• My dog is a Basenji mix and is about 12, he has started to have this chattering teeth thing when he wakes up in the morning - has anyone else experienced this. I am imagining that it is some sort of neurological issue due to his age. Vet appt. this week, but wanted to see if this was a Basenji thing. Thanks!

  • My basenji does this, especially after sniffing my other dogs behind, but sometimes for what seems like no reason at all. It's usually a way of investigating a smell, so it can occur more often during breeding season when they're sniffing out the ladies. It's probably completely normal, but a vet visit for a behavior change at that age never hurts!

  • Over here we call it 'chuddering'. Almost every male Basenji does it when there is a bitch in season nearby. Or often if he is 'just checking' the rear end of a bitch. Doesn't have to be another Basenji although in fact my boys have never shown any interest in other breeds. They come and tell me next door's Labrador is in season but really, they are not interested.

    Your boy has probably been having wet dreams ?

  • My girl did this when her seizures began, incidentally just as we were moving to another state. They were very brief and mostly occurred in the evening and only intermittently at first, not daily. Not knowing what it was or being able to capture it in video, it progressed. Once they began to happen more frequently I immediately booked a on appointment for the vet, who then referred me to a Neurologist for an MRI. By the time Neuro appointment, the seizures progressed to her collapsing while trying to eat dinner. Almost like her legs were giving out on her, but again, only briefly. She had the MRI which revealed a healthy, tumor free brain, so her diagnosis was idiopathic focal seizures. She began taking Keppra. While they initially prescribed 1/2 pill 3x day, she only needed 1/4 pill 3x day to control her seizures. She was on that med from 2012 until she passed in Nov 2017. Good luck with your baby.

  • @nodles91

    @nodles91 said in Chattering teeth seizures.:

    It's usually a way of investigating a smell, so it can occur more often during breeding season

    Canids - and other animals - have a scent organ on the roof of their mouth behind their front teeth, and when they come across a particularly good smell, they work that organ. Thus the chattering.

  • My old girl Ella experienced these type petit mal seizures in addition to the grand mal seizures that she suffered. The vet was quite sure the seizure onset was neurological, the residual effects being hit by a car when she was 5, and that seizure medication was contraindicated. The grand mal seizures started sometime after she turned 13 and the teeth chattering ones started when she was 14. They could last up to 90 minutes. The teeth chattering seizures were in a way worse than the grand mal because Ella was very aware that something was wrong. With the grand mal, as awful as they were, she was completely out of it and unaware of them. With the seizure activity worsening the vet had had a long talk with me about quality of life. A couple months after the talk I made the dreaded appointment. I almost canceled it when she rallied for a few days, became her confident star like self, then she had the equivalent of a stroke the night before. At age 14.5 the vet helped her cross the bridge. It's been nearly 4 years and I still cry whenever I write about her.

  • Thanks so much senjisilly and Little Monkey, I figured it's some sort of petit mal or focal seizure, I had a Bichon that had grand mal and they are so horrible. He is additionally a tripod, and he is having some back leg issues, age is tough. I live in California so I am going to try some CBD oil and hopefully that will help.

  • @mile331

    I live in southern California, San Diego. I was at a Dexter's Deli pet store (local 2 store pet business) and noticed that they carried treats laced with CBD oil as well as little bottles of the stuff. I assume that you will find the best information at one of the small, more independent, health food type pet stores.

    Good luck. It is very difficult to sit by and watch while your beloved pet goes through medical issues that they can't talk to you about.


  • I remember that my last Basenji Benji would chatter his teeth after tasting urine or the sent left by another dog. It was if he was analyizing a sample - clever dogs Basenji’s!!

  • Hi all,

    Our basenji cross, Indy, started doing teeth chattering out of the blue this morning after every yawn. She is female, C. 1 year (we're not sure exactly as she was a street dog).

    We took her to the vet this morning who also didn't have an answer but doesn't think it's a seizure because all other responses seem fine but I'm freaking out a little. The vet gave us some pain killers to try in case it is something in her mouth but she has had no trouble eating and chewing on bones so this doesn't seem likely. She also didn't seem to be under any undue stress, just tired from sleep in the morning so yawning a lot. Having said this she seemed mopey and didn't come on out bed like normal in the morning so not sure if this points to it being emotional... She seems to have gotten better throughout the day and didn't do it after yawning just now but not sure if this is related to what the vet gave her.

    I'm very worried as some posts have been talking about it being normal (mostly in males) but in some posts it has been a neurological disorder which has gotten worse.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.


  • Teeth chattering, called 'chuddering', is perfectly normal in a Basenji. Boys do it if they scent a female in season, and the girls do it too, around the mating time of year.

    When my boys did it - I knew that either there was a seasonable bitch in the village or it was time to segregate the sexes to avoid any ooops mating or unnecessary fights between the boys.

    It would seem your vet has never come across a Basenji before. That should sound warning bells for you. Basenjis need vets who know the breed cos there are all sorts of things to avoid / look for when treating them.

    For example, does your vet know that Basenjis clean themselves like cats and therefore no external preparation which is not safe to ingest should ever be used ?

    The yawning could be over heated atmosphere - central heating too high. Try to educate your vet or find another one and get him / her to keep an eye on things but personally, I wouldn't worry. I'd look around the area you live in and see if there is a bitch of any breed heavily in season.

    Good luck

  • Thanks Sally. That's good advice, i need to make sure I get a vet familiar with the breed. I don't think there's many Basenjis around in Melbourne, Australia so hopefully I can find one.

    I think what really shook me was reading another post on this forum with almost identical symptoms in a female basenji (yawning and then teeth going) which ended up being seizures which got worse.

    I'll try not to fret and keep an eye on her, hopefully she is back to her perky self tomorrow morning and her chattering was unrelated to her seeming off. She certainly seems better now.

    Do you know if chuddering is something pretty unique to Basenjis or just more common in them than other dogs?

  • YES !!! there are loads of Basenjis in Melbourne ! I judged there a few years ago and met scads. Email me privately and I will put you in touch with some people who will be able to advise you. But your breeder should be able to help too. Let me know the registered name of your dog and I will know who bred him.

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