• Hello,

    So I'm not sure if I am overthinking this or if it is actually an issue. I have a 10-month female basenji and from the day we got her the breeder mentioned that she has a very healthy love for food when all her brothers and sisters were grazers, we didn't mind as we knew it would make her food motivated for training. He was going to keep her and decided not too and I wonder if this may have something to do with it. I thought about reaching out to him but figured I would see what everyone here has to say first.

    So Leeloo is obsessed with food it turns out. We have been very good with not giving her any of our food and any human food we give her we make sure it is not from the table or the kitchen and it goes in her own bowl. She was overweight when we picked her up from the breeder because she would eat all her siblings food I'm sure, as we witnessed it the day of. We got her down to a healthy weight and we have kept her there ever since. We give her kibble in the morning so that we can use it for games to get her brain worked and then a healthy balanced Raw diet in the evening (all recommendations by the breeder). As well as pure protein training treats and dental treats during the day. With all this being said our biggest issue with her is that she is ALWAYS scavenging, if she is not sleeping she's looking for things to eat, and when she finds something she doesnt even stop to smell first, she consumes it in a blink of an eye, especially if its geese poop. I understand them as a breed in the wild are scavengers, but she isn't a wild dog and we definitely give her enough food. She started getting aggressive with other dogs (not us) when food is around, so we always have to remove food from the situation. If we are at a dog park or taking her for a walk the first thing she does is jump at people when she knows they have treats, but does not care for our treats because she knows we make her sit and wait first.

    We are temporarily living with another dog, they get along very well but every morning and during the day she tries to lick his food bowl even when it's empty, so we started removing it as we do with hers. She just seems overly desperate for food allll the time and I know for a fact that she would eat until it killed her. As soon as she has dinner she is off looking for more food.

    We also give her monthly de-worming tabs, so I'm sure it's not that.

    I'm hoping it's just a puppy thing, but it's getting a point where my partner and I are getting concerned. Any help is great even if it's just letting me know that this is normal for some B's.

    Thanks!


  • Your first recall in times of problems, stress, queries, should ALWAYS be the breeder if at all possible. They will know the circumstances the pup was raised in - whether there was a only ever a communal feeding bowl and devil take the hindermost - need to fight siblings for every scrap, or whether they were all fed individually. All kinds of things -

    Having said that, Basenjis are scavengers. It is their job to keep the native village clean. Some puppies are very highly food orientated but it does seem from what you say, that you feel your girl is a little OTT ?

    Find out first what the breeder has to say if you feel this is very unusual behaviour -


  • @love_leeloo said in Eating Disorder or Normal?:

    in the wild are scavengers, but she isn't a wild dog and we definitely give her enough food.

    Being a scavenger is an instinct passed down for a millennia (gross exaggeration) and not something that is related to one breed, or one dog but not others. It just "is".

    As for her insatiable appetite: Offer veggies. Good nutrition. Nominal calories. A bowl of green beans, broccoli, carrots, etc. Buy a couple generic bags in the freezer section. Soft cook provides a bit of a crunch and is more fun. Or thawed out in some warm water (and not cooked). You will have to experiment to find her preference. You can add them to her bowl with her other food, or offer it as a bonus treat at lunchtime. Start out with 1/4- 1/2 C... If she's really hungry, she will eat them. If she isn't hungry, then you have crossed one thing off the list of possible issues. At the cost of a buck or two.


  • @love_leeloo First... Leeloo... Awesome name! The female protagonist in The Fifth Element. Orange hair sorta like a Basenji. Love it!

    To your issue. I'm not a vet, I'm not behaviorist, I don't play one on the bloody TV, I'm a Basenji person. So, these are just like... my opinions.

    I've had three Basenjis so far and my current male, Logan, is absolutely obsessed with food. More so than any other dog I've ever had, not just Basenjis. There are pros and cons to it. Pros are that he will do just about anything for a snack. He knows the word cookie, so the majority of the time recall is a snap if he's within ear shot. The con's... weight gain, resource guarding, constant scavenging... come to think of it... pretty much everything you've mentioned.

    I'm not really too worried about it though. I weigh him weekly and adjust his diet as needed. I've found that kibble is THE biggest contributor to weight gain or loss. He's a big ol' lovable teddy bear with sometimes irresistibly sad Basenji eyes, and that makes It hard not to give in to his snack demands. The good news is that like Leeloo, Logan will eat just about anything. I take that back. He HATES the smell of oranges. Hates it. Steamed cauliflower is my goto. It satiates his cravings and hardly has any calories. Something like 25 per 85g. It's nothing. I've also begun chopping or grating carrots for him too. Others are broccoli and brussels sprouts. Obviously the theme here is vegetables. I no longer give him any kibble of any kind for snacks or training. I've gone to Primal Treats - Buffalo Liver Snaps. The ingredients are: Buffalo Liver.

    As far as meals... he eats twice a day, but I've had to cut his kibble back from a 1/2 to a 1/3 cup at each meal. There's a lot more in each meal other than kibble, so he's not being starved. Although, if you asked him he'd tell you that he is. I pick his bowl up as soon as he's done otherwise I have to listen to the bowl rattle for 10 minutes while he licks it. I cannot feed Logan near Sparkle. He'll inhale his, then chase her off so he can eat what's left of hers. They eat separately.

    He constantly scavenges on walks. I've had to dig a few bones out of his mouth when he's seen them before I did. I almost never have to worry about this with Sparkle.

    I don't know if it's a disorder or normal. It just is. It's not like I can reason with him and I want him to be happy. So, I just have to manage it. Again, vegetables. Get a bunch, find one she likes, and like @elbrant said, lightly steam them.


  • It's hard to say without actually seeing the dog. Many (most?) Basenjis are CONSTANTLY on the lookout for food. Sometimes it seems as if "found food", no matter if it's a three week old piece of hotdog, is better than the piece of filet mignon they can get from you. LOL In fact someone has remarked that our youngest is the first dog they've ever seen go through the weave poles while sniffing. And rabbit pellets? OMG the most delicious things ever! (Other critters must like these as well since they are there in the morning but gone in the afternoon). You may have a Basenji who is on a tail but not by more than a standard deviation or two.

    Also the puppy from the last litter who we worried about not eating enough -- we'd sneak her extra -- is now far and away the fattest. Actually she's the only one who is fat. As a consequence I hesitate to project puppy behavior into adult behavior as far as eating is concerned.

    Having said that, my guess is she'll always be that way but will learn to dole out the effort.


  • I had a dog like her - IBIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    When she was not quite a year old, we went to a dog show, outside with concrete floors in the show area.
    She pounced for a dark circle on the floor (looked to her like a piece of kibble) and she immediately spit it out. It was a turd! Did that teach her - no, she never changed.

    Throughout her life, she seemed to act fast, think later. All the other dogs knew you don't follow a skunk too close. One climbed our fence, and Ibis tried to get it as it climbed, getting its spray all in her face.

    She was easy to train, being so food motivated. Everything about her was 10X.
    When loving, she was very loving, when happy, she was very happy, when mad she was a VERY loud mad!

    Have fun with your pup, you may never have a dull moment!

    I fed all the dogs in their crates, so they didn't have access to the others. But you describing how you pup licks an empty food bowl, was Ibis!

    When I types about Ibis, I use lots of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • I have the opposite problem with Cinnamon. She's extremely picky about what she'll eat. I've tried every kind of food, from expensive to cheap-o, or making it myself. She will eat it the first couple of times and then is not interested, even if I leave it there all day. The only food she consistently likes is bacon, so I freeze it after cooking it and mix a little in with regular food for her.
    I've thought maybe it's similar to how people either eat too much or lose interest in food because of stress or anxiety. But I'm hoping these are behaviors they can be trained out of. You might want to try a good trainer. That's what I'm going to try.


  • @elbrant said in Eating Disorder or Normal?:

    Being a scavenger is an instinct passed down for a millennia (gross exaggeration)

    Not very gross an exageration ! Basenjis are supposed to be among the very original hounds - some 6,000 years old. And their scavenging, village clean-up duties will have been called upon for quite some thousand years even if not for the full 6.


  • Our 10 month old female is also always on the look out for food. When I start chopping in the kitchen she's suddenly there with her nose to the ground in case a crumb falls and we have to watch her like a hawk on walks! We affectionately refer to her as "scav".


  • Totally normal to me..... we all Spice Catfish.


  • That is call him Catfish


  • @annie said in Eating Disorder or Normal?:

    That is call him Catfish

    Ha! Damn you auto-correct.

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