It's a subject that might make you giggle or gag, but flatulence is an entirely normal part of life. Humans and dogs both pass gas on a daily basis as a natural byproduct of digesting food. In fact, the average person expels gas about 5-15 times a day, although there aren't any specific stats for dogs.
But even though passing gas is an everyday occurrence, you might be wondering what to do if your dog has bad gas suddenly. This guide will help you understand some common causes of excess gas as well as some possible solutions that can reduce doggy flatulence and help you avoid some smelly situations.
3 Common Causes of Dog Gassiness
When your dog (or you) eats food, it moves through the gastrointestinal tract where bacteria break it down. Sometimes this process results in smelly gas while other times the gas simply passes through without detection. While either scenario is nothing irregular, if you notice Rex is more gassy than usual, don't ignore it. Here are some of the most common culprits of excessive gas.
1. Eating Flatulence-Inducing Foods
If your dog has bad gas suddenly, there's a good chance it's because of what they're eating. Some specific foods that could cause excess gas in your dog include:
- Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are healthy foods yet they are high in isothiocyanates, which are chemical compounds that can cause dog gas (and human gas).
- Beans: From soybeans to chickpeas and other types of beans, these high-fiber foods can trigger a surplus of gas in dogs.
- Dairy products: Like humans, some dogs are lactose intolerant — if your adult dog is drinking milk or consuming food with dairy ingredients, it may be time to make a change.
- Table scraps: Frequently giving your dog leftovers and human food might feel like you're being a nice pet parent, but it can end up being bad news for Lola's digestive system.
- High-fat foods: Consuming fatty meats such as bacon is a bad idea for many reasons, one of which is extra gas.
- High-fiber foods: Although fiber should be part of an overall healthy diet, eating too much can produce some gassy results.
2. Swallowing A Lot of Air
When it comes to excess gas, it might not just be what your dog is eating but how your dog eats. If your doggy tends to wolf down food like there's no tomorrow, they could be swallowing a lot of air, which could result in excessive gas. Some dogs also tend to swallow more air when they eat and drink, especially brachycephalic breeds that have short skulls and noses as well as flattened faces.
These breeds include French and English bulldogs, pugs, boxers, and Boston terriers. Like the gas formed in their digestive tract, this swallowed air is also released by farting. In this case, you might hear your dog expel extra gas, but chances are you won't smell it since it's just air and not food-related.
3. Medical Conditions
If your dog's gas presents itself alongside other symptoms, such as diarrhea, bloating, vomiting, weight loss, or loss of appetite, it could be a sign of a serious underlying health issue. To get a proper diagnosis, always consult your veterinarian. Some of the possible medical problems that might lead to your canine companion having excessive gas could be:
- Intestinal parasites
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Food allergies or intolerances (your vet may conduct an allergy test)
6 Ways To Prevent or Reduce Dog Flatulence
Now that you know some of the common causes that might explain why your dog has bad gas suddenly, here are some solutions that may help curb your dog's farting situation. As always, talk to your vet who can work with you to pinpoint the cause of the gas and design a treatment plan specifically for your pet.
1. Keep Your Dog's Diet Balanced
Feeding your dog high-quality dog food made with nutritious whole food ingredients may help reduce excessive gas. If your pet's kibble is loaded with processed ingredients, it might be time to rethink their meal plan.
For example, when reading food labels, look for real meat (such as chicken or lamb) instead of meat meal, peas rather than pea protein, or brown rice instead of rice starch. Healthy food should also be free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, GMOs, and gumming and thickening agents.
Be sure to introduce a new food slowly — doing so abruptly can disrupt your doggy's digestive system and induce gassiness, diarrhea, and other unwanted symptoms. Your vet may also recommend a low-fiber, low-fat diet that's more digestible for your pet.
2. Break Up Mealtime
Along with modifying your dog's diet, consider feeding your dog several smaller meals throughout the day rather than one big feast. Doing so will give your pooch's digestive system time to break down food in between feedings rather than all at once.
3. Slow Down Your Pet's Eating
If your dog eats too quickly, consider a slow feeder dog bowl. These specially designed bowls make it harder to get at the food so your dog eats more slowly. And as with humans, slowing down and chewing food more thoroughly can improve digestion and thereby reduce bloating and gassiness.
4. Give Your Dog Probiotics
One of the best ways to address your dog's gut health is with canine probiotics. Scientific research shows that just as with humans, these "good gut bacteria" bolster your dog's digestive health, immune system, and overall well-being. Consider giving your pet a high-quality supplement such as PetHonesty's probiotic chews, which promote better digestion and can be an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
5. Hold Back on Human Food
Giving your beloved Bella a few bites of human food every now and again isn't a big deal (as long as you know which specific foods are safe for dogs). However, it's best to resist the urge to share table scraps and leftovers as these could lead to excessive gas and other issues.
6. Keep Your Pet Active
You know the value of exercise for your own body, and it's no different for your four-legged friend. To help quell your dog's gas problem, take them out for a walk within 30 minutes or so after a meal. Getting your dog to move at a comfortable pace can help with digestion and gas elimination.
Don't Panic If Your Dog Has Bad Gas Suddenly
As a loving pet parent, you always want to make sure your precious four-legged family member is healthy and happy. As funny as it might sound, flatulence is a natural part of life — for both pets and humans — so it's not something that you can ever completely avoid or eradicate.
That said, if you notice your pooch is having bouts of bad gas more often than usual or it occurs with other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, or bloating, be sure to contact your vet right away. You know your dog better than anyone, so use your best judgment and don't try to diagnose your dog all on your own. For more helpful tips and information, check out the PetHonesty blog.