Dog blindness - The show must go on!

Narrated from: Dog Health

Dogs are famed as guide dogs for blind people – yet, quite often they suffer the same fate.

For many dog owners the news that their dog is blind comes like a bolt from the blue.
Sadly, dog blindness is a common problem, especially with older dogs; it might be the consequence of a physical trauma, or it might happen gradually, due to other health problems. This might sound startling, but your dog could be blind and you may not know!

Dogs learn to rely on their sense of smell and hearing. So, a blind dog would not be completely helpless – but it would seem clumsier, it might bump into things and be less active.

The veterinary is the only one who can determine if the dog is blind. The more important question is: what happens if your dog is blind?

Many blind dogs get depressed, and often their owners get even more depressed. Some people even consider putting their dogs to sleep!

Well, that is absurd. Blindness is terrible – but life is not over! If you love your dog, you can provide it with a happy life even if it loses its sight. You will have to change your lifestyle, and blind-proof the house, but no drastic measures are required – you just need to understand the problem!

The main trouble with blind dogs is that often they are not afraid and believe that they will do just fine relying on their other senses. Now, that is a good thing for the dog, but it puts it in danger. So, the first thing you have to do is teach your dog a new command – “Stop!” The “Stop!” command is the cornerstone of taking care of a blind dog.

The next thing you should do is secure the house – the dog shouldn’t get out without supervision. Also, it would be a good idea to install baby gates around any stairs the dog might have access to – stairs are kind of a tricky obstacle. Other alternatives include marking the first step in a way that the dog will notice it, and teaching it commands like “step up” and “step down” – blind dogs generally respond well to new commands.

Still, understanding and compassion are the key elements of taking good care of a blind dog. Avoid startling the dog, and if other people want to touch the dog, they should allow the dog to smell their hands first. Also, a blind dog would feel happier if you show attention and play with it – this way the dog would know it is still a valued member of the pack and won’t feel different.

You must not allow the dog to sink into depression – and the best way to do that is to limit your own stress, as dogs usually feel their owner’s emotions.

So, blindness is not the end of the world – as the song says, the show must go on! And even if the world is hidden in darkness, for any dog there is no light equivalent to the love of its human master!

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