Why is My Dog Gassy and What Can I Do About It?
Let’s talk about the silent yet deadly elephant in the room. You know the one. You try to ignore the first whiff, but now there is no denying that something’s up. You look around to find your dog smiling back, innocently ignoring their gassy interruption.
Flatulence (aka farting, we’re all mature here) is a result of excess gas in the gastrointestinal tract. It’s a completely normal biological process that can be linked with both dietary and non-dietary causes. Excessive gas can end up in the intestinal tract by being swallowed, produced during the digestion process, or caused by bacteria in the GI tract. Typically, the majority of these gases are odorless; those that seem noxious likely contain hydrogen sulfide.
Culprit #1: Swallowing Air
Dogs normally swallow some amount of air when eating. Our pups that eat very quickly tend to ingest more air with their meal. Dogs that aren’t able to breathe as well through their noses (brachycephalic breeds like pugs) may breathe more by mouth and in turn swallow more air.
Exercise that causes panting can even result in a larger amount of air being swallowed. What doesn’t come out by burping must come out the other end. Fortunately, this gas doesn’t usually have much odor.
Culprit #2: Eating Something New
Anything that can cause GI upset in dogs can also result in excessive gas. Feeding table scraps (especially fatty ones) or things that your dog isn’t used to can really upset their system, as can scarfing down garbage. Dairy products usually aren’t a good idea either, since most dogs are lactose intolerant. To help curb unwanted gaseous emissions, make sure to stick to a complete and balanced dog food.
Culprit #3: Their Daily Diet
Flatulence related to their dog food ingredients typically has something to do with the type and amount of carbs and dietary fiber in the formula. Carb sources are often cereal grains (corn, rice, barley), potatoes, legumes (peas, chickpeas, lentils), or a combination of these. Legumes are more likely to promote flatulence than any other carbohydrates (think beans!). Examples of dietary fibers in pet foods include tomato pomace, potato fiber, rice bran, dried chicory root, beet pulp, and miscanthus grass.
Dogs don’t digest dietary fiber, however, bacteria in the colon are able to break down the fibers and produce gas in the process. Some fibers, especially dried chicory root, are considered great prebiotics, supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. A high fiber diet usually leads to more gas-producing bacteria in the gut ultimately resulting in more gas. Some dogs respond better to certain fibers than others.
Culprit #4: Larger Health Issues
Several health issues can also affect gas production by altering the normal function of the GI tract. Flatulence can be a symptom of conditions such as food allergy or intolerance, intestinal parasites, pancreatitis, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency and cancer. We recommend consulting your vet if your dog repeatedly has excessive gas and especially if they are showing any additional symptoms.
Want to help their tummy get back on track? The best thing you can do is start by feeding a high quality, highly digestible diet. During independent studies, our Jinx recipes received top scores for palatability (how it tastes), digestibility (how your dog processes it), and stool quality (no explanation needed there). We even added prebiotics and a patented probiotic to our recipes to help support a healthy gut.
A few extra things you can try…
- Prevent your dog from eating too fast by using a puzzle feeder
- Feed smaller, more frequent meals
- Avoid foods containing lactose like milk or cheese
- Make sure your dog exercises regularly to help keep the GI tract functioning normally
- Switch up their diet (gradually transitioning of course) to try different ingredients and carb/fiber content
- Consult your veterinarian and address any concurrent medical issues