We are just entering summer here in Australia and my 2 bs (both desexed, male and female) are looking very drab. Although they have retained their rich red fur along the spine the hair on their flanks, sides and cheeks is very pale looking and faded. At fist I thought it might be their winter undercoat because it was fluffy. I've tried in vain to brush it out. Several months have now passed and they remain faded and patchy looking - they in fact look like old dogs but are only 2 and 3 years old respectively. The vet thinks its winter coat but I would be interested in your views.
Does it get cold at all in your "winter"? I found that mine have tended to grow coat and fade a bit, and once that pattern was set, although the winter coat shed they didn't seem quite as red or quite as sleek as they had previously. Maybe nature's adjustment to a colder climate?
My B is a really rich red still on most of her body, but along her neck she has grown fluffy hair which is a lighter color, and a different texture. Most agree it's winter coat - she also seems to be getting more fur underneath and almost growing "skirts" on the top of her hind legs. In talking to other B owners, I've found their hair does all kinds of odd things from time to time, but eventually holds the color most of the time.
Have you tried giving them Omega 3 capsules? My first female had the problem you're describing, especially in the late fall & spring. Also, avoid bathing your B's unless they get into something nasty.
500mg of human grade Omega 3/day (300mg EPA, 200 DHA) from the drugstore, NOT the pet store does wonders. I prick the capsule with a needle (in case it doesn't dissolve in their stomachs) and either squeeze it on their food or give it to them as a treat. The human quality stuff is expensive, yes, but it actually WORKS & is more cost effective–1 per day instead of 2 or 3. Also, keep an eye on your local pharmacy/chemist: mine has the large bottle on sale every 2-3 months & I stock up. Always check the expiry date--if it's rancid, it'll give dogs diarrhea.
I swear by this stuff. Severely malnourished puppymill fosters with thin, patchy, brittle fur grow beautiful coats within a month, plus it battles inflammation and heart disease...so take one yourself!
Interesting that you have brought this up, as I am having the same issues with one of mine… Havent been on the Forum for a while, so thats why Im late answering...
My are all entire, 2 boys and 2 girls. All red. My older bitch has had 1 litter of 6, (all the other pups in this litter, except the one I have, have wonderful red coats), she has a wonderful rich red coat, and apart from one time about 4-6 months ago, she has retained this wonderful coat. My other bitch hasnt had a litter, and apart from the coat issue 4-6 months ago, she too is fine. My oldest male, has a rather longish coat and does have a thick winter coat, which Im just about to finish getting rid of !!!
Now my problem coated boy, is a son of the first bitch mentioned, (his sire also has a lovely rich red coat), and his is exactly as you described... He looks horrible. Mine are all on Fish Oil capsules and Vit E, (which should be taken if you feed Fish Oil, so the body is able to correctly used by the body), and have been for years, fed sardines about once a week, as well as other interesting bits added to their diet, and so far NOTHING is improving his revolting coat... I even tried using the furminator, (which we have for the Australian Cattle Dogs we have), and I was able to get some of the dead, crappy, yucky 'undercoat' out, but at this time there is no change to the colour of his top-coat... Arggggggggh so frustrating. I have just started all 4 of them on some Livermol, which is a horse product that apparently supposed to encourage/enhance coat colour. I have only just started this so still too early to know if its going to work ??? I was also recommended using Seaweed Meal, (Kelp), but as this is quite high in iodine, (and Basenjis have issues with thyroids), Im not using it just yet till Ive done more research on it...
Anyway just wanted to add my 2 cents worth... Im glad the Fish Oil worked for you :-)...
If you're actually using Fish Oil (not Omega 3 concentrate) that could be your problem. Often Fish Oil doesn't contain enough Omega 3 FA's to be beneficial, plus it contains a lot of vitamin A which can be toxic. The excess Vitamin A is removed from Omega 3 concentrate.
My suggestion to Flash was HUMAN GRADE Omega 3 containing minimum 300mg EPA, 200 DHA per capsule. Human grade because quality control is more stringent–batches are tested for heavy metal contamination which is a problem with cold water fish. Veterinary/pet care grade products are largely unregulated. Yes, they're cheaper--until your dog develops kidney or liver damage from them and you start racking up vet bills.
Also, giving an equine supplement to a canine doesn't strike me as a good idea. Horses and dogs have nowhere near the same dietary requirements, and Basenjis are especially sensitive to liver damage from vitamin toxicity.
Thanks for that info YodelMa…
Just had a look at the Fish Oil that I have been using and it appears that it is Fish Oil, with Omega 3. It is human grade...
Ingredients are Fish Oil 1000mg, providing Omega-3 Marine Triglycerides 300mg as EPA 180mg and DHA 120mg... Do you think thats enough of the EPA and DHA ??? There is nothing at all mentioned about the Vit A, so Im presuming that it has been taken out of these capsules ???
The Livermol is not just an equine product, its advertised for use in horses, foals, cattle, calves, sheep, lambs, goats, kids, poultry, pigs, dogs, llamas, alpacas and camels... They are only getting a teaspoon every secong day...
Mine get 1 cap minimum 300EPA/200DHA(500mg total) per day, often 2 per day in winter/spring, which is 1000mg combined EPA/DHA. My old girl really didn't benefit from only 300mg combined. A lot depends on what you're feeding them, too.
Re: Livermol One of the reasons I no longer buy "Pet Products" is because their manufacturers have no legal responsibility to your pet…their primary concern is their bottom line, so yeah, they'll put anything on their label or in their ads if they think it'll sell a few more units. Livermol IS used by a number of racing Greyhound trainers--but since when do they care about their dogs?
Here's why it's a bad idea: Livermol's two primary ingredients are Molasses and flax meal. Great for horses, whose teeth continue growing and aren't subject to decay, and whose digestive systems are designed to process huge amounts of fibre from grass and seeds, and can utilize the ALA in the flax seed to manufacture Omega 3.
But dogs DO suffer from dental issues, so all that molasses is a terrible idea. Plus they're carnivores, don't process fibre well and all that flax meal can cause a lot of problems: if they don't drink enough water, it will cause constipation or even form a blockage in their intestines. If they DO drink enough water, it'll cause loose stools. In addition, all that fibre will actually prevent the dog from absorbing nutrients in food (or Omega 3 supplements!) because it will bind with the nutrients and speed them undigested through the intestines. Finally, dogs DON'T process ALA into Omega 3 well at all...their systems only utilize about 9% of the ALA.