How To Tell If Your Dog Is Going Blind

Like with basically every other ailment, knowing how to tell if your dog is blind may not be that easy. And the reason is that dogs are really good at feigning fine even when they are going through it.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Going Blind
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

So, while you might expect your dog to start bumping into things and such because he is losing his sight, that will probably not happen. 

You will need to adopt a more hands-on approach to detect any funny business. And for that, this article has got you covered.

How To Find Out If Your Dog Is Going Blind

The following are tests you can carry out to find out if your dog is going blind:

  • Regular eye checks.
  • The Menace Test
  • Obstacle Course
  • Direction Test
  • Bumping Into Stuff

Now, let’s see how to carry out these tests.

Check His Eyes

By this we mean you should actually get your dog and look into his eyes. Check for specs or dirt or debris. 

Some of those things might not be indicative of blindness but they are definitely things you want to check out. 

Be sure that you are doing this check in a well lit place so that you do not leave some things out or mistake one thing for another.

Also, make sure that your dog is not anxious or anything because you will be prying his eyelids apart and that in itself could be uncomfortable.

So, be sure that they are calm and you could also make their favorite treat and/or toys available.

Some of the things you might notice from looking into your dog’s eyes are different sized pupils, crustiness and teariness of the eyeballs and maybe even cloudiness.

Now, whichever of those things you notice require immediate medical attention. It doesn’t mean that something is wrong, it is just better safe than sorry.

That said, cloudy spots in your dog’s eyes is probably glaucoma. And unlike the other things we just mentioned, glaucoma could eventually lead to blindness.

The Menace Test

Well. aside actually prying your dog’s eyes open, the menace test or threat test is a pretty popular test for finding out if your dog is losing his vision.

So, this test works based on a dog’s (or even human’s) instinct to blink once he notices something coming too close to his face.

First off, to get a really accurate result, make sure that you do the test one eye at a time. So, close one eye while you test the other.

With that sorted out, move your palm ever so slowly close to the open eye. Going too quickly will introduce air pressure that will make your dog immediately figure out what is going on.

Also, be careful not to touch his whiskers because that would also alert him. So, if you do this and your dog doesn’t blink, report that to your dog’s vet immediately. Remember to test both eyes, though.

Obstacle Course

Now, remember that we mentioned that your dog is probably not going to be bumping into stuff.

Well, this is partly due to the fact that they have already mastered the layout of your home.

So, if you suspect that your dog is going blind, you could try to rearrange the furniture in your living room or something. 

When that is done, call out to your dog once and see how he fairs. Be sure not to consistently call out to him because he could trace you by the sound of your voice.

You want to be sure that all your dog has to locate you is his eyes. And if he keeps bumping into furniture, he is probably losing his vision and should be immediately taken to the vet.

Cheshire Animal
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Direction Test

This test works based on your dog’s instinct to follow with his eyes the direction of stuff that they are interested in. 

Now, because your dog’s other senses are probably in really good form, be sure to pick an item that is really light and makes no sound even when it is dropped. For this, people usually use a cotton ball.

So, right there in front of your dog’s face, drop a cotton ball down. Under normal circumstances, your dog’s eyes should follow the path of the falling ball and/or look for it on the floor.

If this doesn’t happen, you’ll need to take your dog to your vet to find out what’s up.

Bumping Into Stuff

Yea, we know that we said your dog might not bump into furniture and stuff but some dogs might. 

If a dog has begun to show signs of weakness, it usually shows that things have gotten to the point where they can no longer bear it. However, some dogs will not just try in the first place.

Whatever the case, though, bumping into furniture and stuff is definitely a sign that you should talk to your vet.

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That said, you do not have to wait till your dog starts to seem like there is something wrong.

You could make some of these things a routine check thing, just like you go for routine eye checkup. Remember that a stitch in time saves nine.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Going Blind — FAQs

What Do I Do If My Dog Is Going Blind?

If you’ve ascertained that your dog is going blind, a number of things will have to change while some others will have to remain the same.

For one, your home arrangement should, for the most part, remain the same. Your home layout will have to be something that your dog is familiar with and can navigate around without sight.

You’ll also have to get your dog used to living without sight through trainings. Ask your vet for help with that.

Finally, that your dog is blind doesn’t mean they should be sedentary. So, make sure your dog is getting their exercise.

At What Age Do Dogs’ Eyes Get Cloudy?

Typically, dogs start to develop a cloudy film on their eyes at around 7 years of age. This cloudy film will become more prominent as they get to about 10 or 11 years of age.

If your dog is that old, the cloudy film could be just a sign of aging. However, if this cloudy film is accompanied by a decrease in vision or if it happens when your dog is younger, it could be cataract. Get in touch with your vet!

Can A Dog’s Blindness Be Reversed?

Whether or not a dog’s blindness can be reversed or treated is dependent on the cause of the blindness.

Cataracts can be removed via surgery and the blindness induced by diabetes could be treated. However, glaucoma could kinda be treated but would most likely lead to the removal of the affected eye and blindness brought about by old age can hardly be reversed.

What Dog Breeds Are Prone To Blindness?

Different breeds of dogs are prone to different kinds of blindness. For one, English Springer Spaniels and Poodles are prone to glaucoma while Dacshunds and Mutts are prone to Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS).

Also, German Shepherds are prone to Chronic Superficial Keratitis while Bulldogs, Bloodhounds and St. Bernards are prone to Cherry eye.

Why Would A Dog Go Blind Suddenly?

A dog could go blind suddenly as a result of any of the following:

  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Old age
  • SARDS (Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome)

Can Blind Dogs Be Happy?

A blind dog can certainly go on to live a happy life. Provided the home front is consistent enough for them to navigate even without sight, a blind dog will live like normal. And outside the home, they only need to have their trusted human with them and everything will be alright.

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