Dogs, like humans or other animals, can develop excess gas in their digestive tract. This is just a normal part of the digestion process; however, it can also be indicative of health issues, so it is important to know the difference between normal flatulence and those which can be a telltale sign for possible serious health issues.
During the normal digestion process, bacteria produce excess gas as they break down some types of food. This can result in foul-smelling passing of gas, but is rarely anything more than an inconvenience for the people around the dog. In certain instances, it can be indicative of severe health issues, so if you are a dog owner it is important to familiarize yourself with signs of flatulence so that you can seek proper veterinary care.
Causes of Flatulence in Dogs
The most significant contributor to flatulence in dogs is dietary, usually caused by low-quality dog food which may be difficult to digest and produce excess gas. High quality dog food is specifically designed to be dog-friendly, so feeding your dog random table scraps can result in flatulence as well. Beyond that, there may be some food sensitivities or allergies (or both) which can contribute to (or be the cause of) this problem.
- Eating too quickly or excessively can result in air getting trapped in the stomach as the food is wolfed down. This is termed aerophagia. This is not seen as the most likely or even plausible contributor to flatulence, some experts believe that it does occur.
- Food allergies or sensitivities can be a big reason why your dog is flatulent, so if you notice your dog passing gas excessively, make note of her diet, and try to identify foods to which she might be allergic or sensitive.
- Eating food not meant for dog can be a big problem. If your dog is sneaking into the garbage, eating your cat’s food, or being fed table scraps, then this can certainly result in flatulence, since those foods are not specifically designed for a dog’s health and nutrition needs.
- Lack of proper digestion can also result in flatulence. This is usually the result of undigested food which is not absorbed by the body fermenting in the digestive tract, and producing excess (and malodorous) gas.
If you notice signs of flatulence, it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian to catch and treat potential gastrointestinal issues before it is too late.
How to Prevent Flatulence
The most productive way to prevent flatulence or other types of gastrointestinal problems is to feed your dog a healthy and consistent diet, ideally one recommended by your veterinarian. There are also other steps you can take to reduce the chances of flatulence.
- Keep an eye on dog food ingredients and feed your dog high quality, low grain and fiber dog food. Especially be warry of fillers like corn, corn meal, ash, and low quality proteins. These ingredients make your dog feel full, while not providing the types of nutrients necessary for a healthy diet.
- Do not feed your dog table scraps (even if she makes puppy eyes or whines).
- If excess gas seems to be the result of eating too quickly, then you can split up her meals into two or even three portions instead of the usual one for an adult dog.
- Avoid dairy products, as some dogs can be lactose intolerant.
Ideally, dog owners should have complete control over their dog’s diet to prevent not only flatulence, but other health issues that can develop from a bad diet.