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Signs dogs are having vision problems

Dog owners take their furry friends’ health very seriously. Like their human companions, dogs can experience health problems that seemingly come out of nowhere. But unlike the men and women who take care of them, dogs cannot call the doctor when something is bothering them. That responsibility rests on the shoulders of their owners.

A dog’s eyes can be a window into the animal’s overall health. According to the pet care professionals at Memphis Veterinary Specialists & Emergency, serious conditions such as liver disease, diabetes and autoimmune diseases can all present indicators in a dog’s eyes. The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation® says that dogs can experience physical and/or behavioral problems when they’re experiencing eye trouble.

A host of factors can contribute to vision problems in dogs. Age is one such factor, but diseases such as diabetes and hereditary conditions, including progressive retinal atrophy, also can lead to visual impairment. Before dog owners can work with veterinarians to determine the cause of their furry friends’ vision loss, they must first learn to recognize signs of impairment. The AKC notes that some of these signs may be obvious while others are more subtle.

  • Bumping into walls or furniture: This is a clear indicator that a dog is experiencing vision problems. Dog owners who notice this is happening even when there’s nothing to obstruct their dogs’ path should book a vet appointment immediately.
  • Trouble locating food or toys: Most dogs love to eat and drink and play with their toys. So a sudden inability to find food or water bowls or a favorite toy could indicate the dog is having vision problems.
  • Reluctance to jump on or off a couch: This symptom can be less noticeable than bumping into furniture or having trouble finding food. Dogs that once loved to jump on or off a couch but now stick to the floor may be doing so due to impaired vision and the fear of not being able to see where they’re jumping.
  • Clinginess: The AKC notes that some dogs cling to their owners as they experience vision loss.
  • Aggressiveness: Dogs may begin to show aggression as they experience vision loss. That’s because the loss of their eyesight can make them feel vulnerable, leading some to act offensively as a defense mechanism.
  • Physical indicators/behaviors: Dog owners should be on the lookout for red, puffy or swollen eyes. In addition, Memphis Veterinary Specialists & Emergency notes that some dogs may paw at their face in response to vision loss.

Vision loss in dogs can be caused by many things. The first step to helping dogs overcome diminished vision is recognizing its symptoms.