In an ideal world, no puppy would ever have to confront life-altering conditions like blindness. However, the sad reality is that some puppies may experience blindness either at birth or throughout their lives. If you’ve noticed peculiar behaviors in your puppy such as constantly bumping into furniture or a lack of focus on you, you may be wondering if your furry friend is blind. While a proper diagnosis from a veterinarian is essential, there are several signs you can look for at home to determine if your puppy is blind.
How to Know if Your Puppy Is Blind
Most breeders will attest that watching a puppy’s sense of sight develop is an incomparable joy. Their eyes allow them to explore the beauty of the world around them. However, if you suspect that your puppy may be blind, here are several indicators to consider:
1. Unusual Eye Color
The first step in checking if a puppy is blind is to observe their eye color. Initially, when puppies open their eyes for the first time, they will have a cloudy, grayish-blue hue. As the weeks pass, their eye color should darken to brown, green, or blue. If your puppy’s eyes retain a milky appearance several weeks after birth, it could indicate partial or full blindness.
2. Clumsy Movements
Blind puppies often exhibit a lack of balance, resulting in clumsy movements. They may consistently bump into walls, trip while climbing stairs, knock over objects they were once familiar with, or collide with obstacles when outdoors. It is crucial not to leave a blind puppy home alone for their safety.
3. Lack of Eye Reaction to Light
Observing your puppy’s eyes in the presence or absence of light can provide insight into their visual abilities. Normally, a puppy’s pupils will widen in low-light conditions and narrow in well-lit rooms. In contrast, a blind puppy’s pupils will remain unchanged regardless of the lighting conditions. As an experiment, you can bring your puppy into a dark room and then switch on the light to see their response. If their pupils remain the same and they don’t squint, it suggests they may be blind.
4. Inability to Track Moving Objects with Their Eyes
Blind puppies struggle to visually track objects in motion. To test their tracking abilities, try rolling a soundless object like a ball of yarn in front of them. A puppy with normal vision will focus on the object and even chase after it. However, a blind puppy won’t react or acknowledge the movement at all.
5. Unresponsiveness to Menacing Gestures
Similar to humans, dogs typically blink or move their heads in response to a menacing gesture aimed at their eyes. You can check your puppy’s vision by quickly pointing a finger towards their eyes without touching their face. If they don’t react in any way, it could be a sign of blindness.
6. Reluctance to Walk or Run
Blind puppies often display hesitation when it comes to walking. They tend to keep their noses close to the ground while outdoors, relying more on their sense of smell. The fear of the unknown can make them clingy and nervous, leading to constant whining. Additionally, blind puppies may be hesitant to run towards you when called from a distance.
Common Questions about Blind Puppies
Q: How do I know if my three-week-old puppy is blind?
Determining blindness in a three-week-old puppy can be challenging since some puppies take up to three weeks to open their eyes naturally. However, if their eyes remain cloudy, they frequently bump into objects, and their eyes don’t react to light, it’s possible they may be blind.
Q: How do blind puppies behave?
Blind puppies often exhibit reluctance to walk or run, clinginess, constant bumping into objects, and a heightened state of fear.
Q: Can a puppy be born blind?
Yes, all puppies are born with their eyes closed and are temporarily blind. While most puppies develop sight in due course, genetic factors can lead to some puppies remaining permanently blind.
Q: At what age do puppies have clear vision?
Typically, puppies start to see more clearly when they reach around eight weeks old.
Caring for a Blind Puppy
Some cases of puppy blindness can be reversible, so it’s vital to consult a veterinarian if signs of blindness are present. For puppies living with blindness permanently, they can still lead happy and comfortable lives. To help them adjust to their sightless condition, consider the following tips:
- Keep their essential items, such as food bowls, water, bed, and toys, in the same location to help them navigate their familiar surroundings.
- Avoid frequently rearranging furniture or making unnecessary changes that could disorient them.
- Create a safe home environment by removing sharp objects and adding padding to furniture with sharp corners.
- Never startle them by sneaking up; make noise when approaching to provide a sense of security.
Remember, while home checks can give you initial insights, consulting a veterinarian is necessary for an accurate diagnosis and proper care of a blind puppy. With love, attention, and tailored care, blind puppies can thrive and enrich your life with their unwavering spirit.