Dealing With Flatulence in Your Pet

By April 19 | See Comments

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It sounds innocuous, but vets and animal trainers will tell you that uncontrollable flatulence in your dog or cat is serious business. When it comes to gastrointestinal ailments, the flashier vomiting and diarrhea always overshadow the problem of excessive gas production. While that is understandable, you should never make the mistake of underestimating the problem of flatulence. Pets suffering from the condition are a nuisance to the people around them. More importantly, excess gas production is a sign that their bodies aren't digesting food properly.

Why does your cat or dog have gas?

Why exactly is there excess gas in one of the most effective composters in nature? Here are a few common possibilities:

  • Quick ingestion of food causes pets to ingest substantial quantities of air with it.
  • Chewing rawhide or certain toys leads to inappropriate and chronic air ingestion.
Excessive gas production in the digestive tract

The gut bacteria are the accomplices of the stomach acids. They act on the food and release gaseous by products, which are responsible for flatulence. Factors that can exacerbate this include:

  • Dietary intolerance
  • Bacterial overgrowth resulting from an dietary indiscretion (eating garbage, for instance)
  • Food allergies
  • Acute bowel diseases (ranging from cancer to parasitism)
  • Pancreatic disorders

To determine the exact cause, you need to take your dog to your vet. He/she will perform bloodwork, stool check, ultrasound and X-rays to pinpoint the cause. In certain rare cases, endoscopy, CT scans and exploratory surgery is needed to diagnose the underlying condition. It might seem a bit too much to use invasive methods to diagnose excess gas production, but it is important to remember that in a lot of the cases they are just a relatively harmless manifestation of a much serious systemic disorder. As a rule of thumb, if the gas problem is acute and keeps worsening, you need to deal with it aggressively. However, if it is just a case of run-of-the-mill flatulence, you can try the following methods to bring it under control.

Approved tips to allay gas problems in pets
  • Change the diet – There could be an ingredient in your dog's pet food that is causing their digestive tract to produce excess gas. Just like humans, pets can also be intolerant to carbohydrates and proteins. You can try eliminating one ingredient every week to figure out where the problem lies. Alternatively, if you are pressed for time, you can switch over to a low-residue diet. But consult your vet before you decide to go that route. If your pet is allergic to common foods, there are special diets that are formulated using novel carbohydrates and proteins. You can gradually switch over to a diet that has none of the current carbohydrates and proteins.
  • Smaller and more regular meals – In a lot of the cases, your gluttonous pets end up gulping in a large amount of air along with every mouthful. You can slow down the eating process by switching to smaller and more frequent feedings. Alternatively, you can go for specially designed food bowls meant to slow down the eating speed.
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