning in other senses will be as important in your dog’s recovery.
Also, you might want to re-train your dog in a way where you mostly rely on your dog’s other senses.
This will help your dogs to feel motivated to move around, and if you incorporate games and treats, your dogs will be moving around again in no time.
Of course, you should not expect this to happen immediately. Dogs will still need time for their other senses to adjust and tune in with the surrounding.
From there, they will make sense of their senses and with proper guidance and training, they will definitely enjoy moving around again.
Can You Leave a Blind Dog Alone?
You will not have to be with your blind dog at all times. You will be able to leave your dog alone, however, not right from the beginning.
Dogs that suddenly lose sight have a harder time to adjust and in their adjusting period, they will need your help so you should try to be around as much as possible and take care of all the things mentioned earlier in this article.
However, dogs that gradually lose vision adjust much better to blindness and might not need you around a lot so this is something you should keep in mind.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some dogs might react to blindness by feeling depressed, so it is super important that they have you around as much as possible during the adjusting period.
After the adjusting period when they tune their other senses and they get used to the new living situation, they can be happy again and they might not need as much of your help anymore.
How Dogs Adjust to Being Blind…
It can be a hard and slow road for dogs that suddenly lost vision. However, maintaining routines as much as possible is the best way to go.
This will help dogs adjust to the condition by tuning their other senses, having your support, and still having everything else in their life the same.
Of course, dogs also need a lot more help from their owners during this period of time. If your dog gradually loses its sight, it will be able to adjust without many difficulties.
From bumping into the walls, furniture, and obstacles they would usually avoid, and having trouble locating their toys or food to living like they still can see can be a difficult road.
However, dogs do not suffer and with proper help, they can be happy again, they can adjust, and they can make the best out of their life.
Of course, you should also keep in mind that some blindness can be treated and even cured, so you should not give up on your dog!
Lastly, it is pretty normal for dogs to be anxious, clingy, or depressed during the adjustment period and that is normal to understand.
So, all you have to do is bear with them in the process and they will be grateful forever.
Here’s The Bottom Line…
Dog blindness is something no owner wants to happen to their dog, but unfortunately, it can happen to all dog types and sizes.
You should see the situation positively and do your best to be there for your dog, help them adjust, and help them feel comfortable and happy again.
The process might be slow, but with small steps, you can turn around the situation. On top of that, you should always try treatments as you never know when your dog’s sight might come back!
Is your dog blind or visually impaired? How did you help your dog out? I would like to hear from you, so share your comments and questions in the space below and I will be happy to respond.
All the best,
Founder/Creator: Love A Rescue Dog 🐶
“Saving one animal won’t change the world, but for that one animal, the world changes forever”