How to care for a blind dog

06 JUNE 2019

While they may not be able to see, blind dogs are able to play, run around and give just as much love as any other dog. Caring for a blind dog isn’t that different to caring for a sighted dog, but there are a few things you can do to make sure they are as safe and comfortable as possible.

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Make sure your house is dog-safe

Life at a dog’s height can come with lots of hazards, especially when they can’t see them. Make sure any sharp edges and corners have protectors on them, and that anything they might bump into won’t cause any harm. Look out for anything your blind dog might accidentally fall from or into, and it’s a good idea to use baby gates at the top of any stairs while they get used to where they are or learn to use them.

Don’t move their food and water

Consistency is very important for a blind dog. Once they have learned where things are, like their food and water, they will find them easier to return to on their own. Keeping things as familiar as possible will help them get to grips with the layout of their environment and learn their way around.

Talk to your dog

Without their vision, your dog’s other senses, like their hearing and sense of smell, are even more heightened. Talking to your blind dog will reassure them and help them understand where you are in relation to them. You should always talk to your dog before you touch them to let them know you’re there, and make sure you don’t scare or startle them.

Use scents during play time

Blind dogs need walks and play time just like any other dog, but they may need a bit of help finding and chasing things. Try rubbing strong-smelling food or treats on their toys before you throw them to help them sniff them out. Always play in a safe, open area and give your blind dog chance to explore the area with you first before you start.

Add some recognisable features to different rooms

Adding different distinctive items your dog might interact with, such as a textured rug, can help them to recognise which room they’re in as they move around the house.

Create a comfy space where your dog can retreat

Every animal needs their own space from time to time, but it’s especially easy for a blind dog to become overwhelmed. Create a safe, cosy space that your dog can call their own when they need some time out. A soft padded dog bed should work, and you could try adding familiar-smelling blankets to make it even more appealing.

Teach your dog commands to keep them safe

Training with your dog is a constructive way to keep them active. With a blind dog, it’s even more important to teach them commands to help keep them safe. Commands that let your dog know about obstacles, such as “Step up” or “Step down” or even “Danger” can help you to help them navigate the world. “Left”, “Right” and “Stop” are useful commands for your blind dog to recognise both inside and outside.

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