Some days Shadow will eat her full meal first time around the bowl. Sometimes she’ll sniff at it and walk away. And other times she goes through this weird ritual of eating some food, walking away, wandering around the kitchen like she’s lost, going back to the bowl and just picking at the food. And sometimes she walks around the kitchen oddly. It’s like an exaggerated alternating movement of her front paws.
(I wish I could take a video of this ritual to show the vet. BUT Shadow will walk away from the food bowl altogether if she knows or even senses that she’s being watched. That in itself is an odd behavior that started after Callie passed away.)
The wandering around the kitchen thing makes me wonder if maybe she has a hard time seeing well at times. Last week I decided to switch back to her old, stainless steel bowl from the large, black, plastic bowl. It helped a little bit but not enough to make a noticeable difference.
Being concerned that Shadow wasn’t eating enough to stay healthy, I would (more than) occasionally put some of her canned food on a spoon and hold it up for her at a level where I believed she could see it better. And, usually, she ate it. When she didn’t want it, then I knew she just didn’t want to eat, period. And I would pick up the bowl and put it aside before feeding Ducky. I know. Spoon-feeding isn’t a good idea. But sometimes it was the only way to get her to eat her whole meal. She is so picky about her food to begin with that I can’t give her the same food two days in a row. Or even every other day. I was running out of food to try with her that I can afford and/or trust. And I have to be very careful about how much variety I give her at any one mealtime.
On Saturday morning, the new elevated food bowl I ordered from Chewy arrived. Supposedly, elevated food bowls help dogs with arthritis because they don’t have to bend as much to get to the food. But I was thinking more along the lines that maybe it would also help her see the food better.
Well, my own emotions have gotten off their roller coaster over the last few days, so Shadow isn’t being finicky about what she eats. Her ritual, however, continues and it’s baffling me…
While it’s not quite as exaggerated as it had been, it’s still evident. Some of it may be the aging process. After all, she celebrated her half-year birthday on Saturday when she turned 11-1/2. She will eat some of her food out of the elevated bowl but then wander around the kitchen. The other day I emptied her food out of her bowl and onto a regular plate. As soon as I placed the plate on the floor, she started eating again. But she would back away and then move around the plate as though she was having trouble seeing after a moment or two.
The last few days I’ve been putting her food first in the elevated bowl. When she starts to back away or wander, I transfer it to the plate. And when she backs away again, I turn the plate around. And she ends up eating her full meals, minus maybe 3 or 4 pieces of kibble. Maybe her peripheral vision is beginning to suffer from old age. Next week I’m taking her to the vet to find out what’s going on. Meanwhile, I’ll keep trying to get a video of her ritual to show the vet during her appointment.