How to cope with blindness in pets

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Just like us, pets can lose their sight, but this doesn’t mean they can’t live happy lives – pets have a canny way of adjusting.

Although modern veterinary care means some vision defects can be treated, some conditions, such as glaucoma, can sadly cause a total loss of sight.

When pets lose some or all of their vision, life can become disorientating while they adapt to relying on their other senses. For example, cats and dogs have far more sensitive hearing and smell than us, and these will both help with adjusting to the loss of their sight.

PDSA senior veterinary surgeon, Elaine Pendlebury says: “If you notice a change in your pet’s vision or behaviour, such as bumping into things around the home, the first thing to do is speak to your vet. The earlier that failing eyesight is detected, the more treatment options you may have, and the more your vet can help with advice on dealing with the condition.

“The great thing is that with strong commitment and persistence from owners, most pets will adapt well. Older pets, and those that lose their sight suddenly, might need a little more timeand encouragement.”

Elaine’s top tips for helping pets adjust to blindness:

Keep their bed and food bowls in the same place;

Keep floors tidy so they don’t trip over objects;

Keep furniture in the same place so they know where there may be objects in their way;

Make sure they can’t access hazards such as fireplaces or balconies;

Provide toys that make sounds, such as squeaky balls;

Talk to and stroke your pet to let them know you are there.

PDSA is on a mission to educate the nation on pet wellbeing and is delighted that funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery is helping the charity to continue this vital work. For more pet care tips log onto www.pdsa.org.uk/pethealth