We all know the feeling, that sharp burn up your nostrils, that pong that makes you want to hang your head out the car window, that sulphur smell that can clear a room. How can such stench come from such a little body?! It’s bad enough when you are home alone with your dog, but with guests around you can’t help but wonder if they think it came from you and you’re just blaming the dog.
The big question, is such flatulence normal?
Flatulence, breaking wind, dropping bunnies, shooting fairies, farting, tooting, passing gas, letting rip, whatever you like to call it, is caused by the body’s inability to break down and properly digest certain foods. These poorly digested foods ferment in the gut and cause a buildup of gas which is expelled from the anus.
What is considered ‘normal’?
Just like humans, our pets expel smelly gas too. It’s just something we all do. A bit of wind here and there is quite normal and necessary to avoid bloating and other uncomfortable conditions. While we can’t stop our dogs from doing this completely, there are ways to help them be less smelly and less frequent.
What can cause increased flatulence?
Breeds with stump or short noses are more prone to excessive gas, reason being that they swallow a lot more air than the average dog does while eating and drinking. Dogs who eat very fast, or as some like to say “inhale their food” may also suffer from increased flatulence. Think about it, all that air needs to come out somewhere.
Human food or table scraps can be adding to the problem. Falling for those big brown puppy eyes, the pawing, whining, and head peeping out from under the table is doing no one any favours. Be strong, resist.
Foods that particularly upset our dog’s tummies are soybeans, pulses, peas, dairy products, foods high in fats, as well as spicy foods.2 Some dogs may have food allergies too. If they get all sorts of treats throughout the day, it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly which of these is causing the problem. Avoid giving your dog spoiled or expired food too. If the food is too old for you to eat, it’s probably the same for your dog too.
Always give your dog the best quality pet food that you can afford. Consult your vet to find out what would be the best options for your dog’s breed, age, and weight. Some of the low-quality pet food brands have high amounts of grain, corn, or soy. These ingredients are used as a filler in their product and can cause digestive issues. Carrageenan is another ingredient to look out for – it is used as a binding agent and high amounts can lead to inflammatory bowel disease.2 Always do your research into the various brands of food and be sure to read the ingredients lists.
When changing your dog’s diet, do so gradually as recommended on the pack. Whether it be from kibble to raw or cooked, or simply changing from one brand of food to another. A sudden change in food may cause an upset stomach.
Signs that there may be a bigger problem:
- A significant increase in flatulence.
- If the increased flatulence is accompanied with other issues such as
- a lack in appetite
- changes in mood.
If you are concerned about your dog’s digestion or if they are presenting any of the above, consult your vet immediately. Your pet may be suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal disease, pancreatic disease, intestinal parasites, or other serious medical issues.2 These conditions all need to be treated and managed professionally.
Tips in reducing those stinky, frequent toots:
1. Relook your dog’s diet
If you have cut out human food scraps, and are feeding a premium quality dog food, and your dog still has flatulence issues, consult your vet. Your dog may have an intolerance or allergy to a certain protein or other ingredient in the pet food that you are unaware of.
Opt for a highly digestible diet which is low in fiber and fat. If you are feeding your dog raw or cooked veggies, stay away from cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and the likes.3 Rather give more root vegetables such as pumpkin, butternut, sweet potato, and carrots.
2. Rebuild and maintain their gut health
Good health starts in the gut – this is where all the micronutrients from their food gets broken down and absorbed into the body for nourishment and vitality. The microbiome in the gut is responsible for good immunity, it helps to reduce inflammation in the body and assists in protecting the body against food intolerances and allergies.1 Now, without getting too technical, good gut health can be maintained through healthy, appropriate food, prebiotics, and probiotics. Why both pre- and probiotics? Well because you need to ensure that the gut flora (probiotics) is provided with an ideal environment to thrive in. Prebiotics feeds the gut flora, ensuring good gut bacteria and in turn, a good digestive tract. Consult your vet for the best pre- and probiotics for your pet.
What we can recommend if your dog is showing signs of minor or slight nausea, a bit of an upset stomach and increased flatulence are the following products. The Living Naturally team have used these products in their own pets with wonderful results.
Pegasus Pets’ D.V.C. 30C (Diarrhea, Vomiting & Cramping)
This is a homeopathic remedy for the treatment of gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and more. Dose as per instructions on the pack.
Canigest is a complementary feed stuff for dogs that consists of a combination of probiotics, prebiotics, glutamine, kaolin and pectin. These ingredients work together in supporting the digestive tract as well as treating some digestive issues which are causing the flatulence. Dose as per instructions on the pack.
If you pet has not shown an improvement within 4 – 6 hours of dosing these products, please consult your vet immediately as the issue may be serious.
Yes, that’s right, exercise. Research has proven that exercise helps to reduce flatulence in both humans and dogs.3 Take your dog for a nice long walk before and after work if possible or encourage more playtime to help ensure all those trapped gasses are released before bedtime when you are all together indoors.
Once you understand your dog’s digestive sensitivities better, you can make informed decisions regarding his or her diet to help avoid those potent stink bombs. The rule of thumb is to avoid unhealthy snacking that mostly consists of human food, and rather opt for pet friendly treats that are low in carbs and easily digestible. An afternoon walk may just do you both wonders too.
- Crnec, I., 2022. Dog Gut Health: Everything You Need to Know. [online] Veterinarians.org. Available at: https://www.veterinarians.org/dog-gut-health/ [Accessed 5 July 2022].
- Petmd.com. 2022. Managing Flatulence in Dogs | Diet to Relieve Excess Gas in Dog | PetMD. [online] Available at: https://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ktudor/2012/nov/managing_flatulence_in_dogs-29443 [Accessed 5 July 2022].