Whether you’ve adopted a blind dog, or your dog has recently lost their sight, you’re probably asking yourself the same question that most dog parents in your situation want to know: “can I leave my blind dog home alone?” Lucky for you, that’s what I’ll address in this post.
So, can blind dogs be left alone?
The short answer to this question is yes, you can leave a blind dog home alone. But only if they have fully familiarized themselves with your house’s layout. Most importantly, you must take certain safety precautions before leaving your blind dog alone.
Keep reading as I touch on everything you need to know before leaving your blind dog alone, including the lifestyle changes and safety measures to consider.
Almost every dog owner will tell you that it’s hard not to feel terrible for leaving their dog home alone. But you’ll agree there’s a special type of guilt and worry that comes with the thought of having to leave a blind dog on their own.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with worries as a blind dog owner — and understandably so. After all, blind dogs have unique challenges compared to sighted dogs. But that doesn’t mean they cannot lead happy lives.
Truth is, you can leave a blind dog alone for a safe duration. Their strong sense of smell, hearing, and touch will help them have an easy time alone.
But you must ensure they are familiar with your home’s layout before leaving them alone. This is achievable through repeated house tours. Keep them on a leash, and consider getting them a blind dog Halo (view on Amazon) for these tours.
Handy Hint: Here is a list of other products to buy for a blind dog to help them navigate life safely.
It can take a few days or weeks of several house tours for a blind dog to develop a mental map of your home and walk around confidently without assistance.
The most obvious sign your dog is ready to be left alone is when they don’t bump into objects around the house.
Besides that, there are lifestyle changes and safety measures you should consider before leaving your blind dog on their own. Among them:
1. Take time to blind dog-proof your house
The only way to keep your dog safe when you leave them alone is to blind dog-proof your home. To avoid accidents when you’re away, ensure your home if safe for your dog: For instance:
- Remove vases and ornaments from top surfaces to ensure your dog doesn’t knock them over and hurt themselves.
- Ensure there are no sharp objects on the floor or electrical wires hanging loosely around the house.
- Cover sharp furniture edges with soft padding, so your dog doesn’t hit themselves when walking around.
- Place a dog gate on areas your dog shouldn’t access—for example, the stairway.
- Block narrow spaces where your dog can easily get stuck. For example, a space between the couch and wall that’s big enough for your dog’s head to squeeze through.
2. Confine your dog in one room (and keep their space cozy)
Rather than letting your blind dog roam around the house alone when you’re gone, let them stay in a specific room — preferably the living room.
This is a great idea as it will prevent them from getting into an accident in case you missed eliminating a certain hazard in a particular room. Keep the doors to other rooms closed.
And while in the living room, create a cozy space for them.
Place their bed somewhere in a corner and put their favorite toys and blanket there. You can also throw in one of your old t-shirts, as your scent will help your dog relax when you’re away.
3. Introduce “alone time” gradually
For the sake of your blind dog’s peace of mind, give them time to get used to your absence by leaving them home alone for a few minutes at first. Not hours.
For instance, start by leaving them alone in the living room with their favorite toys for about ten minutes as you do your business in another room. Then, transition to leaving them alone as you run a quick errand.
When your dog gets used to your brief sessions of absence, it will be easier for them not to notice when you’ve been gone for a few hours — as long as they are comfortable and relaxed.
4. Keep your furniture’s position intact
Blind dogs are incredibly good at mastering their home’s layout and not bump into stuff, provided the layout remains constant.
When you leave your blind dog alone, make sure every piece of furniture is at its usual spot.
5. Leave their food bowl near their cozy spot
Before you head out, ensure your blind dog’s food and water bowl are easily accessible.
The best thing to do is place their food and water bowl next to their cozy spot. This will save them the trouble of wondering when you will return to feed them.
6. Invest in scented, treat-stuffed, and sound-making toys
Since your dog no longer has their sight, get them a variety of toys that will excite their sense of smell, touch, and hearing. These toys will keep them preoccupied when you’re away.
7. Don’t switch off the radio
Leaving the radio or TV on as soothing music plays will ensure your blind dog isn’t overwhelmed by your absence.
Remember, only stick to a soothing music playlist. There’s showing that dogs find soft rock and reggae calming.
8. Try not to overdo the goodbyes
Similar to a sighted dog, a blind dog can also get anxious if you leave immediately after showering them with too many goodbye hugs and kisses.
Your blind dog has to learn that you leaving and coming back is completely normal, not something extraordinary. For this reason, avoid making it obvious that you’re heading out since they will have a hard time coping with your departure.
You can throw them their favorite noise-making or scented toy to distract them as you leave.
Handy Hint: Here’s the best wet food choices for older dogs.
9. Don’t be gone for too long
Experts say an adult dog shouldn’t be left alone for more than 6-8 hours. This also applies to blind dogs.
If you know you’ll be gone for many hours during the day, make arrangements to ensure there’s someone trustworthy who can stop by and spend some time with your dog. It can be a friend, neighbor, or certified pet sitter.
10. Cater to their potty needs
If your blind dog often does their potty business indoors, remember to place their indoor dog toilet next to their cozy spot before you leave. The familiar urine smells will help them know where their potty area is at.
And if your dog often potty’s outside, hang a wind chime on the door where their dog door or “pet flap” has been cut out.
The wind chime will alert them where the door is as they head back to the house.
Also, inspect your dog’s outdoor potty spot before leaving to ensure there are no holes or sharp twigs lying around.
11. Exercise your dog beforehand
If you’re planning to leave your blind dog alone for a while, consider taking them for a walk before you go. That stroll will tire them out, and they will want to rest when you’re away.
12. Set up a pet camera
Monitoring your dog through a pet cam (view Furbos on Amazon) will help you pay attention to some of the things your blind dog struggles with when alone.
That way, you can make the necessary adjustments next time.
As noted earlier, a blind dog can be left alone if they’re fully familiar with the home’s layout. And after you’ve taken the necessary safety precautions.
The most important thing is to make certain lifestyle and safety changes in your home to help them adjust to your home environment as a blind dog.
It’s common for some dogs to sink into depression when they lose their vision.
You might also like…
- Products that all blind dogs need
- How to meet a dog for the first time
- When to consider getting a second dog
Image in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/shiba-inu-dog-blind-smile-portrait-262844/