When faced with caring for a blind pet, many myths are likely to surface. Things like “The pet will be harder to provide for” or “they won’t have a high quality of life.” Other thoughts such as, “will it be harder to prevent vision-related injuries” or the inability to play or exercise might also come up.
The truth is, blind pets are just like other animals who have their sight. They are equally deserving of love (perhaps even more so), absolutely up for any kind of fun, and show grit in the face of this potential challenge.
At the Onset
Blindness in pets occurs for several reasons. They can be born blind, of course, or they can suffer from an injury resulting in full or partial loss of sight. Illness and age can also play a role.
If blindness suddenly occurs in adulthood, it can take time to re-learn certain things. Some pets that lose their sight over time may be able to adapt more quickly. All blind pets can do remarkably well if they receive help and support from their owners.
Blind pets may be more attuned to their surroundings. While they may not be able to see their owner’s faces they can hear, feel, and more often than not, taste them to get a better sense of what’s happening around them.
Accepting a New Normal
Caring for a blind pet isn’t difficult, but there are things that make life easier for them, including:
- Placing food and water bowls in the same easily-accessed location. Clear away any obstacles.
- Remove furniture in places where your blind pet is apt to bump into them. They likely know your floor plan well; A new chair or table in an area that used to be clear may cause injury or agitation. Products like the Bumper can bring awareness of obstacles to your pet.
- Place baby gates at the tops and bottoms of stairs to deter your blind pet.
- Provide toys that make noise.
- Place a wind chime near the backdoor to orient themselves for bathroom breaks.
- Be sure that fencing is installed and in good shape. Still, it might be worthwhile to invest in a GPS Pet Tracker.
- Keep the pool area closed off and covered, or attach an alarm to their collar that alerts you if they fall in.
- Be sure that your blind pet cannot access a fire escape, balcony or open window.
- Give them an aural warning that you are nearby or approaching them (with a bell, a squeaky toy or your voice).
- Spray certain scents on things to make them aware of their location.
- A blind cat should remain inside unless you directly supervise them outside.
Caring for a Blind Pet
There are some other things that show sensitivity to the special needs of a blind pet. Talk to them all the time. Give them lots of praise and encouragement when they are clearly struggling with something.
Perhaps one of the best things you can do while caring for a blind pet is to establish and/or keep up their regular routine. Be sure that they can continue depending on reliable meal times, bathroom breaks and opportunities to exercise every single day.