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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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We have a brain damaged maltese shitzu who is 4 yrs old (she

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We have a brain damaged maltese shitzu who is 4 yrs old (she wasn't breathing when she was born!). She has never been alone as we had an older small dog who she looked up too. He was killed by another dog about 2 months ago. Our vet recommended a DAP collar for her which we are using as she was hiding & refusing to eat. She perks up during the weekend when we are home & becomes very loving again. As the week progresses though (we work) she starts going "down hill" again by Wednesday. We do have a radio on for her, but our place is extremely quiet (we live in the country). We are worried about her & out of options. Any suggestions. She has really never learned how to play or use a leash. Any help you could give would be appreciated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Taus replied 1 year ago.
Hi there,

I'm so sorry to hear that she has lost her friend! It must be difficult to manage her grief with her mental issues-- I admire you for caring so much about her well-being.

If she was not brain-damaged as a puppy, I'd suggest that you handle this like separation anxiety, with a combination of training and medication. However, since she seems to have some learning deficits, I thing this may not be a very rewarding route in her case. I'm glad that the DAP collar is helping, and she may gradually improve over time, but I think the best thing I can offer is to suggest ways that she could be less lonely.

-First of all, is there someone who could visit her on Wednesday or Thursday each week? Even for a few hours? Or is there a doggie daycare in your community that she could visit once or twice a week for the day that might be amenable to her needs? Perhaps if she gets a sort of "week end" in there with people, it may help her adjust.

-Would you consider adopting a new friend for her? I'd suggest an older, relaxed dog or cat. I've even seen some become quite attached to potbellied pigs or pygmy goats. It would take careful looking and introducing them before you commit to make sure they get along, but many dogs can be surprisingly sensitive to others' needs. Even if she doesn't play, having some companionship may help her.

-If you have a special toy that she particularly likes, you could spray it with DAP and give it to her on the "bad days." This could give her something to do to distract her while she is alone (even if it's just snuggle with the toy). If she's not into toys, you could try a Kong filled with peanut butter and frozen, or something similar, that requires work to get the snack but isn't too hard to figure out.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively,, and don't hesitate to let me know how I can help further.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately Angel gets very "uncomfortable" in situations/places that she has never been in before. So most of what you suggested won't work & I'm not quite ready to get another dog as the one that died was mostly mine. I will check with my vet to see if he has any of the DAP spray (we live in Australia) as we have a feather duster that she really likes - told you strange dog. :>) Thank you. Will rate you shortly.

Expert:  Dr. Taus replied 1 year ago.
I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful, and I'm sorry about the loss of your other dog. That she is so far showing improvement is promising. I am convinced that they grieve for their friends just like we do. Perhaps with time and support she will continue to improve.
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 497
Experience: Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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