In the popular children’s book, “Walter the Farting Dog,” a family’s gassy pooch saves their house from being burglarized by scaring off the thieves with his excessive flatulence.
If your dog could easily perform a similar heroic deed, there’s no need to invest in a gas mask or keep him confined to the great outdoors. In most cases, his gas is natural and doesn’t indicate a more serious condition. There are ways you can help make life much more pleasant for him — and you.
What Gives Dogs Excessive Flatulence?
As with us humans, flatulence is caused when bacteria in the digestive tract break down food particles. This process creates gas, which can accumulate in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. While it rarely indicates a serious health problem, if your dog’s flatulence becomes prolonged or excessive, you should take him to the vet.
- Swallowing air when they “wolf” down their food too quickly.
- Eating foods that can cause gas, such as beans, milk, peas, soybeans, spicy or fatty foods.
- Feeding your dog a poor-quality diet, such as inexpensive dog food, table scraps, excessive treats, etc.
- Impacted anal glands can not only cause your dog discomfort, but they can also increase noxious odors. You can express them yourself, or your vet or groomer can do it.
Some breeds are more prone to be gasbags than others. These are the five most flatulent breeds, according to Dogster.com:
In rare cases, vetinfo.com reports that gas can indicate an intestinal parasite infection. Excessive gas can also contribute to gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV), also known as bloat. This condition can be fatal if it isn’t treated.
If your dog’s gas is accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating and/or weight loss, this could be a sign of a serious condition. You should take him to your vet immediately.
How Can I Prevent My Dog from Getting Gassy?
- Feed your dog less food more frequently – If your pooch tends to wolf down his meals, try feeding him smaller portions throughout the day.
- Train your dog to eat more slowly – You can try putting a rubber ball in the middle of your dog’s food bowl so he has to eat around it, or purchase a specially designed bowl with built-in bumps that your dog must eat around.
- Feed your dog a high-quality diet – Inexpensive brands of dog food tend to be comprised of fillers such as corn products, reports about.dogs.com. While these products may make your dog feel full, they can increase gas, and cause allergies in sensitive dogs. “High-quality kibble will also reduce the amount of waste product, meaning less poop, and less smelly ones too,” reports vetinfo.com. ”As bad as it sounds, the contents of your dog’s bowel movements can determine how healthy your pet is. A good diet results in less end product, because more of the meal is actually digested, leaving less mess later.”
- Exercise your dog – A brisk walk will help move your dog’s gas while he’s outside. It can also stimulate a bowl movement, which will reduce his indoor gas episodes.
- Eliminate soy from your dog’s diet – “Soy beans are loaded with proteins that can be hard to digest, producing a lot of gas in the dog’s digestive track,” writes dogbreedinfo.com. Look for dog food that doesn’t list soy as an ingredient.
- Eliminate dairy from your dog’s diet – Like humans, some dogs may be lactose intolerant, resulting in excessive gas after they eat dairy.
- Don’t feed your dog table scraps or lots of doggie biscuits — Giving your dog too much “human food” or too many treats can stir up gas in his digestive track.
- Add charcoal to your dog’s diet – Activated charcoal, sold at most pet stores, can help detoxify noxious gases while they are still inside your dog’s intestines. Dogbreedinfo.com advises not to give your dog charcoal for more than two or three days at a time, because along with the gas, it also absorbs important nutrients, which robs your dog of vitamins and minerals. You should consult with your vet before you give your dog these supplements.
- Give your dog a digestive enzymes supplement – Giving your dog one of these supplements before he eats or with his meal will help him digest the food, reducing the build-up of gas in his intestines.
- A spoonful of yogurt helps the gas go away – Treat your dog to a teaspoon of nonfat, plain yogurt after he eats. The bacterial cultures in the yogurt can help him digest his food and reduce internal gas.
These simple changes in diet, feeding routines and amount of exercise may go a long way in making life much sweeter for your dog – and for you, too.