Ellee, our 6-year old maltipoo, has been with us since she was 8 weeks old. Up until about 2 months ago, she slept in our bed for most of the night and then went to her crate/bed until morning. When I would get up in the mornings, she would come out of her crate, greet me, and get back in the bed with my husband, where she stayed until I took her outside for her morning walk. She loved her walks and eagerly greeted neighbors we met along the way. She was never interested in playing with other dogs and although we tried to socialize her, she remained aloof. She developed “friendships” with some of the smaller dogs during our walks, but only to the point of touching noses and wagging tails. The only dogs she was actually eager to greet were two small male Chihuahuas, who lived in separate homes, but were from the same litter. I was delighted to see her crouch down in her “let’s play” position and they would chase each other on their extended leashes. There were, however, a few dogs that she hated and she would become very agitated, barking and pulling on the leash. When any of these dogs approached, we would either walk across the street, or pick her up until the dog passed.
Two months ago, Ellee changed her sleeping routine. Although she started out in bed with us, a few minutes later, she left the bed and would sleep underneath the bed for the rest of the night. When I came to take her for her morning walk, at first she came out if I offered treats, but after a while, she would not come out at all. Finally, we stuffed the openings under the bed so that Ellee could not get under it. Since then, after leaving our bed, she would either go to her crate, or lie down on the carpeting on her “daddy’s” side of the bed. Our walks continued as usual until a week ago.
For the past week, Ellee seemed very reluctant to walk, both on her morning and her evening outings. She would stop, stand like a statue, look around and just stare into space. We prodded her to continue her walk, but after taking a few steps, she would just sit down in the grass. To avoid the heat, her morning walk is around 7:30 am and her evening walk is around 8:30 to 9:00 pm. Throughout this time, her appetite was good and her elimination habits were normal. The only other abnormal symptom that we noticed was lethargy. At home, she was not interested in playing and spent most of the day resting/sleeping. Prior to this week, she was very active and enjoyed being outside on the lanai where she could bark at people walking down “her” street or chasing geckos.
On Monday (July 23), we took her to the vet for a complete examination. She had blood tests, urinalysis and radiographs, trying to rule out any physical condition that would cause such an extreme change in her behavior. Finding nothing physically abnormal, the vet sent us home with a prescription for anxiety/depression. The meds take approx. 3 weeks to reach their full effect so it will take a while to see if they make any difference. In the meantime, I tried putting on her Thundershirt (supposed to help with anxiety) to take our walks and giving her a treat when she walked a little, but nothing is working. She is even more lethargic than before, and now she will not eat her morning kibble. She does, however, finish eating her evening wet food meal.
I have been telling my husband for months that I think she needs a companion....a small male adult dog....maybe a mini-dachshund or a chihuahua (she hates when young dogs jump at her; that’s why I think an adult would be better). He feels that since she has been the “queen” of the house for 6 years, that another dog would be a mistake.
I am worried sick about her. It’s like she's had a complete meltdown. Is it possible that she could have developed some type of brain disorder?
Please give me any advice you think would help…..…..I’m desperate. Thank you!