Not known to many pet owners, there are numerous conditions that may lead to blindness in pets, especially dogs. Birth defects, injuries, age, and illnesses are all perfect examples of some of the conditions that have the potential to contribute to blindness in dogs.
The good news is that if the cause or the factor that lead to blindness is restricted to the eyes, then the dog has a perfect chance of leading a normal life just like any other dog. This is because all the other remaining senses will still be functional thus they will all be instrumental is assisting the dogs to adapt to their environment.
When we put all of the senses into perspective, the ability to see in dogs becomes the third most important sense after the ability to hear and ability to smell.
As a dog owner, you will be required to capitalize on the first two senses together with the sense of touch so that the dog can be able to move through his or her surrounding and also interact with other pets and dogs.
In addition, as a dog owner, you will also be required to understand the fact that your pet’s blindness will be harder for you than it will be for the pet since many at times, affected dogs may not truly understand what may be happening to them.
Most dogs tend only to live in the moment but also be in tune with the dog owner’s emotional state. Hence, the blindness may not be a very big issue to them. When the dog owner is either sad or depressed, the dog will still be able to sense it and will try to do what it can to keep the owner happy.
It has been proven that a dog owner’s normal voice can be used as an effective therapy and training mechanism for blind dogs. Before touching the dog, it is highly advisable to use your normal voice so that the pet will know that you are approaching or planning to touch him or her. Also, you can also combine your voice and some heavy walking which will be more effective in alerting your dog through the vibrations made.
Alternatively, you can also employ the use of small bells which may be either attached to you, other family members or other pets that may be present in the house. The sound produced by the bell can also alert the dog of your whereabouts so that he or she can be able to locate effectively you. In many cases, as the blindness tends to develop, some dogs may end up being up depressed or may suffer from withdrawal.
If your dog starts to show symptoms of withdrawals or depression, you can assist him or her to have a positive attitude towards life. To achieve this, you will have to maintain his daily routines such as daily walks, playtime, and many others. Also, you should continue to treat him or her the way you previously did so that the change may not impact negatively on his or her day to day life.
Use of Other Senses – Toys for Blind Dogs
Due to the fact that sounds and scents are the dogs main senses, you can choose to place a very unique scent on the toy or alternatively you can buy your pet an exclusively designed toy for blind dogs. Pets for dogs may either be squeaky, may contain a bell or, in general, may be designed to produce a certain noise when bitten or moved.
These aspects are very effective because the unique sounds that will produce will assist the dog to locate the toy effectively. Also, dogs can also learn the various names of the toys and as a dog owner it is your duty to work on this with your pet.
While working on the names for your dog, you can choose toys that are slightly dissimilar so that he or she can be able to differentiate them without being able to see them.
During training, you can use scents and treats to reinforce the training and also ensure that the interaction between you and your pet is healthy. Currently, there are lots of toys that have been proven to work effectively on blind pets. All in all, here are some examples for toys than can be ideal for visually impaired dogs.
Top Picks Toys for Blind Dogs
1. Kong Branded Squeaky Toys
When it comes to toys, any dog owner with an insurmountable amount of experience can attest to the fact that Kong’s are some of the best toys currently on the market for dogs that can see and those that are not able to see.
What makes, Kong’s stand out from the rest is that they have been designed in a way that the dog owner can be able to stuff in, treats. The treats will not only act as a motivator for the dog but will also offer various aromas which the visually impaired dog can be able to seek and find the toy.
A great example is the Air Kong squeaker bone toy that has a heavy duty exterior that has been exclusively designed from tennis balls. Also, the Air Kong Squeaker Bone Toy is also non-toxic meaning the visually impaired dog can be able to play effectively with the toy without suffering any poisoning.
Just like its name suggests, the Air Kong Squeaker Toy has been designed to squeak especially when pressed. Other examples of Kong Toys include the Air Kong Squeaker Tennis Ball, which comes in both large and regular sizes, the Kong Air Spinner Toy, the Kong On and Off Squeaker toy and many others.
2. Babble balls
Just like Kong Branded Squeaky toys, Babble Balls are also another great type of interactive toys for the visually impaired dogs. When touched or squeezed, bubble balls tend to talk or make exciting animal noises that can be fun and insightful for the pet.
Over the last few years, the technology used on bubble toys has drastically improved in a manner that a dog breathing or vibrations due to the pet’s movement can be able to trigger the toy to produce interactive animal noises.
Once the play ends, the babble ball can switch off automatically and will still be ready to produce noise when touched again. Due to the sophistication and the amount of technology used in the toy, most dogs often tend to think that the toy is alive. Currently, babble balls are available in some series such as the animal series or the talking series which is also called the wise-cracking series.
The new generation Babble Balls have been amalgamated with a series of features that undeniably makes them stand out from the rest. All Babble Balls come with a durable ABS construction, improved sound quality, triple sounds, and finally replaceable batteries.
The first series, the Talking Babble Balls are available in three sizes which each ball is coming with over 20 different sounds and wisecrack sounds like a sweet puppy, Grrrrr and much more. The second series, the Animal Sounds Babble Balls are also available in three sizes and over 20 different animal sounds such as those produced by lions, elephants, cats, lambs and more.
3. Rope toys
Rope toys are suitable for playing fetch and tug of war with your visually impaired pet. Apart from being uniquely woven and hand tied with the aim of improving the dental formula of your pet.
Each toy design from the leading companies comes with its story and are suitable for chewing and also playing tag for lots of hours. Currently, there are several rope toys designed that are available on Amazon, they include;
Daisy the duck from Jax and Bones, The Zanies Menagerie Dog Toy, Coco the Elephant from Jax and Bones, Griggles 10 inch rope Elton and Daphne the Deer from Jax and Bones. As one of the trailblazing toy designs, the Good Karma Rope Toys have been nominated by several magazines as one of the best toys for cats and dogs.
4. Bell toys
Apart from squeaky toys, there are also various toys that have been designed with bells on the inside. The bell toys are ideal for the visually impaired dogs because they tend to produce bell sounds when moved or thrown so as to assist the dog in locating the toy.
However, Bell Toys must be given to dogs under strict supervision because the bell in this toys can be easily swallowed if he or she manages to dislodge it from the bell toy. Currently, there are several brands that deal exclusively with bell toys.
They include Four Paws, which is the brand that has produced the Four Paw Rough and Rugged Bell Toy, the Four Paws Rough and Rugged Baseball bell toy, the Rubber Ring Bell toy, and many others.
5. Scented toys
As discussed earlier, use of scents is also an effective way that will assist your visually impaired dog to locate its toy without straining too much. Currently, there are numerous scented toys on the market like the durable rubber toys from Planet Toys which have been mint scented. Other great examples also includes the Orbee Tough which is ideal for the visually impaired dogs and those that are not.
The Orbee Tough scent toy has been designed in a way that there is a location where the dog owner can be able to place treats, cheese, and peanut butter. Apart from the Orbee Tough scent toys, the eco-friendly Vanilla Scented toys from BecoThings are also a great choice for blind dogs.
If you have already purchased other type of toys, you can also be able to scent them in different ways so that your dog can be able to find them. For the soft toys such as rope toys or plush toys, you can add a small quantity of scented extract like vanilla or mint to the toy. You can also alternatively decide to add different kind of scents to each of the toys so that the pet can be able to differentiate one from the other.
For the squeaky and hard toys, you can choose to place them in an air-tight bag that is filled with strong-smelling food such as dried liver or a pig’s ear. After several days, the hard and squeaky toys will have completely absorbed the smell from these pieces of food.
DIY Toys for Blind Dogs
DIY toys are suitable for individuals who are looking to cut extra costs by making use of what can be found around the house to design and create dog toys. Apart from being cheaper, DIY is also an amazing way to recycle old materials instead of throwing them away.
All in all, there are several toy designs for blind dogs that you can be able to design just by sitting down for a few minutes. Also, with DIY you can always decide to get a little bit creative without exhausting your resources or straining your budget. All in all, here are some DIY Toy designs that you should know.
1. Jiggle balls
Apart from purchasing toys for your visually impaired dog, you can alternatively decide to create your homemade toys that will in turn allow you to save a little bit of money. One such toy is the Jiggle Ball which is usually designed in a manner that it can produce noise.
When designing the jiggle ball, you will be required to poke a small hall into an old tennis ball. Through the hall, you will insert a small and simple metal ball. For more details or guidelines be sure to visit this youtube link at:
So as to keep the dog interested, you can also insert a few treats through the hole. For the visually impaired dogs and puppies, the scent emitted by the treat inside the ball will allow them to find the toy effectively without straining too much.
Finally, you will be expected to reseal the openings with some stitches so that the jiggle ball will not come out very easily.
2. Sock Ball Toy
Sock Ball Toys are also very easy to design and are suitable for all kinds of dogs. When designing a sock ball toy, you will be required to take an old sock then stuff it, with a tennis ball.
But before, stuffing the ball inside the socks, you should ensure the socks is clean because your pet is going to have the toy in his or her mouth most of the time.
Also, the scent of socks might confuse the dog, and he or she may start to chew other socks or shoes that may be in the house. After inserting the ball into the socks, you can then decide to get creative with the design since you will be designing this socks for a visually impaired dog. You can decide to insert treats into the socks, or you can also insert a jiggle ball inside the sock ball.
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- PLAY IT SAFE: No toy is indestructible. Do not leave toys with unsupervised pets. Remove and replace toy if damaged.