Living With a Blind Dog

by DFS-Pet-Blog on August 18, 2011

Blind dogs

Our Pet Blog recently featured a post “How to Help Blind Dogs Adapt” that listed different toys and supplies that help a blind dog and his owner adapt to living with blindness. I found another excellent article on the Drs. Foster & Smith PetEducation.com informational site written by Scott McKay, DVM.

How to Help your Blind Dog Get Around in the House

  • “Your dog will need to “map-out” his surroundings in his mind. With a short lead and some treats, walk your dog from room to room throughout your home. Reinforce good behavior with the treats. Be sure to examine your home and yard at your dog’s eye level to make sure there are no hazards (furniture, low hanging limbs) that could injure your dog. You can also use key words such as “watch” when your dog approaches a hazard such as a slippery floor surface or a piece of furniture. Sharp edges on furniture can be padded with bubble-wrap or foam pipe insulation to help prevent injury.”
  • “If you have a small or toy breed, avoid picking him up and carrying him around your house. Allow him to re-discover and map-out your house. Being carried and set down in another part of the house is very confusing to your blind dog.”
  • “Leaving a radio or television on can be re-assuring for your blind dog especially in your absence, and help the dog orient himself.”
  • “Use baby-gates to block stairways and other hazards until your dog has mastered the location and navigation of these hazards.”
  • “If you have wooden or otherwise slippery stairs, place non-slip strips on the stair treads to make them easier to use. Place a unique floor mat at the top and bottom of stairs to help your dog identify the stair’s location.”
  • “You can teach your dog to use the stairs with treats placed on each stair tread. Place yourself in front of your dog and encourage him without pulling on his collar or harness. Let him figure it out.”
  • “Use scents (e.g., flavored extracts, scented oils, colognes) to “cue” your dog to particular areas of your home: doorways, top and bottom of stairs, etc.”
  • “Carpet squares or throw rugs can also be useful to alert your dog where doorways and other obstacles are located.”
  • “Artificial and real plants placed around hazards like posts, corner cabinets or other solid objects can act as “feelers” and alert your dog of the danger.”
  • “Settle on a furniture lay-out you like and stick with it.”
  • “Keep floors picked up.”

Read the whole article (Living with a Blind Dog: Helpful Tips) for more practical suggestions regarding living with a blind dog. Other topics include getting around outside of the house as well as traveling away from home.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

bonnie hirning January 29, 2015 at 9:23 pm

I have noticed in the last week that my little dog is bumping into things and checked her eyes for clearness and her eyes are clear but run a little and whites are red. could it be some kind of infection? it happened so suddenly. she goes to see her vet on Tuesday. hope it is nothing serious.

Briana J. January 30, 2015 at 12:13 pm

We’re sorry to hear that your dog is having problems. Bumping into things definitely could be a sign of vision problems. Without examining your dog, it is impossible to say what may be going on, so we are glad to hear you have an appointment with your veterinarian. The sooner medical problems are properly diagnosed, the better the chance for effective treatment. All the best to you and your dog.

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