Some dogs and cats suffer from retinal atrophy, which makes it hard for them to see in dim light. Others can get cataracts, glaucoma or other eye diseases that cause their sight to dim. There are sophisticated treatments available, but even if your pet doesn’t regain her 20/20, there are many things you can do to make her life easier. Try these tips:
-Don’t play musical chairs: moving furniture can confuse dim sighted pets and can even cause injury. If you don’t have to, don’t move the furniture.
-Show her around: If you do shuffle the furniture or your pet’s vision has suddenly faded, lead her around on a leash for a day or two to help her find her way. It’s also a good idea to confine her to one or two rooms until she knows them well. Most pets want to be around people, so you can keep her in rooms you frequent so she won’t be alone.
-Be predictable: Stability is important for poorly sighted pets. Leaving their food and water in the same place will give them a sense of order and security. The same goes for litter boxes and beds -- the less you move them around the better.
-Give her a leash on life: If your pet has even the slightest trouble, don’t let her wander outside unless she’s on a leash or in a fenced area where she can’t escape.
-Bring in a friend: Sometimes a pet with vision will help one without it. In many cases they are willing to be very giving to the pet that can’t see, helping to guide her around.
-Try a new hairdo: If your pet has vision problems and her bangs are hanging in front of her eyes, trim them away. Hair in a pet’s eyes can further impair vision that’s already questionable.
When to see the vet? Animals are adaptable and because of their fine-tuned senses have an uncanny ability to get around. Some pets can actually hear if a door is open or closed. Blind dogs are often reluctant to go up or down stairs. Blind cats might not jump up on furniture as much as they used to. You may notice she had problems finding you when called.
One other way to tell is with the cotton ball test. Stand several feet in front of your pet and drop a cotton ball. If you do it a couple of times and your pet doesn’t even glance at it, she may be having trouble seeing. Any pet with vision problems needs to be seen by a vet.
*These tips are home remedies only and should not ever be used as a substitute for any treatment that may have been prescribed by your veterinarian. If your pet has a medical problem, we urge you to seek competent medical care.