How to care for a blind dog: causes and symptoms

Dog blindness is linked to various pathologies, in most cases, those that occur when the dog becomes elderly

It can happen that for one reason or another the dog begins to have visual difficulties. Unfortunately, there aren’t many treatments that can cure a dog with this type of deficiency.

However, it is good to remember that the dog adapts easily to this handicap, especially if it arises gradually. In the case of sudden blindness, the animal may need several weeks to adjust to its new conditions and may even go through a phase of panic for which it will need to feel reassured. A dog that is born blind will easily get used to its condition. Thanks to the sense of smell and hearing, it manages to make up for the handicap by learning to orient themselves.

Causes dog blindness

There are several factors that cause dog blindness. The deterioration of vision may be related to advancing age or may have been caused by an accident or a bacterial or viral infection.

Among the most widespread diseases, diseases of the lens such as cataract, the degeneration of the retina , inflammation of the optic nerve , the glaucoma, cancer, diabetes or blows received on the eyes. Or blindness can result from side effects such as kidney failure linked to chronic kidney disease.

Some systemic diseases , such as canine ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, toxoplasmosis, leptospirosis, leishmaniasis and many others can cause the dog to go blind.

 Uveitis and cataracts in dogs

Uveitis is a condition that causes dull or bluish eyes. It is an eye inflammation that can be treated otherwise it could lead to blindness. It can be caused by bacterial, viral, trauma, or lack of tear production.

Unlike uveitis, cataracts in dogs cause clouding of the lens. That is, the eyes tend to become whitish in color. It can affect both or just one eye and is not painful for the dog. However, there are several factors that cause cataracts and that can be linked to other diseases such as Cushing’s disease, diabetes or hypertension. It is a progressive and not sudden disease. That is why it is always necessary to contact the veterinarian to establish a therapy.

Blind puppies

There are some causes for which a dog is born blind at birth. The handicap can be caused by poor conditions during gestation, difficulties in childbirth, malnutrition or malnutrition, pathologies of the mother or hereditary diseases.

Breeds that suffer from cataracts

Some breeds are predisposed to cataracts. Among these, the Golden Retriever , the Schnauzer , the Yorkshire Terrier or the English Cocker Spaniel tend to suffer from cataracts.

Therapy varies according to the degree and pathology from which the blindness derives. In some cases, there were no irreversible therapies.

Blind Dog Symptoms

There are some symptoms that help the owner to notice that the dog is losing its sight. Also in this case the symptoms can vary according to the pathology, that is if the vision decreases slowly or if the vision loss is sudden.

  • dog does not react to light stimuli
  • It is disoriented
  • bumps into furniture and objects moved around the house
  • It can even hit walls
  •  it scratches its eyes and blinks
  • Its eyes are clouded, inflamed and of an abnormal color
  • Constant tearing
  • purulent discharge in the eyes
  • It doesn’t jump or move like it used to
  • Avoid going out and exploring unfamiliar environments

How to deal with a blind dog

Primarily, it is important not to worry excessively about whether the dog is losing sight or is blind. Avoiding becoming too protective of the dog. A blind dog adapts to his condition and can live peacefully.

Dogs adapt to their new condition by developing their other senses.

There are some attentions that can be turned to the blind dog so that it is reassured and lives more serene.

  • Create a peaceful atmosphere
  • avoid sudden noises or movements
  • before approaching the dog, talk to them gently so that it is not frightened, approaching them gradually
  • Keep the environment clear of obstacles
  • Try not to change the arrangement of the furniture in the house too much
  • Always keep bowls in the same place
  • close the dog’s access to dangerous areas, such as steps, stairways or gradients of various types, perhaps by integrating a gate
  • If the dog is small, it is possible to design small ramps to facilitate access on the steps
  • the idea of ​​building a ramp instead of the steps
  • Always take the dog for walks in the same places with the same itineraries
  • The blind dog is safer with the harness
  • Avoid wearing it with the leash that stretches
  • In case the dog is blind in one eye only, walk on the blind side so that he can see what is going on around him.
  • The company of another dog could be reassuring for the blind dog
  • Pay attention to the dog on a leash on the street, on the pavement, near cars

Welcome a blind dog into the house

As highlighted, the blind dog needs small precautions to live and move in a serene way.

The space intended for the blind dog must be large and free of obstacles so that it gets comfortable.

At the beginning it is important to introduce the dog to the home environment. For example, in the early days it may be useful to guide the dog on a leash around the house, making them discover new spaces, preventing them from crashing.

The dog must smell furniture, walls and objects, thus learning to recognize them. The space must be free of dangerous or angular objects against which it could crash and make a mistake.

Maintain the same order in the house successively.

Walking a blind dog

To walk the blind dog, it is important to ensure its safety. So it doesn’t run away, get confused or get lost.

Always keep an eye on it in case it is free, guiding it with your voice, calling it back from time to time. It is preferable to wear it on a short leash with a harness which makes it safer. Doing the same path will certainly help the dog to gain more confidence during its walk.
When someone approaches to pet them or even another dog to get acquainted, prepare the dog, reassuring them with its voice but also with caresses. This prevents the dog from becoming frightened or defensive. Fear is known to be a factor of aggression. The frightened dog may even bite.

Avoid dangerous paths with stairs, gradients, places where there are too many dogs.

Enhance the senses of the blind dog

To help the blind dog have been struck by a progressive, sudden blindness or that they are born blind, there are some exercises / games to help them enhance their other senses with the sense of smell or hearing with which they learn to orient themselves and to interact with the outside world. In this way, the dog remains active and even in the progressive phase of blindness, these are stimuli that will help him not to enter a depressive form.

Games to activate the senses of the blind dog

  • Give the dog excrusions with games and prizes
  • Use balls with bells or rubber toys that make noise when pressed
  • start playing with the dog so that it learns to recognize the noise of games
  • Companion of another dog who could act as a guide is also an option to consider. A specimen that is similar in size and not too young or older
  • Giving the dog objects with the owner’s hatred, hiding them and inviting the dog to find them is an effective game for developing the sense of smell.

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