Travelling with a blind dog may seem impossible, or at least very stressful. At home, blind dogs don’t need a lot of attention as they quickly learn other ways to get around that don’t require sight. They usually build a map in their minds to make their way around their homes. Additionally, their sense of smell and hearing is usually heightened without vision, which also helps.
Therefore, without their mind map and their familiar scents and sounds, travelling can be very stressful for visually impaired dogs. However, there are many ways to minimise stress for you and your pooch while travelling.
So, if you need to take him to the vet, are going on holiday, visiting a friend, or are moving house – don’t worry!
The following are 10 simple ways to calm a blind dog when travelling:
- Get your dog used to being outside the home
- Keep your dog on a leash
- Bring your dog’s bed, blanket and toys along
- Get your dog an ‘I’m blind’ harness
- Don’t leave your dog alone for too long
- Get your dog a Blind Dog Halo
- Try to keep your routine similar or the same
- Talk to your dog softly and frequently
- Try to teach your dog new commands
- Look out for any hazards
In this article we will discuss each of these in detail, so that your blind dog can enjoy anxiety-free travel.
Signs your dog may be going blind.
If your dog’s vision is on the decline, you may notice the following behaviours:
- Cloudiness and/or red blood vessels in the eyes
- Bumping into things and general clumsiness
- Lower energy levels
- Noticeable eye pain
- Your dog is startled easily
If you notice these behaviours, take your dog to the vet to get checked out. Vision loss due to conditions such as cataracts or glaucoma can be repaired or slowed through medical care.
If you dog has been diagnosed as blind, don’t worry! Your dog will adapt to his new lifestyle. Blind dogs will compensate by using other senses like hearing, smell and touch.
Get your dog used to being outside the home.
You don’t want your dog to feel completely out of his comfort zone.
If you are planning a long trip, do some short practice runs to get your dog used to being away from home. Take him out for lunch with you, or visit a friends house for a couple hours.
This way, he will get used to experiencing new scents and sounds. Additionally, when it comes to travelling day, being away from home won’t be a complete shock.
Keep your dog on a leash.
Blind dogs will benefit from being kept on a leash when away from home. Dogs with visual impairments can get anxious and stressed when in a new environment.
On a leash, both you and your dog will feel calmer and more secure. This way, you don’t have to worry about your dog getting lost or harming himself by walking into things or walking into traffic!
When visiting somewhere new, take the time to show your dog around so he can create a map in his mind. Your dog will appreciate this and will feel calmer once he knows his way around.
Bring your dog’s bed, blanket and toys along.
Your dog’s favourite bed, blankets and toys will give your pet a sense of familiarity and safety.
Additionally, as these objects will be heavily scented, your dog will be able to locate them easily in his new environment.
If you can’t bring your dogs bed along, bring along a blanket, or even one of your jumpers. Something that will remind him of home – his safe place.
Get your dog an ‘I’m blind’ harness.
Let everyone know that your dog is blind. There are loads of harnesses, jumpers or even bandanas that read ‘I’m blind’.
This way people will know to approach your dog with caution. You want to avoid anyone startling your beloved pooch.
Don’t leave your dog alone for too long.
As I’m sure you are aware, a blind dog doesn’t normally need constant attention. However, a blind dog away from home does require more attention than one at home.
When travelling, a blind dog will likely feel rather anxious as he isn’t familiar with his environment. Keep your dog company so you can comfort and reassure him.
Get your dog a Blind Dog Halo.
Blind dog halos are a brilliant invention to prevent blind dogs from bumping into things.
They are normally attached to a harness or vest and work by placing a protective ring around your dog’s face and head.
This way, your dog won’t bump his snout onto walls, trees and cars. This, of course, has a massive reassuring affect for your dog.
Try to keep your routine similar or the same.
While travelling, try to keep your dog’s routine the same.
Since blind dogs rely on routine and familiarity of their environment, keeping to your schedule each day while travelling will lessen any stress your dog may experience from being out of his normal environment.
Thus, walk your dog and feed him at a similar time as you would at home. Additionally, keep your dog’s diet the same. Most dogs can be fussy when it comes to trying new food.
This will give him a sense of familiarity so that he doesn’t feel out of his comfort zone.
Talk to your dog softly and frequently.
You are your blind dog’s safe place. Your presence and voice calms him.
While travelling, talk to your dog frequently and softly to remind him that you are there and that he is safe.
Furthermore, your voice can help him figure out where he is so he can map his way around his new environment.
Try to teach your dog new commands.
If feasible, try to teach your dog some new commands. Some helpful words include include ‘up’, down’, stop’, ‘left’ and ‘right’.
These helpful commandments will make it easier for a blind dog navigate a new environment when travelling.
Look out for any hazards.
The world can be a dangerous place, particularly if you can’t see it. When travelling with a blind dog, you should be on high alert for any hazards.
Hazards are everywhere – lampposts, cars, drain holes, glass can all be a potential danger to your dog.
Travelling with a blind dog is a daunting task. However it can be a stress-free experience. Follow these 9 simple tips to reassure and calm your dog while away from home.
Hope you have found this helpful.