Once Gracie started losing her eye sight, I started to worry more and didn’t know what I would do next.
I didn’t know how to train Gracie to get along without her eye sight. I was so confused and was panicked about how to care for her.
I was given a referral to an ophthalmology vet specialist. I took Gracie for a consult and was told that even though she was already completely blind that her cataracts were still at the beginning stages and that surgery could be done to remove the cataracts and that she would be able to see again. I was so happy to hear this except for one thing…. I didn’t have the money for the surgery.
By the time I raised the money, her cataracts had progressed due to her diabetes (if you would like to know more about pet diabetes go to my last post “Diabetes and Blind Pets”) and she was no longer a good candidate for cataract surgery. Gracie later developed an infection in her right eye that turned into an ulcer. The ulcer eventually ruptured and caused Gracie to lose the front globe of her right eye.
I learned that dogs eye sight is not their most important sense and that they learn very quickly how to get along without eyesight. Gracie started to learn her way around our apartment. The vet said she would start to walk all around and bump her nose on everything.
This is their way of marking the territory and putting their scent on it so that when they come near it again they know where they are and know that there is an object there.
She eventually learned our entire apartment and can get along perfectly now. She is a very happy little girl and lacks for nothing.
If you have a blind dog or a dog that is going blind, know that it is not the end of the world…. it will be hard at first and your dog will be scared in the beginning but will adjust. Believe me that they will accept their fate better than you will. You will suffer emotionally more than your dog because you love you pet and it is natural.
Another thing to keep in mind is that a harness is better for a dog than a collar because a collar puts to much pressure on the neck when it is pulled on and can do more damage to a dog’s eye sight. A harness is a better choice because when pulled on, it pulls on the dog’s chest and the front of the dog’s body.
It is easier to control a dog with a harness, especially if the dog is blind. A few tips that may be helpful is when coming near areas where the dog has to step down, slow down and eventually come to a complete stop in front of the step so the dog can feel it and your dog will investigate and start to step down.
If you need your dog to step up, do the same thing but when you come to the step, pull up on the harness and your dog will eventually come to realize that this means he/she needs to step up and will learn to raise his/her legs to take a step up.
The more you do these steps the easier it will be and eventually your dog will know these commands.
You can also say “step down” and “step up” along with these actions and your dog will come to know these commands along with these actions and know exactly what to do.
Gracie learned very quickly these commands and how to walk on a harness with ease and trust. Be patient with yourself and your dog and know that your dog can be and will be happy without his/her eyesight.