After doing some research for my last post about accommodating mobility-disabled dogs, I took an interest in learning more about accommodating blind dogs. Blind Animal – Blind Dog, a website that features a dog who is completely blind, captured my interest. Videos show a blind dog, Tess, chasing a ball, going up & down steps, and many other activities that a “normal” dog would do. Her owners made modifications to help Tess adjust to life without eyesight. This blind dog amazed me with how she so eloquently adapted to blindness.
I read about some simple life-style changes that can help accommodate blind dogs and decided to make a list of pet supplies that can help blind dogs do normal activities. A product specialist here at Drs. Foster & Smith, along with a few fellow co-workers who are also dog fanatics, helped me with this list of supplies that encourages blind dogs to use their sense of smell, hearing, taste and touch to do normal activities.
Toys & Supplies to Aid Blind Dogs
- Toys That Hold Treats
Let their sense of smell find delicious treats tucked inside a toy. The Everlasting Treat Ball sits firmly on the floor and holds a replaceable treat that will keep dogs licking for hours. (I personally bought the large size even for my puppy because the large seems to hold the treat better, allowing only hours upon hours of licking!) Puzzle toys are great because it is the scent of their favorite treats that encourages dogs to work at getting their treat out. (Read my post about puzzle dog toys.)
- Squeaky or Noise-Making Toys
Drs. Foster & Smith customer, Elizabeth P., gives the following recommendation for the Wiggly Giggly Ball:
“My 8 year old lab went progressively blind (PRA) so fetch was more and more difficult until I found the Wiggly Giggly Ball. For anyone with a low-sighted or blind dog that was previously active, these toys are a wonderful find!”
Other squeaky toys include: Squawkers Dog Toys and Soft Flex balls. There’s also many plush toys with squeakers such as Mega Squeaks and Skinneez toys. The Skinneez Water Bottle Dog Toys stimulates the senses with irresistible texture and crackling, crunchy sounds.
Toys are great for helping prevent your dog from getting bored. The toys listed above are sure to capture the sense of hearing and provide a fun playtime!
- Pet Water Fountains
Although the motor makes a little noise, the sound of running water in a pet fountain will help a blind dog find his water bowl. Most pet fountains would also have a slight vibration that would appeal to the sense of touch. Persistent noisemakers around the house help a blind dog maintain his bearings.
- Boundary Controls
Some places are unsafe for blind dogs so restriction from that area is really important. A staircase or around the Christmas tree are two places where an X-Mat Pet Training Mat or a pet gate are particularly helpful to keep blind dogs safe. The X-Mat, which has raised bumps that are uncomfortable to paws, is very portable and perfect for traveling. The important point of using a gate or mat is to help blind dogs maintain bearings if they stray too far.
Do you have any experience with helping blind dogs?
We would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment to share your tips with fellow blog visitors who may be dealing with accommodating a blind dog.