Our beloved furry friends come in all shapes and sizes, and with their own unique challenges to boot. Some dogs are born blind or become blind later in life through injury or illness, but regardless these pups can become just as affectionate and lovable a companion as their able-bodied counterparts.
Visually impaired dogs do, however, require a little extra tender loving care, so here are 4 tips for taking care of visually impaired dogs or dogs that are becoming visually impaired.
#1 Dog-proof your home
Without their vision, navigating a warm and comfortable home could feel just like navigating a treacherous maze as dogs rely a lot on their sense of sight and smell. It’s therefore important to take a look around your home for anything that might be a danger to your pup.
First, get down on your dog’s level by crouching down and look around for things like sharp table corners that your pup might collide into, especially if they’re moving around the house too quickly. Consider baby-proofing these problem areas, with some tape or actual baby-proofing equipment.
You could also place bells or other items that make noise around the house so your dog can use those to understand where they are. It might also be helpful for you and other members of your family to wear something around as well, so your dog knows where they can go to find you.
Outside of dog-proofing your home, make sure to dog-proof your pup’s new toys as well. As they’re getting more accustomed to their new lifestyle, soft and squeaky toys like BarkShop’s huge collection of zany dog toys are great toys for your visually impaired pup.
#2 Watch their diet
Some breeds of dogs are genetically inclined to blindness, such as Dachshunds and Miniature Schnauzers. A dog’s age and sex also play a part, with middle-aged female dogs at one of the highest risk of Suddenly Acquired Retinal Degeneration or SARDS, one of the most common reasons for dog blindness. Other common reasons for dog blindness include Cataracts, Glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy.
While some of these causes of blindness can be fixed with surgery, others require a little more help to prevent or help alleviate some of the symptoms of these diseases - and a major part of that is a dog’s diet. Make sure to supplement their diet with healthy sides such as NaturVet’s All-In-One Soft Chew Dog Supplement that’s great for your dog’s all-around health, but especially for their eyes, coat and skin.
#3 Plan a routine
Visually Impaired pups thrive on a routine - that way, they always know what’s coming. Everything from when they should wake up, when and where they should eat, sleep, play and even go on walks should ideally follow a schedule.
Of course, make sure to get your dog comfortable with all these activities before you plan them all out as your pup, especially if they’re new to you and to their condition, will need some time to warm up to it.
For an added boost to your pup’s day and to their health, give Zeal’s New Zealand Hoki Fish Oil Dog Supplement a go as it can help improve your dog’s general health, but most importantly it boosts their eye, heart and brain health. It’s a fast and absolutely delicious way for your dog to get some vital Omega 3 - just one quick pump on their daily meal is enough to do wonders.
#4 Get active
Even if a dog is visually impaired, a dog is still a dog - they’ll definitely still need and love going out on walks and getting some exercise, sometimes even more so. Visually Impaired pups can get restless more easily and they’ll need a lot of stimulation for their other senses to avoid being bored. Make your dog’s walks more comfortable by equipping them with EzyDog’s Zero Shock Dog Leash that will help reduce the strain on you and your pup.
The first few times you bring your pup out, make sure to go extra slow and give them some time to sniff around and take in their surroundings. You can speed up a little more when your dog gets more comfortable with the area and wants to go a little faster. But always make sure to keep your dog on their leash, and as far as possible, try not to extend the leash too much. They’ll need you by their side to look out for dangers.
After a good walk, make sure to clean your pet’s eyes with Burt’s Bees All Natural Eye Wash for Dogs, a saline solution that mimics your dog’s own tears and allows you to clean any dirt that’s accumulated. Wiping their eyes down with Earth Bath’s Eye Wipes will also help keep your pet’s eyes free from stains, while preventing infection-causing discharge and gunk from collecting.
While you’re out on walks yourself, take a look around and find a nice, open area that your dog could run around in safely. In these areas, playing a game or two of fetch will stimulate your pup and help them get some energy out. Of course, try not to throw the toy too far from them! Having toys that make noise, such as Pet Qwerk’s Talking Babble Ball Dog Toy is also a great way to stimulate your visually impaired dog.
Visually impaired pups can be tough to care for, especially if you’ve never had experience with them before. But they make for amazing companions, even without their sense of sight. All it takes is a little bit of extra care and love, and you’ll have gotten yourself a great life-long friend.