Major behavior change after 10 years!! Help!

Joey has been crate free while I am gone for 10 years. We moved from a house to an apartment 2 years ago while our house is being built. He has been fine until about 1 month ago. He has gone beserk shreading hard plastic, boxes, furniture etc. I started crating him and that went south as he tried to chew through the crate and damage teeth resulting in costly medical bill. No change is exercise or attention. He is almost 11.
I am at a loss. Help please!!

Get a complete blood panel, especially thyroid. Thyroid can cause major behavior changes. Also, eye check... dogs who are losing vision can have great stress which can lead to behavior changes.

Can you confine him to a dog-proof room? Talk to the vet about maybe prozac to calm him for a few weeks til you figure this out?

If you don't find a physical explanation I would be looking at any changes in your apartment building, e.g. new neighbours that perhaps do something to make him anxious. Or any incidents that have occurred that could be a trigger. Of course it could also be the beginning of "doggy Alzheimer's". Is he doing anything new or unusual when you are home?

We have an amazingly quiet apartment complex. I'm home at different times during the day and haven't noticed change.
I'm wondering if chronic tooth pain may have been the catalyst. The behavior change at home was he started tearing up everything. He rarely touched anything before (which is why he could be trusted alone uncrated) and if so only paper.
Has anyone use doggie Prozac in older dogs? I'm hoping to avoid but want to search for options if needed after he is totally recovered from his tooth extractions

? Chronic tooth pain? What is wrong with his teeth?

As for "doggie prozac"... prozac is prozac. I could kiss the inventor, it had made a huge change in crazy Cara. She is happier, calmer, and less bug-eyed. Plus, it is cheap btw, about $8 a month.

Prozac killed my Thunder. And, I know some would disagree but it caused liver damage. He was on it for a year and a half.
I would go with 5-HTP as an alternative.

Vet intentionally did not recommend Prozac. Clomicalm instead. Yes, it takes 2-3 weeks to kick in. I'm providing mental stimulation in his crate when I have to use it and using daycare for longer stints away. He does fine there according to his same vet staff.

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5-HTP is a natural form of SSRI. It is a better alternative to Clomicalm.
Clomicalm is just the doggie version of Prozac.
I prefer to use natural products as opposed to chemical ones. I learned
a lot by losing my beloved Thunder. And, 5-HTP works right away.

Rocky1, I am sorry about your dog, and absolutely liver is a KNOWN side effect, albeit small, with the drug. So anyone doubting you needs to do some research.

However, your other information is a not accurate.

first, no, clomicalm is not the doggy form of prozac.

Second, 5-htp has toxicity also. Almost no drug comes without risks.
Add to the fact that prozac has been used and researched heavily, whereas research on 5-HTP is scarce in humans and almost nonexistent in dogs beyond the toxicity above. "natural" doesn't mean safe.

In humans it also can cause liver damage

Tryptophan use has been associated with the development of serious conditions, such as liver and brain toxicity, and with eosinophilic myalgia syndrome (EMS), a potentially fatal disorder that affects the skin, blood, muscles, and organs (see "Overview" section). Such reports prompted the FDA to ban the sale of all tryptophan supplements in 1989. As with tryptophan, EMS has been reported in 10 people taking 5-HTP.
Side effects of 5-HTP are generally mild and may include nausea, heartburn, gas, feelings of fullness, and rumbling sensations in some people. At high doses, serotonin syndrome, a dangerous condition caused by too much serotonin in the body, could develop. Talk to your health care provider before taking higher-than-recommended doses.
People with high blood pressure or diabetes should talk to their doctor before taking 5-HTP.
If you take antidepressants, you should not take 5-HTP (see "Possible Interactions" section).
People with liver disease, pregnant women, and women who are breastfeeding should not take 5-HTP.<<

Clomicalm (clomipramine hydrochloride) is a tricyclic antidepressant and affects chemicals in the brain (serotonin)
Prozac, fluoxetine, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant drug . Its FDA-approved veterinary formulation is known as Reconcile.

Clomicalm slows the reabsorption rate of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, allowing their levels to rise in the brain. This drug is mainly used to treat separation anxiety. Prozac, on the other hand, works by strongly blocking the reabsorption of serotonin allowing more serotonin to be available for extended periods of time.

Prozac, clomicalm and 5-HTP can all cause liver issues.

last edited by DebraDownSouth

@spetro14 said in Major behavior change after 10 years!! Help!:

Joey has been crate free while I am gone for 10 years. We moved from a house to an apartment 2 years ago while our house is being built. He has been fine until about 1 month ago.>

The first thing I would do is a full blood panel, especially thyroid, and make sure all is okay. Also, hearing and visual test. If he had begun when you moved, the move would make sense, but 2 yrs in... something else is going on.

I know it may sound crazy, but there is very firm research behind thundershirts.
Both of my basenjis responded very positively to them.

Failing all else, there are indestructible crates that they cannot damage teeth or get out of. But I am hoping you can figure out what is up and fix the problem.

last edited by DebraDownSouth

Thank you all for your input! I don't feel as alone in trying to solve this.
I am considering a thundershirt but am concerned he will tear it off himself. He has done so with a pheromone collar I tried.
Yes I want my dog to be around for some time to come but quality of life plays an important role as well.
I plan to meet with a behavioral therapist too.
I am considering a thundershirt but am concerned that he will tear it off himself.

Hi All!
Wanted to give you an update on Joey! He is doing great in our new home and almost immediately upon arrival. There must have been something that changed in our apartment where he had suddenly developed so many problems. I did consult with a behaviorist while still in our apartment which helped me. He is now 12 and seems to have some increasing anxiety when we leave but behaves himself, uncrated, pretty well after we leave... a few times he has torn apart some papers but those were left as bait if he needed some release. He recovered from his tooth extractions. Thanks again for your interest and assistance! This is a great forum!
Joey's Mom

First Basenji's

So glad to hear the move into your new house has Joey all settled & Happy!

Thank you! I wasn't going to give up on him!

I have been wondering how Joey is doing--so glad he's doing well! Did you ever try Clomicalm? Should the need ever arise again, Trazadone is a very benign anti-depressant; It's used in elderly humans with heart conditions and has a pronounced calming/somewhat sedative effect.

For anyone following the thread, Clomicalm is a re-patented version of clomipramine, an old tricyclic antidepressant. It is sold considerably cheaper for humans as Anafranil. It is an old tricyclic anti-depressant, seldom used in humans nowadays because of potential liver toxicity. In my opinion at best it's an ineffective cash grab, at worst it's dangerous. I would steer clear--there are much safer, more modern SSRI's available.

I did try Clomicalm but I don't think he was on it long enough or his anxiety level was too strong to see a change.
He may have been in pain that I did not detect. I just never found a definitive cause. Sure wish they could talk sometimes!

@yodelma said in Major behavior change after 10 years!! Help!:


I'll keep Trazadone in mind for the future. He is managing pretty well for now.

Saw a new vet today for a check up...she suggested trying Prozac to treat situational anxiety. Thoughts?

Prozac made a big difference in Cara.

Prozac was a factor in the death of my beloved Thunder. Yes, it did work but the price both him and me paid was high. This happened back in 2003 and to this day I mourn for him.


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