There is nothing quite as pungent as an unexpected dog fart! Sometimes they’re comedic little “parps”, whilst other times they’re silent stinkers. Although occasional dog flatulence is completely normal, you might want to do something about it if your pooch is emptying rooms on a regular basis!
Just like with humans, gas is produced during the digestion process when bacteria breaks down food in the gut and it’s the emission of this gas that we hear and smell. Flatulence can also be caused by gulping down air when eating. This is particularly true of flat-nosed breeds and dogs that eat too quickly. The air will either rise back up and be expelled as a burp, or travel through the system and be expelled at the other end. Better out than in, as they say!
There are many different factors that affect just how windy your canine companion may be. Most of them can be addressed easily with a few tweaks at home. However, if your dog suffers from excessive gas and seems uncomfortable, or is prone to loose stools or vomiting, these could be signs of an underlying health concern and you should contact your vet.
• Feed a high-quality complete dog food
A high quality dog food should contain natural ingredients that are easily digestible. Low quality dog food tends to be bulked out with low grade cereals and contain chemical additives and preservatives which aren’t easy for your dog to process. This then leads to poor digestion and farty bums!
• Feed an appropriate amount
If a dog is overfed, they’re going to get a build up of fermenting material sitting in their intestines which will lead to gas production. Make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s feeding guidelines for your dog’s ideal weight and take into consideration their age, activity level and neutering status. Remember to reduce their daily feeding amount to compensate for any extras such as treats, scraps, and dental chews. Splitting their daily feeding amount into smaller more frequent meals will also help.
• Be consistent with what you feed
Some dogs are sensitive to dietary changes and will experience increased gas if their food is switched without an adequate transition period, or simply by being given different treats and table scraps. If you do want to transition onto a different diet do so gradually over the course of at least 2 weeks to avoid your pooch getting an upset belly.
• Ensure your dog gets regular exercise
A lack of exercise can lead to constipation and result in gas build up as the digested food isn’t excreted in a timely manner. Unsurprisingly, overweight dogs are prone to constipation for the same reason. Got to get moving to keep things moving!
• Support the gut
Sometimes dogs can experience imbalances in their gut, particularly if they’ve been unwell. Probiotics can help restore the good bacteria and resolve the imbalances.
• Encourage slow feeding
Anti-gulp bowls are a great solution as they have raised sections that your dog has to eat around. There are also a vast assortment of puzzle feeders available which not only slows them down but also provides an enjoyable challenge and mental enrichment. Alternatively, you can scatter kibble around so they only get a few bits at a time, this is particularly fun to do outside because dog’s love to snuffle in the grass.
• Be wary of dairy!
Most dogs are lactose intolerant and lack the specific lactase enzyme needed to digest dairy products. This is why doggy ice creams are either dairy free or have added lactase so that your pooch can break down the milk sugars without the gassy side effects! It’s worth noting that some dogs have other dietary intolerances as well, this is worth investigating if your dog is excessively gassy and has other issues such as itchy skin or faecal abnormalities.
• Use worming treatments regularly
A high parasitic burden can contribute to excess gas production as well as a reduction in nutrient absorption and weight loss. The general rule of thumb is to use a broad spectrum wormer monthly, and a tape worm treatment every 3 months.
Do you have a particularly pungent pooch? If your dog’s flatulence is diet related, contact one of our nutritional advisers for free advice and support today.