I think my
dog is losing
How can I tell?
As your dog grows older his eyesight may deteriorate, and unfortunately, visual impairment can happen at any age. Watching your dog lose his or her eyesight can be traumatic to witness; however, it is even more distressing for your dog. Vision loss makes it difficult for your dog to find his way around the house, see who is approaching, or identify his surroundings.
Vision loss makes things difficult for a dog, but your support can help him adjust to the new circumstances. The first step is identifying if your dog is losing its sight. Keep in mind that blindness or visual impairment does not always happen suddenly. Often times, the eye sight degenerates gradually over time. You’re probably wondering “Well, what should I look for?”
Signs to look for
If you notice any of the following signs in your dog, seek prompt advice from your veterinarian as your dog may be losing his sight.
stepping high or taking steps with noticeable caution
walking onto or into objects
more dependent on using his nose to navigate his surroundings
cannot catch or locate his fetch toy this
startle more easily
disorientation or clumsiness
So, what causes vision loss or blindness in dogs?
There’s no single cause of blindness in dogs. In fact, there are many other conditions that can contribute to vision loss.
Retinal degeneration syndrome
Progressive retinal atrophy
Retinal pigment epithelial dystrophy
Collie eye anomaly
Retinal dysplasia and detachment
Untreated eye infections
Dry eye syndrome
How can I help me dog adjust to vision loss or blindness?
You can help your dog adjust to this vision loss by being mindful and adjusting the way you communicate with your dog. Here are some tips:
Keep familiar items in the same place; this includes your dog’s water bowl, food dish, bed, favorite toys and treats in the same place so that so they are easily found.
Retrain! If you use visual hand cues as your command, it’s imperative that you begin using auditory commands and cues as your primary source of communications. Begin this process by placing emphasis on the verbal command, while phasing out hand signals. You can also use snapping, clicker and clapping as auditory cues.
Remove objects that pose a danger to your dog, move any objects to a place where they are out of your dog’s reach.
Put up a barrier such as a baby gate to block areas such as the stairs and pools.
By petting and cuddling with your dog, they will be able to recognize your scent much easier.
The best thing to help your dog through his vision loss is to be loving, understanding, and supportive. Your dog will still love attention, playing, and your company. Don’t forget to be diligent following through with your vet’s suggestions and treatment. With love and support, you can both get through this. Is your dog blind? What adjustments have you made?
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Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional. She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History.
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