Skip to main content

How to Care for a Blind Dog

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
Learn how what signs to look for, and how to care for your blind dog.

Learn how what signs to look for, and how to care for your blind dog.

Blindness in Dogs

I remember how disturbing it was to hear more than one vet say, "Your dog is blind," and "There is nothing anyone can do." I was left with a whole lot of wondering and a lot of questions that were never answered. I almost had the impression that we were being cushioned for the possibility of putting our dog down simply because he was blind.

At this point, I was dumbfounded, overworked, and over-stressed, and now my poor dog was totally blind. At the time, there was nowhere to go and nowhere to talk about it.

You Are Not Alone in the Dark Anymore

The purpose of this article is to share my experience of owning a dog that went blind after years of good health and provide help to all who find themselves in a similar situation.

Hind sight is blind.

Hind sight is blind.

Our Story: In the Beginning

We were in the backyard one day when the dog heard something and took off running up the driveway. My husband and I were wide-eyed with shock when the dog did not listen to the "stop" command and ran headfirst into the back of our car. He hit his head on the bumper with such force that it put him into a frightened sit-stay position. Immediately, we took him to the vet's office and the animal hospital and were told the dog was totally blind.

The dog was just at the vet's office a few weeks prior, and we were informed at that time that his vision was blurry. We couldn't believe our dog went totally blind within a matter of weeks, and we had no idea his vision would go that fast.

The specialist determined the dog did not have a stroke or anything, and other than getting old and being totally blind, the arthritic 9-year-old dog was getting along as well as could be expected.

Blind Dog's Ruff

Blind Dog's Ruff

What to Look for When a Dog Is Going Blind

Sometimes things happen so fast you don't really see the forest for the trees. Below are some examples of how our pet behaved while losing his vision.

  1. Do you notice subtle changes in your dog's behavior? Subtle changes like his paths around the yard and house. Our dog started walking close to the house and the fence line.
  2. After years of independence, does your dog stick to you like Velcro? The dog does not want you to leave. As our dog began losing his vision, he began to get separation anxiety. Once he went blind, he would cry or whine until our car left the driveway, and he stayed on his bed until we returned home.
  3. After years of eating normal, does your dog now eat like there is no tomorrow? The dog eats a full bowl of food and wants more. Our dog was a lightweight lean, mean mutt machine until he hurt his back. We did not know our dog was losing his sight, and he ate like he was afraid he wouldn't find his next meal.
  4. Does your pet walk so close to the walls that he leaves marks on them? Little lick marks or wet nose marks on the walls appear in random places around the house. While our dog was making his new paths in the backyard, he was also making his paths in the house. Our dog was marking his walls with his scent by bumping his nose on the wall.
  5. Is your dog playing games with you? Playing the game of in one door, out the other. Every puppy I've ever had practiced going up and down stairs, and when our dog was losing his vision, he was practicing the stairs, too. He literally navigated a flight of ground floor stairs, a set of basement stairs, knocked at the basement door to get out, navigated through the garage through a dog door, wound around the driveway and up another flight of stairs to the deck where he knocked on the sliding glass door to get back in. One night he did this at least ten times. We did not know he was practicing his path.
  6. Is your pet becoming overprotective without reason? When friends come over your pet goes alpha, like they are protecting you from them and starts barking in sync with the person who is talking. Our dog was a social butterfly. Once our dog went blind, when friends would stop over, he would stand between me and the person doing the talking, and out talk (bark) until the person stopped talking or left the room. He would not leave my side until the guests left.
  7. Is your dog starting to bump into things? There is more than an occasional assured clear distance problem. The dog was bumping into things he never bumped into before—things like a cupboard, wall, furniture. Nothing too noticeable, as it was a general bump into something much like you, me, or anyone else would do if not paying attention.
  8. When you take a picture of your dog, do you see lights in his eyes? Rather than the red-eye you get from a camera flash, the dog's eyes reflect green. Looking back at old photos, the green lights began two years prior to his going blind. Again, never having a pet with eye issues before, we did not know that was a potential clue.
  9. Does your dog have a pre-existing degenerative eye condition? Visit your vet for a check-up regularly to determine the severity of your pet's vision loss. If your dog has a pre-existing degenerative eye condition, this may be of interest. After our dog went blind, we were at dinner with friends who asked about the dog. When we explained how his vision went from bad to worse in less than three weeks, the first thing my one friend asked was, "Was your dog on prednisone?" That question stopped me in my tracks. She then explained that her mother has been on prednisone for many years due to her severe arthritic condition, and the medicine exacerbates blindness in most people diagnosed with macular degeneration. With this information, we asked the dog's eye doctor if it were possible, and she confirmed the possibility. (I also researched information about the medication on the internet.) The vet said our dog might have had SARDS, and his vision was going slowly over a period of time, but it was possible that the medication could have made the problem worse.
My dog's eyes reflect green in flash photography.

My dog's eyes reflect green in flash photography.

How to Help Your Blind Dog

Here are a few of the things I learned that helped us care for our dog after he lost his eyesight, such as new commands and small modifications to our home.

1. Maintain composure.

Blind or not, your pet picks up on your emotions. It broke my heart to see our dog so down, and as long as he sensed my broken heart, he continued to be down. I tried to keep the dog's spirits up by going on about our daily business. No mollycoddling, just compassion and support. This helped him become more confident in us and less fearful about his food, and his eating habits went back to normal. To help with separation anxiety, before leaving the house we made sure he had one of our dirty t-shirts on his bed to comfort him while we were gone.

2. Learn new commands.

Anyone that says an old dog can't learn new tricks never met our dog. He learned plenty of new commands. The most important new command was the word "stop." I can't stress this enough: If your dog is blind, and still fears nothing, make sure he learns the "stop" command.

Our dog thought he could see everything with his nose and ears, and if his ears or nose caught something, he thought he could chase and would take off. Once he learned "stop," he stopped on command, knowing it was for his own good.

3. Teach the dog to navigate the stairs.

Our dog was very good about letting us know when he wanted in or out. He never had an accident. But since we had stairs, going in and out became tricky for our old dog, and his 55 pounds made him a bit too heavy for me to carry. So I helped him learn how to handle the stairs by teaching the commands "step up" and "step down" and taking every step with him until he was confident and able to navigate the steps himself.

4. Mark transitions.

The one thing I remember doing that helped the dog immensely was marking the end of the first step down so he knew where the first step dropped off (so he wouldn't just walk off and break his legs). I used duct tape on one stair top and different rugs on others.

Wherever there was a first step, I rubbed his paw along the two surfaces so he would know how far he had left before his toes hung over the edge. I made each stair top a different texture so he would have a better perception of where the stair edge stopped and started and which room he was in.

Blind dogs like to play.

Blind dogs like to play.

How to Play With a Blind Dog

God has a way of compensating for a loss. Just because the dog was old didn't mean that he didn't like a little fun and attention. His hearing and sense of smell were amazing. My husband missed his friend trotting around the yard, playing catch and fetch, so to give the dog a feeling of accomplishment (if that is possible), they would practice playing fetch the stick in the driveway.

My husband would take a stick, tap it on the driveway, and toss it in such a way that the stick would hit the driveway and clatter enough times that the dog could follow it. When the dog figured out he could bring the stick back, he got a dog grin from ear to ear, knowing he would get praise and affection.

How to Walk With Your Visually Impaired Dog

My husband began getting the dog's attention by snapping his fingers. We figured this may help him know how to follow us on walks. The snap of the fingers was not a loud sound but a consistent, soft snap that the dog could follow.

This worked especially well for us during the dog's tenth birthday party. With over a hundred people laughing, talking, singing, and making noise— plus the loud music, dropped food, and exotic smells of strangers— the dog followed the click of my fingers everywhere.

"Step Up" and "Step Down"

Also, if you walk your dog up and down the street, always remember to help him navigate curbs with the "stop," "step up," and "step down" commands. You and I take curbs for granted, but not knowing there is a step off could be a painful experience for the pet.

How to Help a Blind Dog Find His Way

Years before our dog went blind, my husband inlaid a two-brick border around our back yard to separate our grassed yard from the flower beds. Our blind dog used that brick border as a path around the yard. We have a little water fountain that the dog liked to drink from. Prior to the dog going blind, I ripped out all the mint that was growing around the fountain. That spring, I replanted the peppermint by the fountain so he knew where to find it. I planted other safe things around the yard that would help him find his way by his sense of smell.

In the winter, we had some really deep snow, and the poor dog couldn't smell anything, but he found his way to the door by following the outer wall of the house until he could smell his way to the door. My husband used the snowblower in the winter to re-create his summer paths to help him get around easier. I placed a dryer sheet under the rug by the back door so he would know which door he was at.

How to Create a Safe House and a Safe Yard

The importance of a safe house and yard can't be overlooked. Smells, paths, and sounds aren't everything. Any place we take for granted as being safe can be a dangerous place for a blind dog (blind people, too).

We learned this the hard way. Our dog used to love chipmunks. He would chase them, dig to find their tunnels, and go to leaps and bounds to get to them. The dog came into the house one afternoon with his eye swollen. We took him to the dog specialist and were informed that the dog had a scratched cornea. She showed us how to detect eye damage and how to treat it with medication. She said he probably ran into a tree or bush or something in the yard.

Armed with this information, everything at the dog's eye height that had the potential for danger was pruned or removed from around his walking areas. This rule applies to items inside the house, too.

Safety Tips: Indoors and Outdoors

The most important thing you can do as an owner of a blind dog is to make sure their environment is safe.

  • In the Yard: Prune or move items that are dog's eye height.
  • In the Home: Eliminate, move, or remove all sharp, hard, edgy items protruding at the dog's eye height in and around the house.

Don't Forget These Seven Tips

  1. Remember your pet's care.
  2. Be calm, confident, and composed.
  3. Make new commands simple.
  4. Communicate with comfort.
  5. Maintain the pet's paths.
  6. Navigate with safety.
  7. When in doubt, check with the vet.
My blind best friend.

My blind best friend.

Helping Others Understand Blind Dogs

A special note: When a dog is blind, often other people do not know their condition and approach your dog to pet or socialize. More often than not, the dog recoils, snarls, or retreats in fear from the new scent, foreign hand, or abrupt approach from a friend or stranger.

When taking your pet for a walk in public, it is always a good idea for you or your pet to wear a sign to let others know that your friend is blind and anyone who approaches should be calm and cautious.

This article is a recipient of The WhippitTalk Purple Paw Award, and proudly supports the SCF and ASPCA.

Connecting With a Community

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: How can I stop my two dogs who are both deaf and blind from howling when I leave the house?

Answer: A sheet, blanket, or article of clothing that has the scent of your pet's loved one in or near his bed may be of some help. The best thing I could do to comfort my dog when he went blind and my husband and I had to leave for work was placing one of our dirty t-shirts in his bed. In this way, he had our scent close to him and kept him calmer. I hope this method helps your dogs, too.

© 2007 Tonie Cook

Did You Find This Site Helpful?

adalynn on June 25, 2020:

i would like to thank you for pputting this out there. my gramas dog just went blind a couple of days ago and i am doing everything i can to help him. so thank you so so so much.

Violet on March 03, 2020:

That was great to read. Especially the Meds. Prednisone. I shall inform my Vet on the connection. So thanks. My boy Tiger was on it not for long. low dose half a tab as he so sensitive to Meds..With his cough.few years back)....6 months ago ..he went blind suddenly...after...the wanting non stop food and many drinks of water. Up in the middle of the night..wanting food. Thankfully he has calmed down now...I am so Proud of his strength and Determination..He is my Hero and Love of my life. He has turned January 2020...So I am very happy..So just keep on keeping on. They teach much.

Karen Highfield on January 28, 2020:

I am just now learning I need to know how to help my now almost blind dog learn to live our new normal. This article is exactly what I needed. Thank you for writing it.

Jeanne pratt on February 16, 2019:

Thank you with all my heart for all the wonderful info on dog blindness. We are so stressed over this and I've learned that is the worst thing to show our baby dog. Won't forget your information. It helps soo much.

Jacqui Smith on December 08, 2018:

I have just found out that our dog is totally blind, reading this article has made me feel so much better. I love him so much and my heart aches but the information you have given me is very useful. Thank you.

Jake on November 02, 2018:

Our 6 y/o Siberian Husky has SARDS at present he is blind in left eye. He’s has always been clumsy he would miss a step sometimes this started when he was 1 y/o.

About a month before his retna detachment I noticed him staring at walls. I read that when your retna starts to detach we see floaters that’s probably what he was seeing I wish I knew this I might have been able to save his eye site.

Tonie Cook (author) from USA on September 13, 2018:

Does she whine while you are there, yet stop when you pick her up? She may be pretty insecure about the whole situation. Our dog used to whine when we were leaving the house to go to work. When we place one of our dirty t shirt (before putting it in the laundry) in the bed him, he stopped whining, and was a little more confident we were still there with him and coming back for him.

Judy on September 04, 2018:

I am hoping that someone can help me, my Pekingese has gone blind, we knew it was coming although not as quick as it did. We have figured basically everything out, this site has helped quite a bit however she’s whining like all day long she whines we talk to her, pet her, we love her and we even carry her around at times. She navigates reasonably well and we constantly tell her that she’s OK where she’s at (we don’t have stairs or anything like that for her to have to worry about) but all day long she whines we cannot figure out why does anyone have any advice for us?

Tonie Cook (author) from USA on July 16, 2018:

Thank you for your kind words and sharing your experience about your dog. It is so sad that people can be so cruel, and your tips about not leaving a dog tied outside in your own back yard due to the potential of cruelty is worth sharing. It is important to always make sure your pets are safe and secure at all times.

Sally OBrien on July 15, 2018:

Our dog Lacie is recuperating after a series of unfortunate events. Her belly increased in size after being kicked by a mean human. Lesson one, never leave you dog outside even on a leash in your own backyard. Even for short intervals.

Her back legs and back continue to be sore. She is improving with acupuncture for dogs and massages!

Two weeks later she went totally blind. SARD. We are all adjusting and searching for helpful tips. Lacie is learning quickly at the age of 12.

We are happy to have our furry family member survive and teach us as much as we help her.

Many humans have been caring, insightful and compassionate. I am grateful for this site because I feel less alone.

Our journey has just begun.


Judy on July 07, 2018:

Thanks for the ideas! Our conny/beagle has juvenile glaucoma in both eyes, diagnosed almost 2 years ago. We took the drops and pills route for all that time, but in 4 days, he will have an enucleation. He is about 85% blind now, and it is amazing how dogs adapt. Being fully blind is a different story, and we have been talking to him alot...talking and encouraging and guiding is essential, as you said. At first he resisted, but now he is giving me full trust. With a stubborn hound, that's progress! I will be coming back to this site to refresh.

MrBilliards88 on May 04, 2018:

Thank you to all who posted there story, very helpful trying to understand the dogs or cats jouney. It is very stessful on me and wife that of 13 yr old dashund has cateracts and daibetties and pancretis and arthrtis! We spent 10.000$ on tretment ! Worth every penny to have my baby with me n wife! Just sharing! Thank you!!

None on February 21, 2018:

Thank you. Purple Paws Rocks. Much indebted to those Purple Paws!!

jacky on February 05, 2018:

thank you so much you are so wonderful and caring and it has helped us so much my little Bedlington is nearly 16 and going blind now...

Chris on January 23, 2018:

Thank you for this. My boy is, I believe, starting to go blind. He's 16, he eats like crazy and paces all over once the lights are out. Your article was very helpful. Thanks again.

Ali on October 23, 2017:

Thank you for your very informative article. My dog is completely blind and has been doing relatively well during these last couple of years, however lately he has started jumping up on the couch and that is where I find him when I get home. He is nervous and agitated and whiney because once he is up he is not able to get down. I am not sure why he has started doing this now and it worries me, knowing that he might be stuck up there all day (8 hrs+). I recently had a flood in my home and its going on 11 weeks and the apartment is still somewhat of a mess with stuff everywhere. I wonder if this can be contributing to this new behaviour? I make sure I am home whenever the contractors come to do work so that's not an issue.

Sandy on October 07, 2017:

I'm dog sitting and would like to play something with her. The articles are helpful. She whines a lot. One to go out the other to eat but the other whines I have no idea. Feel helpless cause I don't know what she wants.

Jan and Tony on October 04, 2017:

Love your article and lots of good tips. We have a blind 7 year old Lab Holly and we are all working through how to keep her safe and involved. One question, we need our annual holiday and she would normally go to the same kennels whilst we are away. They have other blind dogs but what is your view on us using kennels. I dont want strangers in the home as this would worry me more.

Tonie Cook on June 04, 2017:

Hello Mary Wirick. It is good to know that you are able to help your dog overcome such great odds, and that you have been blessed with a vet who truly cares.

Ian, Lynda, Linda, Peggy, you and all who have stopped by and shared your experience, please know your notes are most appreciated. My most humble thank you for being here.

Glad to be of help.

Mary Wirick on May 31, 2017:

After crashing from being put down there was a problem tubing her & now she has brain damage & is blind. She gets very agitated when you try to hold he. At first she could not use her front legs & now she can walk on a leash with a soft cloth harness. She eats & drinks good. My heart is broken because she was so sweet. by the way she is 10 years old & 4 lbs was attempting to have her teeth cleaned.Our Vet has been wonderful to us because as she said it happened on her watch.

Ian Corbert-Walker on May 27, 2017:

Hi Tonie. Greetings from the UK! I came across your excellent posting while researching for my good buddy who has a Jack Russell - he thinks, Alfie (ten) is going blind. What really stuck out for me was point number 3. Alfie has just been diganosed with pancreatitis... and yet he eats like food is going out of fashion!! Before this, food never bothered him that much - he'd eat when he wanted to - sometimes, days after the food had been placed in his bowl. So, what you say - makes sense. I appreciate all your good advice and I shall make sure Geoff receives it. Thank you and God's blessings! Ian

linda on May 09, 2017:

This article was informative. I have already done most of your points, but my pug (age 7) is sooo stubborn and still doesn't listen to me, I thought he was also deaf (thankfully he's not.) We love him and continue to be patient with him. We also have two other pugs, all wearing bell on there harnesses so he know where they are. It is hard to see him try to get along. Never thought of putting him down. Thank you for your article, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who loves there pet and are willing to work with them rather than kill them! Oh by the way he is not my pet, I'm his pet. thanks again.

Lynda scott on February 16, 2017:

my little schaunzer has just become blind I was told he has sards I have cried non stop for over a week I can not understand why him he is just the love of my life beautiful little guy sweet smart everything you could want I can not handle this I feel like I want to die

Cathern Harrison on January 26, 2017:

Our not quite 8 year old Cockapoo Brandy's vet noticed a small cataract about 20 months ago after I had noticed she would not get down from a couch in a dark room. That cataract was in stage one 7 months ago and about 16 days ago there are two cataracts the first in stage three, the other stage one. Notice now day to day she has more difficult to get around and there are certain things she will not do but seems to be adjusting to losing her eyesight. However, she is at times having more problems than at others but we try not to coddle her but make sure she is safe and be there in case she does need help. We are also preparing our home for a blind dog and do have a little bit of time to do that so we are all as ready as we can be. I actually came looking for information on how to explain the situation to our young grandchildren and help them understand the need to respect what their friend will need to be safe as will they... Think I have some help with this page so thank you for that.

Peggy on December 01, 2016:

Thank you for this posting. It was very encouraging. My 17 year old Toy Poodle has quickly been going blind the last few weeks. It breaks my heart, but, just can't bring myself to put her down. Your article has encouraged me very much. She still gets excited when it is time to go for a walk. She sleeps a lot, but, am going to hang in there with her as long as possible.

Tonie Cook (author) from USA on September 13, 2016:

TJ - As one who has recovered from damaged corneas on both of my eyes, I am sure your pet's surgery was extremely painful. On top of being in pain, when your pet woke up from the surgery, he was no longer at home, and scared. Helping your pet regain his confidence is going to be the most important thing you can do for him at this time. It will take a lot of patience, time, and heartfelt work to help him get it back.

That you were able to take your dog's sock and coax him to play a little bit is a very good thing. If your dog is food motivated, try putting a little piece of steak or chicken in your hand, and wave it around his nose. Use the food to SLOWLY lead your pet to his food bowls each time you feed and water him. Reward and/or praise him enthusiastically for his every effort. This may help him begin to bond again with his paths to the food and water dishes.

I know it was not an easy decision for you to make to have your dog's eyes removed. Some vets recommend this to prevent damage to the corneas. Other vets simply sew the dog's eyes shut. The vet that diagnosed our dog's blindness recommended that we sew his eyes closed so he would not accidentally run into a sharp object and tear his cornea. We opted not to do it because our dog was getting old, and we were afraid to leave him with even less than what he already had lost.

TJ on July 22, 2016:

I have a world of experience with blind dogs and some with deaf dogs(my other old dog is deaf, has one eye removed and the other has very limited vision). But I find myself needing advice. My other dog who is not deaf but is a blind 12 yr old dog, went blind over years from 3 years old has just had both eyes removed. Since he was already completely blind I just assumed it would be business as usual. However, I was sadly mistaken. It has been 5 days since the surgery and he is still creeping so slowly over our house, getting lost, turned around, wrong rooms, sits with back to us, can't move from hardwood floors to ceramic tile without a HUGE amount of coaxing. He is acting like we took his sight away.

Pls don't think that "maybe he wasn't fully blind" because, even though it was confirmed over many years by our vet, it was known by everyone and one look at him by a bystander it was obvious due to his white eyes. He was constantly monitored for eye pressure. He would bump into stuff, put a ball down in front of a wall and look up at what he thought was you even though you were on the other side of the room, he would have to make sure where the bed was by touching it several times with his nose before he jumped, he would end up stranded on a large rock about his size (Boston Terrier) because he thought it blocked his way to his ball and then couldn't figure out had to get down because of course he couldn't see the ground not even 1 foot yah he was completely blind. But he was fine. Just fine with getting around. He has never lived anywhere else. Any change we made to our house was a little learning curve but he just handled that easily as he just was bound and determined. He never charged ahead, he was always careful and slow but never scared. We could take him places and he always listened and felt confident with our voice and then moved along at confident but cautious pace. He never charged ahead but always felt a decent amount of confidence.

But no longer. He now acts like he went from having sight to having no sight overnight. He will not move unless I snap my fingers in front of his face constantly and even that will not make him move ahead without his feet braced like he is going to fall, head right to the ground and feet moving like an EXTREMELY slow snail.

I tried to think of how rehab for humans or help people with learning issues. I thought I would try using his one true love. A toy. He can make a toy out of anything and lives to play. So I got a sock and put one knot in it so he could grab and shake. I thought it would bring him out of his shell. I thought it would force him to move around the yard or house a bit more on his own. He was very enthusiastic about it and showed a lot of interest in shaking (although I didn't want to encourage that too much as he just had surgery) and even a small amount of short distance fetch. It seemed like I saw a bit of the old dog I least while he had the sock. Once he was done he went right back into his shell. It takes him 15 minutes just to walk through a doorway and alot of times, when he is half way thru the doorway, he turns around and goes the other way. He acts like he is scared of everything, doesn't remember anything and is just giving up. He can't even find the water bowl when I tap on it continuously while he noses around the bowl. Any advice on why or what to do would help.Has anyone ever had this problem? Does anyone know what I should do to help him?

Rebecca & Samson on April 25, 2015:

Thank you for your article! Samson is 13, and though he's been going blind for about 6 months or so, he finally lost his vision completely last week. Unfortunately we're moving, so nothing is where he knew it was, and he kept bumping into things he never bumped into before. Your article was so helpful, and it soothed my heart too! I've had Sam since I was 10, and he's 13 now. He's my best friend and has gotten me through so much, like the death of my parents. I'm constantly scared and worried for him, but this was the first article I read that actually helped and helped my heart feel better! Thank you so much:)

anonymous on June 26, 2014:

Thanks for all the info. My Maltese is 10 and the love of my life. Discovered he was blind about 10 days ago. He's responding to step up and step down. Will work harder on stop and more toys that make noise. He seems scared and depressed. So I keep reassuring him and praising him when he is on the move. Thanks again for sharing all your hard work.

Tonie Cook (author) from USA on April 14, 2014:

@SableCocker1226: If your four legged friend is going blind, but has trouble hearing your voice - your pooch may be having ear trouble, too. In all honesty, it may be a good idea to have a vet check her ears. Deaf learn to use their nose and their feet to learn their surroundings, too.

SableCocker1226 on March 31, 2014:

My 9-year old cocker spaniel Bonnie has cataracts: Her right eye started forming one at about age 2 (very early for this breed) and she is blind totally in that eye, and one started in her left eye about 2 years ago and that one is progressing very rapidly now. I kennel when I go away, and she has been kenneled since I got her at age 7-weeks. Over the past 3 weeks, she begins to howl whenever I leave (she has done this occasionally before, but will stop when scolded or told "Quiet". I've tried leaving her with a toy smeared with peanut butter to keep her occupied for a period of time after I close the door and leave, along with a few other toys in the kennel or even getting a new toy, and also leaving her with a shirt I've worn, but I'm sure the root of her howling is that due to her failing eyesight she is unable to see me and therefore unsure of where I am. (Also, at this point, she has a very difficult time locating the source of my voice when I talk to her or call her name or say a command whether I am a few feet from her or at a distance; and, she has begun to bump into other items more frequently.) Any suggestions, or experiences based on the same would be very appreciated.

debra-d-schmitz on March 26, 2014:

We found out our dog, Karmal had a degenerative eye disease about six months ago. He's 8 1/2 years old. Per the eye specialist, with his condition he probably started loosing his eyesight at four years of age. Karmal has always been a social dog and loves to play fetch. About a month ago, we noticed him running into things and he's been clingy and talking a lot. Like he was telling us something wasn't right. We know now he's completely blind as he no longer can find the ball. When we took him for a walk he walked right into the curb. I'm heartsick for my sweet boy but I've found so much encouragement in this website. I plan to utilize the stop, step up, step down commands for him. Maybe get him a ball with a bell inside so he can hear it. Definitely, make sure our home is a safe home for him. We also have another dog his age, she's not understanding what exactly is happening because when she tries to play with him, he's a bit lethargic. It's still so new to him. His eyesight went from seeing everything, to seeing shadows and now nothing. I will have to work very hard to be the best seeing eye person for my special baby as he's always been there for me :) Thank you

pianos2855 on March 19, 2014:

My dog Stevie Wonder was blind when he was found wandering on a busy road. He was rescued and now lives with me in his forever home. He is the delight of my life. He loves to play and he adores walks. He knows I will not let him run into anything and he does not want the walks to end. The fact that he was blind did not make any difference to me. He loves to play and squeaky toys are his favorite. He is feisty and crafty and absolutely wonderful.

gloria-godfrey on February 12, 2014:

Thank you for all the great information. My dog "Sassy" a Havanese, now 6 years old, was just diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. She is probably only seeing some shadows at this point on her way of going completely blind. We did catch on that something was wrong when she started falling off curbs, which she loved to balance on and entertain us before she started going blind. She loved to stop at her cat-friends house and sit & stare hoping he'd come to the window to stare back, but now she just walks slowly by it. She loved to chase the ducks by our lake, but now just walks by them unless they start sqawking at her, then she'll start to chase them back into the water.Now I have to stop her on her leash because she'll fall into the water. She's adapting just like the vet said, and after reading and watching your Blind Dog videos seems like she is happy and secure with with us and her condition. I just hope I'll have her for many more memorable and loving years. Blindness is one sense that I wouldn't wish on any living thing, but you can adjust to living with it and still get joy in other senses.

lyndajoseph123 on February 03, 2014:

My sighted dog is showing aggression with my blind dog, What can we do to help them both adjust?

MadelaineMouse on January 04, 2014:

My Shiba had a double enucleation (eye removal) to stop the pain from her glaucoma. She enjoys life just as much as she did previously and not being able to see hasn't stopped her at all!

charlottes-web-752 on December 11, 2013:

Very helpful information!

EmmettsMom on October 23, 2013:

My 8-year-old mini dachshund lost his sight shortly after his lifelong "sister" (a mini schnauzer) passed away. After a period of time, we debated about getting a puppy to keep him company. After 4 months, we got another mini dachshund puppy. They play together and the blind one responds to many cues given by the puppy (now almost full grown). The blind one has always been more outgoing and happy, and it's been good to see that he hasn't lost those qualities. We've had to make adjustments in our backyard (small decorative wire fencing around the top of a retaining wall to be sure he doesn't tumble off). Thankfully he's small enough to carry down stairs (he's had a tumble or two by trying to navigate them when we weren't watching), but we always make him walk up the stairs. Baby gates have also been installed to prevent him from trying the stairs on his own. He has always been our "baby" anyway.

CampingmanNW on September 26, 2013:

We had a pair of Black Labs for years and the male went blind at about age 11, but was still my constant companion for 4 more years. Blindness never stopped him. He of course could no longer take off on his own, but I think he sensed that all on his own and learned the boundaries of our property (we lived in the country on 10 acres) from memory and always managed to steer his way around obstacles to find me when I was in the yard. Even though he was blind, he still liked being an outside dog. Loved your lens and I see why it was awarded the Purple Star and selected as Lens of the day. Good job.

anonymous on August 09, 2013:

From a scared mommy, I've been going blind for awhile and my mommy knew that something was going on but I finally became totally blind. She can tell I'm depressed and she cried one day and I ran to her to lick her tears which made her happy . I know now she is doing everything she can to make me happy, clapping, calling me loudly since she thinks my hearing is going too. There is a gate at the stairs but that's OK, I'm tired of falling. This website has helped my mommy to understand and how to help me more and I hope I get out of this depressed mood for her and me. Shotzie

suepogson on August 09, 2013:

lovely lens - compassionate but still practical. My oldest dog sees just fine right now and I'm newly grateful for that. I think you will help many distressed dog owners with this article -I hope it is seen by many people.

Tonie Cook (author) from USA on August 07, 2013:

This brief note is to thank everyone here who has made a post, and shared your experience and tips. I read each and every post, and appreciate your being here.

anonymous on August 05, 2013:

I just came across this website and it has really helped. My 9 yr old 8 lb. Maltese, Sarah, has just gone blind. We took her to her vet 2 weeks ago with cloudy eyes and he said she was fine and it's just part of getting old and can see just fine. She came home from the groomers Saturday totally blind. We have an appointment this afternoon and praying there's something that can be done. She wil not leave my side and bumping into walls. She is not allowed upstairs because she can't get back down, little legs, so the stairs aren't a problem but we do use an ottoman at the foot of our bed so she can get up there. And also doggie stairs to get up and down on the sofa. We are watching her closely and helping her as much as we can. I will keep you posted in the out come of the vet visit. Thank you again for your helpful and encouraging words. I couldn't seem to stop crying until I read your website.

anonymous on August 01, 2013:

I'm so glad I found this site, and thank you so much for sharing your experience with your beloved blind dog. My dog and I are still in the adjustment and learning phase, as her sudden blindness only occurred six weeks ago--the result of an immune-mediated eye disorder that made her tear glands stop producing.

I've been treating her eyes with ointment every few hours day and night for a year. I thought that would protect her corneas, so her blindness devastated me. Like you, I've tried to keep my own emotions in check as much as possible (after that first bursting into tears when I realized she couldn't see) so I won't depress her. She needs me to be strong and steady for her.

She's learned to follow my "step" commands and is negotiating the steps fairly well now. I widened the traffic-ways through the house, but won't ever move the furniture again. This has decreased her bumping into things, but she's still confused when she wakes up after a nap.

The book "Living With Blind Dogs" is very helpful. My grandson's dog lost an eye last year, so he had the book and loaned it to me.

My dog is only 8 1/2 years old, and her breed (miniature schnauzer) has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. I want to do everything possible to make her remaining years happy. She's given me so much joy, and I want to do the same for her.



Perhaps the most important thing you wrote was a reminder that even blind dogs want to have fun. I've ordered a "giggle ball" and other new toys for her that are recommended for blind dogs. Since I'm retired and home every day, it doesn't bother me that she's become my shadow. I try to spend time every day playing with and talking to her. Oh, yes...I noticed that she asks for food ("demands" is more like it) more than before and earlier than her normal mealtimes. It's like she thinks, "If I've lost other things, at least I can EAT!"

anonymous on July 18, 2013:

Hi....Thank you for this web site. My pup, Casie, is 19 years old now. She is a beagle/terrier who has been losing her sight over the past couple of years. We make every accommodation possible for our beautiful and dedicated puppy. I wouldn't think of euthanizing her.......she still eats, drinks, goes outside, loves to be in my company. She does sleep much of the day.....but, at 19's ok. It's just so sad to see this happen to her.....and sad to think she's so up in age, and I can't be with her forever. Casie has a great life with us......three beds in the house, and one out on the covered deck. She's had her teeth professionally cleaned by our Vet quite a few times in her life. I really think that has added years to her life. I really hope that she is not in pain at all....they say animals will not show pain. Does anyone know about that? She's my "shadow" and I love her so.

WriterJanis2 on April 23, 2013:

Beautiful and blessed.

donaken on March 19, 2013:

This site is very helpful for me and my 1yr old Great Dane, blind since birth.

I tried this and it was a great experience for both of us!

I hide Dunkans large milkbones (2 of them)almost every day and show him

how to search for them. He does ok with that nose work.

SO... I was busy, had my hands in dishwater busy. Dunkan wanted his

milkbones. So I put the tub of milkbones on the floor just to see what

would happen.

Dunkan took one at a time-and hid them-he only took two, to hide. then

he took one more to eat. He did not come back for any more.

So, is he very smart? or, since he could have had a lot more, very dumb?

I tried it again today with the same results!

anonymous on March 12, 2013:

My 5-1/2 year old Bernese Mountain Dog showed slight vision problems early one morning and six hours later was blind. He's been on pills for a month and is gaining night vision back - no daytime. I loved this article as I've been able to learn new ways of "training" my dog so that he has confidence in himself and me. I love the part about the dryer sheet to help him know where he is. The snap of fingers is awesome as well. I never would have thought of either. The biggest difference I notice is his personality. He just wants to lay there - no excitement, no play, no big wags of his tail any more. To get him back on track, I'm "over-doing my excitement" with him. I'm hoping he'll feed off of me, and re-gain his happiness and fun. I know that he's only a month into this and it's all new, however, he can still enjoy life. The article commented on using the words Step Up & Step Down. Silly me was was only saying Up or Down. Obviously this is confusing as the words means something different to him. I'm now following the articles guidelines as this make much more sense. Thank You for the valuable info..!!

anonymous on March 11, 2013:

This is one of the best articles I have read regarding blindness in dogs and changing the environment for your dog. It was so helpful and encouraging. Thank you for taking the time to write it and know that however difficult it was, it will help others be able to care for their beloved dogs. Your pup is very well loved.

anonymous on February 26, 2013:

My dog sadie is blind in 1 eye and on eye drops for rest her life she 5 yr old she a Pomeranian x chihuahua

anonymous on February 23, 2013:

Truly the best Lens I have read here on Squidoo. Such a moving and sad story that shows your love and devotion to your dog. There are fantastic lessons to learn for anyone that has a blind dog...not to mention the list of symptoms. I can't believe the part about "practicing his path." Can it really be true that a dog knows he is going blind and decides to learn his routes? Remarkable. Thanks again for this Lens.

anonymous on February 22, 2013:

Thank you for sharing your experience in such a reassuring and helpful manner. My three year old AmStaff was recently diagnosed with Progressive Retinal Atrophy, and has lost most of his night vision and much of his peripheral vision. He has been anxious and depressed, but I now feel confident that I can help him adjust by following your recommendations.

anonymous on February 15, 2013:

Thank You for this. I'm adopting a blind small poodle. I've only had blind one eye or only one eye dogs, not completely blind. This was very helpful.

blue22d on January 29, 2013:

Excellent lens! Well deserved purple star for a fully research lens. Great job.

anonymous on January 26, 2013:

Thank u

AlphaChic on January 18, 2013:

Wow. I can sense your devotion to your dog in your writing. Thanks for sharing.

anonymous on January 11, 2013:

I have a very old female chinese crested. She went totally blind over the period of about a year. I also have a 3 year old male crested who can see fine. I live in an apartment and she gets around just fine. Sometimes she bumps into things or gets "stuck" in a corner but I just pick her up and point her in the right direction. She was never leash trained so I have to take her outside, put her in the grass and she does her business. She doesn't like to walk around outside but I guess it's because she can't see or doesn't know where to go. I put her in a pouch and take her for a walk along with my other crested. I take her everywhere with me and treat her just like my other dog that can see. She requires a little extra love and patience but she is well worth it. She's doing great and is a happy dog. The only thing that is different is she can't see. But she sure can smell. If I'm cooking in the kitchen she will jump off my couch and find her way into the kitchen! I think it hurts us humans to see our dogs go blind. More so then the dog itself. It's amazing how well she has adjusted to being blind. Like I said, just give them a little extra patience and love and they should do just fine. And if you can avoid it, don't move your furniture around after the dog has gone blind! Mine knows exactly where everything is.

anonymous on January 05, 2013:

Thank you so much ! My Toy Poodle has recently gone blind and this has helped us so very much. Again thank you.

anonymous on January 04, 2013:

@anonymous: Hello Carol,

My name is Angela and I too have a little toy poodle that has recently gone blind. While my baby's blindness was gradual retinal degeneration, he has just recently lost the last of light vision and is Troubled with anxiety we are working with our vet and going back to pup school 101.Believe me when I say we

humans are more upset then are pups in most cases. We live threw our eyes they live threw their noses hahaha. You and your pup will do just fine.

anonymous on January 04, 2013:

Thank you so very much!!! I can't express how useful your site is when we have just discovered our baby has glaucoma and is blind in both eyes. The part about being emotional especially, she is trying so hard, and we are learning key words to help her - Stop being the key word.

anonymous on December 30, 2012:

@Sheilakaye1948: we have our 3rd appointment with the opti Dr tomorrow. He seems depressed , maybe because of the beta blocker from the meds, maybe she can change the meds and that might help him. Tim is becoming a bit more tolerant when he has to get his drops, maybe I am not as nervous

Sheilakaye1948 on December 29, 2012:

@anonymous: I know how hard it is to accept that our babies have lost their sight, but they adjust alot faster than we do. My older male Chihuahua went blind over a period of time so it was as a lot easier to accept, but when my female went blind overnight I was where you are now. Totally heart sick but within a few weeks and help from this sight she was doing well , better than I was . It took me watching her to realize that she was going to be fine.

anonymous on December 27, 2012: hard as it is going to be to get up off the floor, I will. Our year and 1/2 old toy poodle,Timothy, has lost his sight. It is not sitting well in my stomach, as you can imagin, my heart is in my throat. . Over a peroid of 3 weeks we accessed that there seems to be a problem, a vet visit while traveling over Thanksgiving and a vet visit when we returned home, then to the specialist. Second appointment was yesterday with the unfortunate news: Not a canidate for surgery, it's very complicated. At this point, treatment consist of 13 drops of various meds . Prednisone, and 2 different glacoma drops as well as oral prednisone.

Thank you all for your encouragement and post, I am thank for that I found this site.

I've placed some essential oil on .sticky felt and adheared it to corners around the house, bottom of stair case also a clicker in my pocket for positive reinforcement as a call to play on the floor. I do not want him to think that every time I pick him up it time for those nasty drops, {he started trying to hide and coaxing him out from under was becoming a test of wills}.

Well, that's our short story, my husband is missing the play they used to have, I hope he will learn to get down on the floor too!

anonymous on December 25, 2012:

Thank you for the encouragement. My 12 year old Chinese Crested, Suzie Wong, is now blind. She is spending more and more time on her doggy beds. You article has helped me understand that I need to see she has more active playtime. I'm going to try. Her separation anxiety is also increased. She is learning her paths though.

anonymous on December 25, 2012:

Thank you for writing about your experience. My 12 year old diabetic, Malti-Poo had limited eye sight for the past year and seems to have totally lost her eye sight this week. Trying to build up her confidence without coddling her.

bsalas lm on December 22, 2012:

Our female pug was completely blind the last three years of her life. It's amazing how well a dog can do without sight if you're willing to make a few small adaptations. Great len.

Aunt-Mollie on December 20, 2012:

What an inspiring story!

anonymous on December 19, 2012:

@anonymous: Jack tested positive for SARDS. Your info will be very


anonymous on December 18, 2012:

My 8 yr old Pug who had cataract surgery 3 years ago is now having vision problems. He's going tomorrow to his Opthamologist to be tested for SARDS. I hope it comes back negative, but if it's positive, your site has helped me greatly.

AngusMackenzie on December 14, 2012:

WOW! My younger daughter rising twenty-nine has never known our house without a black Labrador. At the moment we have a 6 1/2-year-old bitch and her mother who is 11 1/2-both dearly loved.

I was just saying to my younger daughter the other day "do not you think granny dog's eyes are getting a little bit milky?"

I have now filed this site for future reference. Thank you

anonymous on November 23, 2012:

Thank you for this! Our shih tzu of 6 years has been bumping around things lately and we have him checked, he might be totally blind over a year. We were so devastated. He sleeps all day and hogs all his food like he feels he can't get any more after and does not want to play anymore. it hurts me to see him fall into some steps or underestimate where he jumps on things and bumps himself. I'm very glad to see your site and learn how to make him feel better and be more comfortable. Thank you!

Tony Bonura from Tickfaw, Louisiana on November 15, 2012:

Yes you have some very helpful hints here. I just hope I never have to make use of them for my own pets. It is bad enough when they get old and can't play like they once did. When I was a kid, I did have a dog who was blind in one from cataracts and had some limited vision in the other eye. He loved to run alongside my bicycle when I delivered newspapers. He seemed to know to stay with me and didn't wander off when we were on my "route."


anonymous on November 09, 2012:

@anonymous: Hi Dea

My dog has IMR also and they thought she has Cushing's disease. I never tested her as they wanted another $500 after I spent over $800 to figure out she had IMR. I spoke to many people and I started her on The Honest Kitchen dehydrated raw food (grain free) and give her "Evitex". It has helped tremendously, the Evitex got her back to what she was again asides from being blind. She had a lot of the same symptoms you are describing. The Evitex reinstated the normal hormonal output and if she does have Cushing's she's fine now and no chemicals either as it's all natural. After 6 mths I still have a hard time walking with her alone, but if I have another person she gladly walks, I think she bounces off the conversation between 2 people and has her bearings. Trust me it's hard but be constant in routine and he'll adapt, it does take time and training of new voice commands & treats ect. Also look into a "Thunder Shirt" to help him with separation anxiety issues that may arise. Good luck and stay strong!

anonymous on November 09, 2012:

My 5 1/2 yrs old Puggle (Pug/Beagle) was diagnosed with IMR 6 mths ago. I was devastated.. it's been a journey and still is, she pulls the leash and is stubborn as hell. What I have the most difficulty with is going for walks if it's only the two of us, she does her business and puts the brakes on & heads back. If I have a friend with me in conversation she gladly walks, it's so frustrating. She does get separation anxiety sometimes, I think getting a "Thunder Shirt" will help according to my Vet. At this point it can't hurt. I wish you all much luck, as it's more of an adjustment for human than the dogs I promise.

anonymous on November 08, 2012:

My 12 yr old lab has been blind for more than 4 yrs and has started barking more and more when were gone, shes worn out by the time we get home from barking, any suggestions other than leaving TV on? Thanks Denise

anonymous on November 05, 2012:

@anonymous: In reading your story, did you find out what was wrong? From the eye

color it sounded to me like cataracks (sp). D

anonymous on November 05, 2012:

Prior to teeth cleaning on February 17, 2012 our 22 pound Bichon Frise dog named Bailey, was

1. A high spirited, vivacious dog. He greeted all strangers at the front door like he had known them for years by exhibiting extreme energy bouncing up and down.

2. In the evening he had no trouble jumping up on chairs we were sitting on in the living room.

3 He could run around the inside of the house missing all furniture doing his Bichon blitz going what we referred his speed to be 100 miles an hour.

4. He could run up and down the four (4) front porch steps to go to the bathroom with no problem.

5. When we leashed him up for a walk he would be in the lead tugging on the leash for us to hurry up.

The day after the teeth cleaning, February 18, 2012 we had a lethargic animal with no expression, no energy and no display of excitement..

He could no longer jump up on the living room chairs where he watched television with us, he no longer had any interest in running 100 miles an hour around the inside of the house, we had to carry him up and down the porch steps to go to the bathroom, when we leashed him up for a walk he lagged so far behind we had to keep tugging on him to get him to move and he no longer exhibited any interest in visitors at the front door..

A most noted problem was the terrible wheezing sound coming out of his throat like he was gasping for air which we thought was from the breathing tube that had been put down into his throat during the time he was put to sleep for the teeth cleaning.

We attributed all of this to a carry-over from the anesthesia he had and the teeth cleaning event.

Finally on March 14, 2012 we took him back to the Vet and told him there had to be something wrong.

We were thinking he had a stroke because of:

1. The lethargy, total lack of energy/enthusiasm and the fact that he could not jump up on the living room chairs

2. The wheezing and gasping.

3. The fear of going down and up the four (4) porch steps.

4. The lagging behind, having to be tugged to get him to move on walks.

Our Vet gave him a thorough blood test indicating there had not been a stroke. He also took X-Rays and thought there was a little fluid on the lung for which may have explained all the wheezing so he prescribed a diuretic to help alleviate the excess water on the lung. Other than that he basically said there was nothing wrong with him.

March 28, 2012 we took him Michigan State Vet School. They had him for two (2 ) days and the end result was that there was nothing wrong with his breathing, and he only needed to lose weight and he would be back to normal.

May 2, 2012 there is still something wrong with our dog so we took him back to the Vet and were told he is blind. A glucose test was given to rule out diabetes. He was also given a steroid shot.


We took Bailey to the canine ophthalmologist today and while itâs true he cannot see, there is a possibility, that some of his eye sight might partially come back. There is no known reason at this time why dogs get Immune-mediated Retinitis.

We have two medications to give him twice a day. What sight he may get back will occur within the next 3 weeks. Dr. Ramsey said in his report and I quote, âThe vision loss has nothing to do with the dental cleaning or general anesthesia that was doneâit is merely coincidental only.â Maybe yes and maybe no since they donât know much about this problem at this time.

When we took Bailey back to the dog ophthalmologist he said he was totally blind. The pills did not work.

Our dog at this time, November 2012, is still so confused. He does not know day from night. We take him outside to do his business as late as 9:30 pm, but at times he still goes in his room where his bed is, both pee and poop. He used to like to walk, but not any more. He sleeps most of the day. Bichons are known to live to 18 and since he is only 7 we have a long time to go. I agree, I am taking it harder than he probably is. We guide him on a leash to get him down one

step to go to the bathroom, but one step is all he can handle at this time.

Below is taken from a report I found on the internet

IMR is very similar to a previously known malady called Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome or SARDS.

Both diseases occur when the dog produces auto antibodies that attack the retinal cells. The antibodies mistake retinal cells for cancerous tumors or tissues that need to be destroyed.

In the process of attacking the retinal cells, the auto antibodies cause the retinal cells to lose function and the dog to lose some or all of its vision.

The difference between IMR and SARDS that Grozdanic identified is that the auto antibodies that attack the retinal cells in SARDS patients are produced in the eye. In the newly identified IMR, Grozdanic found that these auto antibodies are produced elsewhere in the dog and travel to the eyes in the blood.

This is a critical step in treating the disease because the source of the problem is better understood, according to Grozdanic.

"The whole purpose is to start to understand the disease better," he said. "The more we understand these diseases, the more proficient we will be developing new treatments."

Grozdanic says the evidence shows that approximately 2,000 cases of SARDS occur every year. Some of those cases may now be identified as IMR, and treated differently.

Treatment for IMR can have a relatively high success rate. "In approximately 60 percent of the Immune-Mediated Retinopathy cases, we have been able to treat it," he said. "In some cases very successfully, in some cases moderately successfully."

Since IMR has only recently been identified, there are no statistics on how many dogs this disease affects.

Grozdanic has also developed a test to differentiate the two types of retinopathy. Grozdanic shines colored lights in the dog's eyes to see if the pupils constrict. If the pupils constrict poorly while the doctor uses the red light, and have normal constriction when blue light is used, the patient most likely suffers from IMR. If the eyes respond to blue lights, but not red lights, then the diagnosis is SARDS.

Tests show SARDS-affected eyes have almost no electrical activity. IMR-affected eyes have some electrical activity, and the retinal cells are not destroyed but have only lost function. These are the retinal cells that Grozdanic thinks can function again now that the origin of the problem is known.

In his work with canine patients with IMR during the past few years, Grozdanic has restored sight in several dogs.

According to Grozdanic, these two diseases are similar to illnesses that afflict humans, so treatment for people may not be far off.

"This was a giant leap. We are getting better at understanding it, and based on this information, we may be able to modify and improve treatment of dogs and eventually human patients," said Grozdanic.

Grozdanic's findings are published in the March edition of Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice

Doc_Holliday on November 01, 2012:

I found it very time consuming taking care of a horse which went blind. One of the frustrations was that he was generally unable to communicate his needs and it was heartbreaking when he injured himself despite my efforts to protect him. The vet confirmed that it was a kindness to put him out of his misery. I confess I shed a tear.

anonymous on October 31, 2012:

Thank you for this story. I am sitting here with my 2yo blue eyed Border Collie, who is off to the vet tomorrow to find out what's going on. He has started bumping into things, he tries to take food from the wrong hand if I put 2 in front of him and in the last 24 hours his blue eye has become highly irritated and the iris has changed colour to almost a pale brown. We live in the bush so off to the vet, a day's trip, it is tomorrow. Fingers crossed for a positive outcome, but if what I fear comes true you have given me some wonderful ideas and guidelines. Thank you for sharing.

anonymous on October 26, 2012:

@anonymous: My dog lost his sight in the same timeframe yours has. It has been very difficult to cope with it. My dog is a service animal for me as I use a wheelchair myself. He is still doing his job with some modifications and now I am his eyes. We help each other.

anonymous on October 15, 2012:

thanks for your molly suddenly went blind in may,,,shes a 7yr old antisocial shitzu,after a frantic trip to the vet we were informed its prob a tumor.molly became depressed,sleeping not eating or drinking,i forced water via a syringe into her,treats were on tap....roast beef,cheese whatever she would eat,plenty praise and encoragment(so what if i sound crazy on our walks in park) i squeak a ball for her to follow me,i have her running again.i dont know her prognosis ,neither does the vet,we carry on with my grumpy wee girl!

anonymous on October 10, 2012:

I have a 5 year old cocker spaniel named Zeus who has blue eyes. He had his vision, but several months ago my mother told me that he was losing his sight. I'm currently at college and I'm unfortunately unable to be around him very much. My mom called me up today saying that she had reached for something from him and he bit at her and told me I needed to make a decision on whether or not to put him down. I'm lost and confused because from what I remember of him he's a great dog and I don't want anything to happen to him, but at the same time I want what is best for him as well. I'm going home to him this Sunday to see him for myself. This site really helped and any advice would help. Thank You so much.

anonymous on October 01, 2012:

Two years ago we adopted Raymond, a 5 year old Shar Pei who was recovering from surgical removal of both eyes, necessitated by years of neglect by prior owners. While we are dedicated dog lovers, we were inexperienced with special needs pets. We were, however, determined to learn as much as we could to ensure Raymond would thrive with us as his forever family. With a lot of TLC, gentle guidance, and patience on his part, Raymond is a healthy, loyal, well adjusted family member! With hopes our experience might help others, here are some steps we took to help Raymond adjust to his blindness and to our home:

1). Secured steps in our home with baby gates to prevent falls. Even after becoming familiar with the layout of our house, such boundaries provide a reminder of where he is safe. He becomes excited when guided through gates to "special" levels he doesn't go to when unattended.

2). Use a leash to guide and verbal cues to help with physical layout of home and yard. While we guided him on the leash, Raymond's nose led him through our home. As we moved room to room we used words like "uh-oh" to signal when he was going to bump into furniture, walls, etc, while using the lead to guide him away from obstacles, "stairs" as each step was taken to navigate a set of stairs, "outside" to help navigate the path to go to the door for our back yard, etc. we repeated the trips around the house with verbal cues several times a day. We were amazed that Raymond had a mental map of his home in just a few days.

3). Tactile cues help too! Rugs help define top steps of deck and patio stairways, and paving stones define boundaries for safe places in even a fenced yard. Indoors, rugs or mats at stairs provide an addition sensory trigger for caution. Hallway runners provide "roads" for navigation between rooms and help deter "wall bumping".

4). Keep furniture arrangements simple, with easy pathways. Benches, ottomans, baskets, etc, are better kept out of your pet's navigation. Even if your dog was familiar with their placement when sited, they deserve fewer obstacles to adapt to now.

5). Limit rearranging furniture or relocating rooms. If you do, help your blind dog learn the new layout with leash,verbal and tactile cue training, and patience.

6). We placed flat, cushy beds for Raymond in little-traveled places of our house - one in a hallway by a spare bedroom, between two recliners in our kitchen, by a side table in the family room, in a corner of our bedroom. All locations give him a quiet spot to rest without fear of being stepped on or over by his Shar Pei sister or visitors in our home.

7). Radio plays on low volume 24 / 7. This provides Raymond a means of re-establishing his "compass" when he gets disoriented (and that will happen at times, so don't be alarmed). We've learned he doesn't like hard rock, and will spend hours listening to Christmas music :)

8). Provide secure separation from other pets when you are away from home. Even the best of friends need their own space, and sighted pets are not always considerate of the blind ones. Blind animals may experience separation anxiety when you leave, and the security of being in their own place (with music playing) eliminates the opportunity for scuffles between canine siblings.

9). Reassess pet toys. If your dog was an avid frisbee player, a scented frisbee thrown short distances can still fulfill playtime. Or, balls that make noise when rolled or tossed can provide alternative entertainment.

10). Continue usual routines with your dog. If when sighted, he went with you to get the mail each day, let that continue to be his "job", just be sure he is on a leash -safety first! Our canine friends thrive on routine, and sense of worth. Blind pets deserve to be important and helpful too, so work with their handicap to help them be their best. In our house, Raymond signals dinner time for him and Kona. At 6pm sharp (yes, he can tell time) he locates me, and with pawing and nose nudges, he leads me to the food bowls. With my response of "puppy food" while tapping the sides of the food bowls (audio cues), he trots to lead me to where he knows pet food is stored. He listens for each bowl to be filled, then confidently navigates the hallways to their feeding stations, with tail held high and wagging! Job well done, Raymond!

11). Expect behavior changes. Your dog may be less social some days, preferring to have quiet time in his bed or other safe spot, rather than being in the middle of family activity. Her favorite toys may have less appeal for play. Your house trained pet may have accidents indoors. As long as other health issues have been ruled out, treat the accidents as such, with gentle retraining and patience. Don't get angry or frustrated, and don't accept such changes as OK "because he's blind". Your canine companion is adjusting to a lot! Your patience and calmness is critical to him adapting to his blindness, and continuing to be a happy family member.

12). Blind dogs can become aggressive when surrounded by endless and unfamiliar smells and sounds from other animals and people. For your security and theirs, shield your pet from people, and especially children who may be eager to pet your sweet friend. When you or others approach your pet, always use your pet's name and speak lovingly to them so they aren't startled when touched. As a way to identify Raymond as blind so others won't rush him, I am stenciling "I AM BLIND" on a leash and bandanna for Raymond to wear when we are away from home.

13). Don't overwhelm your blind pet with continuous attention or forced interaction. Give him space. If we watch and learn, our dogs will show us when they want time with us. DO love and praise your blind pet several times a day, but don't push it Let him signal when he wants those special belly rubs, ear scratches, lap time, or play dates with you. While he might have been glued to your side when he was sighted, there may be days when he/she prefers to be in a quiter, "safe" place provided by their bed or other special spot. Remember, your dog needs time and space to adapt to his challenges too. He has devoted love for you, and by nature, your furry friend will seek your companionship.

We are very lucky to have Raymond in our family. Every day he teaches us to "see" things we hadn't taken time to notice before. He has helped us become better pet parents, and our girl Kona, is happy and healthier too. Enjoy and share your unconditional love with your blind dog as well.

anonymous on October 01, 2012:

My 5 year old beagle lost her sight three weeks ago and we are trying to cope and manage the situation all together as a family. Thank you for your insights and wonderful article. We look forward to helping her adjust and provide her with the same loving care we always have given her. Aloha from Hawaii.

anonymous on October 01, 2012:

@anonymous: Sharon I have a 10yr old bichon! An he has diabetis as well but I love him so much and I know now its quality not quanity! But it breaks my heart!

anonymous on October 01, 2012:

This was helpful very much! Its so sad my boy always took the lead and it breaks my heart to see him so down! I always let him know he still my hero!

anonymous on September 30, 2012:

extremely helpful thank you so much x x x

anonymous on September 23, 2012:

Thankyou. Our Labrador has progressive retinal atrophy and has lost his sight. When we got the diagnosis, we were so depressed - so concerned for Sam - his loss. It takes a lot of adjustment but he is still the most wonderful pet a family can have.

anonymous on September 19, 2012:

Thanks. Great! My 11 yr old bichon just went blind and he I so depressed. This helped me get tips. Sharon

anonymous on September 05, 2012:

Thank you for sharing. My 9 year old Minnie Dachshund has been blind for a few months. We are adjusting to his new life and he is not so stressed lately. You have some great tips and advise. We have managed to raise three kids, 23, 21 and 15 but a blind dog is a new challenge. Wish us luck.

anonymous on September 04, 2012:

@nicholarusty: @ nicholarusty hi my 8 yr old dog got diagnosed with diabetes about 5months ago. Last week i noticed she has full mature cataracts. She cannot see now, she wakes up somedays and I can tell she is scared. It breaks my heart! I'm glad you are giving out this great advice so people can know what to do and what to expect.

hartworks lm on September 01, 2012:

VERY interesting. We have gone just a little ways down that road recently with our 16-year-old dog. He has lost hearing more than sight but both have dropped off. He still loves his life and brings zest to his walks, his food, everything.

anonymous on August 29, 2012:

I found this site very helpful! Thank you sooo much! Penny, my 9 yr old hound mix got her eye removed yesterday and I'm trying to educate myself on how to train myself to make sure that she continues living a happy, healthy lifestyle. I really appreciate your site.

Frugal-UK LM on August 23, 2012:

Hi there just stopped by

nicholarusty on August 14, 2012:

My 9 year old beautiful Jack Russell,Rusty has had diabetes for 7 month, we noticed his eyes were starting to become cloudy and he was contracting cataracts. In the past week we noticed he has been bumping into furniture throughout the house and now we believe he blind. Myself and the family are devastated and heartbroken. We realised how bad it was when he fell off the metre high brick wall in our back garden. It breaks my heart again and again when I see him trying to navigate the house and bumping into things. This information has been great, lots of tips, advice and support thankyou!. lets hope Rusty will live a full and normal life :D

anonymous on August 14, 2012:

My 9 year old beautiful Jack Russell,Rusty has had diabetes for 7 month, we noticed his eyes were starting to become cloudy and he was contracting cataracts. In the past week we noticed he has been bumping into furniture throughout the house and now we believe he blind. Myself and the family are devastated and heartbroken. We realised how bad it was when he fell off the metre high brick wall in our back garden. It breaks my heart again and again when I see him trying to navigate the house and bumping into things. This information has been great, lots of tips, advice and support thankyou!. lets hope Rusty will live a full and normal life :D

anonymous on August 09, 2012:

Our sweet cocker spaniel Angel has had glaucoma and she has recently lost sight completely within the last week. What scents would you recommend to create safe zones and danger areas? Vanilla, I've read elsewhere is effective but curious what scent she might find unpleasant to steer her away from walls and doorways and bushes outside...

blinddogsupport on August 04, 2012:

My cocker spaniel has been blind for a total of 2 weeks now. She lost her first eye last year due to glaucoma and the second finally went last month. She has had laser surgery but that doesn't appear to have worked as she is still blind. So like you I have created a Squidoo page about my girl. Loved reading yours and the tips you provided.

anonymous on July 17, 2012:

@anonymous: Thank you Nikki for your post. It was helpful to me, and my girl Sandy. Yes it's true diabetic dogs almost always go blind. I've noticed she is adjusting better than me. She's an adoptee from Katrina, and I'd rather have her blind, than not have her at all.

anonymous on July 17, 2012:

@anonymous: MY dog Sandy, just became blind after being diagnosed with diabetes. She is 11 yrs old, and her blindness, came as a total surprise to me. It's like it happened overnight. She's adjusting to being blind, but it's harder for me to adjust. I start crying when I see her bump into things. It's only been 3 days since she's become blind, so I'm hoping she adjusts better than me.