Vision problems can affect dogs of all ages, and they aren’t restricted to any particular breed. Young dogs can have trouble with their vision as a result of infections or hereditary conditions, while more senior dogs may have eye problems as a result of old age. The problem with diagnosing dog eye problems is that you can’t treat it in the same way you would treat a human. Since your dog can’t tell you what is wrong, they rely on their human keepers to look out for the telltale signs.
A dog can function very well without their vision, but if you are considering breeding the dog, eye problems in younger dogs might cause problems for their offspring. In order to determine if your pet needs medication to clear up an infection, or if surgery is required, you will need to look out for the following signs to be able to give your vet an accurate overview of the condition.
Keep an eye on their behaviour
Dogs can cope very well with limited vision as they will rely on routine and their other senses to pick up the slack. If your pet struggles to identify people that they know well at a long distance, or if they can’t identify their favourite toy from across the garden, it might be time to take a trip to the vet. Other signs include struggling to catch toys and balls.
Nighttime vision fails first
This can be difficult to identify because not many people spend time watching their pets behaviour in low light. If you suspect your dog’s vision might be failing, try moving a few pieces of furniture around in a familiar room and then turn out the lights. Wait until your eyes have adjusted to the light and then call your pet. If they stumble over the new obstacles or bump into any furniture, it might be time to visit the vet.
Watch them at meal times
One of the telltale signs that your dog’s vision is failing is that they struggle to identify what is food and what isn’t. They will have to be close enough to smell it before they know it’s edible, so if your pet hesitates before eating, or if they stop getting excited about treats before they can smell them, it might be a sign that they are having trouble with their vision.
Pay attention during walks
Although dogs tend to sniff the ground as they go on their daily walks, if your dog is walking with his nose to the ground, walking slowly or hesitating, this could be a sign that they are struggling to with their vision. This can be difficult to spot in older dogs, as they may be slower, so you should also look out for a higher than normal gait.
Some dogs are more susceptible to eyesight problems as a result of primary glaucoma, including Beagle, Bassett Hound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Great Dane, Poodle, Shar-Pei, Malamute, Siberian Husky and some Spaniel breeds.