Out for a walk

When out and about with your blind dog, you will need to keep a close eye on them as you will be their eyes.

  • Check their path for any potential dangers or hazards and issue appropriate commands to help your dog avoid those hazards
  • Fit bells to your trouser legs or shoes to help your dog to locate you
  • Keep talking to your dog – it doesn’t matter what you are saying, just the sound of your voice will reassure your dog that you are there
  • If you are in an open space with plenty of room to run around, your dog may be happy off the lead. However, if your dog is nervous you should keep him/her on an extending lead or a long training lead. This will give them a feeling of more security and their confidence should increase over time. As your dog builds up confidence you could then start to let them off the lead
  • If you are in an area with many obstacles and hazards, keep your blind dog on a lead so that you can steer them away from danger
  • Consider using some form of eye protection such as Doggles or Optivizor to protect your dog’s eyes from protruding branches etc
    Note: if your dog has Glaucoma speak to your vet or a veterinary ophthalmologist, before using the goggle-version of Doggles, as they may cause an increase in ocular pressure. If you choose to use the goggles, make sure to use Doggles ILS (instead of Doggles Originalz) because they have a deeper cup and are therefore more suitable for dogs with protruding or bulging eyes. If in any doubt  use open mesh visors/doggles instead
  • To help your dog identify and avoid obstacles, you could try a sonar/echo-locating device, such as the BlindSight® unit. Using echo-location to help blind dogs identify objects as they approach them is a very new concept and the new BlindSight® unit has only recently become available to the public. It is a device which hangs around your dog’s neck and emits a sound, above the range of human hearing, which lets the dog know when he/she is nearing an obstacle such as a wall or a piece of furniture. See Jordy Canid Inc’s website for further information
  • To prevent pressure on the jugular veins in the neck of a dog who is predisposed to Glaucoma or has already developed this condition, avoid using a lead attached to the dog’s collar and use a harness instead
    Note: Repeated tugging on a lead that is attached to a collar will put pressure on the jugular veins, which will increase pressure in the eyes and could therefore lead to a Glaucoma attack
  • Blind dogs can feel extremely vulnerable, particularly when they are out for a walk away from their safe, home environment and they can react to the presence of strange dogs and people in a number of ways – including fear or aggression. People not known to your blind dog should be asked to approach calmly and quietly. To help warn strangers that your dog is blind, and so should be approached gently, a number of ranges of harnesses, collars and leads are available with the text “BLIND DOG” or some other appropriate message printed, embroidered or woven into them

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5 thoughts on “Out for a walk

  1. Alex

    Could you please clarify why dogs with glaucoma should only have open mesh doggles? My Labrador George had uveitis in his right eye and was sadly misdiagnosed by the vet, he now has secondary glaucoma and requires 6 eye drops a day among other things. He can still see out of his bad eye but has a sensitivity to light. I wanted to get him UV protected doggles for sunny days but I’m worried now after reading this article that maybe the straps may put pressure on his neck causing an increase in ocular pressure?

    Reply
    1. Heath9409 Post author

      Hello Alex

      As I understand it, the Doggles fit snuggly round the eye socket, which can cause a build up of pressure in the eye, and this is why the open mesh eyewear is suggested for dogs with glaucoma. The straps shouldn’t be an issue, as one strap runs over the back of the head and round the ears and the other strap runs straight under the chin.

      The mesh eyewear do filter out 50-60% of UV but obviously this is not as efficient as the solid lens Doggles which filter 100% of UV. If UV is a real issue for you and you want to give the goggle-type version a try, then it may be OK for short periods but they really should be removed as soon as possible.

      There are two versions of the goggle-type Doggles:

      Doggles Orininalz which have quite a flat profile cup and so the lens sits fairly close to the eyeball, making them unsuitable for breeds with protruding eyes as well as those with bulging eyes from glaucoma.

      Doggles ILS (Interchangeable Lens System) are more suitable for dogs with protruding eyes and so may be better for those with glaucoma.

      There is one other form of eyewear in the Doggles catalogue: K9 Optix sunglasses, which come with either rubber or metal frames (although the metal framed version is being discontinued). These sunglasses do filter out UV but again they have a flat profile. Also Doggles state that the K9 Optix are more for fun than eye protection and they suggest that if you are looking for true protection you shouldn’t choose these.

      I’m very sorry to hear about George’s glaucoma. It’s a difficult condition to live with and is very painful if not controlled properly. Milo had to have his right eye removed because of secondary glaucoma (a result of diabetes induced cataracts) and his left eye has been treated with eye drops ever since. Milo has the mesh eyewear and we’ve never had any problems with his glaucoma.

      If you have any doubts, perhaps you could talk to your vet or ask to be referred to an ophthalmic specialist for advice on the most appropriate eye protection.

      I do hope George’s treatment is successful in controlling the glaucoma over the coming months and years and that he manages to retain some of his eyesight. However, I’m sure you will find he’ll adapt very well if he does eventually go blind and, so long as the glaucoma remains under control he will be a happy boy. I’d love to hear what you decide and how you get on. Please do let me know.

      Reply
      1. Alex

        Hi, thanks for your quick and comprehensive reply, it’s very much appreciated.

        I took George to see his Ophthalmologist today for a checkup, his pressures were normal in both eyes. He is still on ‘Cosopt’ eye drops but has now come off the 4 a day ‘Predforte’ eye drops (as they contain steroids which can be bad in the long term) and onto a less potent eye drop called ‘Acular’ which he now only needs 2 drops a day. So it’s now just a case of monitoring the situation and seeing if he reacts well to the new drops. I also have him on Cos-opt supplements in a bid to slow vision loss in his affected eye.

        I’m in the process of purchasing a Tonovet tonometer, mainly for my peace of mind between Ophthalmologist visits, so if I see George rubbing his eye I can tell whether his ocular pressure is up or if it’s just itchy or irritating him.

        The Ophthalmologist said that Doggles would be safe for George as they press onto the eye socket which is bone and therefore wouldn’t increase ocular pressure. I think I’ll go for the Doggles ILS and just keep a check on George to see if he shows any signs of discomfort.

        If in the future George loses sight in his bad eye, or if he suffers from high ocular pressure and is in pain, the best thing will be to have the eye removed. Like you say dogs adapt well to this as they rely on their sense of smell and hearing far more than humans so will cope much better than we would. Luckily George’s good eye should stay healthy since it isn’t primary Glaucoma that’s affecting him.

        I’ve now got a very healthy respect for pet eye problems as they’re easily misdiagnosed and can become serious very quickly. My advice to anyone who’s dog has an eye problem is to get them to a Ophthalmologist straight away. It costs a little more than a vet but could save you thousands of pounds and lots of heartache.

        Thanks again very much for your reply, Milo is very lucky to have such a caring owner as yourself, please give him a big kiss from me 🙂

        Kind Regards

        Alex

        Reply
        1. Heath9409 Post author

          Thank you for letting me know that your ophthalmologist feels the Doggles goggles should be OK for George. I had previously been advised that the goggles could cause a problem with ocular pressure, but I’m pleased to learn that this may not be the case. I will still leave my warning on the site but will modify it to show that use of the Doggles ILS should instead be monitored for any potential problems rather than excluded altogether.

          I’m so pleased that George’s eye pressures are both normal. Your prompt action in taking him to an ophthalmologist will have helped to reduce the impact of the glaucoma on his eyesight and will most definitely have saved him a lot of pain and discomfort. Milo’s glaucoma came on so quickly and his right eye started to bulge within such a short time, that we had no alternative than to remove the eye.

          Removal of the eye does seem a very drastic step but as soon as his eye was gone Milo returned to his old, fun-loving self. It was only then that we realised just how quiet and withdrawn he’d become and how much pain he must have been in. I’ve never regretted having his eye removed. He’s so much happier without it. I do hope that George never reaches the stage where you need to have this done but if it does become necessary, then you will be doing the right thing for George.

          It’s so nice to meet someone who is willing to commit to long term treatment and monitoring to ensure that their furry friend has the best chance at a happy life. So many people would give up.

          Thank you for sharing your and George’s experience with this extremely serious condition and I wish you both a long and happy life together.

          Best wishes

          Reply
  2. Alex

    I made a slight mistake in my above comment, George is on ‘Ocu-glo’ supplements NOT ‘Cos-opt’ supplements…there is no such thing as ‘Cos-opt’ supplements.

    Reply

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