Why Do Dogs Fart? Causes and Remedies for Dog Flatulence
Expert solutions for your pup’s unfortunate flatulence.
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There is a book called Walter the Farting Dog opens in a new tabthat is about as close to being non-fiction as a children’s picture book can get. It’s about a dog named Walter who farts so much that his dad wants to rehome him. (Actually, what? That plot is super problematic; forget about that book, and never rehome a dog for farting.) But the part about dog flatulence is still 100 percent relatable.
As much as we might hate to admit it (and smell it), farts are a normal biological function in dogs — and humans, let’s be honest. Farts are the natural result of the surprising amount of air that is swallowed just with the simple act of eating. Here, we explore why dogs fart so much and whether there’s anything you can do to reduce the stink.
Why does my dog fart so much?
Unfortunately for most pet parents, dog farts are rarely as adorable as the pups they come out of. But, contrary to popular belief, more than 99 percent of the gases that pass from the intestinal tract are odorless (whew!). When they do happen, dog farts are caused by an excess of gases in a dog’s intestinal tract. The gas might be produced in the biochemical process of digestion, gas diffusion from the bloodstream, gases produced by the bacteria that populate the intestinal tract, or air that has been swallowed.
Excess swallowed air is a common cause of dog farts, and several factors can add to an increase in air intake. When dogs eat quickly, the amount of air swallowed tends to increase.
What causes gas in dogs?
When determining why your dog is farting all the time, your vet will address your dog’s diet and rule out intestinal disease. Farting can be a symptom of other health issues, including infections, parasites, colitis, and pancreatitis. Here are a few other medical issues that could cause an increase in farts:
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Antibiotic-responsive intestinal disorders
Viral or bacterial inflammation of the intestines
Food allergy or food intolerance
Inadequate production of digestive enzymes by the pancreasopens in a new tab
Another frequent source of dog farts is dietary fiberopens in a new tab. Dietary fiber in pet food can cause a dog to fart as it is not easily digested by its own enzyme systems. Fiber is easily digested by the gas-producing bacteria that live in the colon. As fiber is broken down here, hydrogen sulfide is produced, which is the cause of the really stinky gases. Therefore, a diet that is heavy in fiber further promotes a “happy environment” as well as “food” for the bacteria, ultimately producing more gas and more farts.
Some “people foods” may cause dogs to fart more, including legumes (like soybeans, peas, and beans), dairy products (like milk and cheese), sweets (like fruits and cookies), high-fat foods, and spicy foods.
Are certain breeds more likely to have gas?
Yes, some dog breeds are more prone to farting. Brachycephalic breeds opens in a new tab(dogs with a compressed upper jaw and a short muzzle) like Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boxers fart more than other dog breeds because they breathe more by mouth than by nose. Breathing through their mouth causes them to swallow excess air, leading to more flatulence.
Is there a way to stop dog farts? Here are some remedies for gassy dogs.
If there isn’t a severe medical issue causing your dog’s gas, your veterinarian might determine that your dog’s diet is the problem. When altering your dog’s diet, make changes to their food slowly. Some easy home remedies for gassy dogs to help reduce excessive dog farting include:
Feeding a mixture of dry and canned foods
Discouraging rapid eatingopens in a new tab by placing an overturned small bowl inside the dog’s regular food bowl, preventing them from taking large mouthfuls or feeding them with a slow bowlopens in a new tab
Avoiding soy, soybeans, beans, and peas in the diet
Avoiding any treats containing milk, cheese, or other dairy products with lactose
Avoiding fresh or dried-fruit treats
Avoiding canned foods containing the texturing ingredient carrageenan
Increasing activity: A sedentary lifestyleopens in a new tab can increase the amount of gases produced as well as how long they “hang out” in the digestive tract. Activity increases gastrointestinal motility, which in turn expels gas and increases regularity of bowel movements.
Switch your pup to a special diet for poor digestion.
If simple remedies don’t ease your dog’s digestion issue, you might need to change their dog foodopens in a new tab altogether. The best dog food for reducing dog farts is a low-residue diet. A low-residue diet is designed to reduce the frequency and volume of stools, while prolonging transit time through the intestine. It’s similar to a low-fiber diet but includes restrictions on foods that increase bowel activity.
Changing to a low-residue diet means that most of the nutrients of the food are digested and absorbed by your dog before they reach the colon, where the gas-forming bacteria live. Less food for the bacteria equals less bacteria, which equals less gas formed and less dog farts. Offering your dog a highly digestible diet is one of the major ways to combat flatulence.
Sometimes, just going through a case and/or bag of such a low-residue diet solves the problem and your dog can return to regular food afterwards. If necessary, the therapeutic diet can become your dog’s regular food. Low-residue diets are available through your veterinarian, pet supply stores or can be cooked at homeopens in a new tab (boiled white rice, skinned chicken, cottage cheese and balanced with vitamins and minerals constitute low-residue ingredients).
Try medications and herbal supplements that can reduce gas.
For excessive dog farts, sometimes medication can help. Although there are many products available, most are unfortunately not as helpful as they are touted to be, or not labeled for animal use. There are more than 30 herbal and botanical preparations available to reduce gas in the stomach and intestines; however, the dosage, safety, and efficacy are unknown.
If further relief is needed, your vet may recommend that you give your dog the below for gas.
Yucca schidigera supplementation: Currently, this extract is labeled as a flavoring agent for pet food, but it is also available as an oral supplement. Several studies have shown that it helps decrease the odor of farts.
Zinc acetate supplementation: Zinc binds to sulfhydryl compounds in flatulence, ultimately serving to deodorize the gas.
Non-absorbable antibiotics: Such antibiotics kill the gas-forming bacteria of the colon and may be helpful as long as their use is not ongoing.
What can I give my dog for gas?
If you’re looking for a quick fix for your dog’s foul-smelling gas, you might be inclined to try anything to get some relief. While these four commonly touted gas relief products are unlikely to be harmful, they won’t help much either. It’s better to find the source of your dog’s discomfort than to try to cover up the stench.
There are many ineffective probioticsopens in a new tab being marketed for gas relief, so it’s important to use one that has been shown to contain live cultures that withstand stomach digestion. It’s unknown if this type of product will really help in reducing dog flatulence; it’s unlikely that these bacteria can survive the acid environment of the stomach, travel through the many feet of small intestines, and finally reach the colon in the attempt to displace the gas-forming resident bacteria. Still, these are unlikely to be harmful and can be beneficial in other ways outside of the realm of dog farts, such as helping to stabilize the intestinal microenvironment.
Activated charcoal tablets:
These tablets are not likely to be effective because the charcoal-binding sites are filled on the journey from mouth to colon, so by the time the tablet gets to the gas-forming large bowel bacteria, it has essentially already been used up.
This product may control the volume of gas produced, but not the odor. It’s an anti-foaming agent that reduces gas bubbles. This may be helpful at reducing our dog’s gas discomfort, but not the stench or whatever is causing it.
Pancreatic enzyme supplementation:
It is unlikely that these extra digestive enzymes would help a dog in the absence of actual exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Furthermore, this treatment is relatively expensive for something that may only be slightly helpful.
Can I give my dog over-the-counter medications for gas?
Simethicone, the drug found in OTC meds like Gas-X, is safe for dogs. But you should never use it without consulting your veterinarian first. The best thing to do is change your dog's diet since anti-gas medications will only address the symptoms, not the root cause, of your dog's gas.
When should you take a dog to the vet for gas?
Dog farts are a normal part of everyday life, but chronic flatulence and a house filled with stink aren’t. If you notice a sudden increase in dog farts, if your dog seems in pain, or they exhibit other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, or weight loss, make an appointment with your vet.
FAQs (People also ask):
1) Are dog farts normal?
Yes, dog farts are a normal biological function for dogs (and humans!).
2) Do dogs fart more during pregnancy?
There’s no research showing that dogs fart more during pregnancy. But anecdotally, many pup parents report that their dogs are gassier when pregnant.
3) Can a dog’s age affect flatulence?
Yes, some dogs may become gassier as they age because their digestive systems slow down and become more sensitive.
Dr. Shea Cox, DVM, CVPP, CHPV
Dr. Shea Cox is the founder of BluePearl Pet Hospice and is a global leader in animal hospice and palliative care. With a focus on technology, innovation and education, her efforts are changing the end-of-life landscape in veterinary medicine.
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