Your puppy should be on puppy food until it is 6-9 months old. Then change to adult food.
At about 6 to 9 months old, your puppy will need less food and will let you know by eating less, or by getting fat. You should always be able to see a “waist” on your basenji, and you should always be able to feel the dog’s ribs with little effort. If you can easily see ribs, then feed a little bit more. The amount of food you need to feed depends on the dog’s activity level, metabolism and the calories in the food you are feeding.
Dogs are carnivores and need a meat-based diet. If you feed a dry or canned food, check the label. The first ingredient should be meat or meat meal of some kind. Do not feed a food with meat-by-products or a grain as the first ingredient. It is even better to feed foods with grains only as the third or fourth ingredient. Remember that canned and dry foods are all highly processed and not as nutritious as fresh foods. Offer your dog meat that you have cooked and deboned and vegetables, too. Do not feed cooked bones. Cooking bones makes them brittle. The bones may splinter and perforate the dog’s intestines. Raw bones are very good for your dog as long as they are big enough that the dog can not swallow them whole. Raw bones do not splinter. I recommend feeding a raw diet or partially raw diet. You can get more information on raw diets at the resources listed below. Dogs fed raw diets have less health problems and cancer than dogs fed all processed foods, just like humans.
There are no premium dog food brands in regular grocery stores. You will have to visit a health food store or a pet store to buy food for your dog. Brands that I recommend are listed below. There are other good brands and I will be happy to help you make a selection. Some brands of dog food will deliver the food directly to your house, if you prefer.
NEVER feed your dog chocolate, grapes, raisins or large amounts of onions. They can be poisonous to your dog.
Treats and Chew Toys
Treats must be selected as carefully as foods. I recommend small pieces of cheese or meat, freeze-dried meats, natural whole-grain biscuits on a limited basis, tortellini lightly cooked also works well. Read all labels on treats purchased at any store. All treats from China are suspect and not to be fed. The distributor may be an American company, so look for the little print that says “Made in________”. Rawhide is bleached and preserved with strong chemicals, including formaldehyde. Basenjis tend to try to swallow large slimy chunks and choke. Limit rawhide and supervise your dog while they are chewing it. Pigs ears are very greasy and may have a lot of preservatives. For natural chewing, try raw beef ribs, knuckle bones, or Nylabones. Chew hooves are ok for some basenjis, others tend to break teeth on them and some are allergic to the chemicals used.
Your puppy has received its first shot for distemper and parvovirus. Protect your puppy from possible infection by avoiding dog parks and other areas with a lot of dogs that you do not know. If you take your puppy to the veterinarian, keep them in the car until they are ready for your puppy. Then carry the puppy in and put it on the clean examining table. When the puppy is finished, take it back out to the car. The best place to find viruses and bacteria is at a vet clinic! After the puppy has its second shot, wait two weeks and the puppy should protected.
Follow Dr. Jean Dodd’s recommendations for vaccinations. They can be found at the link below. If you can not find a vet with Progard Puppy DPV vaccines, they can be purchased from KV Vet Supply in lots of 25. Even if you have to throw away most of the tray, it will be no more expensive than taking the puppy to most vets for its puppy shots, and your puppy will be healthier.
If possible, avoid Fort Dodge brand rabies vaccines. They have a very high incidence of adverse reactions. It is best to give the first rabies vaccine after 6 months, but you will have to consult your state statutes. Rabies vaccines should be separated from all other vaccines by two to four weeks. Never vaccinate a sick puppy for any thing.
Flea and Tick Prevention
Feeding your puppy correctly will be the best prevention possible. Use a flea comb to check for fleas after going outside. You can also use a solution of one tablespoon of tea tree oil and 1 tablespoon of Neem oil in a quart of water. Spritz this on your dog’s coat before going out, and it will repel fleas. The fewer chemicals you use on your dog, the better. There are other herbs, such as eucalyptus, pennyroyal and marigolds that repel insects, also.
The solution explained above will also repel mosquitoes. Mosquito bites are what cause heartworms. If you live in an area with a lot of mosquitoes and your dog will be out when the mosquitoes are out, then you need to use a preventative such as Heartgard. Do not use heartworm preventatives that also prevent intestinal worms, fleas, ticks, mites, etc. Remember that each of these, including the heartworm preventative is a poison that (hopefully) kills the parasite before it poisons and kills the dog. You can order Heartgard from KV Vet Supply with a prescription from your veterinarian.
If your basenji has to have surgery, tell the vet that many basenjis react poorly to the anesthesia—more like cats or sighthounds than other dogs.
Your basenji puppy’s tail will lose some curl when your puppy is cutting his or her molars. Don’t worry. It will tighten up again after. The tail curl will also loosen on females in season.
All basenjis, even spayed and neutered, “suffer” from the annual fall breeding season. During their first season, boy puppies will challenge you and your housebreaking rules. Correct them, but be patient. They will be sane again in a month or two. All basenjis may act a little more restless and whine more. Both sexes will urinate more on walks to let everyone know they are there. It’s normal and will go back to the usual behavior in a month or two.
Basenji females are typically in season for approximately one month. Size 3T child’s training pants with a hole cut for the tail will keep your house clean. While in season, the female must be supervised at all times and separated from male dogs. Even neutered males are able to breed a female.
Spaying and Neutering
You must allow your puppy to mature normally before you remove the ovaries or testes. The hormones are necessary for the bones, brains and organs, especially the urinary tract, to develop properly. Let them go through one breeding season before altering them.
Keep the nails short. Long nails that constantly click on the floor cause flat feet and arthritis in the toes and feet.
RESOURCES for Basenji Owners
Good Brands of Dry Dog Food
Flint River Ranch (will deliver)
Merrick (will deliver)
Honest Kitchen (dehydrated raw meat and vegetables)
(I am sure there are many more. )
Please note that these are not links. You must copy the address and paste it.
Helpful Books and Magazines
Whole Dog Journal
The Basenji Magazine
The Basenji, Out of Africa
All books by Mary Lou Kenworthy
The Modern Basenji Worldwide Magazine
Explanation of Dogs' Names and Titles
Our basenjis have a "call name", one that I use each day. They may also have nickname, of course. Each dog registered with AKC has a unique registered name. Most breeders use a unique kennel name so that others will know where each dog came from as soon as they see it. Our kennel name is "Suddanly" and it appears somewhere in all our dogs names. If I bred the dog, Suddanly is the first word in their registered name.
Each litter is assigned a theme and all the puppies in that litter will have names related to that theme. Suddanly on the Cover of GQ, Suddanly Armani DK, Suddanly XOXO are all out of the Fashion litter. Other breeders may use letter designations for their litters. For instance, the S litter may have dogs named Sam, Sally, etc. These systems help us remember each litter and their parents.
Titles are listed as prefixes and suffixes before and after each dog's registered name. Below, I have listed the titles that appear on website.
Ch AKC conformation champion
DC AKC Dual Champion--conformation and field champion
BIS Best In Show winner
RUBIS Runner-up Best IN Show. This is not an AKC designation, but an Australian one.
BIF Best In Field winner in lure coursing
MBIF Winner of Multiple Best In Fields
FC AKC field champion in lure coursing
JC AKC Junior Courser
SC AKC Senior Courser
FCh American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) field championship
LCM American Sighthound Field Association Lure Courser of Merit
ET Australian Endurance title (Dogs must do a 10K with frequent vet checks of vitals and feet)