Dogs respond differently to blindness, depending on the condition and their nature. Dogs who lose their vision all of a sudden or at a latter part of their life, generally have difficulties with it. Dogs that are pack leaders also find it difficult to get accustomed to visual impairment.
Dogs that turn blind gradually, or who are younger, may be able to adapt to the situation much more easily. Let us take a look at how you can help your dog cope with the condition.
Is your pet depressed?
It’s natural for pet owners and pets to mope after the onset of blindness. In fact, some dogs slip into depression right after the episode. Understand that your dog needs to go through this phase of brooding before he starts accepting and adapting to his new life. While you’re on it, do not mope in front of your pet, regardless of how sad you feel about the situation.
Dogs are highly perceptive of your emotions, and noticing that you are sad will only make it worse for them. Stay positive, and talk to them as much as you can, so they know you are around and there for them.
If your dog has a reduced appetite and activity, and spends most of his time sleeping, then it’s likely that he suffers from depression. While you want to give your dog his space and time to get over it, you do not want him to withdraw and stay cooped up at home. Make sure your pet is on his usual routine regardless of his emotional state of being. Dogs like structure and routine in their lives. Maintaining a routine can help bring in some stability into your dog’s life, and make him happy.
Drawing the line on dependency
Some dogs grow dependent on their pet owner when blindness sets in. It is important to set the boundaries on dependency and helping your pet from the very beginning. Even the thought of climbing up the stairs or going into a different room can seem impossible without your help. Do not encourage dependency behaviors in your blind pet. You may be tempted to pick up your dog and help him get around, but don’t play the rescuer for your pet.
Encourage your blind dog to get around by himself, and you will notice how he slowly learns his way around the house, by using his other senses. Consistently work with your dog so he can get back to his confident self. While he may not be able to walk, run and play the same way again, staying connected with you and learning to do things by himself, will help him get his life back on track.