While many suppose that a blind pet may lack quality of life or be a burden on their owner, neither is true. Dogs and cats are able to operate quite independently and enjoy their lives even if they are blind, whether from birth or blindness acquired later in life.
We at VetMed want to help you and your blind friend get the most out of life, so here are some basic tips to get you thinking.
Making Your Pet Comfortable at Home
It’s a good idea to organise a familiar location for your pet where they can find comfort, food and water. Large, easily accessible and comfortable bedding in one location they can always return to for sleep, food, or drink makes their lives easier and relieves them of potential anxiety.
Talking to your blind pet is especially crucial. You’ll probably need to talk more to foster communication, and indicate when attention is directed at them. It’s a good idea to talk to them and establish communication before you give them a pat, so as not to startle them.
It’s generally preferred that you don’t move furniture too much when you have a blind pet. Cats are far better at dealing with changes than dogs are (they’re obviously far more gymnastic than dogs in general!), so this is especially important if you have a pooch. Most importantly, if you do change your environment, try to keep their belongings in the same place and take the time to re-orient your pet to their new surroundings.
Keep the house clean and free of unnecessary obstacles, and try to employ more surfaces with distinguishable textures (different carpets, mats etc.) that help remind your pet where they are.
You should never let your pet outside unsupervised. That being said, it’s still a good idea to orientate them and practise returning home so they get used to employing their other senses to identify their surroundings. Remember that cats and dogs have far superior senses of smell to humans, and can use that to their advantage when navigating the world.
Let your neighbours know that you have a blind pet and put a tag on your pet’s collar indicating they are blind so others can look out for them.
Make use of noise to help entertain your dog and keep them mentally engaged. Bells, squeaky toys, and leaving the television on for them can help amuse them and free them from anxiety.
Build a Support System with Your Vet
A blind pet doesn’t have to be a burden. Blind pets still live happy lives if they’re in a loving home. If you suspect your pet is blind, or you need some advice on how to deal with a blind pet, do not hesitate to contact the friendly local team at VetMed.