I'm sure it's pretty normal, but none of our dogs have gotten them, so it's a new thing. The vet confirmed today what I've suspected, that Puff has cataracts in both eyes. He's been a bit odd (developed a phobia about going out at night at my parents' place, where there are no lights anywhere nearby, sometimes stares into space, has started missing tossed treats.) We kind of thought it might be his eyes, and the vet said he's probably seeing light, but like wearing fogged glasses. At my house, I don't have stairs, and at my parents' he's been navigating theirs. Is there anything I can do to make it easier for him? He's 13, will be fourteen, and otherwise as far as we can tell in good health-no worms, up to date on everything, heartworm-negative.
(Irony: right now I'm fostering a much, much younger dog who's blind in his right eye. And he's been, I swear, idolizing Puff. It's like Puff is the Cool Big Brother and MacTavish wants to imitate him. Puff is...tolerant.)
While he still has some sight, put mats in front of doors that are a different texture than the floor (ie, hemp if you have carpet). When he goes completely blind, he'll know by feel where he is. You can also do it where his water dish is. Try to keep multiple water dishes. As dogs age (and people) they don't normally drink enough, and having water nearby is easier to get them to drink, rather than making them have to navigate.
Using a plug in air freshener in a different scent for different rooms, (and then be consistent about which rm has which scent), can help them know where they are. Try not to rearrange furniture.
While she still has sight, train her to the "step up/step down" commands. Get her used to walking on a leash with slight contact, as it will be easier to guide her later. You need the contact, so you can guide her around bushes/objects.
i had a jrt go blind at about 7-8 yrs from glaucoma.........she bumped into things for a bit, but otherwise did remarkably well........i tried not to re arrange furniture often, and we had hardwood floors with big area rugs in an open floor plan..........so she got usd to knowing boundaries by whether she was on a rug or not....we could play wrestling or modified fetch indoors, and when she came to the edge of the rug, she just stopped and waited for somoene to get the toy or whatever.......the only really scarey thing was one time at night, snow on the ground, i took her out for last call of the eve....got distracted talking to one of the barn cats, and when i looked up, she was gone.....mostly white dog, maybe 8 lbs, in the snow, in the dark................the yard was totally fenced in, but had a slope, and she had walked down the slope to the point where i couldn't see her...............thank god for fencing...she was stuck nosefirst in the corner.....................i scooped her up and NEVER got distracted again..........
she never enjoyed going for walks after her vision loss, too scarey, but did enjoy being carried for walks in one of those dog pouches..................no longer enjoyed giong to kid's field hockey games, ech time the stick hit the ball she would cringe.......but other than that, she had a pretty normal life, lived til she was 19 yrs..........
someone once got snarky with me, laughed nd laughed about my blind dog...........couldn't see the point in letting her live..........when i reminded them that THEY wore glasses for poor vision and perhaps they should not live any longer, it wasn't so funny anymore.......
I have a 13 1/2 year old dog with cateracts. He has a some problems when it is dark out and he is funny about the sidewalk if it changes color. Other than that he seems fine.
He can still see a cat moving down the street! LOL!
Mine is 15 and has definitely had cataracts for several years. She's also gotten pretty deaf in the same time interval, but has enough vision and hearing to enjoy life. The main problem is that we no longer have any sort of recall - if she's too far away she can't see or hear me and has no idea I'm calling. If I could do it over, I'd teach body language/hand signals to go along with all the verbal commands like sit and come, right from the start, and I'd also try a vibration collar to get her attention. She might not know where to look, but at least she'd know I was calling her! Even with her limitations we go to the dog park a couple times a week and she's trained our little dog pretty well to be the alert/alarm/doorbell.
Everything Jetsmom said and a few others. I always kept rosemary near the door so my girl could smell her way in from outside,she loved to lay outside on a warm day. Look at things, inside and out, at your dogs height, you may be surprised at what can cause damage to their little heads when they can no longer see. I am sure all dogs have a much better sense of touch then we think, but blind dogs especially seem to.
You can have a surgery done to remove the cataracts and restore most of the sight. However, MOST dogs develop cataracts slowly and acclimatize themselves to slowly going blind. They end up doing very well and figure out how to navigate new areas just fine. Teach him commands now such as "stop", most dogs already know "come"...but as a previous blind dog owner, "stop" became very helpful!