Vision loss is common in many pets as they get older. Any animal with loss of vision should be booked in for a check-up as soon as possible as some cases can be caused by potentially serious underlying diseases such as diabetes.
Sometimes it is possible to treat vision loss but sometimes it is not. As a result we are often asked by clients whether a blind animal can lead a happy life. The answer is yes, provided the owner is prepared to put in the effort.
While there are certainly some things they may be unable to do, most blind pets live a remarkably normal life. We depend on our vision for reading, driving and many other activities but a lot of these things are not important to our pets. Loss of vision can mean a loss of independence but our pets are already quite happy to depend on us.
Dogs’ normal vision is not as good as ours so they depend more on their other senses like hearing and smell. Their remarkable senses of hearing and smell are many thousands of times better than ours and this together with memory help compensate for loss of vision.
A blind dog will behave remarkably normal when in a familiar environment. Dogs cope so well that often they go blind long before their owners notice it. A blind pet can continue in every way in its main role as best friend. They will remember where their food and water are, and rarely bump into things in their home. It is best to minimise any changes in location of objects and furniture.
A blind pet does have some special needs, including a protected environment. Hazards for a blind pet include pools, cars, sharp objects and strange dogs. Make sure your yard is safe from hazards and keep your friend on a lead when you go for walks together.