Coupling blindness with other diseases can make your dog’s life a battle against the odds. Blindness can manifest itself due to severe injuries, genetic disorders, cataract formations or other health problems. Adjusting to this challenging condition becomes much easier with ardent compassion, blended with a strictly scientific approach.
Capitalizing on the olfactory and tactual senses
Did you know that visually impaired dogs are quite capable of navigating around solely on the basis of their olfactory, auditory and tactual senses? In fact, several studies conducted in the past have revealed that visual impairment in dogs leads to a remarkable elevation in the performance of the other sense organs! Here are a number of ways in which you can harness their power for your dog’s benefit:
- Make use of scent markers (extracts, powders or colognes) for mapping out important locations or forbidden zones.
- Use doormats of varying textures for easy recognition of spots.
- Small bells or squeaky toys can help your pet to locate objects by following the sound.
- Placing a wind chime by the door is an added advantage.
- Throw rugs can prevent your dog from bumping into doors or other obstructions.
Facilitating smooth maneuvering within the house
Never forget the fact that your little darling is blessed with extremely powerful instincts, and can easily familiarize himself with your residential layout, if you assist him to stay on the right track. Begin by thoroughly assessing your home from your pet’s perspective in order to rule out potential hazards which might lead to injury, such as furniture, sharp edges and low hanging items. Make your home a safer place for your pet by adopting these simple strategies:
- Conceal sharp edges with foam insulation or padding to eliminate chances of injury.
- Keep your living space and corridors completely uncluttered for obstacle-free navigation of your dog. Carelessly leaving things out in the open might cause collisions, disorientation and unnecessarily stress him out.
- Installing non-slip strips or carpeting on slippery staircases reduces possibilities of tumbling. Encourage him to learn using the stairs at his own pace and reinforce his learning with his favorite treats.
- Instead of lifting him up, allow him to walk around and explore all your rooms. Textured floor-runners can guide him to familiar portions of the house. Use small gates for keeping him out of dangerous pockets.
- Avoid relocating furniture too often. Keep his bedding and food bowls in the same designated place so that he can carve out his comfort zone.
How can you ensure maximum protection outdoors?
If your pet loves to spend time outdoors, then restrict your landscaping to a bare minimum. Ensure that you fence off decorative ponds, swimming pools and fountains for keeping your dog protected at all times. You might consider placing tracks of stone-chips or mulch around solid objects like trees or walls, to serve as a prior warning. While travelling, put a vest or a colorful bandana on your dog, informing others of his condition. You might want to pick up one of these pet care apps, to help yourself.
Enhancing feelings of security with the help of a leash
Dogs suffering due to visual impairment feel a lot more secure with a leash. For you, it is almost like constantly holding your beloved pet’s hand through thick and thin. It immensely helps in overcoming disorientation, separation anxiety from the owner, and floods his brain with feelings of deep love and reassurance.
Communication is the keyword
More often than not, your furry friend craves to listen to your voice and is completely in tune with your mental state. Always address him in a cheerful, energetic tone and try to be very attentive to his non-verbal cues.
- Incorporate one-word commands such as ‘sit’, ‘walk’, ‘come’ ‘left/right’ and ‘stop’ into his daily routine.
- Talk to him often for keeping his confidence levels flying high.
- Attach bells to your shoes or wristband for making him aware of your presence.
If you find him distressed, let him relax while you gently pat for a soothing effect. Check out this video for teaching him to lie down using tactile cue: https://youtu.be/t7dNMgkZiSw
Attempting to socialize your pet
A sense social isolation is quite normal in this state, but some dogs tend to feel uncomfortable in the presence of other pets. Take him out to a park or a pet store in your locality for figuring out his mood. Do not let him feel pressurized under any circumstances. Here’s a quick crash course in understanding your pet’s psychology-
Remember – with a bit of discretion and sensitivity on your part, it is genuinely possible to gift your fondest pet with a fresh lease of life and make this world a better place for him.
A list of additional tips for keeping in mind:
- A sighted dog at home can help your blind dog in getting around.
- Carry his familiar blanket or chewing-toy while he’s travelling.
- Get your pet insured as this will ease your financial burden while taking care your furry friend. It is better to compare the best insurance plans for your pet before choosing one.
- Leave the television on in your absence for his company.
- Request your visitors not to pet him till he has sniffed their hands.