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Just like humans, dogs tend to experience failing vision as they grow older. Caring for dogs who are losing their vision (or are already blind) poses special challenges for everyone else in the family. It is important to keep in mind that failing vision does not mean that the quality of their lives has to be poorer. If you are ready to adjust your routine, it will make things easy for both you and your dog.The usual suspects
From old age to disease, there are a number of causes of blindness in dogs. The most prevalent causes include glaucoma, cataracts, retinal atrophy, and acquired degeneration of the retinas (SARDS).Certain sexes and breeds are more vulnerable to blindness. For instance, female dogs are more susceptible to SARDS, leading to sudden blindness. Miniature schnauzers, mutts and dachshunds tend to have a greater proclivity to get affected by the disease according to a research study. Cataracts, on the other hand, commonly affect cocker spaniels, miniature poodles, golden retrievers, miniature schnauzers, Siberian huskies and Boston terriers.Beta carotene
It is important to feed your dog a healthy and balanced diet if you want them to have healthy vision, although there are certain conditions like SARDS which don’t have prevention or treatment methods.Beta carotene is excellent for the vision. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of food items that are healthy for both you and your dog’s vision, including cantaloupe and carrots. These food items strengthen the vision and lower the risk of cataracts. When buying pet food
, check the ingredient list to see if it has beta carotene.The degree of veterinary care required will change depending on the cause and severity of the blindness. Your veterinarian may suggest visiting a veterinary ophthalmologist along with beta carotene. Visiting an eye specialist might cost a bit more than standard care. When looking for the specialist, refer to an online directory or ask your vet for a recommendation.Living with blindness
If you have a visually impaired or a blind dog, there are a lot of voluntary organizations who offer training advice and professional help. Meanwhile, here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Put bells or tags on the other animals in your house to let your dog know of their presence. You can wear one yourself so that he knows where his blind companion is.
- Teach him commands like “watch” and “step” so that he is aware of hindrances and knows how to climb stairs.
- Get rid of objects that can harm your dog. For instance, if there are sharp and jagged corners to a table in the house, it is probably not a good idea to keep it there as your dog may find himself in harm’s way at any moment.
- Set up a routine for him and keep his pathways clear so that he does not have to struggle to do the daily activities. His other senses will strengthen progressively and he will learn to keep the routine all on his own.