Dogs are like people. They, too, can suffer from impaired hearing or vision. Whether that happens at birth or because of old age, owners must rise to the challenge and learn how to care for and communicate with their blind and/or deaf canine. A few small changes can go a long way to ensuring your dog leads a long and happy life.
Determine vision loss. Indications that your dog may be experiencing vision loss include extreme tearing and discharge or if the eye is red, irritated, puffy, milky or discolored. Notice also if the pupil is enlarged, if your dog is squinting or rubbing the irritated eye. Contact your vet if your dog exhibits any of these characteristics.
Eliminate dangers by removing anything from your home that could be potentially harmful or dangerous to your canine. If your dog has lost his sight as a result of aging keep furniture and other familiar objects in place to make navigating easier.
Gate the stairs. Baby gates are a safe way to deny your dog access to stairs and other restricted areas, such as swimming pools, when you are not close by. Your dog should be on lead or in a fenced area when he is outside.
Create a safe haven. Put your pet's bed or crate in a quiet spot so he can feel safe and secure when company comes, or there is lots of activity that makes him nervous.
Get your dog's attention. Be sure your dog is looking at you before giving a command. Put a few pennies in an empty aluminum can and shake it to attract your blind dog's attention. Stomping your foot is an effective attention-getter also.
Determine any hearing loss. Indications that your dog may be experiencing hearing loss include disobedience, inability to process familiar sounds, personality changes, and irritated, tender ears. Contact your vet if you think your dog is exhibiting these symptoms.
Learn to communicate. Choose a uniform set of hand signals that require only one hand to execute and are clearly visible from a distance.
Make your presence known. You can avoid startling your pet by stroking or rubbing its back or shoulders when you enter a room. A flickering light also will get his attention.
Keep your dog safe. As with a visually impaired dog, your deaf canine should be on lead or in a fenced area when he is outside.