Basenji Instinctive Wisdom?

I'll start this thread with a disclaimer: after 20+ years (time flies!) around B's, it's habit to ensure potential toxins are inaccessible. I've eliminated VOC's entirely, make my own cleaners from vinegar, baking soda etc and pesticides/herbicides are banned on my rural property. All of this due to research initiated by the terminal illness of my first B girl. I take the health of my dogs–and my wildlife, land, drinking water--to a whole new level of paranoia

So when my tri youngster got ahold of an apple core I was appalled at myself--in sufficient quantity the seeds are poisonous, but the liver takes a hiteven with small amounts. (I told you: paranoia : p )

Well, by the time I found him he was just swallowing the last of his treat--this boy gobbles food without even tasting it. Which is why I was surprised to find 8 apple seeds at the scene of the crime. It reminds me of my first girl who stole & consumed a massive chocolate chip cookie--but somehow managed to eat AROUND the chocolate chips with surgical precision.

So--do you think B's have instinctive knowledge of natural toxins? From what I've read on this forum they aren't very bright when it comes to artificial sweeteners or mouse bait!

@YodelMa:

So–do you think B's have instinctive knowledge of natural toxins? From what I've read on this forum they aren't very bright when it comes to artificial sweeteners or mouse bait!

I don't know if it would be instinct or just a dislike of the taste or texture of the thing they chose to avoid. Certainly I wouldn't count on it to keep them out of trouble! Back in the day, I never worried about apples or apple cores, and my girls ate a few without repercussions. I stopped allowing them access when my show girl got a piece of apple core caught in her throat and I had to do a "Heimlich" on her to remove it! After that, no more cores, just the occasional slice. But then, I didn't used to know about raisin toxicity either. Grapes used to be a fun treat, because the dogs would roll them around with their noses and play quite a bit before ingesting them.

A friend had to have peach pits removed from her yellow lab's stomach not once, but twice (in the same weekend!). Sometimes I shake my head at what I (and people I know) have gotten away with over the years. I am extremely fortunate in that my current boy hasn't much interest in theft, and I've learned enough over the years not to expose him to potential danger through ignorance! 😉

@eeeefarm:

But then, I didn't used to know about raisin toxicity either. Grapes used to be a fun treat, because the dogs would roll them around with their noses and play quite a bit before ingesting them.

years ago, my b's would beg and beg and beg for what I was eating. so, i'd give them a grape. they'd carefully smell it, paw at it and then curl up an offended lip. then look at me and say "okay, now give me what you're really eating."

My guys used to think grapes were a fantastic treat!
Like eeeefarm said they would roll them around, dance with them, paw at them…
until it would break .... and then they were like... "ew, GROSS!"
-Joanne

Last winter our Lela managed to eat a dark chocolate bar. We took her to the vet to make her vomit and when he saw the result, he said it would have been enough to kill her…
I guess there's a lot of difference within the breed.

Oh yeah chocolate, different story, chocolate is NEVER good for a dog, especially dark chocolate.
I would never allow my dogs to be playin' around with chocolate.
-Joanne

Joanne, mine treat grapes pretty much the same way they do spiders or earwigs…pounce, paw and dance, then once it's a squished mangled mess they look at me as if to say "Clean up in aisle 3 mom!"
I'm lucky that mine have never ingested anything dangerous, 'tho I can see where dark chocolate would be bad to have around since they'd be attracted to the to the high amounts of fat. Cooking chocolate would be just as bad but most people don't realize it's bad for dogs. My two only get human grade food and treats, so their tastes are pretty expansive. They'll eat pretty much anything offered to them an the end of a fork. My first girl loved freshly shelled peanuts but somehow managed to remove the red skin in her mouth and spit it out...

Comparing my family's experience raising golden pups, and my experience raising a Basenji from puppy to adulthood….I'd have to say that basenjis are at least a little bit more cautious about what they eat. My parents had all kinds of fun stuff with Goldens (one eating a butter knife on the first week and having to go in for surgery).

It might just be my particular dog, but he usually won't eat something that a stranger gives him (or if it's something 'new) ...he'll drop it on the ground first, inspect it and then decide whether or not to eat it. He loves his food, but usually knows when to say no. I'm sure his nature has saved me thousands in vet bills....and I never have to worry about leaving things like chocolate around, as he shows no interest in it. Beo refused to eat the tainted TOTW food - that was before I heard about the recall. Compare that with a retriever - they eat first, ask questions later. That being said...wrap up some poison in salmon and give it to any dog...I doubt they would turn it down. Honestly, if I were a breeder [ never going to happen] I would put underestimated traits like these into my program.

Teak, my only remaining Basenji, is also very suspicious about his food, a true carnivore he only wants meat (or kibble). The other Basenjis also had to carefully inspect anything before they ate it. The huskies… garbage guts, they'll eat anything... and quickly! Moby, the fake Basenji, isn't too picky about what he eats either, and he'll eat grasshoppers until the cows come home. But they're probably very good for him!
-Joanne

I love that you have a dog who eats grasshoppers. What great survival instinct to have, if anything ever happened where he was forced to fend for himself….being able to catch things like that would probably get him by for awhile. My dog and my cat used to team up and catch voles together, but Beo always let them go, without harming them....never ate them. I don't think he'd be able to survive very long on his own.

Supposedly Beo's mom, when still in Africa, was very proficient at stealing and catching her own food. She continued to catch and eat little prey animals that went into their yard for a time after being brought into the US... before learning that humans provided food for her.

.....a year or so back I found what I thought was a stray dog begging me to take her in. Skin and bones. Turned out she had been on her own for over month in the wild. She was only puppy who had been, literally, left behind by her owners when they decide to move. (I managed to get in touch with her original breeder who was lividly trying to find her after making a check up call and discovering what had happened ....and this is exactly why breeders should make calls every now and again to check on the pup).

But, anyway, surviving in Alaska not the easiest thing for a puppy to do....she had some strong survival instincts. Most dogs die after a couple weeks, especially young inexperienced dogs.

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