Managing Anxiety in Blind Dogs

Managing Anxiety in Blind Dogs a period of anxiety and confusion when they first lose their sight, but with patience this can be overcome. A good understanding of your dog’s senses, a well-planned routine and supportive care will help them adjust.

Maintaining daily routines as much as possible helps reassure blind dogs that although their world has changed, the things they enjoy most remain the same. Keeping walks the same length and location, feeding and playtime at the same times, and even using the same verbal cues will make them feel safe and comfortable.

Avoiding situations that trigger anxiety will also help. If you know that your dog becomes anxious around large groups of dogs or in new places, try to limit contact until they become more confident and adapt. Using toys and games that encourage licking, chewing and smell will stimulate their senses and provide them with more mental and physical exercise.

Calm Canines: A Guide to Managing Anxiety in Blind Dogs

Some dogs can become withdrawn or depressed when they first go blind, especially those with gradual or sudden onset loss. This may be because they are unable to read the visual cues of their owners and other animals that they were previously accustomed to.

Some dogs can be overly sensitive to light and sound and can develop anxiety and behavioral problems as a result (Sherwood et al, 2004). Some blind dogs need some form of medication to manage their stress and anxiety, either short-acting anxiolytics such as benzodiazepines or medications that increase serotonin levels by blocking reuptake (tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). This is generally considered only in cases where the level of anxiety interferes with a dog’s ability to learn the skills necessary for adaptation to their visual loss.