Gas (or farts, toots, flatulence, the vapors—pick your term) is a fact of life, so trying to stop dog farts is futile. However, you should pay attention to your dog’s toots. The production of excessive amounts or of especially foul smelling gas can be a sign of a health problem.
Why Do Dogs Fart?
Farting is simply the body’s way of releasing gasses that have accumulated in the lower reaches of the digestive tract. The bacteria that normally live there break down nutrients for their own use, and in the process, they also support your dog’s health. The downside of these services is the gas they release.
Every dog’s situation is unique, so it’s impossible to say just how much farting is normal across the board. But, if your dog’s gas production increases, becomes significantly stinkier, is associated with symptoms of illness, or adversely affects your quality of life, it’s time to talk to your veterinarian.
Why Does My Dog Fart So Much?
Excessive dog farts can arise from a number of sources:
Swallowed Air: Dogs that eat quickly often swallow air along with their food. If they don’t burp up the air, it will exit the body in farts.
Diet: Dog foods that are low in quality or contain lots of peas, beans or dairy products can lead to problem flatulence. They are often incompletely digested, leaving lots of nutrients for bacteria within the large intestine to work on. A similar situation can occur if a dog gets into the trash or finds something unusual to eat. Diets that contain a lot of meat may lead to especially stinky farts due to their high sulfur content.
Health Problems: Disorders that alter the functioning of the digestive tract can also lead to farting. Possibilities include inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal parasites or infections, cancer, food allergies or intolerances, pancreatitis and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. In these cases, excessive gassiness is usually combined with other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, changes in appetite and weight loss.
How to Reduce Excessive Dog Farting
If you have any concerns about your dog’s well-being or diet, talk to your veterinarian, but there are steps you can take at home to reduce excessive farting in an otherwise healthy dog.
The Impact of Nutrition on Dog Farting
Since diet plays such a big role in gas production, it makes sense to start here. The first thing to do is simplify your dog’s diet. For at least two weeks, eliminate treats, table scraps and anything unusual your dog might be eating. If the farting improves, you have narrowed down your list of culprits.
If simplification doesn’t do the trick, look at the dog food you are offering, but Dr. Betsy Brevitz, DVM, and author of the Complete Healthy Dog Handbook, cautions, “Dogs are highly individual, so things that bother one dog won’t bother another one.”
Start with a diet that is labeled for dogs with a sensitive stomach or as being highly digestible. Avoid foods that are extremely protein rich, are high in fiber, or contain peas, beans or dairy products. Another option is to go for a limited ingredient food like one based on chicken and rice. Experiment until you find the diet that works for your pooch.
Regardless of what diet you choose for your dog, make sure he is not eating it too fast. Food puzzles or specially designed bowls like the Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl can help.
How Exercise Can Reduce Dog Gas
Lack of exercise can also lead to flatulence.
“Exercise helps dog gas work its way out more gradually instead of building up,” Dr. Brevitz says.
If your dog’s toots are still super-smelly after a diet change, bump up your pet’s exercise routine. Go for longer walks, play more intense games of fetch, or find a place where your furry friend can run off-leash for a while.
Best Supplements for Your Dog’s Digestion
Certain supplements and herbs can also help with your pup’s digestion and curb dog farting. Talk to your veterinarian to see if the following remedies would work for your farting furball.
Like all mammals (including humans), your pup’s gastrointestinal tract is teeming with bacteria. Probiotics contain millions of helpful bacteria that can maintain a healthy gut and aid in digestion, says Dr. Rachel Barrack, DVM, an integrative veterinarian, certified Chinese herbalist and the owner of Animal Acupuncture in New York City.
Vets frequently recommend probiotics when pets are taking antibiotics (which can kill off good bacteria along with the bad). But you can also give them probiotics for general gassiness or for stressful situations, especially if your dog tends to suffer GI upsets when he’s emotionally distressed.
Stick with a probiotic that’s made for dogs, which is specially formulated for the microflora in your pup’s stomach. And always give them to your pup under your veterinarian’s guidance, Dr. Barrack says.
Fennel seeds can relax the gastrointestinal tract and allow the gas to escape instead of building up, Dr. Barrack explains. That’s why it’s frequently used to combat flatulence and bloating in dogs. Try mixing this nutritional supplement from Honest Kitchen, which contains fennel and papaya (another digestive aid) in with your pet’s food.
Ginger is a time-tested remedy for an upset stomach.
“It’s also a potent anti-inflammatory that can relieve inflammation throughout the body, including an inflamed or upset GI tract,” Dr. Barrack says.
While you can sprinkle powdered ginger or grate peeled raw ginger into your pup’s kibble, many dogs don’t like its sharp taste. Try Vet’s Best Gas Buster’s Supplement; it not only contains ginger but also other helpful herbs, such as slippery elm, which keeps the intestinal tract lubricated and speeds up waste elimination and reduces GI inflammation. It also has parsley, which will reduce stinky doggie gas and freshen your pet’s breath.
If the smell of your dog’s farts is your biggest problem, look for a supplement that includes Yucca schidigera, like the No Toot Soft-Chews by Naturvet. A 2001 study showed that Yucca, as well as zinc acetate and activated charcoal, can significantly reduce the smell, but unfortunately not the volume, of dog farts.