Adopting A Blind Dog
May 3rd is Adopt A Specially-Abled Pet Day! One group of pups that often get passed over are dogs with vision problems. This isn’t exactly a rare issue: about 300,000 American pups are vision-impaired. However, while Fido’s soulful stare may not work right, he can be just as sweet and lovable as any other canine. A Bellevue, WA vet offers some advice on adopting a blind pooch below.
It’s generally considered good petiquette to introduce yourself to dogs by letting them sniff your hands. This still applies with blind pups, but you’ll want to go more slowly than you normally would. Talk to Fido in a friendly tone before approaching him, so he knows you’re there, and let others know to do the same.
In addition to the usual petproofing, which entails addressing things like toxic plants, chemicals, wires and cords, and plastic bags and ties, you’ll need to do a few extra—or maybe just different—things. Using rugs, mats, and carpet runners of various textures can help Fido find his way around. Scent markers, such as stick-on air fresheners, are also helpful for this. We would recommend getting a fountain-style water bowl, and using baby gates to block off stairs and rooms that are off-limits. If you have a pool, keep it gated off when it isn’t in use.
The Big Day
When you bring Fido home, use a comfortable harness, and let him sniff around a bit before bringing him inside. Then, gently lead him around the house. You may want to keep him in a small area at first, as he is settling in. Provide him with a comfy bed, toys, food and water, and maybe leave a radio playing softly to soothe him. Use a baby gate instead of closing the door. That way, your canine pal can still hear what’s going on, and won’t feel so isolated. You may also want to get him a bumper harness to keep from bumping into things.
Once your fnew pet has settled in, keep him on a steady routine. This will help him feel safe. Don’t coddle Fido too much, though: you want him to be as independent as possible. Don’t be shy about asking your vet for specific care tips. We’re happy to help!
Do you have questions about blind dog care? Contact us, your Bellevue, WA animal clinic, anytime!