Just like you and I our dogs enjoy stimuli in their daily lives. Whether its going for a walk around the block or hike, receiving praise or a cuddle from their human companion, or playing with other animals or with toys, activities are necessary for optimal canine psychological and physiological well-being. Environmental enrichment is most often discussed in the context of the captive wild animal however our dog companions who are visually impaired can also enjoy the benefits. Enrichment is a process of enhancing an animal’s environment by increasing the range or species specific activities that help prevent abnormal behaviors. One such example is by providing our blind dogs with toys they can enjoy using their other senses of smell and hearing.
Whether your pet has experienced a gradual or sudden vision loss, they will have an adjustment period. Remember, loss of sight does not mean your pet cannot lead an enjoyable life. There are a variety of toys to consider for your visually impaired furry companion. Just keep in mind that every pet is unique and what works for one may not work for another.
If you are handy or “crafty” you can utilize toys and supplies you may already have at home. With a bit of modification you can add bells, noise makers, or scents to existing toys. Just be sure the added material is not something that can be accidentally ingested or if using scents ensure they are pet safe.
Some general ideas include the following
Tennis balls or stuffed animals with bells/noise makers inside
Toys that squeak or make noise
Toys with different textures
Empty liter bottles with bells/noise makers inside
There are also quite a few toys available for purchase. A quick internet search will help you find inexpensive options. Here are some products we like...
Wiggly Giggly Ball www.amazon.com
Push and Play ball www.jollypets.com/products/push-n-play/
All Natural “Fetchin’ Stixx” www.etsy.com/listing/218560078
Look Who’s Talking Plush Dog toys www.amazon.com
Pet Qwerks Babble Ball www.amazon.com