Adopted a 2nd Basenji, a little worried


  • We adopted a 9m old Basenji, Frank, over the weekend. He's incredibly friendly however we were immediately very concerned by his weight. We weighed him after eating and he was 6.8kg. He sits knock-kneed also, which I believe is due to lack of muscle mass? His hip bones are very prominent, to the point that I thought that he cold be a whippet/italian greyhound cross.
    Is this weight common, or a major cause for concern? Any ideas on how to fatten him up? I'm sure Bobby was 9+kg by this age.

    I can't attach images so here is a link:
    https://imgur.com/a/K5OJBVp

    There are/were other things indicating neglect which makes me very concerned given that he was back with his (endorsed!) breeder for at least a month.


  • What are you feeding him and how many times a day? A good quality kibble is best. He does look thin... It may take some time for him to gain weight and muscle mass


  • He does need feeding up, gently. I would suggest three meals a day for a while, so as not to overload the system. A good quality kibble and something in the canned meat line to flavour it. Mixed with a little water. And make a big bowl of fresh water available at all times. You can also build the muscle mass up, but gently. Exercise, free running is best but I realise this may not be possible. But build it up gradually. He's a lucky boy to have found you !


  • I agree with everyone -- he's a tad skinny. Keep an eye on him, if you don't see improvement over the next several weeks, consult with your Vet.


  • I wonder how long he may have been confined to a crate? That might explain loss of muscle mass, unable to sit correctly, and perhaps also his weight issue. If he wasn't getting regular exercise and perhaps not being fed properly or maybe stressed out from being neglected, that might explain a lot. Did the breeder not inform you about his condition before you got him? Anyhow, best of luck getting him back into shape. Often the neglected dogs turn out to be most appreciative of their good fortune when they are adopted by caring owners.

    Obviously you need to check for parasites as well....


  • Thank you all for confirming that I'm not just being paranoid about this.

    @tanza said in Adopted a 2nd Basenji, a little worried:

    What are you feeding him and how many times a day? A good quality kibble is best. He does look thin... It may take some time for him to gain weight and muscle mass

    He's being fed Harrington's Lamb and Rice puppy food at the moment, 2 generous portions. It might not be the best food but is similar to what he was eating before. I'm also using this for treats because he's insatiable.

    @zande said in Adopted a 2nd Basenji, a little worried:

    He does need feeding up, gently. I would suggest three meals a day for a while, so as not to overload the system. A good quality kibble and something in the canned meat line to flavour it. Mixed with a little water. And make a big bowl of fresh water available at all times. You can also build the muscle mass up, but gently. Exercise, free running is best but I realise this may not be possible. But build it up gradually. He's a lucky boy to have found you !

    Thank you for this, it's very helpful ♥. Bobby is being fed beef mince, rice and vegetables while I'm trying to identify an allergy, so I'll add some of that to Frank's food, and he is already drinking a lot. Regular free running unfortunately isn't possible where we live at the moment.

    @eeeefarm said in Adopted a 2nd Basenji, a little worried:

    I wonder how long he may have been confined to a crate?

    Yes, this is my thought also. He spent a few days being transported by road, where he was weighed by the transporters at 7.2kg. This is still very underweight in my opinion. The transporter shared a video where he appeared unsteady on his feet while he was being allowed out of the vehicle, and he often refuses to walk (Bobby used to pull like a maniac at that age and still does). I also have to take him outside to pee every couple of hours as he isn't housebroken. It makes me think he has spent a long time confined to a crate and it's very very sad, but I'm glad that I found him. He has been verifiably wormed, vaccinated, etc.


  • It is indeed sad that any dog, let alone a Basenji, should have had to suffer like this, but it seems you are doing all the right things.

    He will repay you 100 fold over the coming years and every effort expended now will have been very well worth it.

    Do keep us up dated as to his progress. Once he gets his confidence back and knows he can trust you you will see daily improvements.

    Good luck


  • @castoinde - Feeding large quantities of poor kibble will only result in pooping more and not getting any benefit from the food. I would still switch to a better quality kibble or food like grain free. And as noted built up the amount slowly. Looking at the ingredients of the Harrington's there are lots of fillers.... I would look at a grain free. Also I assume that he was DNA tested for Fanconi? Not that you would find that at his age, but good to know the results.


  • Looks like Frank hit the Lottery with you, @castoinde! I agree with others. Find a food with fewer fillers. feed him more often during the day, and see a vet if he doesn't improve. My breeder once told me that a dog can take up to three months to acclimate to a new home. That was about right for Logan. Sparkle took a bit longer. Both, at some point during the acclimation, lost weight, then regained their appetites once they settled down.

    Poor Frank's situation sounds a bit more complicated. He's going to need lots and lots and lots of encouragement, praise, love, hugs, toys, redirection and kisses to gain some confidence and learn how to behave. And, at least for now a ton of treats. He's a good looking boy. I wish you all the best!


  • @castoinde
    So glad that you and Frank found each other. Now with your help - he will be on the road to recovery. He is a handsome boy! Please keep us updated on his progress!


  • Another couple of accidents—both times in his bed—today and refused to walk in the morning, but seemed to be much better this evening. I will be switching his food to cooked meat with broccoli, pumpkin, egg etc from tomorrow to see whether it agrees with him.

    Regarding kibble, Bobby had been fed Acana for a long time but we've realised that it was causing allergies, (both the poultry and fish versions), and there are so many "good" things in the good kibble that it's hard to track down what caused the reactions. He was fine using a bag of the crappy kibble as a pup, so we got a bag of that in case Frank had similar issues. Very frustrating!


  • @tanza The parents were tested and are clear, but I will get some glucose test strips just in case


  • @castoinde - If his sire/dam were tested (DNA tested) clear and you verified that on the OFA.org website, no need for strips.


  • Little update, in the space of a week he was up to 7.6kg! So all is going well. The number of accidents have reduced massively but only after being banned from ALL dog mats/beds 😅. He peed on 6 of them, even brand new and freshly washed ones. Most annoyingly, he's already much better than Bobby at walking nicely.

    Him and Bobby are getting along relatively well now too, there are one or two very loud daily arguments if Frank disturbs Bobby, but it's getting much less frequent. They'll occasionally share a spot to sleep but I have to keep watch, because they seem to have a strict no touching rule between them. Sometimes Bobby wants to play and Frank seems like he doesn't know what to do/comes to me to avoid the chase, but today he was the one chasing Bobby all over the house. Success!

    1E0B000B-373C-405E-AEED-B90E53054382_1_105_c.jpeg


  • @castoinde
    Wow! What a transformation - doesn’t look like the same dog. He looks so much more relaxed, healthy, and confident. As @zande stated “He will repay you 100 fold over the coming years and every effort expended now will have been very well worth it. - Once he gets his confidence back and knows he can trust you you will see daily improvements.” So happy to hear that Frank is doing well!❤🐾


  • @castoinde He certainly looks like a different dog ! So glad he is settling in.


  • WOW! That was quick. Weight looks much improved. How is his hind end working? A simple exercise that helps with hind end issues is simply to have him back up. Backing up a ramp would be best but a floor would work. This exercise gets them to pay attention to where their hind legs are and builds strength in the legs by getting them moving under load. Given his interest in food this should not be too hard to do. LOL (There are many videos on YouTube about how to train this. I've used frontal pressure but other methods would no doubt be equally effective).

    FYI I have heard about one Basenji who had this issue after being crated excessively but I've never seen it. (I saw the dog later but by then he was moving normally). Not saying this was the case but that would be my guess.

    Congrats that he's made such progress in such a short time.


  • @donc said in Adopted a 2nd Basenji, a little worried:

    A simple exercise that helps with hind end issues is simply to have him back up. Backing up a ramp would be best but a floor would work.

    Running up and down stairs helps too.


  • @zande said in Adopted a 2nd Basenji, a little worried:

    Running up and down stairs helps too.

    Good point. Getting them to back up the stairs is even better. I've had Basenjis who did this naturally. As they started up the stairs, with a treat at the top of the stairs, I'd grab them and put them at the bottom. After a few times of this they would decide that backing up was the Rx. Wasn't even thinking of training the back up, just playing with them. So funny.

    Using pressure and treats in the hand to get them to back up between a wall and furniture also works.


  • My scales say around 8kg now! But I had him weighed at the vet last week and he was 7.2, so my scales must be a bit off. He's definitely more steady on his feet and our walks are along canals—meaning lots of bridges and steps 🙂 He still reaches out for Bobby's food through the crate wires after he's finished, so I'll have to get him a slow-feeder bowl. Also the peeing indoors thing has completely stopped. His crate and beds are off limits apart from feeding time and he uses a bell to go out. Success!

    Him and Bobby are learning to get along well too, which is nice. There is still frequent snout-grabbing and high pitched growls from Bobby (sounds more like a cat, really), but they're getting closer and closer day by day: shared sniffing and happily rough house eachother during play—Bobby often on the receiving end. All good signs I hope.

    Also, weirdly for a seemingly neglected dog he ADORES strangers. He'll go over, begging for attention and licking. Totally puzzled, because now I have 2 polar opposite basenjis:

    • One won't approach strangers, one loves them
    • One isn't food motivated, one is ABSOLUTELY food motivated
    • One has to do the poop-prowl, one goes immediately
    • One never yodels/howls, one definitely does
    • One hates being near faces, one needs to be in your face
    • One has an incredible dog-fixation ability, one really couldn't care less
    • One PULLS after lots (and I mean lots) of work, one will walk attentively and perfectly after barely any work

    That being said, they both steal, climb, hate water and go crazy if they see a rat/squirrel/bird. So there's that.

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