Many blind humans use walking sticks, and in that same manner, for blind dogs, it is useful to have a blind dog halo. It doesn’t really matter if your dog got blind due to cataracts, an unfortunate accident, or if they were born with this disability. For them, just as for cats, humans, and basically any other conscious beings, to be independent is a satisfaction and a need in order to gain freedom and maintain a better quality of life. You can improve your dog’s quality of life with a blind dog halo DIY.
Even though it is true that dogs use their other senses to know where they are and where they are going, a blind halo can definitively help them to gain confidence, walk more often, and stay fit, as blind dogs tend to gain weight.
The problem is, blind dog halos can be quite expensive. Additionally, blind dogs tend to gain some weight, so your expensive halo might grow too small too quickly and become useless in the blink of an eye. Plus, we as humans, should think about environmentally friendly solutions. So the best solution is to create a DIY dog halo on your own.
What exactly is a blind dog halo? How can a halo improve your blind fella’s quality of life? Can you do it yourself at home? Is it simple to make? How do you make it? These and many other important and interesting questions will be answered in this article, so keep on reading!
How to Generally Improve Your Blind Pet’s Life
Let’s be real. Taking care of a blind pet is more difficult than taking care of a 100% healthy one. But we know you love your canine companion very much and would like care for them properly; keep in mind that you will succeed if you have love, energy and time to give, and if you plan correctly.
If you are the owner of a blind dog or if you are thinking about adopting one, here we will tell you some important things you should consider and apply to make your dog’s life better.
Remember, even though your dog is blind, they will use all the other senses to navigate the world. Use this fact as your advantage and most important tool. What people usually do when training dogs is use a verbal approach with a reward.
As navigating spaces is challenging for your dog, it is vital that you take your time to teach them commands.
As they don’t see you, try to be more vocal than you would normally be. Pet them more often too, and do not forget to give them rewards.
There are some commands that you should teach your beloved flurry:
- Back (go back)
- Stop. Emergency!
Chose the words correctly and remember that your dog will more likely remember these words if they are short (no more than two syllables).
If you and your dog are on fire, you can try to further teach them:
#2: A Safe Home
Your fella has a disability, but it doesn’t mean that they have to be stumbling about cluelessly and hurting themselves around the house.
Your pet will likely have a favorite place. Discover it. Once you know where your dog is normally chilling out, do not place laundry, boxes, or other things on that path.
Secondly, try not to rearrange furniture around as it will completely screw your dog’s normal path. But if there is no way you can take that sofa you saw online out of your mind, remember to give your dog time to figure it out and change the map they have in their head (here a halo will be vital!).
Do not—or try not to—move their food and water. Or at least do not do it very often. They have a map in their head, and the last thing you want to do is mess it up!
What you are trying to accomplish is to turn your house into a sanctuary for your dog. Outside, the world is not built for dogs with disabilities, and that is exactly why going outside could be stressful for your pet.
However, it is still not recommended to keep your dog inside 24/7. Going outside and facing the world is a challenge, but a worthy challenge. One thing that will make things significantly easier is a blind dog halo, and you can do it yourself.
Prior Preparations to Making a Blind Dog Halo DIY
Well, in the most basic terms, what you are trying to accomplish is a harness-looking structure—a harness with a halo stretched out around your dog’s head made of soft but strong material, which will alert your dog to an obstacle ahead if the halo bumps into something.
If you have this image clear in your mind, it will be easier to build up the whole structure.
A blind halo will enable your dog to move more freely, with confidence, outside in the world as well as inside, in your house, and it is especially useful if you are training them or if you’re moving stuff around. The halo will tell your dog that they are approaching an edge, a door, a wall, or any other potentially dangerous obstacle.
What you will need:
- Leather harness
- Aluminum strip (find a fairly thin but resistant one. Or a plastic tube.)
- Materials to rivet
If you just don’t own any harness, you can always purchase a strongly built harness online or at your nearest pet shop. Make sure you get the right size. If, for any reason, you can’t find a leather harness or belt, you can use nylon instead.
However, a leather harness is ideal because it will last longer and is softer than nylon. Avoid soft harnesses like those made of cloth. Some of them might look cool or have patterns, but they aren’t practical.
They will move the halo around—not only an uncomfortable situation but also, it just won’t work.
Remember that a harness is highly recommended, especially over a collar, because a harness brings more stability to the whole structure.
See Also: Best Dog Harness
Also, you can always use a thick plastic tube instead of aluminum. But we highly recommend aluminum as it can make sounds when touched, is stronger, more stable, and more durable. Even so, a plastic tube might be a good material if you don’t know how to use tools or don’t have any.
A plastic tube is safer especially if you are new to DIY. Just make sure you use a thick but somewhat flexible tube.
How to Make a Blind Dog Halo DIY
Here you’ll find three easy steps to fabricating a blind dog halo. What you want is basically to create a U-shaped aluminum/plastic with enough space attached to a harness.
#1: Cut the Aluminum in the Right Size
First of all: measurements. For making a blind dog halo, you will need basically three different measurements:
- Measurement 1: Chest behind front legs.
- Measurement 2: From the neck to the nose.
- Measurement 3: From the front legs to the neck.
In order to know how long the aluminum strip should be, please follow this simple calculation:
(Measurement 2 + Measurement 3) x 3 = The Right size of the Aluminum Strip or Plastic Tube.
Try to smooth all the edges—a metal file can do the job.
But how to cut aluminium, you might ask. Well, it’s easy, so you have nothing to worry about. There are three ways to cut aluminum at home:
- You can cut aluminum with a wood-cutting saw with carbide-tipped blades. (Or just a saw).
- You can cut aluminum with a cold chisel that is one size wider than the aluminum.
- You can cut aluminum in circles using curve-cutting snips.
If you find this step difficult or you simply don’t have the required tools, you can do this: measure how long your aluminum plate should be, and when you go to the store to buy it, ask for the precise size you need.
#2: Bend the Aluminum Strip, Creating a “U” Shape
There should be enough space for your dog to move their head and for the strip to touch surfaces without touching your dog’s head back.
To bend the strip, you can use the following tools:
- As you know, metal gets softer with heat. So what you want to do is heat the strip and shape it. Don’t forget to use gloves. The halo you create must be solid.
- If you are skilled enough, you can always try to bend it with a hammer (only if you have done it before. You might break it otherwise).
Soften the edges with a metal file. If the aluminum keeps being too sharp for your taste, you can always cover it with duct tape.
#3: Rivet Time!
Rivet the ending of the aluminum band to the last strap of the harness. Rivet again when it crosses the second strap. Remember to check out the edges again: are they smooth and soft or sharp and dangerous? Smooth the edges again if needed.
There you have it! You just created a blind dog halo with your own hands. Your dog might need some time to get accustomed to your new creation, so it is better if you supervise them closely for some time in case something needs to be changed, something falls off, or if your friend feels uncomfortable.
In case you chose to use a plastic tube instead of aluminium, rivet the plastic tube to the first strap of the harness (the closest to your dog’s head). As plastic is considerably lighter than aluminum, you can also glue it with a special plastic glue.
Other Tips to Help You Better Care for a Blind Canine Companion
Have you seen those marks on the sidewalks? We are sure you have. They are there so blind walkers know where to stop and where to turn. Next time you go for a walk, pay more attention to them. That is what you can try to recreate in your own house.
You can place a differently-textured cloth or similar to warn your dog of the beginning of stairs, a door, or the basement!
If you decide to use different types of materials to do so, remember not to mix them up. It is better if your dog hits a door lightly than if they just fall dramatically down the stairs to the basement because they got confused with the texture. This requires planning and preparation.
If your fellow dog has poor vision due to diseases, injuries, or being born with this disability, finding solutions to make life easier for them is a great way to show you love.
The idea of a blind dog halo is fairly new, but it has proven itself to be a great way to increase your dog’s quality of life and build confidence by allowing them to navigate spaces without bumping their head.
You may not mind lending your dog a hand to navigate around the house or outside, but it’s good for your dog to have confidence in being able to move around on their own. It will make them happier.
Plus, it’s healthier. Blind dogs can gain weight rather quickly because they are hesitant to move around without help. With a halo, your dog won’t have much of a problem finding their way even without help, which means more exercise. It’s safer too as it can alert your dog to any obstacle ahead.
Did you make your own handmade blind dog halo? Did you find it easy? How does your friend feel about it? Don’t forget to comment—your comments also help other dog owners. Share your knowledge and experiences!
You might also be interested in reading our next article on toys for blind dogs. These toys are designed to keep it safe and make it fun for your dog!