Regardless of your pet’s age, dogs can be troubled by a variety of eye problems and conditions that can affect their vision. For younger dogs, these are usually the result of infections and hereditary diseases and for older ones, basic degeneration after a lifetime of use usually takes its toll – just as it does for humans.
Dogs that have vision problems may be affected by medical conditions including:
- An eye infection
- Glaucoma or increased pressure in the eye
- An injury to the eye
But how can you tell if your dog is losing their sight?
Clumsiness and confusion
If your dog begins to bump into things, this is one of the most common indications that their eyesight is failing. However dogs have a tendency of memorising their surroundings as their vision goes, so you may not be able to tell straight away if your dog can’t see his surroundings. If he shows signs of confusion or seems clumsy in new areas, it’s possible he’s experiencing vision loss. To test this, you can take your dog to a new area or home to see how well he moves around. If your dog seems to step high or with great caution or have his nose very close to the ground or bump into things, it is a good sign that your dog may have problems with his vision.
Cloudiness of the eyes
Not every canine eye condition can be seen just by looking into their eyes, but a reasonable amount of conditions will cause subtle changes If your dog’s eyes look cloudy, fuzzy, white, or even teary it may be a sign of vision problems or eye disorders. Cloudy eyes are common in many older dogs, but they can also be a sign that your pup has a corneal ulcer. Also, cloudy eyes are usually a sign that the cornea is inflamed, resulting in vision problems. Your pup’s eyes may also be teary, and you may notice some squinting occurring.
If your dog appears to be fine during the day but becomes clumsy at night or in dim light, this can be another sign of a problem developing. Night vision is often the first to go but it’s hard to know because you don’t tend to watch your pet when it’s dark. Try turning off the lights and calling your dog towards you – if he bumps into things on his way towards you, then it’s probably a good idea to get his vision checked.
Changes in their daily pattern
Look out for any subtle changes in your dog’s normal behaviour. For example, if your dog starts sticking close to the fence when he goes outside in the garden, he might be using the fence to orient himself so worth getting him checked out at the vets.
If you are concerned about your dog’s eyesight, arrange for an examination by your vet as some conditions can be effectively treated, preventing further vision loss – and remember, dogs can rely on their keen sense of smell and sound so they will still be able to navigate their way around their home, even with significant vision loss.