Blindness in dogs

Julia Dicconson
Content Manager
June 10, 2022

If your favourite furry friend is starting to walk into furniture or maybe their eyes have gone a little cloudy, these might be signs that your dog is going blind. Blindness in dogs is getting increasingly common as dogs live longer. Just like humans, our dogs can lose their eyesight as they age, and unfortunately you can’t pop a pair of glasses on your dog and call it a day.

Keep reading to learn more about the signs and symptoms of blindness in dogs, as well as how to care for your pup.

Causes of blindness in dogs

There are a few reasons that dogs go blind, from disease to old age. Just like us, dog’s eyes can deteriorate with age. Some of the more common causes are cataracts, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, and suddenly acquired retinal degeneration.

There are also some genetic factors involved, with certain breeds being more susceptible to developing blindness. These breeds include Golden Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, Shi Tzus, Yorkshire Terriers, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Maltese, Golden Retrievers, Schnauzers, Poodles and Cocker Spaniels.

As your dog gets older, it’s important to attend regular check ups at the vet to get their eyes checked, as often as every six to nine months. 

Signs and symptoms of blindness in dogs

Whilst signs and symptoms can differ from every dog, there are a range of signs to look out for if you think your dog is going blind. 

The most obvious sign is that your dog may start to walk into furniture or objects in your home. Often dogs can memorise the layout of your home, but if there’s anything new in the way they may bump into it. 

Often you can tell by looking at your dog's eyes. If they are looking cloudy, or even red, puffy and swollen, these are obvious signs that something isn’t quite right. Your dog might even be pawing at their face or eyes, which can be a sign of eye irritation.

Other less obvious signs include anxious behaviour, general clumsiness or jumpiness, not wanting to go outside, and acting afraid, confused or easily startled. If you are noticing any of these signs in your dog’s behaviour, please head to your vet to get it checked out.

Caring for your visually impaired furry friend

It can be heartbreaking watching your dog go blind, but it’s not all bad news. Blind dogs can go on to live long, happy lives, there is just an extra amount of care and attention that is needed. 

Start by engaging your dog’s other senses such as sound and scent. If you have other pets in your home, using noisy tags or bells on their collar is a way for your blind dog to know if anyone’s approaching. It’s not a bad idea to wear one yourself, or you can use your voice more frequently to let the dog know when you’re around. 

You can also teach your dog commands for when they need to stop or go up steps, so they can better learn to navigate their surroundings.

As for scent, you can use different scents around the house to indicate different areas. You can purchase scent markets to help visualise the home with this other sense.

Don’t go moving around furniture in your home, and especially don’t move your dog’s bed and food, as this will be super disorientating and confusing for them.

You also want to keep your dog active by continuing to take them on walks and play with them. As they adjust to being blind, you can start socialising them again by taking them to dog parks and interacting with other dogs. 

Final notes on blindness in dogs

It’s never easy to watch our furry companions get sick, sad or lose their sight. Whilst it can feel like a helpless time, know that your dog can still live a rich and happy life even when blind. It’s best to go straight to your vet at the first signs of blindness and they can help you put a plan together to take care of your dog.  

Don’t wait until the very end. It’s important to consider your pet’s end-of-life journey early, so that you, your family and your pet are all supported through the process.

When the time comes, we’re here for you. Goodbye Good Boy provides a range of end-of-life services to make the difficult process of saying goodbye a little easier. 

We offer quality of life assessments from qualified vets, specialist grief counselling, at home euthanasia from dedicated end of life veterinarians, as well as cremation services and memorial options to help remember your pet for their unique character.

We are with you at every step of the journey.

To find out more, you can call our team of passionate pet lovers on 1800 953 619.