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Scaredy-Cat Dog

October 2nd, 2005, 07:44 PM
Our dog Prantzski is extremely nervous/anxious, especially when she eats her food. She timidly moves forward toward her bowl and then acts as if she has seen a spider or other creature then jumps away and yelps. She does this several times but ultimately eats. She also only eats from the right side of her bowl, leaving the left side untouched. When we refill her bowl she will again only eat the right side. Until we realized this she would apparently go quite hungry before eating from the left side. Our vet said she has some brain damage due to an untreated maternal virus while inutero. She is so loving, yet freaky. We're not sure what is wrong with her, but want to figure it out so we can help her. Prantzski is a two year old chihuahua mix with perhaps rat terrier. Thanks for any insight you can give me.

October 2nd, 2005, 09:30 PM
Did you adopt her? Do you know if she could have been traumatized somehow before you got her? That would be my guess. Doggies like that just need understanding and acceptance. :)

October 3rd, 2005, 01:11 AM
In humans who have had a stroke/brain attack or other trauma, they will sometimes suffer from a cognitive disorder called unilateral neglect. Most commonly the damage is to the right side of the brain, so the left side of the body is affected. The person is unaware of and inattentive to the side of the body that is controlled by the side of the brain that has been damaged, and will neglect anything in the unilateral field of view--specifically, will not eat food on that side of the plate, won't dress themselves on that side of the body, or will not reach for objects on that side of the body. Humans often need to be retrained to attend to that side of the body and visual field, but I don't think you could do this with a dog. :(

Possibly the dog is having trouble swallowing; do you feed dry food? If the kibble gets stuck on the way down, it would be uncomfortable and yeild this sort of response perhaps. You could try a wet food instead. Otherwise, I don't quite understand how this scenario would result in your dog's timidity and repeated pain/fear response to eating.

Have you had this dog since puppyhood? Is this a new problem, or has the dog experienced it for as long as you have had her? I'm sorry I don't have much help for you, but I'm hoping some one else will have some ideas.