How to Care for a Blind Dog

By Naomi Millburn

If your dog is blind, you can help him lead a more comfortable life by making sure his living area is consistent. The more predictable your pet's living space is, the easier it will be for him to get around safely. Blind dogs benefit greatly from ample attention and communication, too. Your voice can be useful for helping your pet locate you quickly.

Keep Your Home Environment Safe and Consistent

Minimize your blind dog's chances of stumbling into your sofa, for example, by not rearranging your furniture. Refrain from keeping toys, boxes, shoes and other miscellaneous items where your dog usually walks. If you have any sharp or prickly objects in your home, conceal them carefully using soft insulation.

If you have a swimming pool or hot tub on your property, put up a sturdy barrier that will prevent your dog from accidentally falling in.

Take Advantage of Your Dog's Other Senses

Take advantage of your dog's sense of smell. "Label" the rooms of your residence with memorable scents that can help your pet pinpoint his location. Do the same with the beginnings and ends of your home's staircase. A dab of perfume can be effective for this purpose.

Rugs can also come in handy for blind dogs. Rugs add texture and can help blind dogs identify the various parts of their homes.

Communicate With Your Dog

Communicate with your blind pet in a voice that sounds happy and calming. Speak with your dog frequently. If you're walking toward him and about to pet him, "notify" him before doing so by talking to him. When you walk near your dog, make sure your steps are audible and weighty. The vibrations of your steps will let your pet know that you're on the way. If you want your dog to constantly know where you are, you can even affix tiny bells onto your person.

Keep Your Dog's Spirits High

Dogs occasionally fall into depression due to vision loss. If your dog seems unhappy and is behaving in an antisocial manner, assist him by being as upbeat and cheerful as possible. Take him on regular outdoor walks. Engage him in routine play sessions. Get him stimulating and interactive toys. Doggy toys that are equipped with scents and squeaky sounds can often be beneficial for blind dogs.

Try Clicker Training

If you need to train or housebreak your blind dog, clicker training can make an invaluable tool for you. This training utilizes clicking sounds to inform dogs that what they've just done is good. All you have to do is carry a compact plastic box. As soon as you see your dog eliminating in the grass during an outdoor walk, for example, press the metal tongue on the box. Voila -- your dog will hear a clicking sound. Right after you click the box, reward your pet with a tasty treat. He'll eventually develop a positive association with the click.