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Signs your dog is losing his vision

 by lucy on 27 Oct 2017 |
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Dogs have an exceptional sense of smell, but when it comes to their eyesight, they don’t see 20/20. In fact, our canine companions operate at around 20/75 vision, and that number tends to decline with age. No matter how old your dog is, however, vision problems can come into play and affect his quality of life.
 
Dogs are adept at adjusting to changes and poor eyesight will only become apparent when your pet starts making big mistakes. Even dogs with just 20 percent of their original eyesight can continue functioning as normal, thanks to their other senses and ability to memorize the floorplan of your house. Here are a few signs your dog’s vision may be declining:
 
  1. When you throw a treat to your pet, he does not see it.
  2. He is reluctant to go up or down stairs, jump off the bed or go outside at night.
  3. When you move furniture, your pet bumps into it, and he hesitates in unfamiliar places.
  4. Your dog only registers food as edible when he’s close enough to smell it.
  5. There is a fuzziness in or on your dog’s eyes.
 
The best way to determine whether Fido’s vision is deteriorating is to establish a baseline for what his normal eyesight is. This can be difficult, as canine vision is different from our own, but with a few unofficial tests, you can determine what’s natural so you can track any changes. One technique is to simply observe your dog when a familiar friend is approaching him from a distance. Note how close the friend is when he reacts, and this is the distance at which he can see. Or, have someone hold your pet while you walk slowly toward him with his favorite toy and note at which distance he reacts to seeing it. These rough measurements will give you a baseline for a simple, at-home test to check whether you pet’s vision is declining in the future.
 
If you notice that your dog’s eyes are failing, discuss treatment options with your veterinarian. Loss of eyesight can be caused by aging, infections or hereditary factors, but diabetes and other conditions can also impact vison and there may be supplements, dietary changes and medications to help your pet. You can make life easier for a dog with bad eyes by providing him with a safe home environment. Clear walkways and leave furniture in place—or, if you must rearrange a room, do so gradually to help your dog adjust. This way, even older pets or those struggling to see can enjoy a high quality of life.

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