The good news: of course he can! While it's never an incredibly positive thing for a dog to undergo enucleation (the surgical removal of an eye), often, it can be a life saving or disease preventing surgery, and in most cases, won't bother your pup or reduce their quality of life in the slightest!
A lot of times, pups go through injuries, infections, diseases, or conditions that could cause damage to their eye and prompt doctors to remove it. Other times, pups are simply born without them. Either way, your doggo can certainly live without his eyes, and if you learn a few tricks to help accommodate him, the odds are he'll never know the difference.
If you're looking for tips about how to tell if your doggo is having eye trouble, tricks about how to make his life a little easier once his eyes are gone, or simply just want to share stories about your doggo's struggle without his eye(s), read on!
Signs That Your Pup May Need to Have His Eye(s) Removed
So well, in fact, you may take too long to notice they're having eye problems to begin with, which could lead to the removal of your pup's eyes.
If you want to keep a lookout for your pup's eye-health, make sure you're taking note about their behaviors. If your doggo is itching and scratching at his eyes a lot, that's a good indicator that there's something wrong. If you notice your dog bumping into things he normally wouldn't or running over and missing things that are routine for him, it's likely he's losing his vision.
If your pup has red or swollen eyes, whines or whimpers when you touch his eyes, has a noticeable opaqueness on his lenses, doesn't seem to respond to stimuli in front of his eyes, and more, then it's likely your pup is either losing vision in his eyes, or facing some sort of eye-related condition. Consulting a vet is the first step in dealing with these issues,
- Raise ears
- Ears drop
- Eye Swelling
- Bumping into Things
- No Response to Objects
- Eye Discharge
- Scratching the Eye
- Eye Redness or Irritation
Historic Causes of Enuclation
Historically, many of these causes are cancer, glaucoma, perforation, infection, or injury. Typically, the dogs who see most issues with their eyes and see most of the eye removal surgeries are pups who are brachycephalic dogs, meaning pups that have flat faces and prominent eyes (think Pugs, Bulldogs, and Boxers). They're simply more prone to injuries because their eyes bulge out.
The Science Behind Enuclation
Understanding the contributing factors to eye removal can often help owners either prevent the causes or embrace - and help the dog embrace - the changes that come with eye removal.
Eye removal surgery in dogs is a fairly common procedure that almost all canines will adapt to without issue. The goal of the surgery is to remove the eye and relieve the pain caused by the original condition of the eye that warranted the surgery.
The eye removal process isn't complicated and is fairly routine. After the eyeball is removed from the dog's socket, the edges of the eyelids will be permanently stitched together. Dogs recover well, quickly, and with minor pain following the surgery.
How to Train Your Dog to Deal With a Life Without Eyes
If you haven't already, crate train your dog so that he can have a safe, comfortable spot when you're gone. This way he won't have to roam endlessly throughout the house while you're gone.
Make sure your pup is familiar with the wait command. If you're ambitious, try training with a clicker - that can be especially helpful for dogs who have recently gone blind!
How to React if Your Dog Needs His Eye(s) Removed
Consider buying special blind dog equipment.
Talk with your vet to develop a training program.
Take walks in familiar areas.
Keep the stairs and other dangerous areas blocked off.
Avoid moving furniture or rearranging if you can help it.
Keep all of his bowls in the same spot - don't change it up on him.
Check your home for hazards and puppy-proof it for your newly blind dog.