Are you familiar with the health conditions common in big dogs? Your large breed dog may be at increased risk of developing one or more of these conditions.View Article
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Posted on 03-07-2018
As our pets are beginning to live longer and longer, thanks to better care, improved diagnostics and better nutrition, it seems as though we are seeing more and more pets that are blind. Many of these are diabetic patients who develop cataracts, but some are due to trauma or other related diseases that have left them without their sight. As a pet owner of a blind dog myself, I was often amazed as to how well she acclimated to her environment.
Sometimes the vision has diminished slowly, allowing the pet to adjust to living without sight, but often times the vision leaves them quickly, without much time to adapt. Those pets may find it a bit harder to adjust in the beginning and here are some tips to help them out:
Avoid moving their food bowls, water bowls, or litterboxes. You may even need to confine them to a smaller area of your home with those necessities nearby until they can figure out how to find them themselves. Placing food bowls on a rubber backed mat may not only help you to keep that area clean, but once the pet’s paws touch the mat, they will know they are close and can hone in on the desired area easier.
Avoid dim lightening, especially around stairs. In fact, keeping pets from getting any access to stairs which they may fall down is desired, but even the 2-3 steps up into the house may still be possible for them to navigate over time. Make sure they have adequate light which may help if they can see any at all and putting a different surface near the edge (those sticky backed grip strips for example) may help them to realize they are close to the edge.
Use bells or other sound producing devices to help them navigate. For example, using jingle bells on your shoes when you take them out for a walk may help them to know exactly where you are so they can follow you easier.
Dogs especially are very sensitive to smells so use this to your advantage. You can hang springs of mint all along the fence to allow them to know when they are getting close to it and avoid running into it. Of course mint may lose its smell rather quickly, especially after rains, so it may need to be replaced on a frequent basis, so planting an odiforous plant near the fence may also help. This same technique can be used indoors along the base of your furniture (test a small spot before spraying anything that could stain the good couch first of course).
Visitors to my house usually did not even know that we had a blind dog unless my children would forget to put their shoes up in which case the dog might enter the room and trip over them. Otherwise, she knew her surroundings so well while indoors that it was not very obvious to anyone that she was walking around (and sometimes even running) without any sight!
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