Well, I never planned on writing a blog on dog farts, but as it's an issue I sometimes get asked about, here we are. Fun fact: not all mammals fart! For example, the sloth does not fart. 1 If you're curious about what other mammals don't fart, check out the book published in 2018 called "Does it fart? A definitive guide to animal flatulence". I imagine the authors got many laughs and follow-up questions after answering the old "What are you working on?" question.
Now, onto dogs. While we know that all dogs pass gas, how much gas varies from canine to canine. Even among the three breeds I live with, it varies. I have rarely noticed any stink from my Standard Poodle or my Dandie Dinmont Terrier, but my Doberman Pinscher, well, that's another story! Certain breeds tend to experience farting more than others. Brachycephalic breeds (like French Bulldogs and Pugs) typically emit more gas than other breeds. 2 With their flatter faces, they take in more air when eating and drinking, and as the old adage goes, "what goes in, must come out." 3 Yes, this means that the gorgeous Pekingese Wasabi who won Westminster this past June might fart quite a bit. His people did not respond for comment.
What is Flatulence?
Flatulence occurs when a gas forms in a dog's stomach or intestine, then exits via the anus, causing the unpleasant smell and often funny sound.
What causes it?
Many things can cause Gassyness in dogs. While it is very normal, if your dog has extreme gas, you might want to look at what they are eating.
While a little bit of human food usually won’t harm a dog, regularly feeding table scraps can lead to a very stinky dog. Foods like beans, dairy products, and high fat as well as spicy foods tend to result in an upset digestive tract. 4 While your dog might enjoy them coming in, chances are you won’t like what comes out.
Did you change your dog's food recently? Sometimes, if it's done too quickly, a change in diet can cause gas. I usually take 7-10 days to change food, starting with a small amount of the new food (about 10% of the serving) and slowly go up day by day until the bowl is full of the new food about a week and a half later.
It's also essential to see if there's a food source that you don't know about. Are they getting into the garbage or compost heap? Double-check that your clever dog isn't grabbing snacks from either.
Have a look in the backyard. Is your dog experiencing loose stools? This could be a sign they've got an intolerance to something in their food. Talk to your vet to see what they think. It might be a process of elimination to figure out what exactly is making them sick.
Is there a natural way to tame it?
If your dog does have the occasional bit of bad gas and your veterinarian has ruled out that it's nothing serious, there are some natural ways that might help control it. Many people use pumpkin to help their dogs when they have diarrhea, and it also can help with gas. Pumpkin contains many helpful vitamins and minerals and can help remove excess water from your dog's digestive tract. 5 Pumpkin also lowers the acidity of the large intestines and provides probiotic benefits that support the good bacteria in your dog’s gut. 6
If you go with canned pumpkin, be sure that it is not pie filling canned pumpkin. Pumpkin is high in fiber and starchy vegetables, which means too much of this good thing can also be bad. 7 It is generally recommended that pumpkin make up less than 10% of your dog’s diet.8
You can also try to make your dog eat slower. Dog bowls designed to make it harder for dogs to gulp their food quickly can be found at most pet supply stores.
Higher quality dog food brands are now including prebiotics and probiotics in their formulas. Prebiotics and probiotics aid in digestion, and as such, could help lessen your dog's gas. Read your dog's food label and see what is inside.
When to worry
Excessive gas could be a sign of a more serious underlying cause. Conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal parasites, or pancreatic disease could be what's causing your dog's gas. 9 Often, if your dog is vomiting or experiencing diarrhea on top of the farting, it could mean that something is wrong. 10 Whenever you are concerned about your dog's wellbeing, its crucial to talk with your vet to get a better idea of what's going on.
Gas is a normal part of life. If your dog’s gas becomes troublesome, look at what they are eating, what’s on your grass, and book an appointment with their vet.
Please note that I am not a veterinarian, nor am I an animal health care professional. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the condition and/or the safety of your dog.
1 Vox, https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/4/3/17188186/does-it-fart-book-animal-farts-dinosaur-farts
2 Waunakee Vet Clinic, https://waunakeevetclinic.com/blog/171924-dog-farts-why-do-they-happen-so-often-and-how-can-we-help
3 Ibid., Waunakee Vet Clinic
4 Ibid., Waunakee Vet Clinic
5 Fetch by Wed MD, https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/can-i-give-dog-pumpkin#1
6 Ibid., Fetch by Wed MD
7 Ibid., Fetch by Wed MD
8 Ibid., Fetch by Wed MD
9 Ibid., Waunakee Vet Clinic
10 Ibid., Waunakee Vet Clinic