Are you caring for a visually impaired animal? Is it difficult to care for a blind pet?
Thankfully, society does not expect our pets to do much more than eat, sleep, and be loved (whew!). And as pet parents, giving them the best paw-ssible care is as much their right as it is our responsibility.
Caring for a specially-abled animals, including the blind and visually-impared, however can prove quite challenging. Fortunately, most blind and visually-impaired animals are capable of adjusting. Cats and dogs especially have heightened senses of smell and hearing, which makes it easier for them to fill in the blanks left by their being unable to see.
What they cannot smell or hear however can also be filled-in by your help! With you by their side, your pet can better adapt to your home and live a full and happy life.
Having a blind pet is not uncommon
What can cause your pet’s blindness? When not caused by injuries, cat and dog blindness may be caused by various disorders.
Some of these can be treated, such as cataracts; others cannot, such as many retinal diseases. End-stage glaucoma, for example, may necessitate enucleation, or surgical removal your pet’s eye, in order to relieve their pain or prevent any further complications.
While some of these disorders, including glaucoma, optic neuritis, and SARDS, have a quick start, others take longer to develop, such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) (PRA).
What you can do for your blind pet:
1. Refrain from rearranging or changing their space!
You don’t want your pet constantly bumping into surfaces or falling off of things. Arrange your furniture with their safety in mind, and don’t make any sudden changes. That said, also make sure to keep their space as free from clutter, trinkets, and decorations that they can trip over, bump into, knock down, or get caught on or injured by in any way.
Consistency is key for your visually-impaired or blind pet. This prevents confusion, sharpens your pet’s memory, and increases their trust in you and in themselves.
If you must alter the arrangement of your house, take them on a tour of the new setup numerous times so they can get familiar with the new pathways. You may also play calming music in their room while they sleep. This will help them find their way around your home more quickly if they can associate specific sounds with the same spots.
2. Keep feeding and litter stations in the same spot!
The same goes for areas crucial to your pet: their feeding area and their toilet!
Maintaining regular feeding and toilet routines can keep your pet from making a mess.
If you absolutely must relocate their stuff, make sure to supervise them on their first few trips to the new areas until they get used to finding these on their own.
3. Eliminate any danger zones!
Take a look around your house and see if there are any potential dangers for a visually-impaired pet. Remove any furniture that has sharp edges and tuck electrical wires away from your pet’s routes. Any exits and entryways should also be kept shut at all times to prevent your pet from going outdoors–especially since it is unlikely that they will find their way back!
Think of how you would “child-proof” your home, wherein any appliance or device that needs adult supervision to operate should be kept out of their reach. The edges of pointed items, such as tables, and hard surfaces may also be cushioned with padding and rugs.
4. Put a bell on their collar
When walking your dog, using a bell can help them recognize your presence. Ringing the bell around the house will also let your pet know where you are in the event that they get lost or confused while wandering your house.
For cats, attaching a bell to their collar helps you locate them in the event that they get lost. This also applies to cats who are not visually-impaired.
5. Sharpen their other senses using toys
Scent-based activities for dogs may be fun, but you’ll need to put in some time and effort to teach these to them. You can purchase toys for cats and dogs that may be filled with yummy goodies for your blind pet to find.
Cats and dogs who like to play with balls will appreciate added elements like bells and textures, like velcro or plush.
Generally speaking, pets are very intelligent and sensitive. Providing your sight-impaired pets with the help and support they need will ensure they live happily and comfortably .