Every table corner, wall intersection, and piece of furniture was a potential pitfall, but he was an otherwise healthy dog at that time. He did face some other challenges as he reached his very senior years (Maximus lived to the age of 16) but when he first went blind, he was still an active dog that wanted to continue to move around on his own and even play.
Matt wanted his dog to be able to still enjoy his life. Tracerz was the idea that Matt came up with and it worked so good for Maximus that he just knew it was something that the world would welcome. There wasn’t anything around at that time, specifically for dogs that were visually impaired.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What Are Tracerz?
Tracerz is a scent marker that dogs can find and use to help them locate places or even avoid places within their homes. You can use them at the office, in your house, on your patio, and anywhere that your dog visits on a consistent basis.
They are made with a calming blend of essential oils. There is nothing harmful in them. No chemicals are going to be added to your home environment, don’t worry. You also won’t be overwhelming the smell of your own environment.
The essential oils are only in trace amounts and humans don’t smell them unless they are in close vicinity to one of the Tracerz patches. Both dogs and cats can locate them though. In fact, they are so great at using their noses that they can find Tracerz from a long distance.
They are designed to be attached to a wall, furniture, or anywhere that your pet may need to avoid. They can easily be concealed out of sight and then will stick to wood, vinyl, plastic, trim, carpet, and nearly anything in your home.
They can also be removed if you need to. They are a very cost-effective method of helping your dog in a safe and easy way. Once he realizes that Tracerz helps him find his way and avoid pitfalls, he’ll begin to naturally seek them out and it creates a map in his head.
Dogs react to smell better than they do to sight. He can see an outline of his pathways in his head, using his nose to lead the way. Tracerz helps to activate that part of his brain that is scent-oriented and dedicated to the olfactory sense.
Dog’s sense of smell is as much as 10,000 times better than a human’s. This is incredible but tested and true. Some dogs can detect a single cell of cancer from a human’s skin.
Bloodhounds can track fugitives or lost children by tracking the dead skin cells (epithelial cells) that blow from the body as you move. Just hanging your arm out the window as you drive leaves a trail of your scent down the side of the road, for example.
This is one of the abilities of the canine that makes a solution like Tracerz work so incredibly well. Dogs are also extremely resilient and when they are confronted with a challenge, their other senses kick-in and they adapt. The better you are able to adapt to change and adjust accordingly, the more likely that you’ll survive.
Dogs are amazing survivors because they are so adaptive to new surroundings, different situations, and the health challenges that they are faced with. If you doubt this for even a second, watch a three-legged dog run. They are just as fast as the other dogs and they simply don’t let things stop them, not even going blind.
A Quick Word About Progressive Retinal Atrophy
This is a genetic condition that can be passed in a line of dogs. It strikes many different breeds and can sometimes impact mixed breed dogs, though it is more likely to strike in a pure breed line of dogs that haven’t been properly tested or vetted.
There are tests for this issue that can be done by breeders on dogs over the age of 2, to ensure that they don’t have it before being bred. For this reason, along with other genetic issues that may not show up until the age of 2 to 3 years, it is highly recommended that no dog be bred before they are that age. In order to prevent PRA from being passed on, a breeder should have the parents of any potential breeding match both tested to ensure they are not carrying the genetic issue which they could potentially pass to the entire litter of puppies.
This condition causes the retina to detach and, as the name implies, atrophy. The rod cells in the retina are essentially programmed to die and this renders the animal blind. Some dogs may live with it for a long time before losing their vision, as Maximus did. He was 7 years old when he went blind. Other dogs may begin losing their sight as early as two. It’s a sad genetic issue that can be avoided with education and testing.
PRA isn’t a hopeless condition and it is highly recommended that you begin supplementing your dog with something high in antioxidant support to help fight the progression of the condition, which begins to form cataracts called toxic cataracts on their retina. It can be slowed and surgical options now exist that can prolong the time they retain their vision, depending on how quickly the condition is diagnosed.
How Does Tracerz Work?
Tracerz is a bag of round scent markers that you can attach in the environment of your home, office or place that your pet frequents. They can be used to alert him to a spot to avoid or a path to follow. The scent allows him to create a map within his or her mind that will help to maneuver through the household safely and find things and places.
There are six different scents in the bag that can be used to represent certain things.
An example given on the packaging for you states that:
- Scent one - Earthy mint - Should be used to locate walls, corners, and other obstacles.
- Scent two - Spicy mint - Other obstacles such as furniture
- Scent three - Sharp floral - Other furniture
- Scent four - Spicy vanilla - Doors, closets, and movable objects.
- Scent five - Earthy citrus - Denote stairs and drop-offs.
- Scent six - Spicy clove - Pathways and entryways.
We don’t use pheromones that may attract dogs to things. Instead, we use natural essential oils that can help to alert dogs to dangerous situations or help them find specific areas of the home or office.
You should use one of the Tracerz at one to two feet off the floor when possible, to help place it at a height more easily scented for most dogs. Some dogs react to certain scents better than others and if you notice that your dog is better at finding some over others, we now offer specific scent packages. We also ask that you use caution to test small areas first as the glue that is used to attach the Tracerz may become permanently affixed to some materials. You’ll want to test them first on an inconspicuous location, just in case you can’t get it off, you don’t want it to be visible.
You’ll also want to walk your dog around and supervise him as he learns. Stairways, for example, are very dangerous obstacles that could hurt him. It will take time for him to associate the smell with the obstacle but once he understands, that smell will always mean stairs or potential danger to him, even if you move.
Matt was pleased with how easily Maximus adapted and learned to use the scent markers in his environment. Still, you should be very cautious outside of the home. A blind dog should always be leashed when away from home. Understand that unfamiliar places mean danger to him and you must be his eyes and very watchful of him. A short leash is necessary to prevent him from running out in front of you and stepping into something dangerous. That said, blind dogs can live very rewarding and happy lives. Tracerz simply helps to make them more comfortable at home and ease their transition to living without their vision. We hope that they will make a positive impact on you and your pet. We’re sure that they will work well and we guarantee that they are non-toxic and free of chemicals.
Tracerz will work for both dogs and cats and might even work for other types of animals, though they haven’t been specifically designed for other animals. We hope that you’ll love them and share your stories with us when you do.