If your aging dog is slowly going blind, the house could become a danger-zone very soon. Once your dog loses its vision, it will no longer be able to navigate a once-familiar location. When that happens, you'll need to take care to give your dog the help it needs to find its bearings. Here are just four of the steps you can take to help your dog find its way in a darkened world.
Avoid Changing the House
If your dog is used to where the furniture is, you should avoid making sudden changes now that it can no longer see properly. Changing the furniture around will make it nearly impossible for your dog to navigate the house. Not only that, but moving the furniture could expose your dog to possible injuries, especially if it runs into sharp corners while trying to find its way. If you're going to make changes, take your time, and move one piece of furniture at a time. This will help your dog learn its way around the room slowly.
Stick to a Routine
Feeding time can be stressful for dogs that are losing their sight. This is particularly true if you're in the habit of changing the location of the food and water bowls. When your dog could see properly, it didn't matter if you sat the bowls down in different locations for each feeding. However, now that your dog can't see properly, the constant changes may become too confusing for it. To help your dog adjust to its blindness, choose one location for the bowls, and stick to it. Your dog will soon learn exactly where those bowls are, and will get there on its own.
Establish "Scent" Memory
When you're trying to help your dog memorize the layout of your house, try establishing "scent" memory. Use one strong scent, such as peppermint, to mark the path your dog should take to one specific area of the house. Once your dog has attached a scent memory to one room, use another scent to guide its path to another room. Soon, your dog will know how to get to each room in the house, by memory.
Let Sound Guide the Way
Sound is another good way to help your dog learn the layout of your home. To help your dog navigate through the house, walk in front of it with a bell. Ring the bell as you walk. Your dog will follow you from room-to-room. As you reach each room, stop and praise your dog before moving on to the next room.
If your dog is losing its sight, use the tips provided here to help it find its way around the house. Be sure to talk to your vet at an animal hospital about treatment options that might be available for your dog.