There is something inherently comical about a dog passing gas, but the joke can get old fast if your pal starts emitting foul odors while you’re trying to relax or entertain guests. The good news is that there are things you can do to control your dog’s tooting, and the fixes aren’t all that complicated. Let’s take a look.
What is Flatulence?
Put simply, flatulence is the result of excess gas in the intestinal tract and colon. These gases may be made up of swallowed air, gas diffused from the bloodstream, gas produced during digestion, or gas produced by bacteria that live in the intestinal tract.
What Causes Flatulence in Dogs?
There are a number of possible causes of flatulence in dogs:
- Flatulence may be caused by air that is swallowed during eating. Many dogs quickly gobble up their food and in doing so swallow a lot of air that must eventually exit the body.
- Brachycephalic breeds -- those with short, flat muzzles (like Pugs, Bulldogs, and Boxers) -- may suffer flatulence related to air swallowing because they tend to breathe more through the mouth than the nose.
- A dog may suffer flatulence if they eat food that is difficult to digest, such as table scraps, foods containing lactose, low-quality foods, and foods with high dietary fiber content.
- Flatulence may be the result of food sensitivities or allergies, so you may want to contact your veterinarian if the problem is ongoing.
- Persistent flatulence may be a side effect of certain medications and could also be a symptom of a more serious medical issue.
How to Reduce Your Dog’s Flatulence
If you’ve decided that you’ve finally had enough of your dog’s breaking wind, it’s time to take action. Here are some easy changes that you can make to your dog’s lifestyle that may reduce their flatulence:
- Feed your dog a consistent and healthy diet. Ask your veterinarian to help you find a food that is well-balanced, easily digestible, and appropriate for your dog’s size, age, and lifestyle. One way to determine if your dog’s diet is serving them well is to examine their feces. Firm, well-formed poops signal a quality diet and good digestion.
- Feed smaller meals several times a day instead of one large meal. This will keep your dog from gulping lots of air while feasting on a big portion.
- Feed your dog with a puzzle toy or slow feed bowl that will stop them from “wolfing” down their food.
- Avoid giving your dog table scraps that may upset their stomach, especially those containing lactose.
- In some cases, your veterinarian may prescribe a prescription diet or suggest a low-residue diet. Low-residue diets are bland and the nutrients are digested and absorbed before they reach your dog’s colon, where gas-forming bacteria live. A dog may be put on this type of diet temporarily to correct a case of persistent gas, or it may become their regular diet.
- Charcoal-based treats and supplements that contain yucca or zinc may be helpful in absorbing gas and decreasing the odor of dog flatulence. Always consult your veterinarian before starting your pet on any supplement.
- If further treatment is necessary, your veterinarian may recommend simethicone, an over-the-counter anti-foaming agent that can be used in both people and animals to absorb intestinal gas. Always ask your veterinarian before giving your dog simethicone and only administer the dose recommended by your veterinarian.
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