You love being with your dog for so many reasons — the cuddles, the kisses, the companionship — but there’s one thing that can put the kibosh on couch time: a stink bomb.
If your dog’s farts are moving from laughable to living in an unbearable bubble, it could be time to consult with a professional about how to help fix it.
We asked Dr. Cathy Meeks, a veterinarian with BluePearl Veterinary Partners, who is board-certified in internal medicine, for her insight into getting to the bottom of your dog’s gas problem.
“A lot of times dogs will get like that if they’re being fed a variety of foods,” she says. “They could be getting their dog food but they might also be getting a bunch of table scraps, people food, maybe getting into the cat food.”
Taking note of a dog’s diet is the first step to determining the cause — read on for more information.
Focus on their food.
In general, Meeks says, “dogs and cats don’t do so well by switching diets.” Her first bit of advice would be to keep your flatulent dog on a regular diet without a lot of variety to see if that corrects the problem. If it persists, you may need to try a different dog food — it’s possible your dog could be allergic to the main protein in the food he’s eating, such as chicken. Meeks suggests trying what is called a novel protein dog food, a food with a different protein source such as venison. To read more about food allergies, click here.
Rule out sickness.
Meeks says certain illness can cause a dog to be gassy — and she points to parasites and other conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease. You’re not going to solve this stinky problem on your own, therefore it’s best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to figure out what could be troubling your dog.
Swallowing air causes gas.
Doing that isn’t as easy as it may sound. “Any swallowed air can result in excess gas,” Meeks explains. “The causes of excess air can range from strenuous exercise, lung diseases (like asthma for example), upper airway problems (this is common in brachycephalic breeds like Pugs and French Bulldogs). It is rare to swallow too much air randomly unless the above are happening.” Talk with your veterinarian about the aforementioned things to determine if your pup is at risk.
Some dogs are just more sensitive than others.
Just like your tummy is more sensitive to certain foods, so are the bellies of some dogs. Meeks suggests trying several diets to find the right one. “Look for diets with ‘sensitive stomach’ on there or a hypoallergenic diet which their vet can help them find,” she says. “In some cases dogs can be so sensitive to food it causes an inflammation (inflammatory bowel disease or IBD for short) which can require medications. Diet changes are typically tried to address IBD first though.”
If you are trying out a new diet, make sure that food is the only one he or she is eating. “When an animal is on a diet trial, that means they cannot have anything else (i.e. no flavored treats, no flavored heartworm medications, no table scraps) otherwise the diet trial will be ineffective,” she adds.
It can take time and lots of observation to figure out the root cause of your dog’s gas, but your nose will thank you later. For more information on general nutrition for pets, visit BluePearl’s website.
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