A blind or deaf pet can live a full and happy life. Living with, caring for, or simply being around a visually impaired or hearing impaired pet may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. For the most part, blind or deaf pets respond and behave in much the same way as other pets. Only a few lifestyle modifications are required to make things easy and fun for your wonderful pet and to keep your bond going strong.

Caring for Blind or Deaf Pets

Many pets experience failing eyesight or diminished hearing as they age. Others may lose these senses through illness or injury. A pet who’s suddenly gone blind or deaf will probably feel disoriented and experience some initial behavioral changes.

Making life safe for your companion animal is part of your duty as a responsible pet owner. Keep the following tips in mind if you live with or are visiting the home of a blind or deaf pet:

  • Smell plays a big role in how both blind and deaf pets interact with their environments. Allow the pet as much time as they need to explore you and their immediate environment (on leash if outside, of course).
  • Startling a pet is never a good idea, but it can be even more upsetting for one who’s lost their hearing or vision. Be respectful of the animal’s space and need for advance notice before being disturbed while resting.
  • A pet who’s gone blind or deaf suddenly or one who’s losing their abilities due to age may need extra patience and TLC.
  • For blind pets, be sure not to change their environment around. They often create mental routes around the house, and changes to the location of furniture and other items in the house can cause a lot of confusion.
  • All pets need supervision, and blind or deaf pets are no exception. Remain aware of where the pet is at all times. Tune in to any signs of stress or anxiety.

A Sniff and a Lick

Meeting a blind or deaf pet for the first time may feel awkward to you, but for the pet, it feels perfectly normal. Their other senses tend to compensate for the one that’s missing, so most blind or deaf pets don’t miss a beat when it comes to making new friends, exploring, relaxing, or doing other “normal” pet activities.

Training and Communication

Contrary to popular belief, blind or deaf pets are not more difficult to train. Clicker training works very well for blind pets, and many deaf pets can be trained using hand signals. Make sure to offer plenty of appropriate verbal or tactile praise and, of course, treats!  As with any pet, the key to success lies in their personality along with your level of commitment and patience.

Love and Affection

Just like a pet who can see and hear, pets with special needs also crave love and affection. Spending time together is important (this is true for any pet), so always set aside time to play and snuggle. Taking a humane approach to training and providing your pet with a sense of security are central to building a lifelong bond with your pet.

The team at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates wants to help you make the most out of your interactions with your pet. Please contact us with any questions or concerns or to schedule an appointment for your best pal. We look forward to hearing from you soon!