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Sorceren's avatar

What can you do for a dog who's gone blind?

Asked by Sorceren (660 points ) January 24th, 2009

He’s probably about 11 and weighs about 110, and I think he’s been losing his sight for a few weeks. But the other day the lenses of both eyes went opaque. He’s been understandably afraid to do much since then; his fear is probably comparable to mine for him.

We’ve already lost one old dog to falling off the porch and breaking his back.

I feel helpless!

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14 Answers

cage's avatar

Talk to him more and be closer to him so he picks up on your sound and smell even more than before.
Sadly it means you’ll have to keep him on the lead if you walk him. And I suggest if you let him out side you stay with him at all times, especially if you’ve had accidents in the past.

That’s very sad I’m really sorry :(

AstroChuck's avatar

Get him a seeing-eye man.

elijah's avatar

@AstroChuck Damn it you beat me to it! You are quick, sir.

cage's avatar

oh ha ha very funny guys.
Think if this was your dog.

elijah's avatar

I know, it is very sad. I like animals more than I do most humans so I understand Sorceren’s pain. Unfortunately there’s not much you can do for him besides watch him carefully and try to make him comfortable. Best of luck.

Cardinal's avatar

Friends have a daschund that went blind at 2 y/o due to a virus. That was about 2 years ago and the pup gets around really well. It took him a few weeks to aclimate.

syz's avatar

Have you had him checked by your veterinarian? Sudden loss of vision can be caused by glaucoma, which is progressive and incredibly painful. If your vet diagnoses cataracts, those can be surgically removed, just as in humans.

Blondesjon's avatar

Just love the old guy. Animals don’t fool themselves like we do. He knows the score and just needs to know that you’re going to keep him around as long as you can.

Darwin's avatar

Don’t move the furniture.

Actually, dogs can get around fairly well by sense of smell in familiar surroundings. We have a blind dog and a close to blind cat. As long as food, bedding and furniture stay put they typically can get around the house and the backyard just fine. However, here is a list from a handout on dealing with blind pets:

“Here are some ideas that will help you and your pet adjust to its blindness sooner.

1. Your pet doesn’t need to be put to sleep just because it is blind.

2. Don’t re-arrange your furniture if your pet is mostly indoors. If your pet is an outdoor pet, don’t plan major landscape projects!

3. If you have a hot tub or pool, a cover or barrier is necessary. Your pet could fall into the water, not find the sides and drown.

4. Don’t let your pet play in traffic. If you have an outdoor pet and no fence, please check into an “invisible fence”.

5. If you live in a house or an apartment with a balcony, be sure that your pet cannot walk between the vertical supports and fall to the ground. If necessary, plexiglass should be applied or the vertical supports modified to prevent your pet from getting through.

6. Feed your pet and keep its water dish in exactly the same place each and every day. Also, try to have your pet sleep in the same area on a routine basis. These areas will then become reference sites if your pet becomes disoriented.

7. If your pet gets disoriented, take him/her to its bed or food bowl. This will be a land mark that will re-orient your pet.

8. Put your chair back under the table after meals. Things that are left out will cause your pet to bump and lead to disorientation.

9. Until your pet learns about stairs, you will need to place a barrier to prevent him/her from falling down the stairs. The same is true for stair landings.

10. Most clients remark that going up and down stairs is the most difficult of all things to “re-learn”. Be patient, your pet is trying to do its best.”

http://www.animal-eye-specialists.com/blind_pet.htm

dlm812's avatar

@Darwin Great list…. but #4? “Don’t let your pet play in traffic?” I think that one should be followed even for a pet with full sight!

As for the question, talk to your vet for sure and help your dog orient himself in the house so that he can get around without his sight. It will take a couple weeks of you spending a lot of time with him walking beside him, talking to him, etc. And definitely do not move the furniture or his food/water bowls.

No matter what, just remember to live every moment with him to your fullest. For such a large dog, 11 is quite old. He needs you more than anything at this point in his life. Continue to be his friend, and help him around just like you would a human friend who just went blind.

Sorceren's avatar

I want to thank you all, especially @Darwin and @dlm812. Y’all are wonderful, and this list is a great resource.

You’ve given me hope and prepared me for the inevitable — however long it may take to arrive.

NewZen's avatar

Maybe pair him up with another dog – not a wild puppy – but an old lab, e.g. (they aer the best see-ing eye dogs). I’ve seen this and shall look for the link; one dog sticks to the other and assists the blind one. It can sense where the food and water is – but it aint much fun for it. A buddy dog would be good for it.

Sorceren's avatar

Thank you all. A new kitten attached itself to us just after I posed that question, and then it attached itself to the old dog. I am not making this up: he followed and led that dog around, nudged him in the nose to keep him from bumping into things, and just loved him.

Khan passed away about a month after he went blind. Remember, though, what I have learned from this: even a stray cat can be a loving, helpful friend to a strange dog.

NewZen's avatar

@Sorceren Cool story.

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