Monday, October 18, 2010

Basenji Water Seizures

Why is it that my basenji, Jambi, who dislikes water so much, will wait for me to step out of the shower to lick any remaining droplets from my ankles and feet? He must believe that I hate the mighty dreaded water as much as he does. Possibly, since I rescued him, he must think I need to be rescued as well.

Another strange thing happens when he has to be boarded at the kennel: they cannot bathe him without him going into a mild seizure. I thought he faked it, but I witnessed it myself the last time he was boarded. I assisted the kennel staff and held him through the bathing process but I guess I'll never know why it happens, since this doesn't happen at home. Our vet says Jambi is perfectly healthy and finds nothing wrong with him, other than the obvious "Basenji his mighty highness" syndrome. Can anyone share any thoughts on this?

- Cecelia Jarvis
Jambi's Mom in NC


  1. I get the same thing with my basenji girl Bow. Sometimes I see her head poking around the corner of the shower curtain she's so excited to lick up the water. I say she licks my legs and feet because she thinks I didn't scrub closely enough. I've heard that it's because of animal fat in the soap, and she's just as happy to lick drops on the floor as she is off of me.

    My sister has a lab/pit bull mix and German shepherd mix, and she has to hide the soap or they'll get into it. So I don't think it's unique to basenjis.

  2. My current basenjis aren't big shower lickers but I've had a few who were.
    Your sweet basenji baby may be experiencing seizures while bathing at the vets because he's so stressed by not being in his home environment that the bath just sends him over the edge.

  3. My basenji always licks me. When I had the three basenjis, each time they would come in from the rain, it was a ritual watching them lick one another. Now, my basenji only has my showered legs and sometimes the cat. And himself.

    I would guess that licking water off you, or off of one another, or even himself, is an evolutionary adaptation to living in arid climates in Africa. If rain is seasonal, and not always widely accessible, it would make sense to conserve whatever is out there - on bodies.