Dog flatulence and excessive gas in dogs is definitely not the most fun or pleasant thing to talk about
Excessive dog gas is a build-up of gas in a dog’s interstitial track that is the result of when a dog doesn’t have enough bacteria to break down the food it has consumed. This feeling is unpleasant for the dog and the human, especially if it is a continuous problem where a dog is releasing very unpleasant smelling gas. This brings to mind my experience of a silent but deadly case of smelly farting I experienced on the train on my way to work.
The guilty commuter with a bad case of flatulence
Have you ever been on the rush hour commute to work on a packed train or bus trying to get to your destination? The train is annoyingly rammed to maximum capacity; then suddenly, your nostrils seem to come under attack from the gaseous emissions of one of your fellow commuters bowels.
It’s almost like getting an invite to experience the remnants of someone’s digestive systems. The noxious horror to the nostrils is bad to the extent that you can almost taste the foul smell. You would spit it out if you could spit, but you don’t want to look like a crazy person spitting on public transportation, so you hold it in and keep calm..
You look around the packed carriage trying to identify the culprit of this vicious gas attack, hoping that your ability to make eye contact will help you pinpoint the culprit. You hope that a gazing stare of disapproval will question the culprit about how they dare commit such an offense. Yet, at the same time, you’re afraid of making eye contact, because by doing so, you could make eye contact with the wrong person and they think that you’re responsible for the foul bowel gas attack.
Every commuter except the actual culprit is probably going through the same experience and thinking what you’re thinking. Who is it; who is it? Who could it be? How dare they? In your head, you condemn the culprit because you’re unable to put a finger on who it is. After a few minutes of this mental back and forth, the second wave of the attack is launched, and you’re forced to go through the excruciatingly noxious foulness once again.
This cycle happens a few times until the train stops at the next destination. The train doors open, and you gasp for gulps of fresh air. Hopefully, the culprit is one of the few passengers that has disembarked at the stop, but there’s no guarantee that the culprit has left the confined train carriage. So, it’s either you take a gamble and get off the train here because you can’t endure another barrage of stink bombs, or hope and pray that the culprit has gotten off so that your journey can peacefully continue. What would you do? What would you do? This was an experience I had to endure on my way into work and, oh, boy, was it tough.
The story of the dog that farts a lot
I remembered a period of time living with my younger brother for a little while. He’s had several dogs. Queenie, Saski, Jigs, and Cesar. Saski was the daughter of Queenie. Jigs was an all-black Staff slash pitbull. Real big and fierce-looking, but one of the most gentle and loving dogs you could have. He looked intimidating, but his temperament was the total opposite of his appearance.
There were times my brother and I would be hanging out in the living room playing PS3 or watching TV, then out of nowhere, we would notice a foul stench in the air. Foul is an understated word to describe what we had to endure. The initial wave of the smell and the aftermath of a dog farting can definitely leave a lasting impression on you.
The first time it happened, the look that everyone in the room gave each other quickly allowed us to point out the culprit. Jigs. It got to a stage that I would have to ask my brother to remove Jigs from the room because I couldn’t bear the smell of his dog farting. I would have to suggest to my brother that if he suspected that Jigs was likely to have any episodes of dog flatulence, then my brother should keep him out of the room.
What can be done about dog flatulence, or how can you help if your dog is farting a lot?
So what do you do if a dog is gassy and if your dog is farting a lot? According to experts, the spotlight shifts to the dog’s caregiver. When a dog is farting a lot, the dog’s caregiver should question themselves by asking why. The first thing to eliminate is cheap dog food.
Cheap dog food is a major contributor to dog flatulence. My Pet Warehouse explains that cheap dog food usually contains ingredients that increase and intensify flatulence in dogs and goes on to recommend giving dogs protein from an animal protein source. When you read the label, real meat, rather than cereals or grains, should be the first ingredient. I should stress the importance of all dog caregivers checking the ingredients label printed on the dog food packaging.
There’s a real travesty taking place in the dog food market that has to do with how dog food is advertised and presented, and the disparity between the quality of packaging presentation and the actual contents of the dog food. You can read about the dark side of the dog food industry here.
Is the diet that your dog consumes cheap D-4, commercially mass-produced food that you know in your heart of hearts he shouldn’t be eating, or are you giving your dog a healthy diet that ensures that he’s consuming the nutritious food he deserves. Dr. Oscar E Chavez, DVM, MBA, member of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition, explains that upgrading a dog’s diet to include bioavailable higher-quality, ingredients will help to resolve a dog’s gas.
Bioavailable? What’s that, I hear you ask. To paraphrase the meaning, bioavailable is the natural way in which nutrients from foods consumed are absorbed by the body. Below is a definition from a research paper on the Bioavailability of Nutrients. Furthermore, there exists on the dog food market bioavailable protein for dogs that help to regulate dogs’ protein intake.
The commonly accepted definition of bioavailability is the proportion of the nutrient that is digested, absorbed and metabolized through normal pathways.
I’m not trying to infer that dogs should be eating five star Michelin gourmet food; however, it seems that experts agree on the first thing to review in cases of excessive dog flatulence is the quality of the food that a dog is consuming as part of the dog’s diet. There’s also the possibility of dairy; apparently, most dogs are lactose intolerant.
Dairy products can be another reason for a dog farting lots. Puppies have a high tolerance to lactose, which is found in milk. Petmd explains that milk contains a sugar called lactose that requires an enzyme called lactase for digestion. A puppy can digest this when it’s breastfeeding from its mother. However, after being weaned off the mother’s milk, the dog’s tolerance to lactose diminishes. This means that the digestive system of older dogs finds it increasingly difficult to break down sugars in milk. This can then result in a dog that farts a lot.
Furthermore, whole fat milk and too much dairy consumption can have ramifications of more than dog flatulence. Dogs that consume excessive amounts of dairy can develop diarrhea and vomiting. Again, this is caused by a dog’s inability to break down the sugar from lactase, which is an enzyme from milk.
The key takeaway from this, and what I will do with my dog, is to be vigilant about dairy. Or I’ll probably avoid my dog consuming dairy completely, although the occasional ice cream cone will likely be well-received by my dog.
The treats that dogs are given can also be the cause of why a dog is farting a lot. Especially if these are ad hoc unplanned snacks. According to My Pet Warehouse, dogs are unable to easily digest foods that are high in fats or carbohydrates.
Dog gas can become chronic.
My first experience of having a dog fart a lot around me caught me off the guard in that I never actually heard the fart, but I always smelled it. I don’t know what my brother was feeding his dog, but the situation progressed to a stage where I started to call the dog farts silent but deadly dog farts. Based on this experience, I always thought that dogs release silent farts.
I was unaware that dogs could produce the same sound effects as humans. I’ve been guilty of producing a range of high pitch shrieks too or thunder roaring rolls, and I’ve found that dogs can do this too, as captured in the video below.
The guilty canine has developed the ability to fart loud. I don’t think it’s a one-off occurrence. I say this because the dog parent is prepared to capture this incident on video. And the dog doesn’t just do one fart; oh no, the dog in the video gives a really good performance.
The above clip may be humorous; however, there can be cases where dog flatulence can develop into a chronic state and may, therefore, require a clinical diagnosis. In order for a diagnosis to be made, the dog’s medical history is considered, and the dog is observed for clinical signs. Some of the clinical signs that are used to determine chronic flatulence include:
Expulsion of gas from the anus, that may be with or without an odor,
Mild abdominal discomfort
Mild stomach distention or bloating
Excessive gaseous sounds or rumbling from the abdomen (borborygmus).
If the dog has any malassimilation issues, clinical signs will also include loose poos or diarrhea, and, in some cases, vomiting. Furthermore, there are a lot of common causes of flatulence that should also be ruled out before a clinical diagnosis is made. The list below contains conditions that VCA Pet hospitals have highlighted as common causes that should be ruled out:
Increased Swallowing of Air (Aerophagia)
Gluttony or compulsive eating
Feeding shortly after exercise
Brachycephalic or flat-faced breeds
Diets high in soybeans, peas or beans
Diets high in fermentable fibers such as lactulose, psyllium or oat bran
Milk and dairy products
Sudden change in diet
Spicy foods and food additives
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)
Answering questions about how to prevent flatulence in dogs
Ok, in summary, dog farting is essentially a gas build up in the interstitial track when your dog doesn’t have enough bacteria to break down the food. Dogs will fart, that is natural; however, if a dog is farting a lot, then that is likely to be unpleasant for the dog and the human, especially if the farts smell unpleasant.
So, in order to try to prevent excessive dog gas, a dog should be given a premium healthy diet. Avoid excessive dairy products, or avoid any dairy products because dogs are lactose intolerant. VCA Pet hospitals and My Pet Warehouse advise that a dog’s diet should not be changed suddenly, but rather the diet should be transitioned slowly in order to avoid stomach upset.
Food allergies can also lead to excessive dog gas. Excessive farting in dogs can occur in dogs that eat very quickly. These dogs swallow a lot of air while they are eating, which can also lead to excessive flatulence. Based on the summary and the possibility of their being in multiple potential causes for why a dog is farting a lot, if excessive flatulence in a dog is suspected, then the first thing that I’ve learned and would recommend anyone to do is to get professional advice from a veterinarian to help gain clarity. Yes, this may sound like a cliche cop-out, but why risk the potential of a failed diagnosis that has been derived from your personal assumption or opinion.
Final thoughts: A dog farting is natural, so get over it
As much as I might want to contend with Mother Nature and fight back the natural law of flatulence, we all know that this is impossible. However, when a dog starts to fart more than usual, then their checks should be carried out to ensure that the dog is healthy. The simple fact that dogs breathe and swallow air when they eat, and the fact that dogs have to digest food like a normal dog does means that in one way or another, at some point the dog is going to have to release the air they’ve swallowed or the by-product of the food they’ve consumed. Dog’s gas – it’s nothing new. You fart, I fart, hey, we all fart.