My 13-year-old chihuahua went blind in a hurry.
It started when I noticed he had been drinking a lot of water and urinating frequently. I took him to the veterinrian, who concluded my dog had diabetes and needed insulin shots.
I had barely gotten used to dealing with that when my chihuahua stopped seeing.
Older dogs can go blind quickly, the vet said. But he added that dogs are good at coping with the disability. Sure enough, the chihuahua started walking next to walls, occasionally touching them or bumping into objects before he learned to get around.
I was reminded of my dog’s experience when I read an article recently titled “6 Misconceptions about blind dogs.” Based on that article on the website Petful.com(www.petful.com.), I wasn’t the only person not fully familiar with the ability of canines to work around lack of sight. I also learned that a number of my friends had blind dogs.
Petful.com is a New York-based website that promotes animal welfare by providing readers with information. It is free to members and gets its support from advertising.
A writer recently sat down with the site’s managing editor, who has a blind dog, to discuss misconceptions about sightess dogs. They came up with these six, summarized here courtesy of the website:
1. Blind dogs are always scared.
Some dogs may be more cautious as they lose their sight; others may not. It depends on the dog’s personality. Blind dogs are not always fearful; they simply make adjustments to cope.
2) Blind dogs always crash into things.
Another myth is that you can never move furniture again. Absolutely you can — it just takes a little adjustment period for your dog to learn where the new walking path lies. Simply making sure that walking pathways are clutter-free makes life much easier for your dog.
3. Blind dogs are expensive.
That depends on the reason for their blindness. Some dogs are blind from birth and require no more veterinary care than a sighted dog. Some dogs develop certain conditions, such as cataracts, that can be treated. Others go blind and stay blind because of a degenerative disease.
Aging dogs are more prone to many conditions that cause blindness, so monitor them as they age.
4. Blind dogs can’t play.
Blind dogs love to play just as much as sighted dogs. They love going for walks, playing with a ball or just rolling around with you on the floor.
5. Blind dogs are bad guard dogs.
In fact, dogs smell or hear something before they see it. The fact that your dog is blind will change nothing when it comes to alerting you that there is something amiss.
6. Blind dogs fall all the time.
Stairs can be a challenge for some blind dogs, but this is relatively easy to overcome. Some people use baby gates to block off access to stairs or to close off a doorway. Others use scents to let their dog know where the stairs begin and end. Others have trained their dogs to respond to voice commands.
How to to beome a Petful member for free:(www.petful.com/why-join/).
FOOTHILLS PLANNING PAWTY – To celebrate the 5-year anniversary of Foothills Animal Shelter’s new building, the Shelter will be hosting an upcoming PAWty for the community. The organizaion has been in its current facility since August 2010.
The event will be Saturday, Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the shelter, 580 McIntyre Street in Golden . There will be music, food, face painting and an adoption special of $5 for pets 6 months and older. More information:(www.FoothillsAnimalShelter.org/PAWty).
COLORADO DAY DISCOUNT – In honor of Colorado’s birthday this weekend, the Dumb Friends League is offering discounted adoptions for the official state pet of Colorado — the shelter pet. Starting today, July 31, through Sunday, Aug. 2, adoption fees for adult dogs (1 year and older) will be $52.80 and fees for adult cats (1 year and older) will be waived.
In addition, the League is discounting its limited-edition “Colorado Cats Count” T-shirts to $10, and all adopters will receive a free sticker to show their support for Colorado shelter pets.
For more information:(www.ddfl.org) or call (303) 751-5772.
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