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How To Help Your Dog Cope With Sudden Blindness

Updated on April 23, 2012

Helping Your Dog Cope With Sudden Blindness


Dogs may become suddenly blind for various reasons, for example, illness or accident.  Helping a dog cope with sudden blindness is really a matter of common sense however the emotional stress felt by owners and their pets at a time like this can make things more difficult.  Good advice given by a veterinary surgeon is to remember that dogs are not as reliant on their sight as we are, their senses of hearing and smell are highly developed and they make full use of them.


Here are some tips that may help you and your dog cope with their blindness:


1.         Take him to his water bowl at regular intervals, he may not drink each time but he will soon learn where it is and be able to help himself.  Remember that as little as 15% loss in body water can cause serious illness or worse so do make sure your dog drinks. 


2.         Hold his food dish close to his nose and ease the bowl down to floor so that he can find it easily and try to feed him in the same place each time.  He will very quickly work out when you put it down and eventually you will just be able to put it on the floor.


3.         Speak to him before you touch him so that he is fully aware that you are there otherwise you may make him jump or even growl or snap in surprise.  Make sure that everyone who comes into contact with your dog knows he is blind so that they speak to him before trying to touch him for the same reason. Also try to avoid sudden noises wherever possible as he may be startled.


.4.        Try not to move furniture and such around, your dog will be aware of where they are.  If you do need to move things take the time to show him there new place and realise that you may have to do this several times before he is confident of the new location.


5.         Most dogs respond to basic training and the principles of this can be used to help your dog cope with everyday situations.  When taking him for walks keep a light tension on the lead to stop him bumping into things and encourage his confidence by calling his name and saying something like “this way” in a cheerful voice, don’t forget to praise him when he moves forward.


5.         Try saying “step” each time you help him up and down steps or stairs – he will soon learn to associate the word with stepping up and down.


6.         The word “wait” is a very useful in training and is of no less use in helping a blind dog.  It can be used to stop him bumping into things for example.  Teach him the meaning by using the lead method as for walking but when you want him to stop stand still and tell him to “wait”.  Don’t forget to praise him, he will soon learn to stop when you say wait and save bumping his nose!


With a combination of patience, understanding and time there is no reason why your dog cannot continue to enjoy life to the full, even though he has lost his sight.


Good luck to anyone who this may be relevant to and please feel free to contact us at if you would like any help.

Puppy and Bracken

Puppy - recently lost his sight through illness.  Coping very well.
Puppy - recently lost his sight through illness. Coping very well.
Bracken - Puppy's partner in crime!
Bracken - Puppy's partner in crime!


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