Why do dogs have bad gas? Problems with farts

I’ll always remember Fritz, our German Shorthair/Pointer mix. What a wonderful pooch he was and after more than 40 years, I still miss him. However, that boy could clear a room with his flatulence! My brother and I would be in the living room with Fritz while he laid on the floor. Suddenly without warning, the odor would hit us like a ton of bricks. And, we knew the origins of that aroma. So, we’d look over at him and say a long, drawn-out “Friiiiiitz.” He would lazily hoist one eye lid and look at us as if to say “Yep, that was a good one!” You may ask, “Why do dogs have bad gas?” Let’s explore possible reasons and discuss how we might address the problem.

Diet

Low-quality foods that your dog can’t completely digest can cause gas. Other culprits include table scraps, especially those containing lactose and indigestible carbohydrates. A diet with a high meat content is also a possible cause. Also consider that your dog may have food allergies and you need to find out which foods cause an allergic reaction.

Walter the farting dog book coverGI Illness

Disorders of the GI tract can cause excess gas production. Some of these disorders are Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), intestinal parasites, an overgrowth of small intestinal bacteria, tumors, and Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI).

Issues in the GI tract can lead to imbalances in the micro flora of your dog’s stomach/small intestines and these organisms are responsible for excess gas.

Aerophagia

It’s widely believed that when dogs eat too fast and gulp air, it can lead to increased gas. Brachycephalic (flat faced and short nose) breeds like Shih Tzus, Chihuahuas and Pugs are especially prone.

Underlying health issues

Also consider that your pooch may have an underlying health issue that you need to address. It’s also possible that if he’s taking any medications, they could be responsible.

Treating/preventing dog farts

Bull dog farting on another Bull DogFood/eating changes

Yes, there are measures to take when dealing with doggie gas. Probably the number one treatment is feeding him a consistent and healthy diet.

Make sure to feed him nutritious and highly digestible food. It probably wouldn’t hurt to do a little research to find the best fit for your best friend. Foods that can cause excessive gas include soy, dairy, peas, beans and fruit.

When choosing a food, be aware of low-quality fillers such as corn products that make him feel full but aren’t nutrition-rich.

I know it’s tempting when he parks himself under the dinner table and waits for human food. But, don’t give in no matter how much he flashes those puppy eyes. It’s quite possible that some of the table scraps contain allergens.

If your pooch inhales his food, that’s a possible cause of gas as stated above because of the amount of air intake. He may gulp his food because he feels competition from other dogs in the house. If you’re a multi-dog household, you might try separating them at feeding times to eliminate the competition and reduce stress. You can also try putting an obstacle in his bowl, like a tennis ball, to slow him down.

There are also special pet food bowls that are designed to help short-nosed dogs as mentioned above eat more comfortably and swallow less air. There are even some brands of dry food made with these kinds of dogs in mind.

Other tricks you can try are elevating food bowls and adding water. By adding water you make your dog use his tongue to lap his food and this makes it harder to shovel

It’s very important that you know your dog’s allergies and food sensitivities, so do your research and steer clear of certain foods.

Some dogs are lactose intolerant. In my opinion and in any case, it’s best to avoid dairy.

Introduce one diet change at a time so you can see which of the modifications work.

Supplements/natural remedies

You can also try probiotics. The benefits of these are debated among professionals but many agree they can help your dog’s gas problem. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations.

You might consider dietary supplements as well. Using Yucca Schidigera and/or zinc may decrease the odor of the gas but not necessarily the frequency.

Activated charcoal could also do the trick.

Ginger is another natural remedy but is pretty intense. Therefore, consider giving it in capsule form.

You can smash up the leaves of peppermint into his food and see if that does the trick.

Nux Vomica is a homeopathic remedy that you should give away from food.

Again, you should consult your veterinarian before embarking on these ideas.

Exercise

A simple walk within 30 minutes of eating can move that gas along and will allow your dog to release his mother lode outdoors instead of in your home!

ConclusionDog fart awareness day poster

It’s natural for animals, including humans, to fart. You can probably let an occasional fart pass (get it?). But, (get it again?) if there’s a problem and you find yourself asking, “Why do dogs have bad gas?”, try to find the source and then try the various ideas listed here.

We love comments so be sure to leave yours below.

10 comments on “Why do dogs have bad gas? Problems with farts

  1. Josie

    My dog used to have awful gas! She had a rough start to life, having been taken from her mum at only 4 weeks of age, and it took a long time to find a diet that supported her tummy rather than upset it. I still give her probiotics daily, and when she has a tummy upset, a small sprinkling of slippery elm powder helps her. I have used Nux Vomica on a previous dog as an alternative treatment, and  it helped a lot – I hadn’t even thought of using it with the girl I have now! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Josie:

      It sounds like you’re well-versed in the area of dog gas! Glad to hear that the slippery elm is beneficial as well as the Nux Vomica.

      Thank you for reading my post and sharing your experiences!

      Reply
  2. Dave Sweney

    What a humorous and useful post you have published on this smelly subject! I have always wondered why do dogs fart so much and also why they seem to have gas more than our cats (but they are also in the game on this one). Your own experiences with Fritz mirror ours with our two dogs.

    This is why I read with interest your laying out some remedies that we can try to minimize this in our family. Although the post was focusing on dogs, I am pretty sure some of the tips will also help with the two cats. The food is where we will look first, then the exercise angle (getting them out for some exercise regularly after they eat), and finally the probiotics is a possible help too.

    Living with farts is not an easy thing to do. Unlike humans, dogs do not take any consideration of those around them when they need to let one rip, nor do the cats, so it is up to use to arm ourselves through using the suggestions you have provided. Thanks for the laugh and wisdom it started my morning off right!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Dave:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed my post! I’m sure all animals fart and some are just smellier than others. If it came down to it, I wonder if I would rather live with a dog who constantly farted or a human who did the same. It’s a philosophical question everyone should ponder!

      As far as the cats are concerned, I’ll bet the remedies will help them and any mammal who’s full of gas!

      Reply
  3. Karsha

    I love this !  I had a joyful time reading it. I love your jokes

    Our poochy pals are just like us – depending on what we eat or what we’ve got going on in our gut – will determine how much hot air we blow out …

    Elevated food bowls are an excellent idea – I hadn’t thought about how much air was being swallowed by the dog eating excitedly – or due to the competition – these are valid points and a really great idea. Thankyou!!

    Even for me – eating processed food and junky foods can certainly create more gas… It’s a good idea to get a healthy nutritious food for our little friends – I found your link to the healthy food options for dogs and that was very helpful too, thankyou!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Karsha:

      Thank you for your comments!

      I really am fond of the elevated bowl idea too. I think many people don’t realize that when a dog gulps a lot of air while eating, it has to come out somewhere!

      Healthy eating is the way to go for both humans and our wonderful animal companions. However, there will always be gas to some extent no matter what we eat.

      Reply
  4. Karen

    Hi there, interesting article. I was particularly interested in the correlation between diet, exercise and excess wind. It’s made me wonder if I need to be giving my dogs more exercise than they are currently getting. I am definitely going to implement some of the suggestions you’ve made here. I wonder if the same could apply to husbands? Cheers, Karen

    Reply
    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Karen:

      Thank for reading my post and considering some of the suggestions.

      I bet this information could apply to husbands. If you have a husband with gas (and what husband doesn’t have gas?), maybe taking him out for a walk will help!

      Reply
  5. Stormy

    Thank you for such an informative article! I honestly would not have thought about supplements or probiotics. I’m so glad that you included a comment about not feeding doggies table scraps! I think so many people are unaware that when they are trying to give their dog a treat, they are doing more harm than good. 

    Reply
    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Stormy:

      About the table scraps – the last place you want your dog to fart is under the dinner table – Am I right? And, like I said, your dog is bound to eat something that’s not good for her when eating human food.

      Thanks!

      Reply

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