An occasional toot is usually tolerable, but if your pup is stinking up the place on a regular basis, the cause of their gassiness could be serious. “Malodorous flatulence indicates that something in the diet does not agree with the dog,” says Dr. Judy Morgan, a veterinarian at Clayton Veterinary Associates in New Jersey. “Most people laugh about [gas in dogs], but it really does signify something is wrong with [their] digestion.” If your canine companion can clear a room with one toot, check out Dr. Morgan’s top five causes for Fido’s flatulence and discover how you can help stop the stink.
A dog’s diet is often the number one cause for gas. High-carbohydrate foods can be a culprit. “I never recommend dry kibble due to the high carbohydrate content and lack of moisture in the diet,” says Dr. Morgan. High-fiber or high-fat foods, including diets containing beans or dairy, can also be to blame, because dogs lack the necessary enzymes to break down these ingredients, resulting in fermentation and gas.
So, what soothes a gassy gut? Meat-based diets are a natural way to support healthy digestion because they’re loaded with enzymes. Additional toppers, such as organic, fat-free yogurt with active cultures, can further increase your pup’s microbiome or healthy gut bacteria. Finally, consider giving your pup a probiotic, “The good bacteria will help with normal digestion of food to keep the bowels healthy,” Dr. Morgan explains.
Unfortunately, some breeds are simply more prone to passing gas. Brachycephalic breeds (e.g, bulldogs, pugs, boxers) often swallow too much air while eating, and develop excess gas. In addition, bulldog breeds are prone to digestive issues, and according to Dr. Morgan, “do not do well on high-carbohydrate diets in general.”
Other frequently flatulent breeds include mastiffs, German shepherd dogs, and Labrador retrievers. Although you may be unable to outsmart mother nature, you can support these gassy guys and gals by ensuring they eat healthy, high-quality food and exercise regularly.
Physical activity promotes healthy digestion by regulating intestinal motility (i.e., digested food moving through the intestines for absorption and elimination). Overweight and out-of-shape dogs tend to be more sedentary, resulting in an equally immobile gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Slow moving contents are more likely to ferment, creating uncomfortable gas buildup. “Exercise helps keep the bowel actively moving, which helps decrease gas production,” explains Dr. Morgan. So, grab your dog’s leash and get motivated. Fresher air is only a walk away!
Some dogs treat mealtime as a competitive event. However, nobody wins when your malodorous mutt finishes their food faster than you can say, “Sit.” According to Dr. Morgan, “food gulping can cause dogs to swallow air, which can increase gas in the bowel.”
Calm your pup’s feeding frenzy with a slow-feeder bowl like this one, which is designed for more mindful eating. You can also try feeding your dog smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This simple method “allow[s] the food to pass through the bowel more consistently without having to digest a large volume at one time,” Dr. Morgan explains.
Sometimes, gas can be a warning sign that your dog is suffering from a serious GI issue, such as food allergies or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). According to Dr. Morgan, dangerous gas-causing conditions abound, including gastric dilatation and volvulus syndrome ([GDV] i.e., bloat). “While less common, excessive gas in the small bowel can lead to small bowel volvulus (i.e., twisting), which [can be] deadly.”
If you suspect that your pup is suffering from a major GI issue, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Seek emergency veterinary care if your dog’s gas is sudden and accompanied by unproductive vomiting, lethargy, and a pot-bellied appearance.
If your veterinarian rules out your dog’s underlying gassiness causes, such as diet or digestive disorders, they may recommend a medication to ease your pup’s discomfort and minimize their gas. These remedies may include prescription medications or over-the-counter (OTC) acid reducers to prevent gas buildup in the GI tract. In addition, your veterinarian may recommend your dog get some gentle exercise, such as short, regular walks. Always speak with your veterinarian before giving your dog any medication, including home remedies and OTC medications or supplements, as these may be contraindicated or may interact with other medications your pup may be taking.
Digestive wellness begins in your dog’s food bowl. Fresh wholesome ingredients, such as those included in Ollie recipes, can soothe your pup’s sensitive digestive system, repair poor gut health, and build a foundation for future health through carefully selected ingredients and nutrition. Ollie recipes contain:
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The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.
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