Do Dogs Fart?
By Chyrle Bonk, DVM August 03, 2020
If you’ve ever changed your dog’s food or witnessed them with a bit of an upset tummy, you’re definitely aware that dogs fart. Some dog parents are all too familiar with dog farts on a daily basis. But that doesn’t mean that any of us are appreciative or even used to our canine companion’s expulsion of gas. If you’ve ever wondered what causes dogs to fart or want to help your dog reduce their flatulence, then continue reading for more information.
Do Dogs Fart?
Dogs absolutely fart. They can either fart loudly, causing awkward moments between you and your houseguests, or they can fart silently, creating a potent smell like few others in this world. Some dogs fart more than others and for a variety of different reasons.
Is Farting Natural In Dogs?
Occasional farting in dogs is completely normal. Gas is normally produced in the intestine from the breakdown of food particles by bacteria. That gas is then released either up through the mouth as a burp or through the opposite direction as a fart. The amount of gas that’s produced depends on several factors, including the type of food being broken down, the bacteria, and the dog themselves.
What Are The Causes Of Gas In Dogs?
Again, many factors are at play when it comes to the production of gas in our pups. Knowing which one is to blame will help you if you’re trying to clear the air and decrease your dog’s farting frequency.
Common culprits for excessive gas in dogs are diet changes and dietary indiscretion. You may have noticed your dog food labels explaining the transition period when changing to a new food. Most labels will recommend a gradual transition of mixing old food with new food for at least a week in order to prevent an upset tummy that causes gas. A dog’s microbiome, the good bacteria that live in their gut and are part of their digestion, get used to certain types of food. If the food changes, then the microbiome needs time to change as well in order to better digest the new food. So sudden changes can throw a dog’s digestion in for a loop and cause more gas production than normal.
Eating things that we’d rather our dogs didn’t is another cause of high gas production. Roaming the yard in search of bugs and plants, or snapping up mice and animal droppings on a hike may all cause an increase in gas production. Also, picking through your garbage or table scraps can be a contributor as well.
- Food Intolerance
Most people are able to recognize high gas producing foods (beans, broccoli, etc) that are causing an issue with excess gas. However, dogs are stuck with the same old type of food day in and day out. So, it’s up to you to recognize when your dog’s diet is to blame. Sometimes it’s a matter of digestibility of the food product, in the case of high fiber foods like beans, and sometimes it’s a matter of a food intolerance. Food intolerance is when a pup has trouble digesting something on an individual basis. For example, some dogs are lactose intolerant, so feeding any dairy products will cause excessive gas.
Other foods that dogs may have trouble with include brans, soybeans, peas, high fat or spicy foods.
- Eating Fast
Some dogs are like vacuums and appear to inhale their dog food. When they do this, they take in more than just kibble. Often, mouthfuls of air go in with the big gulps of food as well. The air has to go somewhere, and it often finds an exit in the form of farts.
- Gastrointestinal Disease
Certain ailments that bother your dog’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract can also increase their gas production. Diseases like gastritis, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal parasites, pancreatitis, colitis, and cancer can increase a dog’s farting frequency. Usually these illnesses are also accompanied by other symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain and should be checked out by your veterinarian.
Some dog breeds and lines do seem to be more prone to gas than others. While there doesn’t seem to be a true study outlining these dog breeds, many dog parents will testify that their boxer, bulldog, etc seems to be overly gassy.
Do Some Dog Breeds Fart More Than Others?
It’s hard to find a true, scientific study out there to prove it, but some breeds do seem more flatulent than others. This is usually due to having sensitive systems, the way they eat and breath, their propensity to eat things they shouldn’t, or their anatomical makeup.
Bulldogs and Boxers seem to be more prone to gas because of their sensitive systems and their brachycephalic (smushed in) airways. This makes slight changes in diet a problem and causes them to swallow more air. Dobermans possess an impossibly deep chest that makes bloat and gastric dilation and volvulus a problem, so gassiness could go hand-in-hand. Golden Retrievers and Labs are often on this list, most likely due to their inhalation of every meal. We can’t leave out Beagles, their farts are often as loud as their bay, probably because they are susceptible to a variety of digestive issues, any of which can cause gas.
Just because your best friend isn’t one of these breeds of dogs doesn’t mean that they won’t naturally create more gas than most. Excess gas really comes down to an individual basis. If you’re ever worried about your dog’s gas production, chat with your veterinarian.
When Is Excessive Gas A Sign Of A More Serious Problem?
Since we now know that some gas is normal for every pup, it’s important to focus on when gas becomes a problem. First of all, any excessive gas that is accompanied by other symptoms should be seen by your veterinarian. The symptoms include:
- Decreased appetite
- Abdominal discomfort
- Weight loss
- Bloody feces
Other times you might be concerned with your dog’s gas is if there is a sudden uptick in the frequency or potency of those farts. If your dog was normally pretty discrete but can now clear a room, it might be time to check in with your veterinarian.
Are There Remedies For Gas In Dogs?
In order to clear up the foul air surrounding your pup, the first thing you’ll want to do is to make sure there isn’t something more serious that is causing their gassiness. See your veterinarian to rule out digestive diseases and food intolerance that could be behind those farts. Your vet may run blood work, do imaging and suggest a change in diet.
A less gassy diet is something that is highly digestible with whole meats, less fiber and fat. It should also be free from those gas-producing foods such as peas, beans, and dairy. You may have to experiment with a few different diets to find the perfect fit. But generally speaking, diets labeled for digestive health or allergies are a good place to start.
You should also omit table scraps and other people food from their meals as some of those ingredients just aren’t meant to be tackled by a canine GI tract. Locking up your trash and keeping them leashed during walks can help as well.
Boosting exercise can also help. Getting moving helps to keep the digestive tract working as well, moving that gas out in smaller, more manageable pieces, or at least out doors where smell isn’t so much of an issue.
If your veterinarian has determined that your pooch’s gas issues are normal, they may recommend probiotics to support a healthy microbiome or some other over-the-counter medications to help as well. Yucca extract, bismuth subsalicylate, and activated charcoal may help clear up some of that gas, but never give your dog any of these without first consulting your veterinarian.
How Can Gas Be Prevented In Dogs?
If your pup is prone to more gas than usual, or if you’d rather not find out if they are or not, you can try to prevent gas. Start with a highly digestible diet. Again, something that contains whole meats, less fillers, and lower fiber and fat is best. Avoid table scraps and people food and increase their exercise. If your dog has some food intolerance or allergy issues, make sure you’re not feeding those problematic ingredients. Trying a novel protein and carbohydrate diet, such as venison, buffalo, or lamb may be what they’re looking for.
Probiotics can be a great addition to any pup’s diet, gassy or not. Probiotics help support and repopulate the microbiome, keeping the good bacteria where they should be and helping to keep the bad bacteria out. Probiotics for dogs can come from many different sources, including some supplements specially formulated for the purpose, or they simply can come from plain yogurt.
You can slow down those gobbling air swallowers by feeding smaller meals more frequently or by incorporating a slow feeder type bowl. These bowls have ridges or bumps in them that create obstacles that keep your pup from gulping down mouthfuls of food at one time. Instead, they have to pick around the bumps and ridges for smaller bites of kibble, slowing them down so that they hopefully swallow less air. The same idea can be accomplished with a food dispensing toy or puzzle.
Gas is a part of every dog’s life. How big of a part it plays depends on each dog individually. If your pup’s excessive gas is accompanied by other digestive symptoms or if it’s just getting to be too much to handle, enlist your veterinarian for help. Often, a change in diet and exercise is all that’s needed to curb your dog’s farts.