Can Dogs Have a Quality of Life if They Lose Their Vision?

by Naomi Millburn
    Disorientation sometimes signifies vision loss in dogs.

    Disorientation sometimes signifies vision loss in dogs.

    DTP/Photodisc/Getty Images

    If the veterinarian tells you that your pooch is losing his vision, don't panic. Vision loss in a dog in no way has to signify the end of an enriching, fulfilling and happy canine lifestyle. With proper accommodations and care, a dog with vision loss can indeed maintain a strong quality of life.

    Good Quality of Life

    A visually impaired or blind dog can maintain a good quality of life as long as he's relaxed and not suffering, according to the staff at the Bush Animal Clinic. Many people handle vision loss with success, and canines don't even rely on their eyesight as much as their two-legged pals do. The majority of dogs with vision loss enjoy satisfying lives once they've fully adjusted to the new situations, say the experts at the Animal Ophthalmology Center.

    Accommodating Your Pet's Vision Loss

    If your dog has vision loss, your veterinarian can help you assess the specific case and figure out how to make your cutie's life easier and more comfortable at home. Doing this can help keep your pet's quality of life as strong as before. You might have to build a fence surrounding your residence, for example. You might have to take extra safety measures in keeping your pet away from pools, hot tubs, terraces and balconies. You also might have to be more predictable in how you do things around the household. Constant furniture reorganization in your living room, for example, can be extremely disorientating and frustrating to animals with vision problems. With the right planning, your pet can continue being the happy-go-lucky creature he was meant to be.

    Behavioral Shifts

    While visually impaired and blind canines can lead content lives, they frequently displaying lasting shifts in their temperament and behavior, according to Stanley Coren, author of "How Dogs Think." They tend to become markedly more reliant on the people in their lives. They tend to be more careful and heedful. Lack of vision frequently makes dogs more apprehensive, too. It isn't uncommon for dogs with vision problems to bark more often, as well -- a means of gaining acknowledgement from people when they cannot find them.

    Adjustment Process

    When dogs lose their vision slowly and gradually, getting used to their new situations often isn't too difficult on them. Abrupt vision loss is generally significantly tougher on canines. Despite that, the majority of dogs can adjust to sudden vision loss, although it often calls for much more time and effort, both from the animals themselves and the people who love and care for them. Slow vision loss allows dogs time and experience in dealing with and working around their new circumstances. When vision loss occurs seemingly out of nowhere, however, dogs sometimes become stressed out, depressed and uneasy. Note, too, that the adjustment to vision loss tends to go smoother in younger canines.

    Photo Credits

    • DTP/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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