Canine Flatulence: Can We Do Anything About It?

canine flatulence
A little bit of canine flatulence or farting is normal and nothing to be embarrassed about! However, excessive gas is unpleasant. If it is excessive, or there are other symptoms, it may require investigation. We discuss how you can help your pet to reduce this common problem.

Excessive Gas in Dogs

If you feel that your dog is farting more than usual and the smell is rather unwelcome, you can try and find the reason for this before taking any action. We all release gas, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing; a small change could be all that is needed to see or smell a change for the better.

Changes to their Diet

If there has been a recent change to their diet (which can happen for various reasons), this could result in a difference in their gas. If they have tried a new food or even stolen some scraps from the kitchen table that doesn’t agree with them, both can mean your dog is more flatulent for a while.
If your dog managed to eat something they shouldn’t while on a walk, such as animal faeces, this could also be an explanation for increased gas. Other reasons include allergies to certain foods, and gas is their body’s way to release it from their body. Your dog may also fart more if they regularly consume food that is inappropriate for them or lacking in quality. Always make sure your dog is on a suitable diet for its size, breed, and other needs.

Gastrointestinal Disease

Common problems such as diarrhoea can mean a dog is gassier than usual. This is ok and usually passes as the diarrhoea resolves. However, there may be other gastrointestinal reasons from some malabsorption syndromes, including exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

If for any reason, you presume your dog to have any form of gastrointestinal issue, you should always seek advice from a veterinary professional.

Infections

Should your dog, unfortunately, be ill from any shape of viral, bacterial, protozoal or parasitic condition, they may fart more frequently for a while.

This increase in canine flatulence usually passes and should not immediately be a cause for concern. It should diminish as they recover from the infection, but if not, you should speak to your local vet.

Can You Stop your Dog From Farting?

Passing gas is natural; we all do it, so you should not be concerned when your dog does it. That being said, if they are doing it excessively, then here are some measures that you can take to try and reduce the frequency.

Slow Down Their Eating

If your dog has a tendency to howl down their food too quickly without chewing, you can use some bowls to slow them down. Try using an anti-gulp bowl, slow feeder or puzzle feeder to slow them down and encourage them to chew. You can also give them smaller kibble or other dietary options to help them chew their food and slow down their eating.

Avoid Rapid Dietary Changes

There’s a reason why it is always recommended to switch to a new dog food gradually instead of immediately, and canine flatulence is just one of them. Changing diets slowly and progressively and not giving them any leftovers or scraps from the dining table to help to ensure their digestion remains smooth.

Address Underlying Health Issues

If they are just farting a lot and it smells relatively strong, it’s probably one of the above causes. However, if it is accompanied by soft stool, diarrhoea, vomiting or weight loss as well, then we would advise speaking to your vet so they can perform any necessary investigations.

Ensure they Have a High-quality Dog Food

The food that your dog consumes changes as they age. Puppies have very different dietary needs than a senior dog would. For every stage of their life, if you feed them cheap or poor quality food filled with starchy carbohydrates such as corn that are more difficult for your dog to digest, they are more likely to experience an increase in gas production. Always make sure they are on the right food full of the proper nutrients.

Switch to a Different Food Brand

If they are already on what would usually be deemed a good quality food, but they still have a lot of gas, try changing to a different brand. For example, if they’re on a chicken-based or chicken-flavoured kibble, try switching to one that is more turkey or fish-based.

Depending on their needs, it may also be worth considering a cooked meat or raw food diet. As mentioned, when changing any diet, always do this slowly and monitor any changes for a number of weeks.

When Do you Need to Speak to a Vet about Canine Flatulence?

If you are worried, it is always best to speak to a vet, but you should seek advice sooner rather than later if your dog continues to have excessive gas, even after trying the steps above.

In addition, if your dog is experiencing diarrhoea, weight loss or a poor appetite alongside excessive gas, you should speak to a vet as soon as possible.

More FAQs

If your dog’s fart suddenly changes in frequency and odour, it could be a result of the following;

  • A sudden change in your dog’s diet.
  •  Swallowing more air than usual, especially when they eat food rapidly.
  • A medical issue such as intestinal parasites, pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, or any gastrointestinal diseases. Please consult your vet if you suspect a medical issue.
  • Particularly smelly gas can be brought on by an excess of sulfur from consuming too much meat or protein. During digestion, hydrogen sulfide gas is released and eventually leaves the dog’s body as a fart.
  • If your dog’s food is high in fiber, it can result in gas or farts that smell like rotten eggs. The less digestible the food is, the more likely it will lead to smelly farts.

To help lessen your dog’s farts, your veterinarian might suggest a prescription like simethicone or an antacid. You can also give them probiotics and digestive supplements to help with digestion.

All dogs fart, however some breeds fart more frequently than others. Bulldogs and pugs are examples of dogs that often fart more than other breeds of dogs. They are called brachycephalic dogs i.e. dogs whose muzzle or face appears to have been compressed or flattened.

Your dog does not understand what a fart is, and they lack the cognitive ability to comprehend that they just farted.

Commonly known foods that make dogs fart are spicy foods, high-fat diets, high-fiber foods like soybeans, peas, vegetables, legumes, etc., and dairy products.

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