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Adopting A Blind Dog

May 1, 2023

May 3rd is Adopt A Specially-Abled Pet Day! This is one cause that is truly near and dear to our hearts. Many pets get passed over for adoption because they’re not perfect. This is very sad because these guys are often very sweet and affectionate, and are just as cute and fun as other pets. Here, a Lasalle County, IL vet offers some tips on adopting a blind dog.

Avoid Startling Fido

It’s customary for people to let Fido sniff their hands when they first meet him. That makes perfect sense: after all, our canine buddies get much of their information about the world through their senses of smell. This is true for blind dogs as well, However, you’ll need to take care not to startle your new buddy. Talk to him as you hold out your hand, and let him know you’re there. This doesn’t just apply to that meet-and-greet, though: it’s just a good rule of thumb to follow. 


In addition to doing basic petproofing, which entails removing or securing things like toxic plants, wires and cords, and chemicals, you’ll want to do a few additional things. Setting out mats and carpets with different textures will give your furry pal a ‘track’ to follow, so he can find his way around. You can also add scent markers, such as stick-on air fresheners. We would also recommend using baby gates to block off stairs and rooms you don’t want Fido in.


Consider getting your four-legged friend a bumper harness to help keep him from bumping into things. For walks, a sturdy harness is a must. You may also want to get a fountain-style water bowl: your canine pal will be able to hear it, which can help him locate it more easily. 

Letting Fido Settle In 

When adopting any pup, it’s a good idea to start them out in a small, quiet area at first, and let them settle in. This is the same for specially-abled pets. Playing soothing music can help Fido feel safe. We would also recommend keeping your new furry friend on a pretty set schedule. Last but not least, make a veterinary appointment right away. This is also a great chance to ask for more care tips.

Our Advice on Adopting A Blind Dog in 2024

How should you approach a blind dog to avoid startling them?

When approaching a blind dog, it’s important to avoid startling them. Start by speaking in a calm, gentle tone as you get closer, letting them become aware of your presence through your voice. Offer your hand for them to sniff, but do it slowly and steadily, keeping it at a safe distance initially. Avoid sudden movements or loud noises that could be startling. Always approach from the front or side where they can sense your presence better, rather than from behind. This respectful approach helps the dog feel secure and aware of your presence.

What additional petproofing steps are necessary for a blind dog’s safety?

For a blind dog’s safety, additional petproofing steps are essential. Create a consistent layout in your home to avoid confusion – keep furniture and obstacles in fixed places. Use mats or rugs with different textures to create navigational paths your dog can follow. Scent markers, like air fresheners, can help your dog identify different rooms. Securely block off stairs and potential hazards with baby gates. Remove any sharp objects or low-lying items that could cause injury. Consistency and a safe, predictable environment are key to helping a blind dog navigate their space safely.

What special gear might benefit a blind dog?

Special gear that can benefit a blind dog includes a bumper harness, which provides a protective barrier around their head to prevent bumps into objects. A sturdy, well-fitted harness is also important for guided walks, offering more control and security than a standard collar. For home use, consider a fountain-style water bowl; the sound of flowing water can help the dog locate it more easily. Additionally, using bells or tags on other pets in the household can help the blind dog be aware of their movements and location.

How can you help a blind dog settle into a new home?

To help a blind dog settle into a new home, start by introducing them to a small, quiet area. This allows them to acclimate to their new surroundings gradually. Maintain a consistent layout so they can memorize the space without confusion. Use scent markers and different textures on the floor to guide them. Establish a routine for feeding, walking, and playtime to provide a sense of security. Play soothing music to help them relax. Spend quality time with gentle interactions to build trust and comfort. Patience and consistency are key to helping them adjust smoothly.

What should you do immediately after adopting a blind dog?

Immediately after adopting a blind dog, schedule a veterinary check-up to assess their overall health and address any specific needs related to their blindness. Familiarize them with your home gradually, using a consistent layout and verbal cues to help them navigate. Establish a routine for feeding, walks, and rest to provide structure and security. Spend time bonding through gentle touch and voice, allowing them to get used to your presence and build trust. Additionally, ensure your home is safely pet-proofed to prevent accidents and create a comfortable, accessible environment for your new companion.

As your Lasalle County, IL pet hospital, we are dedicated to offering great veterinary care. Please feel free to contact us anytime! 

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