Frequently Asked Questions
We provide answers to the most commonly asked questions for those with vision loss, caregivers, donors or for those of you who would like to learn more.
Thick film covers the eyes, sensitive to glare
The body is unable to produce enough insulin to convert sugar to energy, leading to a buildup of sugar in the blood. Diabetic retinopathy happens when blood vessels in the eye rupture and causes patches of blurry vision.
Glaucoma is a result of damaged optic nerves caused by the buildup of eye fluid and increased eye pressure. Glaucoma affects your side vision and can eventually cause tunnel vision.
Early Stage Glaucoma
Late Stage Glaucoma
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Above 50 yrs old, black spots appearing in central vision or straight lines looking wavy. Difficulties in reading or recognising faces. These are some common signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is an eye condition affecting your central vision.
There are two types of AMD – wet and dry. Wet AMD is caused by an abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye, leading to the leakage of blood and proteins into the sensitive cells in the macula. This causes damage and vision loss. There is no exact cause of dry AMD but the condition occurs as the eye ages.
Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)
‘Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited, degenerative eye conditions that affects the retina. People with RP may experience gradual loss of side vision and poor night vision, commonly starting from their teenage years.
Early Stage RP
Late Stage RP
Night Blindness in RP
Please see more details in People with Vision Loss.
One of the main differences between using a white cane and a guide dog is that a white cane helps locate impediments so that the person with vision impairment can decide how to best manoeuvre around them.
On the other hand, guide dogs are trained to avoid obstacles along their pathway and help the person with vision impairment navigate their environment, allowing for a more natural walking experience. When travelling in a less familiar or more complex environment, a guide dog also helps to lessen the mental load that a person with vision impairment may have, reducing anxiety and stress.
Both a white cane and a guide dog are great mobility tools that help people with vision impairment to lead a more independent life. People with vision impairment have different lifestyles and preferences and there is no single tool that is better than the other.
Most technology solutions have accessibility services included by default to help someone with vision impairment use technology. In essence, this would be normal hardware augmented with special software or applications. This includes screen reading applications for someone with little to no vision, by reading out the contents on the screen and providing an accessible way to operate the device, such as altering the way the touchscreen works or including extensive support for keyboard commands.
For someone with an adequate level of functional residual vision, vision enhancement functions make the screen more vision-friendly by magnifying content, enhancing colour contrast and/or providing basic screen reading functionality.
The aspect of user experience of an application or website is crucial to the accessibility for vision-impaired users.
Programmatically, elements and controls should be properly indicated with the relevant tags for screen reading applications to translate to users the intended function of the control.
Regions should also be properly indicated, such as the navigation bar or, the content region or the main region.
Font sizes and colour contrasts should also be taken into account for users who utilise vision enhancement services. Guidelines exist for different platforms in order for developers to optimise apps for accessibility, such as W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
I would like to improve the accessibility and user experience of my applications/content/website. How can I work with GDS on this?
As part of our service, we offer digital accessibility consultancy and user experience testing, in terms of accessibility for the visually impaired. Please contact us to learn more about how you might be able to implement or improve accessibility of your existing applications and content.
Refer to this link for more information.
The most common breeds used as Guide Dogs are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and their crosses. However, German Shepherds and other breeds have been used as well.
Not all dogs are cut out to be Guide Dogs. Guide Dogs are specially bred and selected for their hardworking, gentle temperament that thrives on praise and is eager to please, this selection has to also comply with the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) standards. For this reason, GDS do not train pets or shelter rescues.
The Guide Dog Training programme takes about one and a half to two years.
Guide Dogs are trained to respond to directional commands from their users, who have been orientated to their regular routes.
Guide Dogs cannot read traffic signals. Their users must listen to determine when it is safe to cross the roads before giving his/her Guide Dog the command to do so. However, the dogs are trained to disobey this command if there is a vehicle approaching.
In addition, Guide Dogs are unable to determine the route to a new destination. However, if the same route has been used multiple times on a regular basis, the Guide Dogs would be able to anticipate the destination.
Guide Dogs are trained to toilet outside and at appropriate areas when given the command to do so by their users. The users are also trained to pick up after their dogs. Guide Dogs will not disturb members of the public, as there are working protocols that the Guide Dog and their users abide by in various situations.
The common retirement age of a Guide Dog is between 9 to 11 years of age.
Guide dogs do get to play! When a Guide Dog is not working and out of harness, playing and relaxing is definitely encouraged. It’s also a great way for a handler and guide to bond and strengthen their partnership.
The Guide Dog users are trained to take charge of their dogs’ personal care daily. The dogs are also required to go for regular vet checks and vaccinations to ensure that they are in good condition to work. The Guide Dog Teams under Guide Dogs Singapore’s charge are also required to undergo annual assessment by a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor to ensure that the team is adhering to working and care standards set by the International Guide Dogs Federation (IGDF).
Guide Dog Users
Guide Dog users will be taught how to care for their Guide Dog during their training.
Yes! Guide Dogs have been approved by HDB to reside in HDB flats.
No, at GDS we understand that there are many different eye conditions that can impede mobility. Thus, you will be assessed by qualified personnel to determine if you are suitable as a Guide Dog user.
Although GDS does not charge our Guide Dog users for the cost of the dog, the user will have to be responsible for the daily maintenance and care of his/her Guide Dog. This will include food and accessories (e.g toys, dog bed, grooming tools). The cost of routine veterinary care (e.g vaccinations and worming tablets) are being partially borne by GDS’ official vet clinic. There is also a vet fund set aside for Guide Dog users to offset other necessary vet care costs if it arises.
You can contact GDS by calling us at (+65) 63397900 or email us to indicate your interest and one of our staff will walk you through the process.
The training programme lasts from around 3 weeks to a month, depending on the progress of the team. Our instructor will tailor the training in accordance with the team’s needs.
The Animal Clinic is our official partner and our Guide Dogs receive medical care from them regularly.
Indeed, there will come a time when a Guide Dog grows old or is no longer able to work and will need to retire. There are a few retirement options for our Guide Dogs. Their users can choose to adopt them as pets and continue to keep them. Alternatively, their users can nominate a friend or family member to adopt the dog as a pet. And if these two options are unavailable, GDS will take the dogs back and find suitable homes for them. Our instructor will discuss these options with the user when the time comes.
Our training and support programmes are provided to our clients at no cost.
Your Guide Dog and you as a working team will be supported and assessed continuously by us until your Guide Dog retires. We continue to provide you with continual training, assessments and aftercare support to ensure a safe and viable teamwork.
Helpful Tips For Public
A Guide Dog can be identified by their working harness, which comprises a body piece and a hard handle.
No, do not attempt to feed Guide Dog any food items or treats. This can distract them, as well as disrupt their toileting schedules which may cause inconvenience to their users.
Our Guide Dogs are chosen for their calm temperaments and look extremely cute and friendly (which they are!), but do not attempt to approach or pat them while they are doing their job. This may cause the dog to be distracted from their task at hand, which is to guide their users safely to their destination, and may inadvertently be a safety concern for their users. Thus, always approach the user first.
Interacting with a guide dog that is working could put their vision impaired handler and themselves in danger.
If you see a guide dog walking towards you, keep your pet on a short leash or carry them in your arms. This helps to prevent any incidents between the guide dog and your pet.
Do not offer any pet toys to the guide dog without asking for their handler’s permission first.
Yes, according to legislation, Guide Dogs are allowed into restaurants and food courts, including halal-certified outlets. Refer to Legislation.
Dogs that do not make it through the training programme will be re-deployed to other “career options” or rehomed as pets.
You can contact us for more information through this email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guide Dog Access in Singapore
To view all relevant legislatures on the usage of Guide Dogs in Singapore, see our Legislation page.
How Can I Help?
There are a lot of ways to support Guide Dogs Singapore Ltd.
You can volunteer with us, be a temporary carer or boarder, provide a home to a retired dog, donate funds and services or fundraise for us. You can also introduce us to your friends, follow us on our social media channels, and if you know someone who is low-vision or blind, please be sure to tell them about our programme and free services.
Note: Currently, the volunteering opportunities for guide dog work are very limited due to the small number of dogs we have. You may still indicate your preference when you register as a volunteer, and we will connect with you when the opportunity arises.
Your contribution goes towards a range of services that support the education, advocacy, and on-the-ground action that empower people with low vision or blindness. This includes work that inspires and empowers people with vision-loss. In addition, your support will go towards helping us provide services that enhance the quality of life for people with vision loss in Singapore through a range of rehabilitation programmes.
These priorities encompass beyond providing guide dogs to include teaching people with vision loss the skills needed to live independently, and working with community stakeholders to build a supportive society for the visually-impaired society.
You can learn more about the life-changing programmes and efforts that your donation supports by viewing our full range of services.
Yes, these are the ways you can make a secure online donation:
Alternatively, you may also do it via PayNow using your bank’s internet banking service.
Simply key in GDS’ Unique Entity Number (UEN): 200302260G
You may also donate via a payment app by scanning the SGQR code.
Yes, you can make a monthly online donation via the following websites and indicate that it is a monthly donation. The same amount will be deducted from your account on a monthly basis.
*For amounts S$20 and above.
Write a crossed cheque payable to “Guide Dogs Singapore Ltd”.
Please indicate your name, NRIC/FIN/UEN, contact number and email address on the back if you wish to receive tax deduction. (Tax deductible receipt will only be given upon request.)
Our mailing address is:
PO Box 021
Tampines Central Post Office
Increasingly, it is common for people to set aside an amount for charitable causes after they have made provisions for their families. You can make a profound change to the life of a person with vision impairment with the gift of independence and mobility.
The funds will enable GDS to provide ongoing programmes and support to help people with vision impairment learn practical skills to be mobile and independent, and contribute to the breeding and training of Guide Dogs.
You might like to consult your legal advisor to ensure the option you have chosen best reflects your intentions. We recommend you seek the advice of an independent solicitor or qualified legal advisor before making or revising your Will. You should also seek qualified advice before choosing executors to administer your estate.
You may wish to download the brochure for more details on how to include Guide Dogs Singapore Ltd in your Will, or contact us if you would like to have a discussion with our team.
From all of us at GDS, our deepest condolences to you if you have lost a loved one or a beloved pet. There are many ways you can honour them and celebrate their lives. You can make a donation in memory of your loved one, or request for donations in place of flower wreaths. You may also start your own tribute page to share photos, and messages of love and support on an existing fundraising portal such as https://www.giving.sg/gds and https://guidedogs.give.asia/
Contact us if you would like to speak with our team.
For Giving.sg, your personal details, including credit card details, are kept safe and connection to the Giving.sg server is encrypted using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. Therefore, the website starts with “https” and not the more common and unsecured “http”. For more details, please visit the giving.sg website.
GIVE.asia uses the same secure & encrypted payments technology as your bank to ensure your donation is processed safely. For more information on trust and safety, please visit GIVE.asia website.
Yes, your donation is tax-deductible. All direct donations of minimum SGD$20 are eligible for 250% tax exemption.
Please provide us with your full name, NRIC/FIN/UEN number, contact number and email address for us to process the auto-included tax deduction on your behalf. We will notify IRAS and tax deduction is auto-included.
Yes. Do provide us with the UEN/ROC.
Thank you for your generosity. In order to increase your monthly donation to us, you will need to login to the online donation portal you have subscribed for the recurring donation and update the amount you wish to donate to us.
We are sorry to see you go but appreciate the support you have shown us so far. To cancel your monthly donation to us, you may simply login to the online donation portal you have subscribed for the recurring donation and cancel the subscription.
Partner Guide Dogs Singapore Ltd (GDS) as part of your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts.
Contact us to see how your business can forge meaningful relations with GDS through partnerships on fundraising and charitable programmes. Together, we can make a difference.
- Invite us for an outreach talk
- Pledge a one-off or annual donation to fund our work
- Encourage employees to give back and double their contributions through donation matching
- Customised CSR – connect with us to discuss further
- Invite us to have a booth at your roadshows
- If you own a F&B or retail outlet:
a. Become a guide dog friendly establishment with us
b. Consign a donation box and display it at your outlet
- Be inclusive – contact our consultant on how to make information and physical premises accessible to users with vision loss
- Donate a % of sales proceeds to us
About Guide Dogs Singapore
Guide Dogs Singapore is dedicated to help the blind and visually-impaired people to achieve their fullest potential within the society.
You can read more about us here.
We help individuals with vision loss to regain their independence and quality of life. This is done through our rehabilitation programme that trains them on independent living and mobility skills. We also train and provide guide dogs to those who wish to consider using these service animals as mobility aids. In addition, we work with the community to ensure people with vision loss have equal access to employment, information and social activities.
Guide Dogs Singapore is a non-profit, tax-exempt organisation that operates with limited resources. We are supported mainly by private donations, with the occasional grants from the government.
Through your support, we can empower people with vision loss to gain independence and mobility, and to live fulfilling lives.
Research & Innovation
Our company is developing a product/service/concept targeted at vision impaired users. Can GDS connect us with the experts and users in the vision impaired community?
Please contact us to find out more about how we can support your endeavours in the research and technological innovation space.
Guide Dog Orinda On Escalator
Are you interested to follow a more intimate journey between a guide dog and its handler? If you like more guide dog content when they on and off harness, check out our newest guide dog team’s account, @guidedoggy_orinda This video we reposted raises awareness on how guide dogs can guide their handlers on escalators. If you prefer cuter day-to-day content which shows Orinda’s personality off harness, you’ll be equally obsessed about her as us! Repost from @guidedoggy_orinda InstagramPosted by Guide Dogs Singapore Ltd on Wednesday, 14 April 2021
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