Facts About Flatulence in Dogs You Need to Know

5 Things You Should Know About Gassy Pets

Tired dog on sofa still watching
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Flatulence is as common in dogs and cats as it is in humans. It happens. Sometimes it goes unnoticed whereas other times you may wonder if it was more than just gas.

It Might Not Be Gas

The first consideration is to ask yourself how your pet might be feeling overall. If your pet is exhibiting any of the following issues, check with your vet to see if it's okay to watch and wait or if it's necessary to rule out a medical problem.

  • Not eating
  • Depressed or lethargic
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loud gut sounds
  • Painful abdomen
  • Pacing, panting, and anxious

If you answered "no" to the above checklist, it's important to know that sometimes normal anal sac secretions, as well as diarrhea on the hair coat or tail, mimic the odors of flatulence. Check the tail and hair coat for evidence of smelly substances.

Certain Foods May Cause Gas

There are many potential gas-causing foods, and what causes problems for one pet may not affect another pet at all. Close observation and keeping track of what foods your dog can't digest very well can help avoid future flatulence. Excess table scraps, especially meat that adds to a diet of pet food with protein, can cause gas in your dog. Here are some common culprits in pet food that can result in gas:

  • Protein source: Your pet may not tolerate chicken, fish, or other protein sources in commercial pet food, leading to pockets of intestinal gas.
  • Carbohydrates and grains: Your dog may be irritated by pet food that includes corn, wheat, potatoes, barley, or rice.
  • Legumes: Pay attention to dog food with beans, including peas and soybeans.

A dog that may get into the garbage and consume spoiled foods, wrappers, and other irritating items, might have gas. After picking at garbage, your pet may not feel well and warrant veterinary attention as soon as possible.

Eating Too Fast May Cause Gas

A dog that gulps down its food and barely chews may also produce gas. Dogs who quickly ingest food may also be swallowing food with air, which ends up as burping, belching, or flatulence. Fast-eating canines may develop bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus), which is also a concern.

Treats, Chew Toys, Medications, and Nutritional Supplements

Your pet may be consuming other things besides food. If the suspected gas-causing item is a treat, toy, medication, or nutritional supplement, note when the gas started. Try lactose-free dog treats to see if it has a positive effect on flatulence. Your pet's chew toys may be irritating the digestive tract resulting in gas. If the medication or supplement was prescribed or recommended by your veterinarian, discuss the problem with your vet to see if there are any treatment alternatives that your pet is better able to digest.

There Is Help for Gassy Pets

In addition to all of the considerations above, there are other options for helping your flatulent pet when all else fails:

  • Probiotics: For pets who are feeling fine (not lethargic, vomiting, or otherwise sick) and don't have special dietary or medication concerns, a dollop of plain or vanilla yogurt will help calm down gassy guts. There are also several brands of probiotics (beneficial, healthy intestinal bacteria) for pets that contain dog-specific microbes to enhance gut health.
  • Supplements: Your veterinarian might suggest over-the-counter aids which can reduce intestinal gas, including enzyme-based supplements (known as Beano) or simethicone-based medicines (known as Gas-X and Mylanta Gas).