Basenji Obsessed with Cleaning Feet?

  • Hey Basenji lovers,

    My new adopted mutt appears to be a basenji mix (dna test pending, but he sure has the look & many of the characteristics).

    One thing I've noticed is that he's absolutely OBSESSED with cleaning his feet. He probably does it 5 times a day, getting the dirt out from underneath every individual nail.

    At first I thought allergies, infection, anxiety, but the vet couldn't identify any definitive medical problems, and he isn't causing damage the way I've seen anxiety-induced foot chewing result in.

    So now I'm wondering-- could this be a breed thing? Anyone else experience this behavior?

  • Mine used to super clean his feet and bite his toe nails.
    I think as long as he isn’t harming himself- let him do it

  • Basenji's can be obsessive about grooming especially their paws. Gotta keep the white socks clean. 😃 As long as they're not causing interdigital irritation or pulling out hair it should be fine.

  • Good to know! First experience with the breed 🙂

  • Read all the information on the Basenji Rescue and Transport website.

    Basenjis are different in nearly every way, so your life will definitely be a rich adventure!

    There's plenty of helpful info there.

    I still refer to it and I'm older than dirt!

  • Get baby wipes, wipe his feet when he comes in from pottying or walking. It's good he isn't hurting himself but they also pick up all sorts of filth, including parasites/eggs. So wipe them off and enjoy that he' likes to be clean. 🙂

  • @dinahsdada I will, thanks!

  • @debradownsouth Good idea, thanks! I-d just been towling them off, and it sure wasn't satisfactory to him

  • Do you see any redness or pinkish color between his toes or on the back of his legs just above his paws? If so he could have a yeast infection especially if you live in a wet climate.

    Our Basenji mix is prone to this condition because we live in a damp climate and he is constantly liking his paws during rainy season. I have been giving him a probiotic and plain yogurt daily and this has helped keep the condition under control but he does have flareups every so often. When that has happened and I can't get him to stop licking I slip on a pair of baby socks and secure with a piece of bandage tape. And the cone of shame helps as well.

  • Apart from the possible yeast infection mentioned by Dreamskape, it's probably normal Basenji behaviour. They are pretty obsessive with cleanliness. Mine always has pristine feet (top and under). I would NOT recommend baby wipes. Firstly, they're coated with chemicals (artificial fragrance, etc) which sensitive breeds like basenjis don't need, and secondly, they're extremely bad for the environment and plumbing. Just keep towelling yr basenjis feet off with a cotton towel if they're wet or dirty. Enjoy the many quirks of the basenji as you get to know your pooch! 🧡

  • This is perfectly normal Basenji behaviour ! They clean themselves (and each other). I have a photo somewhere of a line of five Basenjis in a conga-line, each cleaning the one in front. We've been for a particularly muddy walk as I recall.

    Daily, I get two filthy dirty Basenjis into the car in the woods, sometimes they appear to be wearing Wellington boots. But the drive home takes only about 20 minutes and two beautifully clean Bs leap out.

    Keep an eye out for inter-digital cysts - but feet cleaning is nothing to worry about.

  • @debradownsouth
    I do the same thing - I keep a canister of baby wipes @ the entrance of our house and I wipe her feet and butt before we enter our home.

  • I hose my b-boy's feet off in the kitchen sink everytime he comes inside to help fight his allergic reactions to the grass/environment. He's quite used to it now.

  • @pippi said in Basenji Obsessed with Cleaning Feet?:

    I would NOT recommend baby wipes. Firstly, they're coated with chemicals (artificial fragrance, etc)

    I should have said I use ONLY hypoallergenic wipes... no fragrance, no alcohol, etc. I've used baby wipes for my dogs -- Rotties, Chows, basenjis, samoyeds-- for 27 years, the same I used for my supersensitive baby.

    Thanks, btw, it sent me on a quest for ratings. Sadly, since I'm in Israel, I have on found generic and Huggies. But it's nice to have an updated evaluation on them.

    On "eco friendly"... I'll wait for the research. I know there was a lot of debate on cloth vs disposable diapers. I would need to see a study that the water usage, detergents, etc actually aren't worse on the environment than wipes, especially the faster biodegradable wipes.

  • @dreamskape I haven't seen any, but it has been an exceptionally wet season. I'll keep an eye out. Thanks!

  • Basenjis are very catlike in that they groom themselves and they like to be clean and their beds clean. has a lot of excellent information about the breed and their quirks. Be sure to check it out.

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