Ask The Vet
Helping a Blind and Deaf Dog
How can I help my dog learn to adjust to his recent deafness AND blindness? It is hard for him to find his food and water and to navigate my house and yard without visual or audible cues. I feel so helpless when he keeps bumping into walls and furniture. Any ideas would be grealy appreciated! Thank you!
There are lots of things that you can do, and several websites that have more great suggestions. You can use scents to mark things.
A 'safe area' outside the door can be made by using garden trim pieces where he can use the bathroom. Cedar works well. You can also mark doorways with scented oil, this needs to be replaced every 3-4 days. You can use a different scent for chairs and stationary objects. In dogs, scent is their most acute, used sense. So while blindness may be devastating to you, it is probably less so to your dog. After marking everything, walk your dog around the scents.
Make sure to keep the environment very predictable, and it may be helpful to immediately limit your dog to only a few rooms and let him get used to those before letting him out into the rest. Try hard to keep all the furniture in the same place. Make sure you have lots of scented food toys
and comfortable bedding. Lavender may be calming as might DAP pheromone. There are a few new natural products that might be worth considering including Harmonease (VPL) and Anxitane. There are may prescription anti-anxiety medications for dogs that could help make the situation a little easier.
There is also a harness- http://angelvest.homestead.com/.
A website with tons more suggestions:
and a book on blind dogs:
I hope that helps! I had a blind cat in school, and she learned the layout of my apartment so well, people who came over never knew she was blind. You just can't move a table!
Take care and good luck.
For more information, please feel free to contact:
Elizabeth Gigis, DVM
West Chester Veterinary Center
7330 Liberty Way, West Chester, OH 45069