Stevie is a people person and is always by our side when we are home; we call her our shadow. So, when she had recovered from her surgery and her parents needed to leave her home for an extended amount of time, we were very concerned with her anxiety levels and how we could best manage them. Below are some of the steps we took to ensure Stevie was as stress-free as possible.

1. Allow time for your pet to adjust being left alone

When Stevie was recovering from her surgery and for the following month, we made sure someone was always home with her. She had just gone through a huge, life-altering change and we wanted to provide as much comfort as we could for her. We knew we could not carry on like that forever though, so we decided to slowly build up the amount of time we were away from the house. At first, we would leave for 30 minutes, then an hour, then two hours, etc. We hoped this would not be as big of a shock for her if we built up her “tolerance.”

2. Arrange visitors during the day

When Stevie’s mom and dad went back to work full-time, we thought it was worth the investment to hire a dog walker to come check in on her during the day. The walker comes over for 30 minutes; being a Frenchie, Stevie does not need too long of a walk so the walker will take her outside for a bit and then spend some time inside playing with her.

3. Adopt a companion pet
We have not done this but have heard from other parents of blind dogs that a companion pet can do wonders. In a way, it is like a seeing eye dog for your blind dog. Having a buddy around constantly and knowing they will never be alone, should reduce your blind dog’s anxiety significantly.

4. Walk your dog before leaving for the day

Just like with humans, getting some exercise is a great way to relieve stress. Try taking your dog on a walk in the morning before you leave for work. If you have a cat, get some extra play time in.

5. Play relaxing music

For a blind dog being left alone in complete silence, one would imagine it can be stressful. In our home we have a smart TV with YouTube installed; when we leave the house for a while, we will turn on a relaxing/calming playlist. We particularly like the “Relax My Dog” YouTube Channel.

6. Leave calming toys out

For Stevie we have some tough bones and calming toys leave out for her. They are always left in the same spot in the house, so she knows where to get them. Toys allow the dog to focus on something other than being left alone. Some toys we like are ones we can hide treats inside, and the dog needs to work them out.

7. Tell your dog you are leaving

We found that Stevie would get nervous and anxious if we left the room without them noticing. Now, even if we are just going in the other room, we let Stevie know by talking to her as we walk away. She can follow our voice into the other room if she wants to stay by our side. If we are leaving the house, we tell he we will be back soon and give her a couple of cuddles by the front door. Have a routine for when you leave the house so your dog will know you are gone and will not search the house for you. Be consistent in your wording so they can learn “see you later” means you are leaving, but you will be back for them soon!