Is it cruel to keep a blind dog alive? I don’t think so. You have to look into your heart on this one. It can be a quality of life issue. Can the dog still give you love and companionship? Can you give it back? Think about that and you will have your answer. Then look into blind dog harness equipment.
Why harness equipment? Because the harness serves two purposes:
- As a bumper, it prevents dogs from running into things.
- As a visual aid, it acts as a message to others that your dog will behave differently if approached or touched. Being blind, it does not know what is coming.
The blind dog in our cover picture is Shia. This senior cattle dog is currently living at a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals location in Boston, Ma. She uses the harness to explore her surroundings.
Why is Your Furry Friend Going Blind?
Dogs can go blind because of an illness, genetics, cataracts, or serious injury.
Thing is, they don’t normally have eye-sight as strong as we do.
Dogs typically have 20/75 vision. Translation: they must be only 20 feet away from something to see it as well as we do when standing 75 feet away.
So when you look (no pun intended) at it that way, being “blind” doesn’t affect their vision as much as humans. We use our eyes more and nobody thinks about blindness as a death sentence.
Besides the blind dog harness, other options?
As useful as the harness is, there are other actions owners can take to help their blind pets navigate life.
The American Kennel Club offers some suggestions.
One is sound. Right, as one sense fades away, we can make greater use of another.
You are still going to take your cuddly canine out for exercise walks. You might try to continue playing some form of retrieval games. Especially if your dog is only partially visually impaired.
Bring with you toys that make noise, like balls with bells. These will be easier for the dog to locate during playtimes.
Try attaching noise-making devices to your shoes or belt. The dog will know you are close by. And that will help your pet feel more confident while out on walks.
Another reassuring element is your voice. The AKC says:
“It becomes even more important to regularly talk to your dog and assure him in order to reduce confusion and anxiety. However, make sure you always have his attention before you pet or touch him, so he doesn’t become startled or scared. This is a common problem when children and strangers approach a blind dog.”
Going hand in hand with your voice is also the need for new commands.
For example, what if there are steps for your dog to cross when going out of the house? You will have to teach your pet to react to “step up,” and “step down.”
And then there is “wait.” This will be very important. It clues your dog that she may be running into something. It could be a table that has been moved. A tree in the park. A fence in your yard.
The AKC says you’ll be surprised at how quickly the dog catches on.
Blind Dog Harness Suggestions
There are several blind dog harness equipment options on the market. Which is the best? Check with your veterinarian. Do your research. Ask your local ASPCA shelter which harness it uses.
(What type of content should your business website blog offer? Advice rather than product promotion. Be a valuable info resource rather than an irritating source of sales pitches. For example, if you own a pet shop or veterinary practice, then you might share this type of content. Contact me if interested.)