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Animal Friends Blog


Understanding pet disabilities: deafness and blindness

Pets come in all shapes and sizes, they all have their own special quirks and come with their own needs and demands, but some of our cats and dogs will sometimes develop life long disabilities.

Whether you’ve just discovered your pet is blind or deaf, or they have existing health conditions that will result in them losing their sight or hearing, you will need to adapt their care accordingly.

Here are some top tips in living with and caring for a blind or deaf pet.

Caring for blind pets

Don’t make any sudden changes

Don’t be tempted to make any sudden changes to the layout of your home. It’s easy to forget that they have been manoeuvring between rooms and around furniture since before losing their sight. Blind cats and dogs have often memorised the home they live in, and so rearranging furniture can actually make things harder for bling pets to learn their surroundings.

Keep their things in the same place

Try to keep their beds, litter tray, food and water bowls in the same place to avoid any confusion, accidents, hunger or thirst.

Keep up with their training

A blind pet is still a trainable pet. Make the most of verbal cues as these can help you continue their training and warn them of any obstacles in their path. These will not only help your cat or dog understand you but also keep them safe and give them confidence in their surroundings.

Make the most out of textures

Different types of flooring in different rooms can help your pet learn its environment and recognise each room. Carpets, rugs and tiles can help make things a little easier for your cat or dog.

Make use of bells

If you have more than one pet, why not attach a bell to the collars of the other animals you have in the home? These pets can then serve as a guide to your blind cat or dog.

Try not to startle your pet

Make sure that you, your family, friends, and any visitors to your house know to talk to your cat or dog before approaching them to avoid being nipped, scratched or bitten in reflex.

Caring for deaf pets

Restrict their outdoor access

To keep your pet safe, especially if you have a deaf cat, consider restricting their access to the outside world. This is because deaf cats are not able to hear any approaching dangers, like cars, and might end up getting injured while exploring. You could provide your cat with a secure outdoor area so that they can spend some time enjoying the fresh air while staying safe.

Keeping a deaf dog on a lead on walks will help you ensure their safety and avoid a lost or straying pet.

Keep on top of your training

Some believe it’s impossible to train a deaf cat or dog, but with perseverance, it’s just as easy as training a hearing pet. Verbal cues won’t work for deaf cats and dogs so you will need to learn to communicate using hand signals.

Make use of bells

Tying a bell to your deaf pet’s collar can help you know where they are as they’re unable to respond to your calls.

Let them know you’re there

It’s important not to startle a deaf cat or dog, so be sure that you, and those around your pet, approach them from the front and make your presence known so as not to frighten your pet and cause an unpleasant instinctual reaction.

Also, if you’re planning to head out to do the school run or to complete a shift at work, make sure your cat or dogs knows you are leaving and that you don’t just disappear.

Make sure everyone respects your pet

Letting people know your pet is deaf or blind will help those around them to treat them with respect and understand how to appropriately behave around them. This can help keep everyone safe and happy. There are collars and harnesses available to buy that lets those who pass by that your cat or dog can’t see or hear.

Is your pet deaf or blind? Do you have any top tips for someone in a similar situation or think we’ve missed an important piece of advice? Let us know on our Facebook or Twitter page.

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Hello, lovely readers, I'm Catrin George. I'm a treat dispenser and walk giver to Marvel, the border collie. I'm here to give you the latest updates and low downs on anything and everything pet related, whether they miaow, woof, or neigh. The blogs will be filled with news, reviews, and charity visits with some discounts and giveaways squeezed in-between. So, keep your eyes peeled here!

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