Eating Disorder or Normal?

@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.

last edited by DonC

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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