• Hello all. I’m new here and a first time basenji owner. My 13 week old pup Penny has recently been scratching vigorously especially by her left eye and mouth. She also has been biting herself more than usual over the last two days. I’m worried because she ended up scratching her mouth vigorously tonight which caused bleeding and I don’t want her to get worse. I haven’t changed her dog food (Merrick puppy food provided by our breeder) but I started using raw reward freeze dried chicken breast treats this past Friday. I’m going to stop the raw reward treats and monitor her scratching.. have any of your basenjis scratched vigorously or dealt with excessive biting when they were this age?

  • @ashleyignacio I’m going with she’s teething again. It’s about the right time for her to be shedding her baby teeth, which means her adult teeth are erupting through her gums. Hurts!

    Get some wash clothes, wet them down, wring them out a bit and toss them in the freezer. Give her one when you think she might be in pain. Monitor it to make sure she doesn’t shred and eat any chunks. Others will chime in shortly with more...

  • She should be due a shot soon - get the vet to check her out then.
    New teeth won't be coming through quite yet - at about 5 months you'll have to start keeping eye on her gums for any soreness - but she could well be losing her baby teeth. Can you wiggle any of the front ones ?

    Get the butcher to get her a big bone - that will help her lose them, and start her off on the right foot for keeping her teeth and gums clean and healthy in the future - if you can get him to make a habit of it.

  • Double check to make sure that Penny hasn't picked up a flea or two... and/or that she doesn't need her ear(s) cleaned. (just an idea) Oh! Trim her nails just a bit, a light rub with an emery board should be all it takes at her age.

    (Please let us know the vets opinion when you go!)

  • I would also wonder about Demodectic mange. Is there any hair loss in the area? It's not unusual in puppies.

  • @eeeefarm I'd never heard of this so I looked it up. Mites that can live in the follicles of the face and feet, and can be itchy. From what I could find, all dogs have them and they're usually controlled by the immune system unless their not. Thanks for the heads up!

  • @ashleyignacio - Did this start when you started with the freeze dried chicken? If so she might have allergies to chicken. Many breeds, not just Basenji do. Since you said you would stop the chicken treats if that is the issue you should see a difference very quickly. And for sure trim her nails, they get quite sharp!

  • @eeeefarm If it is - TeaTree oil, Vitamin E oil, Econeem (Neem Oil), or another Basenji's tongue are the best cures. Hope had a patch on the top of her head and the best cure was a thorough licking, several times a day, from Uncle Deedles.

    We used the other products too, but I am convinced HE was the cure !

  • Hello,

    I went through this with my last pup and my current one. I think it’s a immune triggered reaction to chicken. He will scratch until he bleeds and it will take days for his immune system to calm down once exposure has stoped. I would stop the chicken and all derivatives. I would get a vet to check him of course just to make sure it’s nothing else topical.

    My 3 yr old pups immune system is now triggering to most everything. It’s a big challenge. My adult dog is temporarily on Apoquil to get his most recent reaction at bay so his skin can heal. He last reacted to lamb.

    I wish I had a solution but I can say it’s highly likely it’s chicken. The good news is if you stay away from all poultry and eggs for a while things should calm down and you might be able to phase in tiny cooked bits in his food later on to see if he grows out of it.


  • She can be allergic to chicken. One of my dogs is exactly like this if I give him chicken in any form.

  • @ashleyignacio - Like noted many breeds have chicken allergies... not just Basenjis. Lamb is many times a trigger too. Corn for sure or beet pulp.... sometimes you can see the allergy very young, sometimes as they mature. One of my Basenji became so allergic to corn that she would just about bite the pads on her feet... once stopped NO issues.

  • @jengosmonkey thank you! I’ll definitely try that. When puppies teeth they usually scratch their mouths that hard? I was so worried when she started bleeding 😞

  • @eeeefarm there’s no hair loss thankfully. I’ve been logging her actions and monitoring her as closely as I can. I stopped the treats and she hasn’t been scratching vigorously thank goodness!

  • time to visit the vet ????


  • Since the trigger might be the chicken, best to stop that and see if it gets better. Will take a few days for it to get out of their system. Not that a Vet visit is a not a good idea to rule out anything else. Since you have already noticed a difference, see if it continues to improve.

  • Hi All,

    Another note, please be careful using tea tree oil. I do not use it as it can be toxic.

    Online it says the following-

    Although products containing low concentrations of tea tree oil are not expected to be a problem in pets, the use of pure tea tree oil directly on the skin is potentially very serious in pets and should never be used. Exposure may cause ataxia, salivation, lethargy, coma and tremor.


  • If it is an allergic reaction to chicken, it could take up to 3 weeks for it to clear her system. Read ALL labels for food and treats carefully. I once bought something labeled lamb and it contained chicken.

  • @adina - I have used tea tree oil for years and never had an issue...

  • @tanza So have I. Nary a problem.

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