It’s often said that “blind dogs see with their hearts”–and every August visually impaired dogs everywhere can feel the love on International Blind Dog Day. This awareness day celebrates the everyday fun that blind dogs can enjoy just like every dog and the love they have to share. Let’s look at this special holiday–and how you can help your blind dog better maneuver through your home or how you can adopt a blind dog.
When is International Blind Dog Day?
International Blind Dog Day is recognized every August 23. Share photos of your blind dog on your favorite social channels with hashtag #internationalblinddogday.
This pet holiday was founded by Sarah Horne in 2017; the British dog lover adopted a blind dog named Shammy and wanted to recognize all the wonderful activities blind dogs can enjoy just like any other dog.
Why Do Dogs Go Blind?
Just like people, dogs can go blind due to many factors: disease, cataracts, injuries and, in some cases, genetics.
Unlike with people, however, blind dogs are able to maneuver the world much easier due to their heightened sense of smell. Blind dogs can enjoy walking, running–and just being dogs!
Dogs can be born blind as well. This is often the result of the breeding of two merle patterned dogs. These “double merle” puppies can be born deaf, blind or both.
These dogs, with white fur and pale blue eyes, are also sometimes known as “lethal whites“–not because their blindness or deafness is lethal but because tragically death is often the result when a breeder sees a double merle puppy.
How Can You Help Your Blind Dog Maneuver Your Home through Scent?
Many pet parents with a blind dog help their dog maneuver their home through scent. Essential oils (see our list of essential oils bad for your dog and cat, if you also share your home with one) can be used to mark each room with a different scent or to mark obstacles.
Tracerz Scent Markers are markers that help you mark furniture and obstacles in your home so your blind dog can more easily maneuver through your home.
The scent pads contain an essential oil mixture distinct from household cleansers to avoid confusion; the scent (which you’ll only be able to smell up close but your dog can smell from a distance) lasts up to a year.
Innovet’s founder Matt Terrill explains, “The inspiration for our health products has often come out of a necessity to help our own pets. I created Tracerz scent markers because there was nothing on the market that could help my dog — who lost his sight at age 8 — navigate around.”
Tracerz notes that over 300,000 dogs in the U.S. are diagnosed with blindness, a conservative estimate.
Are you interested in adopting a blind dog?
You’ll find several rescues that specialize in blind dog and can help acclimate your dog to your home with plenty of information as well.
Blind Dog Rescue Alliance rescues blind and visually impaired dogs from shelters in the US and Canada. Dogs are housed in foster homes until adoption.
Amazing Aussies Lethal White Rescue of Arizona rescues double merle Australian Shepherds.
White Diamond Double Merle Dane Rescue specializes in double merle Great Danes but is an all-breed rescue.