Toys: Get creative!
When dogs go suddenly blind, they often stop playing for a while (at least with toys which does not involve treats). They have many other important “how to’s” to figure out. They need to build up confidence to get back in to playing. If your dog was playful before blindness, it is very likely that he/she will be playful again. How long this takes varies from dog to dog. Some take days, others take months. Don’t remove their basket of toys. Keep trying to initiate play now and then, but never try to force them. Some new additions to the toy basket might be a good idea!
Sharon and her dog Heidi joined the QoL project in september 2018. Sharon has been a resource from day one, with her creative ideas for enrichment and toys. I asked her if she would share some of her ideas in an article for this website. She has some absolutely brilliant ideas for toys that could be good idea to add to your blind dog’s toy basket.
Heidi started losing her sight mid July, she was diagnosed with SARDS on August 10th, by August 18th she was completely blind.
It was a very scary time for us, lots of “google” research that really didn’t provide anything promising treatment wise (all treatments offered are experimental, no known cure to date, some come with risks I’m not willing to take.) We had a few struggles; I really didn’t know what her quality of life was going to be like. How can we walk her without her hurting her eyes, she can’t see anything, she wants to stick her face into the shrubs, bushes, she wants to smell everything (we got goggles for her.) How can we let people know she’s blind and hope they’ll be respectful when approaching her or letting their pets/children approach her without asking first (we got her a harness that clearly indicates she’s blind.) The BIG question, how would she play her most favourite game of all, playing fetch, how was I going to help a blind dog fetch?
I joined a few facebook groups, that’s where I found Carina and her Blind Dog “Quality of Life” plan.It was a well detailed plan that covered everything, including how we could get her back to playing her favourite game, fetch.
This video captures a huge victory, for both us and especially for Heidi. This is the first time Heidi played fetch since losing her sight, we owe this all to Carina and her plan.
We have numerous versions of this sound ball, Heidi gets bored so we try to change it around often, using motion activated cat toys, bells, giggle ball, babble ball, sleigh bells, infant’s toys. Be creative!!
You can also cut open their favourite stuffed animals, remove stuffing and put a motion activated cat “sound” toy inside and sew it back up.
Items we used to make up “sound” balls for Heidi:
Hol-ee Roller by JW Pet – sizes = jumbo, large, medium, and small
Written by sharon Brown