Although we dog owners love most everything about our dogs, there’s one thing we could live without… flatulence— more commonly known as gas.
All my dogs have been great producers of gas. But my greyhound, he was a professional farter. So much so, my kids lovingly renamed him Sirfartsalot.
Thankfully, gas is not usually a sign of anything too serious. But it can really affect your quality of life and your ability to enjoy your dog. And if it happens when you’re in a public place, it’s embarrassing!
But gas can usually be resolved once you figure out what’s causing it.
Flatulence is the release of accumulated gas in your dog’s intestinal tract. The natural bacteria in the gut break down the food. But certain foods don’t breakdown and get digested the way they should. And gas is the unpleasant result.
Why do some dogs have more gas than others?
Maybe you’ve heard that certain breeds are gassier than others. Specifically, brachycephalic breeds… dogs with short noses like Bulldogs, Boxers, and Boston terriers.
There is no clear evidence this is true. But some believe that the position of their short noses causes them to take in excess air when they breathe.
The veterinarians in the doubters camp feel excess air may cause burping but shouldn’t cause farting. Others believe that taking in excess air for any reason including eating too quickly or exercising too soon after eating can cause gas.
It can’t hurt to reduce the risk of taking in too much air by having your excited eater dine in a quiet room with no disturbances or distractions. If competitive eating causes your dog to eat too fast and take in too much air, separate your dogs.
Smaller more frequent meals can help too.
And never exercise your dog less than an hour before or after eating because that can cause bloat as I discussed in Could Your Dog Fall Victim to this Deadly Condition?, even if it doesn’t cause flatulence.
Regardless if too much air intake is to blame for gas, we know for sure the following 7 things can cause gas.
Low quality diet – This is the most common cause of gas. Indigestible carbohydrates and less digestible meat byproducts can lead to gas. Gas is the fermentation of poorly digested food. So feed your dog a super premium highly digestible food and you’ll notice less odor coming from your dog’s rear end.
If the first few ingredients on the label of your pet’s food are corn, soy, sugar or an unspecified protein meal, the food is of low quality and isn’t highly digestible.
Food allergies or sensitivities – Gas can be a sign that your dog is not tolerating something in their diet. What they may be allergic to is not always easy to identify.
In my article, 5 Signs Your Dog May Have a Food Allergy, you can learn more about how to isolate the offending ingredient in your dog’s food.
Sudden dietary changes – If you need to change your dog’s diet, be sure you do it gradually. A sudden change can upset your dog’s stomach and cause gas.
Dietary indiscretion – Is there a dog owner in the world that doesn’t have a story about the time their dog ate _____________? Fill in the blank. Every dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have either from the garbage can, the street, or maybe your kid’s backpack.
Depending on what they eat, it can really upset their stomach. And cause gas.
I find with my dogs that excessive gas is often the precursor to diarrhea.
Stress – When a dog is stressed, their digestion can suffer. Not unlike humans. The day I rescued my greyhound from the track, I learned about the relationship between stress and flatulence. The car ride home was a long one. He was so stressed and just kept passing gas… the whole 40-minute ride. Poor guy! Poor us!
And my new puppy that exudes confidence wherever she goes is surprisingly very nervous in the car. Whenever we go for a ride—pretty much daily—she blesses us with some awfully unpleasant emissions.
Table scraps – It’s not a good idea to feed your dog table scraps. If they’re eating a well-balanced diet, introducing food from the table isn’t necessary and can upset their digestive systems.
This is particularly true if they are lactose intolerant and you give them cheese or ice cream. If you do, expect gas!
And fatty foods… they can really be difficult for a dog to digest.
Gastrointestinal disorders – If your dog is eating a healthy high-quality diet without any unexpected extras, and they’re still gassy… see the vet.
A condition that disturbs the intestines’ ability to absorb nutrients can cause gas.
They could be suffering from a gastrointestinal disorder like ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, giardia or another parasite. But there are usually signs besides gas if something more serious is going on.
Keep in mind that anything that upsets the microflora (healthy bacteria) in the digestive tract can also make your dog gassy. That includes antibiotics.
Antibiotics disturb the healthy bacteria in humans too. If your dog is on antibiotics, consider giving them a probiotic to support the microflora in their systems.
In fact, if your dog is gassy, your vet may recommend adding a probiotic to their diet. Probiotics offer a lot of benefits. My article, Probiotics… Do Pets Need Them Too?, talks all about why you should consider a food like Husse that includes probiotics in its formulation.
How to reduce the gas
What’s causing the gas is something going into your dog’s digestive system. If your dog has a flatulence problem, start with their food.
A highly digestible food with high-quality protein and lower fiber will often get rid of the problem. Go with the best quality food you can afford to feed your dog.
A super premium food like Husse is a great choice. It’s highly digestible, and all of their foods contain a high-quality named protein source… no generic meals, no byproducts.
And don’t forget exercise. Just like people, dog’s need exercise to get their bowels moving and their digestive tract working. Both necessary to reduce gas.
Is your dog gassy? What’s worked to resolve the problem? Tell us in the comment section at the top of the page.