If you make a list of all the things your pet loves, it would have things like - food, friends, parks, toys, treats and you. Their vision is something that might not even cross your mind. When a dog or cat loses their vision, it is usually more traumatic for the pet parent than the pet, because pets care more about things like your companionship, food, safety, comfort and love in no specific order. When these needs are satisfied, they can live their life happily. However, they need your support and care throughout this journey.
Here’s a story of a blind dog - Chelsea who now enjoys a happy life with those who have shown her so much love and care.
Love is not seen but felt.
Causes of blindness in dogs and cats
A pet may go blind for multiple reasons, it could be a health condition or simply old age. Some of the most common causes are - cataracts, glaucoma, suddenly acquired retinal degeneration (SARDS), progressive retinal atrophy, injury or physical trauma.
About Beta Carotene
It is important to provide good nutrition from an early age so that your pet can live a long and healthy life. Carrots and cantaloupe contain beta carotene, which is claimed to improve vision and lower the risk of cataracts in dogs. Since cats do not have the necessary enzymes to convert carrots and cantaloupe, look for foods that have converted ingredients and can benefit your cat’s vision.
Wiggles YKibble® for dogs and Kittibles™ for cats are vet-approved, aid good vision and consist of ingredients that are great for your pet’s eyesight.
Kittibles™ Cat Dry Food Chicken & Tuna
YKibble® Oven Baked Dry Food
Kittibles™ Kitten Dry Food Chicken & Tuna
YKibble® Oven Baked Dry Food
Here are a few at-home techniques to help your blind pet get through his or her day. These suggestions are only for your reference; you should get proper guidance from your veterinarian or trainer before implementing them at home.
- Pet-proof your home
This is the first and foremost step to make your home safe for your blind dog or cat. Look out for any kind of hazards in your house and remove them from your pet’s usual walkway. A few things you can do to pet-proof your home are:
- Cover all sharp edges and corners with a protector or bumper
- Keep obstacles such as toys, socks and shoes out of the way
- Install baby gates around the stairs
- Tape over or move all kinds of electric wires they could trip on
- Ensure the balconies are netted and windows have grills. Some blind dogs or cats may get excited at the sound of the birds or the neighbor’s voice
- Use textured mats on their usual walkway, like the way to their food and water bowl. In danger zones, - you can also use a textured mat to train your pet to recognize that the path leads to an area where caution is required. These places could include the kitchen, balcony, terrace and so on.
- Maintain a predictable environment
Avoid changing the floor plan of your house too often as it can lead to your pet getting injured and feeling anxious about their environment. Maintain an environment that is easy for the pet to navigate. Here are some tips that we have listed to create a predictable environment:
- Do not move your furniture too often as they can bump easily into it
- Keep their food and water bowls in the same place so they can find them easily
- Spray a scent like lavender or any other smell they prefer on their beds so they can find their bed
- Keep the lights on, especially at night as some dogs and cats in their early stages of blindness still have some vision
- Tape the walkways and staircase with a glow-in-the-dark tape as this may help to guide dogs and cats who haven’t lost their vision completely
Over time your pet will get used to these upgrades in your house and will find navigating easy and stress-free.
- Talk often
Talking to your pet can do wonders to calm their anxiety and make them feel your presence. You can also practice and teach them verbal cues like left, right, up, down, door, stop, danger, etc. This will make it easier for them to manage their surroundings and maintain their confidence. A good tip is to also speak to them before touching or petting them as this won’t startle them.
- Get a harness with an attached halo
Get a specialized bling dog or cat harness that has a halo attached to it. This harness has multiple benefits:
- It lets other people know that your dog is blind and helps them maintain extra caution around your pet
- The attached halo helps your pet avoid bumping into obstacles, people and other pets
- In the long run, it gives your pet confidence to walk around even in noisy and public areas
A harness with a halo can protect your blind pet from bumping into obstacles
- Get more squeaky toys
A dog or cat who has lost their vision will rely more on their smelling and hearing senses but they will be just as playful as they used to be. To help them play with their favorite toys, you can get more squeaky, rattle or noise-making toys. You can also rub some essential oils or their favorite treat on their toy to help them identify and play with the toys. For example, when playing fetch—rub a treat on their toy, bring it close to their nose and throw it, they should be able to retrieve it because of the smell.
- Install a fountain style water bowl
This can work especially well for cats as they do not drink a lot of water. Because many blind pets can’t locate water, you can help them by installing a water fountain that makes the sound of flowing water. This way they can always know where freshwater is available for drinking.
- Use bells
You can use bells in two ways to make your blind pet’s life easier.
- By tying a small bell to your shoe or other pets’ collars, your visually impaired pet can be aware of your movements
- By tying a small bell to your blind pet’s collar, you can be aware of their movements at all times and save them if something goes wrong.
Blind dogs, too, can live their lives as normally as possible
- Introduce a sighted friend
Some pets benefit from having a sighted guide dog. If you have another pet, you can teach him/her to be a guide dog, or if your veterinarian recommends it, you can bring home another dog to assist your visually impaired pet. Companionship is quite beneficial, particularly in the case of dogs.
- Speak to an expert
If you need additional help, do not hesitate to reach out to a vet or a trainer, they can provide you with helpful tips, tricks and even train your pet to accommodate well to their new lifestyle.
With just the right help and only a few modifications, your blind pet can live a comfortable and happy life.
Do you have a story where your love and care have helped a furry friend? Tell us! We would love to feature it in our #LoveIsInTheCare campaign.
Wiggles.in is always here to help you and your pets, just call us on +91 8431620000 for an online consultation. We also have offline grooming and vet consultations available at Petsville, Pune, our dog boarding with AC stay, bark park, swimming pool, pet gym, pet store, vet clinic, grooming salon and fun events to enjoy with your pets.
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*Disclaimer: This blog is vet-approved and includes original content which is compiled after thorough research and authenticity by our in-house team of vets and content experts. It is always advisable to consult a veterinarian before you try any products, pet food or any kind of treatment/medicines on your pets, as each pet is unique and will respond differently.