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Helping Blind Dog Adjust

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Helping Blind Dog Adjust

Post  pugasaurus on 10/20/2010, 6:06 pm

I noticed several months ago that Bill Bailey was acting strange, not chasing squirrels, pillow humping, and in general, moping around. We went to the vet about 2 months ago and he said that Bill Bailey seemed overall healthy, they pulled blood, the bloodwork came back normal except his thyroid was a little low, so I started him on thyroid meds.

Bill Bailey is still moping around and he's starting to run into things in low light so obviously he's having vision issues so we go back to another vet, again, he's given a clean bill of health, but he now has cataracts. This was two weeks ago.

His vision is getting worse even since then and I think he'll be totally blind here pretty soon. I know we have lots of blind dogs here. Is there anything you guys have done to make it easier for them to adjust?
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pugasaurus
 
 

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Re: Helping Blind Dog Adjust

Post  We're Here on 10/20/2010, 6:12 pm

Try not to move furniture around, some people use scent cues--Blanche has a lot of experience making life simple for the visually limited.

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Re: Helping Blind Dog Adjust

Post  northernwitch on 10/20/2010, 6:20 pm

Karen:
There is a great book called Living with Blind Dogs by Karen Levin. There's also a truly useful site called www.blinddogs.com.

Tons of useful information on that site.

In my experience, most blind dogs adapt well, but some take longer and remain more cautious. My Pete adapted well, but always remained cautious. Hazel could benefit from BEING more cautious as she roars around like a loon. And even Theo who is now deaf and blind has adapted very well, but remains a cautious dog as a result of the recent loss of sight.
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Re: Helping Blind Dog Adjust

Post  TxAllieGrl on 10/20/2010, 6:20 pm

I keep a harness on Angel that I use for steering purposes - to guide her around things, help her cross the house, etc. When I have a hold of the harness, her speed increases drastically. It's as if she thinks "oh hey, I can do this!"

Without me holding onto the harness, her steps are a little slower, and you can see her searching for the ground with each step.

And if we have to go from one end of the house to the other, I generally carry her (her joints are stiff).

I find that after I have carried her, she's more disoriented and it takes her a bit to figure out where she is. So it's almost better if I don't help her much.

She still bumps into things. And then backs up and goes around them.

The worst for her is being out in the yard - she'll get herself so confused, and end up walking in circles. She thinks she's making great progress getting back to the house..but she's in a circle. 90% of the time she will make it back to the porch so I can let her in. The other 10% I go out and track her down.

For Bill Bailey - can you do the tether thing with him for a while, see if you can help him get his bearings? and perhaps limit where he's able to go, until he's more comfortable in a smaller area?

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Re: Helping Blind Dog Adjust

Post  pugsandkids on 10/20/2010, 6:31 pm

Ah, poor Bill Bailey. I think that we will be in the same boat with Lucy soon, so this is very timely.
I hope you can find something that works well for him to help him adjust.
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Re: Helping Blind Dog Adjust

Post  pugasaurus on 10/20/2010, 6:35 pm

Thanks guys! I'm going to order that book this evening!

I feel so bad for Bill Bailey. He is depressed and I want to make him feel better.
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Re: Helping Blind Dog Adjust

Post  kmes on 10/20/2010, 7:43 pm

These are a few of the things a friend of mine has done to help her blind dog.

-a differently scented candle/oil/etc. for each room
-rugs or mats (to make a change in flooring) at steps and doorways
-baby gates to block stairs
-Keeps furniture layout the same and doesn't leave anything out of place on the floor.
-T-shirts and bandanas that say something like "Blind Dog" or "I am Blind". She says that people are usually much more considerate and do not try and pet her dog without asking. She also says that people often stop their kids from running up to her dog.
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Re: Helping Blind Dog Adjust

Post  ForeverHopper on 10/20/2010, 8:46 pm

When my late Chipper became blind and then deaf a few months after that, it was a little hard for him to adjust. He got better in time and less head bumping as he walked. Do not move your furniture around unless you have too. I wore one perfume and he identified me by that smell. He use to sleep in bed with me and after he fell out of bed once, it was enough for me to put his safety over my guilt and let him sleep on the big dog bed on the floor. I'd tuck him in every night and had extra blankets for warmth and act as a bumper so he would feel as is he was alone. My kitchen, dining and living room is all open so I kept the main part of the floor open. I sat one time and watched him maneuver his was slowly a good 15 feet to the water bowl. I was so proud of him.
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