Blindness in dogs can stem from corneal problems or cataracts that have been present since birth. It is possible, however, that your dog can develop issues with their sight as they grow older.
If your dog is visually impaired, it is important to make sure they’re safe; they could become more vulnerable to dangers.
Loss of vision and blindness in dogs
Your dog may develop eye problems as a result of a range of conditions, including cataracts (although these can be remedied), glaucoma, retina detachment, retinal atrophy, corneal opacity, or a dislocated eye lens.
Sight loss is relatively common in older dogs, but some breeds are more susceptible to vision problems than others. For instance, cataracts are a more common issue for Siberian Huskies, Golden Retrievers, Boston Terriers and Cocker Spaniels.
How do I know if my dog is losing their vision?
If you think your dog might not be able to see as well as expected, you should watch their behaviour. If he or she bumps into furniture or often tips their bowl over, this could be a clue that they need to see a vet. Another indication something isn’t quite right is the inability to recognise familiar people or find toys.
Sometimes changes in sight can be seen in the eyes. For example, if your dog’s eye(s) begin to look cloudy, you should take them to the vet as this is a sign of cataracts. At first there may be a blueish-grey tone, but as the cataracts become more advanced, they will give your dog’s eyes a white look.
If you are at all concerned about your dogs vision, don’t hesitate to take them to see a vet who can investigate the problem fully.
What extra measures should I take with a partially sighted or blind dog?
A dog with reduced vision can still lead a happy life with their owner, but some adjustments are needed.
Firstly, try not to alter your home too drastically. Your dog is used to their surroundings and may lose their reference points, as well as begin to bump into things around the house. Avoid moving furniture, toys or feeding bowls as this will be confusing. You can bend down to their height to check if any potentially dangerous objects are in their path.
Why not teach him a useful trick to help? You could teach him to stop or move when they are about to encounter an obstacle with the word “careful” or “watch out”.
Dogs that are losing their sight tend to have heightened senses in other areas. This helps the dog to compensate for their visual shortcomings.
Of course, you should keep your dog on a lead during walks so that they don’t hurt themselves. You will need to become their guide now that they can’t avoid dangers themselves.
Does your dog have visual problems? What do you do to help?