Post # 1
My husband and I finally rented a house that has a fenced in yard, so we were excited to finally be able to get a dog and a cat. I made a post here about how I wanted a Jack Russell Terrier but I had promised to get my husband a cat and I was feeling guilty about it. Well, my husband found a Jack Russell who was good with cats; he’s blind (as in completely and doesn’t have any eyes). I’m all for it…we got him Saturday. He was blind when whoever had him dropped him on a vets doorstep and walked away. His eyes were so infected that they had to be removed.
He’s currently bumping into everything, which I know is normal. He’s having some accidents, which I also know is normal. Does anyone have a blind dog here? Can you give me some tips? I’m so afraid I won’t do what’s right for him. I can tell he’s stressed from the move (we rescued him and he was living with a foster family) because of the accidents and he has a skin condition which has flared so he’s trying to eat his feet off (read – he’s really itchy). I’m giving him the medication they sent along and I didn’t change his food because I figured that would be a comfort to him to eat the same thing. He drinks so much water because I feel like he thinks he won’t get anymore (he did live in a house with three or four other dogs).
I’m so anxious about it, but I know that doesn’t help him either. HELP?!
Post # 3
It’ll get better!
My advice from working with blind dogs is to use his name frequently. Keep your home as calm and quiet as possible. Pad some sharper furniture items or keep him contained to a smaller area so he can acclimate quicker. Take him on walks on grass instead of concreate with a shorter lease or harness if possible.
A foster of mine created trust with her blind dog by leaving treats for him to find throughout the house in places that he would use frequently. Like, at the door, his bed, crate, food dish, bedroom, etc.
Post # 4
@karatechick27: 🙁 Poor puppy!!! I have had a dog with visual impairments but not completely blind so I can’t help you out a lot here… what I can suggest, and I know this sounds crazy, is a seeing eye dog for your dog…Idk, it’s the only thing I can think of. Other than that, just make sure he’s as comfortable as can be. I would talk a lot to him too. Let him get used to the sound of your voice.
Post # 5
I don’t have a blind dog, but I have worked with a couple of them. It’s going to take a while for him to settle in, so don’t worry about him bumping into things. As he gets comfortable he will learn the layout of the house. The best thing you can do for him right now is to make sure that you always keep things in the same place and put away anything that isn’t normally there.
One of my dogs has allergies and is CRAZY itchy certain times of the year. Last year, the vet put him on prednisone. Is that what your pup is on? If it is, that’s most likely at least part of the reason for drinking so much water and the accidents. When my dog is on it he goes through several bowls of water a day and has to go outside every hour or two.
You can definitely try hanging bells on the door that you’ll use to take him outside. Every time you take him out, tap the bells. After a couple days of that, have him bump his nose into the bells and give him a treat. Pretty soon he’ll put two and two together and learn that when the bells make noise he gets to go outside (and realize that he can make that happen!) The noise should really help him understand where he is and what that spot is for (getting to go out to pee).
It’s good that you kept him on the same food… he has tons of other changes going on right now. After a couple months, though, if he’s still having skin issues, you might want to consider trying a different food and seeing if that helps. My guy with allergies used to itch year round and chew holes in himself. He’s white and his feet were always brown because he chewed them so much. After getting him onto an allergy diet, he only gets itchy because of season triggers instead of year-round and is so much happier. 🙂
Once he gets settled in a little better, you can train him with touch signals and vocal commands. I’ve trained two blind dogs and they pick it up really quickly once you get the first command or two down.
Congrats on your new dog! There’s always an adjustment period, and yours will probably be longer because he’s blind. You did a great thing by rescuing him though, and he will love you even more because of it 🙂
Post # 6
Thank you to everyone who has responded so far. You’ve give me some good suggestions. I’ve started trying to teach him “Step up” and “Step down” when we do the stairs. I’ll keep doing it evertime we go up and down. I was going to keep him downstairs for a while and leave the upstairs for later, but a half hour after he was in the house, up the stairs he went. I really want to try the bells on he back door as LissieBear suggested. We have a windchime outside and I think that might be helping him with the porch area (at least when there’s wind lol).
The food he’s on is supposed to be good for his skin, the foster mom told me. She has another dog with a skin condition and it’s good for her other dog as well. It’s apparently a yeast infection that makes him itch everywhere. I have him on medicine to kill the yeast, and I gave him the steroid this morning (doggie predinsone I think). His foster told me that when he’s in the midst of a change it flares up. After he got used to her house, he never really had another major flare.
When they brought him, he had on a regular harness that leashed from the back. When we take him on walks, he walks behind us, which makes sense. We got him a harness that latches on the chest instead and it seems to work sooooo much better for him.
I’m worried about having to put him in the crate for 8-9 hours when I start teaching at the end of the month. I put him in (the foster used the crate from time to time) for less than 30 minutes and he had an accident. I took him out before I put him in. Sigh…
Post # 7
It’s great of you to take him in! Try applying coconut oil on the feet & feed him some internally. Is it only his feet or the entire limb? Sometimes it can be due to poor circulation or just plain stress. Also, the food may be causing the itching, especially if it’s kibble. Try putting him on a prey model raw diet, especially if he smells like cheetos as it’s a yeast overgrowth.
Post # 8
Haine – We’re going to take him to the vet on Monday for a checkup since we just got him. I plan to talk to them about what to do. His foster mom told me the food is supposed to help the skin, so we’ll see.
Post # 9
Just saw your reply! My girl suffered from really bad yeast overgrowth – she was losing all the hair & she was bald from the neck down when I adopted her. Let me super-condense what I learnt worked over 3 years into a post for you. Antibiotics & steroids do not work to cure yeast, they simply suppress immunity & the antibiotics kill the good bacteria needed to keep yeast in check, causing it to worsen once the steroid stops. What you need is coconut oil masks for the skin & probiotics internally. I only tried syntol on my girl & it worked well.
Coconut oil on the skin kills the yeast externally while the probiotics work to clear internally. My girl’s yeast was quite serious, & she had a lot of dandruff, so after I shampooed her, I lightly scrubed at the skin with fine himalayan pink salt (sea salt would work too), then leave my girl to soak in pure camomile tea before applying the coconut oil. I leave it on overnight & washed her out the next day.
Kibble/sugar/carbs need to be completely eliminated from his diet as they feed the yeast. Cooked food should work but it’s very difficult to balance & proteins in cooked food change in structure & lose their nutritional value so I go with raw diets, specifically prey model raw.
My girl’s immunity is compromised because I put her on three rounds of antibiotics & steroids when I first adopted her, trying to clear the itch. It took me a long time to find out what worked for yeast, and my third girl, who had my first’s exact symptoms upon adoption, was cleared in a month after I started the same regimen with her. IMO vets really don’t help much with yeast. They just pile medication upon medication & it results in antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the skin. My girl just recovered from Pseudomonas Ag., a bacterial infection in her ears, after a very long year. It was resistant to almost every antibiotic we cultured for on top of it’s regular antibiotic resistance.
Hope that helps! Feel free to ask me anything related to dog care over here or on FB under Pepper Chanel Wong. (That’s my furbaby’s account.)
Post # 10
@karatechick27: Dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell, and I’ve read that putting strongly scented candles in different rooms help blind dogs better create a picture of their surroundings. You don’t have to light them at all btw, just have a votive sitting out somewhere. If you do this, make sure the scents are sufficiently different like apple in the living room, vanilla in your bedroom, pine next to the door to the yard, etc.
Make sure there aren’t any branches or other sticky-outy things in the backyard that could poke him in the face. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be anything out there just the random errant twig or something. Mulch or pebbles around bushes and trees can help “warn” him that there’s something ahead.
Remember that his blindness is probably harder on you than him! Like I said, dogs rely on smell mostly and hearing secondly. Y’all are so awesome for adopting a special needs puppy!
Post # 11
Thanks for the continued support, everyone!! I’m going to talk to the vet and see what he wants to do. I’m actually going to be driving him about 40 miles to the vet my sisters use. The office is AMAZING!!
Also, the food we’re feeding him IS kibble type food, but it’s also grain free, so we hope that helps. He also gets food twice a day, so his food intake is controlled.
Post # 12
We have a blind Kitty. He is missing one eye and the other one is really underdeveloped so it is just white. The vet says he must have been born that way. He was found on the side of the road as a kitten, so the vet suspects his mother was malnurished while she was pregnant with him. He is a wonderful kitty and gets around the house pretty well. He scares easily and when he is scared he tends to make a run for it and usually bumps into a lot of things. Obviously a dog is very different than a cat, but I would say just make sure you involve him in any changes that happen around the house. When we bring stuff in, like new furniture or something, we have to kind of push him up against it to show him they are there. He will still bump into it for a few days though. He also tends to avoid things that he thinks are there, even after we have moved them away.
Post # 13
I would strongly recommend a salmon oil supplement for his skin. The one I use is called “Life Line Alaskan Salmon Oil”. I get it off of Amazon.com I double the dose for allergy dogs. It really helps to calm down the inflammation. It takes up to 2 months to notice a big difference, but you really will. I agree, try to avoid grain products and treats. A balanced meat based food is best. Although there is a chance your dog could be allergic to things in the environment and not food. Your vet will guide you through the process of figuring out exactly what is causing the allergy.
Also, as previously mentioned the prednisone will cause your dog to drink and urinate excessively. Try to provide ample potty breaks.
I am a vet, by the way, and in no way affiliated with the salmon oil company. I have just seen it help so many pets. Good luck.