Seeing eye dogs help blind people navigate the world. If your dog loses his vision, you must become his seeing eye person. Most dogs adjust well to blindness -- their keenest sense is that of smell, followed by hearing. Some relatively simple adjustments can prevent your blind pet from injuring himself.
Avoid rearranging the furniture or otherwise changing the traffic patterns in your home. Keeping your dog's environment consistent allows him to get around more easily and avoid bumping into objects. His food and water bowls should always stay in the same place, perhaps with a change of texture nearby -- such as a mat -- so he can find them. Keep pathways in your home and yard clear and free of items he can trip on. You might have to remind kids sharing your household to put their toys away, but if it's for the dog's sake, they're probably more willing to do it.
You might have to block access to certain areas in your home or yard to keep your blind dog safe. These include stairs, decks, porches or any place your dog could take a tumble. Sometimes it's just matter of keeping doors closed, or using simple baby gates. Pools can pose danger, so make sure your dog can't get in there by himself, even if he loves to swim. An experienced swimming blind dog might still paddle, but he might not find the stairs to get himself out of the water.
Your dog probably already knows commands like "Sit" and "Stay". You can protect him by teaching him new words, such as "Step" and "Watch". Use the former term when he must access one or two single steps, so he learns that he'll encounter a change in terrain. "Watch" lets him know something is in the way, especially when you're out on walks. Talk to him frequently so he knows your whereabouts.
The Dog's Eye View
Crawl around your house on your hands and knees, looking for items that might harm your dog. You might notice sharp edges or points that might not appear problematic when you're standing up. You can then move or cover those objects for your pet's safety.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.