Blind Dogs and Cats can live long and happy lives.
What are Tracerz®
Tracerz™ scent markers are the most cost effective way to help your dog or cat adjust to blindness. Tracerz™ are great for any indoor area such as home, apartment or office. Each Tracerz™ pack comes with 20 obstacle scent markers and 8 path scent markers.
Tracerz contain a calming blend of essential oils that are pleasantly distinctive so as to not be confused with other household products. The unique scents of the obstacle and path markers are only noticeable up close to humans, however dogs and cats can locate them from impressive distances.
Tracerz™ can be affixed to walls, furniture, carpet, tile, hardwood, doors, trim, appliances, vinyl, glass and much more. Tracerz™ are less than 1" in diameter and can easily be concealed - you don't have to see them, your dog just needs to smell them.
How Tracerz™ work
The scent markers are placed around the home to help your dog find important locations, avoid obstacles and not get lost when waking up from a deep sleep. Blind dogs can visualize their surroundings through their olfactory (smelling) senses alone.
To help build up a 3 dimensional mental map, we created Tracerz™ which provide natural oil based scent markers that require no maintenance and can last for up to a year to aid your pet in navigating the home and coping with blindness.
We infuse each Tracerz™ marker with a unique mixture of highly concentrated essential oils suspended in wax that won't wipe off or wash away. Tracerz can be scratched periodically to refresh scent emissions. This process maximizes the scented surface area and makes the marker active for 4-8 months. We have searched and thoroughly tested the safest organic scented oils that dogs and cats effectively respond to.
How to install Tracerz™
Affix the Tracerz™ dots as close as possible to the height of your dogs' nose and adjacent to the spots they most often collide with. The adhesive backing will bond strongly to most surfaces. We make it simple:
Many dogs need little to no training to pickup the Tracerz™ scents. While your dog is in a calm state, SLOWLY lead him around through his typical paths in order to let him sniff out the new scent mark in order to develop a 3 dimensional map. Tracerz™ are less effective when placed near open windows and doors or overpowering fragrances and colognes. Scratch the surface of each dot every few weeks to reveal fresh layers of scent emitting material.
What Tracerz™ can and cannot do
Typically within 48 hours, dogs will start avoiding more and more bumps and collisions. The first thing you will likely notice is not being awakened in the middle of the night to your dog lost and banging into things.
Soon they build up confidence and begin to move around with ease. Many dogs will even get over confident and run around similar to the way they used too.
However, Tracerz™ is by no means a cure to blindness. All blind dogs are still going to bump into things, especially when they get excited. The mission behind Tracerz™ is to minimize the frequency of those collisions and make sure your pet never gets lost within the home. Tracerz™ are very helpful for cats, but they are most effective with dogs.
Living with blind Dogs...
HOME: Keeping a safe and unchanging environment is key. To a blind dog re-arranging furniture can be challenging, and moving into a new location can be traumatic.
At first, some blind dogs will become lost and bark out for help while others may freeze up, afraid to move. You should check your house for things that they can run into, knock down, fall into or trip over.
Due to these unique challenges, It is also highly recommended that your blind dog have a exclusive safe spot other than his sleeping area to retreat to.
WALKING & JOGGING: With a few simple precautions blind dogs can still go for walks but you'll need to keep a tight leash, and interaction with other dogs will become tricky.
Dogs assert their pack position with body language, and without the ability to read body language, blind dogs can often send unintended confrontational signals. Jogging on flat ground with a dog that has become blind is still possible with a bit of encouragement and caution.
SOUNDS: Dogs can hear a wider range of sounds than humans, however sound is not an effective means of navigation for dogs because of their poor ability to determine what direction a sound is coming from.
When possible leave a small radio on to give them some additional orientation especially when they wake up from a deep sleep.
SPECIAL COMMANDS: Teaching your blind dog the special command "watch out" should be done asap. Use the "watch out" command sparingly or else they won't take it seriously. Be careful when verbally disciplining other dogs in your home because a blind dog has no ability to determine if a verbal reprimand is directed at him. Instead of the traditional "no" command use a spray-bottle with water to silently discipline other dogs.
OUTDOORS: For the most part blind dogs navigate well in through front yards and backyards. Scent marking outdoors is possible but generally not recommended. From a blind dogs point of view, variables such as strong winds, rain and snow can disrupt outdoor scents and change the tactile feel of the ground. Those conditions can cause even the best trained blind dog to become lost, which contributes to drowning in pools being among the leading causes of death among blind dogs.
Accordingly, it is important to make a physical barrier around pools to stop them from falling in. If your dog is a good swimmer you should encourage but not force them to swim in the pool because in addition to being good exercise for them, swimming in the pool prepares them in case they fall in accidentally.
TYPES OF BLINDNESS: There are hundreds of eye diseases that can cause blindness in our pets. The most common causes are cataracts, glaucoma, trauma, and retinal degeneration or detachment. Many eye diseases are progressive and may take anywhere from days to years for total blindness to set in. You may find your dog to be blind only in certain conditions. There is often a very frustrating transitional phase where they can see in bright areas but then become effectively blind at night or in dim lighting.
While these methods can work, it is often just not that realistic to cover your floors in carpet runners and have your dog wear an awkward foam suit.
If your dog or cat is developing signs of vision impairment contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.