Even though you have a blind dog, you don’t want his physical impairment to infringe upon his fun. After all, he’s still the same spunky guy you’ve always loved. Just because he can’t see so well, it doesn’t mean he isn’t as high energy as always. You want to make sure, above all else, that he has a full and happy life.
If you have a visually impaired pup, what are some of the best toys for blind dogs? By learning about your pooch’s condition and then finding the right toys for him, you can guarantee that he’ll get his energy out and stay healthy and active.
Here’s some information on blindness in dogs, as well as recommendations for what kinds of new toys you can get him.
All About Blindness in Dogs
When dogs get older, their eyesight can start to go, just like in humans. Aging may take away your dog’s eyesight naturally, or a disease could cause blindness.
Some of the health conditions that cause dogs to go blind include:
- Suddenly acquired retinal degeneration (SARDS)
- Progressive retinal atrophy
Some dog breeds are more likely to experience eye problems than others. SARDS, which can result in sudden blindness, more frequently occurs amongst small dogs like Miniature Schnauzers, mutts, and Dachshunds. Middle-aged female dogs are more susceptible to SARDS as well.
Cataracts typically happen amongst Miniature Schnauzers, Cocker Spaniels, Boston terriers, Miniature Poodles, and large dogs like Golden Retrievers and Siberian Huskies.
What Happens When a Dog Goes Blind?
The signs that your pooch may be going blind include:
- Refusing to go outdoors
- Not wanting to play
- Sleeping a lot
Physical signs of blindness include:
- Blue-tinted pupils
- Cloudy eyeballs
- Enlarged pupils
If you believe your dog is going blind, then get in touch with your veterinarian as soon as possible to schedule an evaluation. Your vet may conduct neurological exams, assess your dog’s cranial nerve, do imaging, and perform blood tests.
Thankfully, treatment is available if your vet determines that your dog is indeed going blind. They may be able to remove your dog’s cataracts to restore a part of his vision or his full vision. If your dog is going blind because of diabetes, then the vet may administer insulin and ensure that his blood glucose levels are even. There are some medications that can treat glaucoma as well.
Feeding your pup a high-quality diet, making sure he gets lots of exercise, and going to the vet regularly can help when it comes to preventing blindness. Here are some nutrient-rich foods that could also contribute to his eye health:
- Green leafy vegetables, which are packed with phytonutrients
- Blueberries, which contain antioxidants
- Small fish like sardines, which are filled with omega fatty acids
- Orange foods like pumpkins and carrots, which have carotene
By ensuring he is eating well and getting the proper care, you may be able to prevent eye problems.
The 3 Best Types of Toys for Blind Dogs
When looking for new toys for your blind doggy, you should look for toys with the following qualities:
As long as your dog isn’t sensitive to noisy toys, they make great toys for blind pups. Your dog’s sense of hearing is still there, so he’s going to rely on his hearing to help him find the toy.
Look out for a sensory ball dog toy that makes a longer noise than a simple squeak. Some toys make multiple sounds and wisecracks to keep your dog engaged, while others are whistlers that will make noise when thrown in the air. A babble ball, for example, is going to make noise as it bounces around your house. Some dogs go crazy for grunting toys.
Take advantage of your dog’s other senses! If your dog’s sense of smell is intact, then look for scented toys or puzzle toys to keep playtime going all day long. Practice nose work by spreading kibble on a snuffle mat for a game of hide and seek (but with treats!). Nose work is an excellent confidence-building activity.
You can also get a flavored chew toy that will make him go wild. You better believe that your dog is going to love a bacon-scented chew.
A toy that is a treat dispenser is going to intrigue your pup by providing mental stimulation. A blind pet can still solve puzzle toys and play with interactive dog toys if there’s a strong-smelling treat inside. Putting some of his favorite treats or peanut butter inside could drive him wild – in a good way.
Outward Hound Toys Great for Visually-Impaired Dogs
Remember that when it comes to any toy, you should look for items that are made out of high-quality materials. While squeaky toys from the dollar store are going to be cheap, your dog may destroy them instantly.
It’s worth it to invest in natural rubber toys for your blind dog or a rubber ball that’s durable, especially if your doggy is an aggressive chewer. Check out dog toys from your favorite retailers or Amazon for ideas. Of course, you can also find some of the best toys for blind dogs on Outward Hound.
Some of Outward Hound’s toy options for blind dogs make noise and are made of high-quality materials.
For instance, the large Squeaker Ballz comes in a four-pack of tennis balls. These come in multiple sizes and are great toys for dogs with large or small mouths. They are made with premium rubber so they can keep bouncing for hours of playtime, and you can play with them inside or outside. These rubber balls squeak so that your blind dog won’t have any trouble locating them.
The Dog Smart puzzle toy is a top pick for blind dogs. It contains nine compartments you can hide your dog’s treats in to get him excited about playtime. This is an interactive dog toy that requires your dog to remove the nine bone pieces to find his coveted treats. Your dog will nudge and paw the dog puzzle parts until he discovers the tastiness that awaits him.
Another great toy for blind dogs is the Dog Tornado, which will provide the kind of enrichment your dog needs. This is another puzzle toy that provides an exciting physical and mental challenge. Your doggy gets to look through 12 hidden compartments and three dog bone covers to unveil his favorite dog treats.
Keeping Your Blind Dog Engaged and Happy
You want what’s best for your pup. Along with investing in some new toys, you can make your home safer by putting up dog gates and ensuring that his crate, food and water bowls, and toys are accessible and stay in the same place every day. You can even consider finding a professional to help you with dog training if needed.
Just because your pup has gone blind, it doesn’t mean that’s given up on playtime. By engaging with him using the best toys for blind dogs, you’re going to guarantee he leads a very happy and fulfilling life.