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  • Tips for dealing with a blind dog…
  • Premier Icon the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    Our Border Terrier, Angus, who recently turned 13 seems to have finally lost what little eyesight he had left. We think he’s had a little stroke or seizure as he’s become very disoriented within the last few days and seems to have lost his bearings.

    We’ve spoken to the vet about it and he’s said because of his age any he’d just concentrate on making him comfortably and secure. And dogs adjust fairly well to loss of eyesight.

    So how did you make things better for your dog?

    Premier Icon dovebiker
    Full Member

    Our previous pair of Basset Hounds in their senior years, one was blind and the other deaf but they both coped fine. Our current hound is 14 in 2 weeks and his eyesight is slowly deteriorating – he can’t see things in front of his nose, but can spot the neighbour’s cat out the window! Dogs are pretty resilient in comparison to humans – they rely as much on hearing or smell.

    Premier Icon Jakester
    Free Member

    Get it a guide person?

    Premier Icon duncancallum
    Full Member

    Just dont re organize furniture and keep fragile stuff away.

    He’ll be fine with it.

    Premier Icon nicko74
    Free Member

    Our pug lost her eyesight over the course of a few months 3 years ago. She copes reasonably well now for the most part, but it took a surprisingly long time. Like your dog, she got really disoriented at first, despite knowing the house and all our walks incredibly well. I think the difference is that when she could see she never had to think about it, she just went – to her bowl, her bed, etc – and it took her maybe a year to adjust to actually thinking about where she was and where everything is, and then learning that pattern.

    – Obviously be incredibly patient; it was so weird seeing her get totally confused by going 2 paces from her bed and then not being able to find it, but the more flustered she got the more confused she got and the less confident she was.
    – We started using a few words to help her – to warn her of a step up or down, to tell her to go to her bed (which is the one thing she can always find), and to tell her to slow down.
    – I also put soft padding on the sharpest protuberances around her head height – things like the corner of the oven, door hinges etc, so that she wouldn’t injure herself. But although it’s tough to watch, I don’t think you can prevent them walking into walls all the time. T some extent I think they do have to learn where the edges are, in part by gently bonking up against them.
    – Be very careful with stairs; it will take a good few months to feel comfortable that your dog knows where they are, and I generally wouldn’t leave our dog to navigate the stairs alone.
    – We found that now she really appreciates being near us; she’s less happy about being left alone, even if that’s us being upstairs and her downstairs.
    – Our dog was always really sociable in the past, and now it’s very tough for her to socialise with other dogs – she can’t quite work out where they are to sniff them when she meets them, and they don’t really know how to react. I think she got really depressed when she first went blind, so we make more effort now to play with her etc, just giving her some fun and reassuring her that she’s still part of the pack and we’re not going anywhere.

    Premier Icon sandwicheater
    Full Member

    Hammer frozen sausages into your own garden to cheer the wee lad up.

    Premier Icon brads
    Full Member

    He’ll be fine. They cope with it very well and will surprise you with how little it affects them.

    Premier Icon project
    Free Member

    Customers house a while ago they had a lovely blind dog, and laminate flooring, so i was working there and youd hear the dog tapping around as they hadnt been able to take him out for ages only on the lawn so his claws had grown really long and not been worn down by being on roads etc, he would walk around a bit confused and walk into things, and slide around on the floor, but seemed happy trying to find me in the empty large room

    So hes still a pet, but cant see everything, take him out for walks on a lead so he gets his claws worn down but cant get into danger by not seeing traffic etc, dogs just seem to go on for a long time then just suddenly give up the will to live.

    Premier Icon ThePilot
    Free Member

    A halo might help him while he adjusts:
    https://doggadgetreviews.com/best-gadgets/blind-dog-halo
    He is very cute btw!

    Premier Icon brads
    Full Member

    Cute !! ?? Are you blind as well. He looks like he’s been chewing wasps in preparation for destroying a new couch.

    To add about walking him on a lead, I know a couple of totally blind dogs that are walked without leads. They get on just fine. One is a Westie that waits till it realises a dog is near and goes nuts wanting to play. Quite comical to watch.

    Premier Icon the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    Thanks all – we’re coming to the conclusion it’s more than blindness now.

    We’ve looked into dog dementia and he shows all these signs…

    • Pacing back and forth or in circles (often turning consistently in one direction)
    • Getting lost in familiar places
    • Staring into space or walls
    • Walking into corners or other tight spaces and staying there
    • Appearing lost or confused
    • Waiting at the “hinge” side of the door to go out
    • Failing to get out of the way when someone opens a door
    • Failing to remember routines, or starting them and getting only partway through

    It’s like he’s forgot to be a dog. Like this morning – I walked him round the garden for ten minutes to do a pee and he just walked aimlessly around. Didn’t do a pee, then slowly walked inside.

    Premier Icon hooli
    Free Member

    Ah, poor Angus. He looks like a lovely old boy.

    Premier Icon IHN
    Full Member

    Our old dog (and he was old, 17 or 18 by the end) wasn’t completely blind or deaf but was nearly both, and developed dementia (as per all the stuff in the list above). When it got to the point that he forgot his housetraining, we sent him to the doggie field in the sky. To be honest though, looking back now, we waited too long, he had no real sort of a life for a good six months before we eventually did it, and we kind of hung on as we didn’t want to let him go.

    So, I suppose I’m saying that it’s horrible, but maybe prepare yourself for a tough but honest decision.

    Premier Icon ThePilot
    Free Member

    I’m so sorry to hear this. He looks such a little character!
    And I’m also sorry to say I agree with IHN.
    I also waited too long and I regret it terribly.
    Make your own decision, don’t let the vet keep him going when it’s not in his best interest.

    Premier Icon nicko74
    Free Member

    the-muffin-man, it’s possible many of those symptoms are also a result of the blindness rather than dementia – our dog showed most of them when she went blind but gradually got out of them.

    Tbh I guess if the key part of dementia is being confused all the time, it makes sense that becoming recently blind presents very similar signs. And people say “oh yeah, but dogs can smell amazingly, so they’re fine”, but they’re not used to working *just* with their sense of smell – it takes time to learn.

    Premier Icon the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    Sad to say we took the decision to have Angus put to sleep yesterday.

    His condition worsened over the weekend and it was very obvious he didn’t know where he was or who we were. He was constantly walking round and round all day and night and only slept when completely exhausted.

    RIP mate – you’ll leave a massive hole in our lives.

    Premier Icon skink2020
    Full Member

    Peace and love brother.

    Premier Icon IHN
    Full Member

    Feel for you chap, it’s a horrible decision to have to make. RIP Angus

    Premier Icon brads
    Full Member

    Not an easy thing to do, I know I’ve done it a few times myself and none were any easier.

    Only thing I will say is this. If you think you’ll get another dog in future, just do it sooner rather than later.
    It’s not callous or anything stupid like that, but I have found that nothing helps dog people get over losing their dog than a pup.

    Good luck.

    Premier Icon stanfree
    Free Member

    Rest In Peace Angus , he looked like a lovely wee character. Remember the good times , Im sure there were many.

    Premier Icon eddiebaby
    Full Member

    Sorry to read this mate.

    Premier Icon dovebiker
    Full Member

    RIP Angus – sorry for your loss.

    Premier Icon ThePilot
    Free Member

    You did the right thing, OP. So sorry for your loss.

    Premier Icon haloric
    Free Member

    So sorry for your loss, so much joy can only fit into so few years.

    Our wire fox terrier is in a similar position, before xmas we thought a visit to the vets would be the last, but she has rallied with a xmas miracle and at 14.5 is on her swansong.

    For anyone else going through this we found it useful to keep some lights on in a constant place round the house at dog level, with a couple of dog beds in the same positions, and she can orient herself by the small amount she can see and smell.

    If I’ve learnt anything from the above, it’s that I also might have dog dementia.

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