Caring for a pet that is either going blind or is already blind requires additional care and attention. This can come in many ways – from helping your pet around the house, to feeding practices and the way you use treats. Owners of a visually impaired pet need to take steps to make sure that their pet feels comfortable and is not experiencing pain.
Knowing the Signs of Visual Impairment
If your pet is starting to act differently, you need to look at everything that is going on with them – their eating, playing and normal routines. Look for changes like the following:
- Your pet’s eyes becoming cloudy or red.
- Your pet now startles easily.
- Your pet is getting clumsier.
- Your pet is having trouble finding toys.
- Your pet’s energy is declining.
- You notice that your pet is having pain in the eyes.
These signs are all the things that start happening when your pet is becoming visually impaired or is already blind. If you have a pet that is showing those signs, you need to bring it in for an appointment for confirmation of the blindness.
Tips for Caring for a Blind Pet
When you are caring for a blind pet, you need to make sure it feels comfortable and safe. Things that you will need to do to help care for your pet can range from creating a safe place to talking to your pet more.
Creating a Safe Place
The first thing you will want to do for your blind pet is to create a safe place. This means that you will want to provide a specific area for your pet to go to when it feels afraid or just needs a place to rest. This area will give your pet comfort and safety.
Talking to Your Pet More Often
The sound of your voice will help to calm your blind pet, so keep the conversation going and speak often. Your voice will also help your pet to know where it is and where you are. You will also want to talk with your pet before you start touching it. Letting your pet know where you are and what you are doing beforehand will keep them from getting startled.
The Importance of a Consistent Routine
When you have a pet that is visually impaired or blind, you want to keep a routine that is as consistent as possible. Routines will reduce the stress that your pet feels. You will want to take them on the same walking routes and visit the same parks. Another thing you will want to do for your blind pet is not move the furniture in your house or apartment. Changing your furniture will only confuse your pet and cause them stress.
Identifying Your Blind Pet
It is important to let others know that your pet is blind. When you take your pet out, make sure you put some type of clothing that says “I’m blind”. You will need to explain to the others that your pet is blind and that your pet can be startled easily. They will need to know that they need to talk to your pet before touching it. Another identifier that you need for your pet is a tag that goes on its collar stating that he or she is blind.
A location cue is something that tells your pet where it is in your home. For example, you place a carpet runner at the front door. You will place only that carpet at the front door. This carpet helps your pet get its bearings back if they pet get confused. You will want to place different location cues throughout the house for your pet. One thing you need to make sure of is that each of the cues is different.
Safety-proofing Your Home
Another important thing you need to consider is your pet’s safety in your home. Think through everything and every place within your home. Don’t overlook anything. You might even get down on your hands and knees and crawl around. You will need to look for things that could fall if your blind pet bumps into it, furniture that might have sharp corners, and places where your pet might trip or fall. Think of making your house safe like if you had a toddler – put cushioned protectors on sharp corners and baby gates at any stairs.
Remember, caring for a blind pet requires more attention to the environment around it. The most important thing you need to do is make your furry companion feel comfortable and loved. If you have questions or concerns about caring for a visually impaired or blind pet, please reach out to us at Longview Animal Hospital. Our team is here to help you!