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Every morning you wake up and one of the first things you do is open your eyes. Now, imagine waking up and not seeing anything. No light, no bedside table, no partner lying next to you. Most people that can see take their eyesight for granted--and why wouldn’t they? Eyesight is one thing most have from the day they are born, until the day they die. But just as eyesight massively affects life as a human, it also hugely impacts the life of a dog. However, there are a number of common misconceptions about blind dogs that this article will look to dispel. It will also offer some useful tips on how to care for a blind dog.
Myth #1: Blind Dogs Can No Longer Play
You’d be forgiven for thinking dogs that are blind can no longer bound around and play fetch. But a study of 50 blind dogs by The Veterinary Record uncovered some interesting findings. Humans forget dogs have well-tuned other senses. Take their nose, for example. You can throw an old ball they’ve chewed for months and it would be worth a wager that they’ll find that smelly old ball surprisingly quickly. Their other senses also make them more aware of where sofas, doors, and windows are than you might realize.
Your blind dog will still have boundless energy and being blind isn’t going to stop them wanting to jump all over you and play with you! There is even a whole host of toys you can find online specifically for blind dogs. They either carry a distinctive smell or produce an easy to follow sound, ensuring your dog can still enjoy playtime.
Myth #2: Blind Dogs Are Always Falling
This is another misconception people may have about blind dogs. But actually, a late 20th-century study from The University of Pennsylvania found dogs quickly adjust to their surroundings, learning the layout of their home swiftly. Having said that, some blind dogs do have problems with stairs. Fortunately, you can easily remedy this issue.
One way to overcome this hurdle is to use baby gates at the top of the stairs. Alternatively, you can put distinctive scent markers at the bottom and the top of the stairs to warn your dog. Scent is an increasingly popular and effective way to help blind dogs navigate their surroundings.
Myth #3: Blind Dogs Are Expensive
Many people think having a blind dog brings with it a number of extra expenses. But that depends entirely on the reason for blindness. Strokes, diabetes, cataracts, untreated infections, and glaucoma can all cause blindness, but the price of treating them varies widely. If your dog needs a serious operation to combat the underlying cause, then treatment may be expensive, but if not, your dog going blind isn’t necessarily going to break the bank.
Take Home Points
It is a good idea to monitor your dog’s eyesight, especially when they get older, as their eyesight is likely to diminish. Throw balls for your dog and look for any emerging concerns. If you do see any problems, seek advice from your vet promptly. Doing so could help you tackle eyesight issues before they develop into anything too serious.
There are a number of common misconceptions about blind dogs that are simply not true. Blind dogs are not necessarily any more expensive than dogs that can see, it wholly depends on the underlying cause of blindness. Blind dogs do not always fall and they are able to still play, because they hone and utilize their other senses, in particular, their nose. You can use scent markers to help blind dogs navigate and there is a range of toys that rely on sound or smell, ensuring your dog will still enjoy playing around with their owner!