Flatulence in Dogs

In contrast to our four-legged friends, we humans can control and suppress our natural needs relatively well. However, if your dog has gas, he will not leave the room or get fresh air out of consideration. So if you want to know what you can do about it and what the causes of flatulence in dogs are read on.

Flatulence in dogs – what is it exactly?

If your four-legged friend has flatulence, this means that he is suffering from an overproduction of intestinal gases. And these intestinal gases are given off by your dog and therefore usually smell terrible.

A dog lying on the sofa having flatulence issues

These are noticeable through noises in the intestine and puffing. Serious illnesses and acute poisoning can also lead to flatulence, but they are rare.

The gas that is created enlarges both your dog’s stomach and intestines. This can be painful as you may have had a chance to notice yourself. As a result, the muscles and the mucous membrane layers of the organs wear out.

But the gases also have to make their way so they penetrate through the intestinal wall via the peritoneum to the back fascia. Unbelievably painful for our fur noses, because they cramp and harden. And that in turn can radiate all over your dog’s body.

What Causes Flatulence in Dogs?

If your dog has flatulence there is no need to worry, to put it bluntly, a fart does not make a dog sick. But if he has it recurring or even permanently, you should urgently get to the bottom of the cause and act.

A dog eating unhealthy food

The cause of flatulence can be of various types:

Improper nutrition

In most cases, they indicate improper nutrition for your dog. Just like us humans, our four-legged friends do not tolerate everything equally well. In addition, some types of food contain ingredients that are difficult to digest and that make it difficult for dogs to digest.

If your four-legged friend cannot eat the food components properly, the improperly processed food pulp will enter the intestine and be broken down by bacteria. That is why it is important to feed dogs healthy and balanced.

These foods are difficult to digest for dogs and are therefore unsuitable:

  • Dairy products
  • Table waste
  • Leftover food
  • Raw meat if the dog is not used to it
  • Foods that are poisonous to dogs, such as grapes, mushrooms, broccoli, cabbage, raw beans, and other legumes
  • Sugar
  • Fat
  • Gluten in cereals
  • Chicken eggs.

If your four-legged friend has a sensitive gastrointestinal tract, even too cold food is good for him, he may not be able to digest it properly. Changing their diet too suddenly or feeding them only once a day can also cause your dog to gas. The main causes of gas and flatulence are diet.

When it comes to nutrition, gas is often the result of dogs being overwhelmed with the digestion of their food. There is then a so-called feed conversion disorder.

Maybe your dog has swallowed a lot of air with food

Another cause of flatulence in dogs can be that they have eaten too much air. Dogs in particular that digest food very quickly suffer from this. Look for bowls that are designed to slow down your dog when she is eating. This means that your dog has to eat more slowly and does not swallow as much air.

Feed components and intolerance to certain ingredients can also be responsible for the excess intestinal gases. Flatulence can be triggered very individually and by a wide variety of cereals, meat, or vegetables.

Understandably, you are now worried if your dog suffers from gas. But the most common cause of puffing dogs is their diet. And sometimes it may stink in the truest sense of the word: The gas tells you very clearly that something is wrong with your dog.

In such cases, it is important to clarify the actual trigger so that serious reasons can be ruled out. An anti-swallowing bowl can help prevent swallowing too much air while feeding.

Flatulence in dogs can be caused by too much stress

You may know the saying: That hit me on the stomach!

Too much stress can affect the gastrointestinal tract in our dogs too. Therefore, you should make sure that your dog is not expected to be too much – especially if he is stress-sensitive. This has negative effects on the intestinal flora and this, in turn, can lead to flatulence.

Flatulence in Dogs: What Signs To Look For?

The typical fart noises and smells are characteristic of flatulence in dogs. However, if there are any other symptoms of concern, we recommend contacting your veterinarian. Often, flatulence is accompanied by:

  • Loud noises in the stomach and intestines
  • Constant and frequent puffing
  • Extreme odor
  • A hunched back (dog is constantly gas and hunched over)
  • A big, bloated belly
  • Changed feces (e.g. unusual, light brown color)
  • Acute digestive problems (e.g. diarrhea and vomiting)
  • Stomach cramps and pain
  • Lack of appetite
  • Bad smell of feces
  • Weight loss.

If your dog shows any of these signs in addition to flatulence or behaves in any other way atypical, you should consult a veterinarian. Even if you are not sure about the cause of the flatulence, a medical check-up is recommended. In such cases, it is important to clarify the actual trigger so that serious reasons can be ruled out.

Possible diseases as a cause of flatulence in dogs

Unfortunately, flatulence can also indicate serious illnesses. If your dog’s intestinal mucous membranes are chronically inflamed, flatulence also occurs. And if that wasn’t bad enough, this inflammation can in turn damage the pancreas, liver, and kidney.

A sick dog lying on the bed

The inflamed intestinal wall can no longer defend itself against toxins and the like so that these can get into the blood and be distributed throughout the body. In addition to deficiency symptoms and a weakening of the immune system, this can have several other health consequences. Inflammation of the pancreas is very typical.

In addition, flatulence can also indicate an infection with worms, other intestinal parasites, or giardia. Also, a possible intestinal obstruction can happen is if your dog has swallowed an object.

If your dog was treated with medication before the flatulence, this can also indicate that you should build up an intestinal rehabilitation in your dog to strengthen the intestinal flora. Often this is weakened by certain drugs and needs a cure.

  • What you should remember: 

Around 80% of immune cells are in the intestines. This is why it is incredibly important that your dog’s digestive tract is healthy because then your dog is likely to be too!

Are there any other health consequences?

The health of dogs, as well as humans, lies largely in the intestines. If the bowel function is not healthy, this can have serious effects on the general condition of your dog. If your dog has flatulence, it can affect the psyche on the one hand.

Dogs with pain are often prone to aggressive behavior. However, many dogs do not show this or show a change in character that is incomprehensible at first glance. But also physically, flatulence in dogs can have serious consequences.

Because the gases flow through the body, bloating in dogs can also cause typical secondary diseases that are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Allergies
  • Intolerance
  • Itching
  • Gum problems or general problems in the mouth area
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Inflammation (often in the ears)
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Nerve damage or even tumors
  • Disc problems
  • Vertebral inflammation (also known as spondylitis)
  • Spinal cord infarction
  • Destruction of the spinal cord (degenerative myelopathy)

Cause lining

Since a dog’s diet is the number one cause of smelly air, we’ll go into this in more detail. If your dog has flatulence due to its diet, then it is because the digestive system of your four-legged friend is overloaded with the food and cannot use it properly. Often these are only certain components of the feed.

A dog eating healthy food

Therefore, when feeding you should make sure that the following foods are not included in the feed:

  • Sugar
  • Gluten (grain)
  • Peas, lentils, beans
  • Dairy products (especially products containing lactose)
  • Table waste
  • Leftover food
  • Foods that are poisonous for dogs (raisins, grapes, broccoli, cabbage, etc).
  • To much fat
  • Meat scraps (found in many common foods)

If your dog is not used to it, do not feed raw meat either. In addition, the feed should not contain any coloring, flavoring, or attractants.

Flatulence in the dog due to change of food

If you are currently switching your dog to high-quality food which has all the ingredients your dog needs, gas may temporarily occur during the change in food, but this will disappear on its own after a short time. This is a sign that your dog’s body is exhaling toxins.

Especially if you have fed your dog with dry food beforehand, your dog’s gastrointestinal tract needs a few days to deal with the high-quality food. Here it is helpful to add flakes to the fresh food to make the changeover easier for your dog. But always make sure that you serve the food at room temperature. Switching from several to one meal a day can also lead to flatulence.

When should you visit the vet?

In general, we always recommend a visit to the vet in the event of health problems to rule out any illnesses. To be on the safe side, you can also bring a sample of feces that can be examined for parasites. In addition, you should consult a veterinarian if you also notice one or more of the following symptoms in your dog:

  • Your dog’s puffing is regular and frequent
  • Loss of appetite and consequent weight loss (which is not related to hormones, for example, heat, pseudopregnancy, or lovesickness in males)
  • Your dog is vomiting
  • sudden and inexplicable changes in personality (e.g. aggression)
  • increased thirst without changes in the environment (temperatures etc.)
  • He shows the so-called prayer position (he lies on his front legs and stretches his bottom-up)
  • Your dog shows its pain by hunching over it
  • Feces and farts stink terribly which indicates the gas formation
  • The consistency (diarrhea, constipation) and the color of the feces changes (learn more about what the color of the dog feces says about the health of your dog)

If your dog shows any of these signs in addition to flatulence or behaves in any other way atypical, you should consult a veterinarian. Even if you are not sure about the cause of the flatulence, a medical check-up is recommended.

Flatulence in the dog – How to deal with it?

Once you know the cause of your dog’s gas, treatment is relatively straightforward. Avoid things like no longer feeding appropriate foods or changing the diet of your four-legged friend.

Dog food for sensitive dog stomachs can also be the solution. Sensitive food is characterized by a highly digestible and therefore gentle recipe, which is widely accepted by our beloved four-legged friends.

Change of feed – this is how it works:

If you want to give your four-legged friend a different dog food, you should do so gradually. Add a small portion of the new variety to his usual food each time.

After a few days, you can steadily increase the portions until the new dog food has completely replaced the old one. It is also helpful to pay attention to what your four-legged friend is eating. This will make it easier for you to find the cause and avoid it.

Now we have shown you what should not be included in dog food under any circumstances. But how should you feed a dog that is sensitive to flatulence?

The answer is you should pay attention to a balanced and healthy feed that is of high quality. You can recognize high-quality feed by the following points:

  • The meat used is suitable for human consumption (no carcass meat)
  • A high proportion of meat
  • Free from fat additives
  • A 100% declaration of the ingredients
  • No fillers, flavorings, attractants, preservatives, or flavor enhancers
  • Grain-free (both animal meal, grain meal, and plant meal) and sugar-free
  • Exclusive use of natural raw materials
  • Free from soy and corn
  • Made without animal testing

If you pay attention to the points mentioned, you will rule out typical substances to which many dogs react with flatulence and other signs of intolerance. Find food that fulfills all of the above-mentioned points.

Intestinal rehabilitation for a healthy intestinal flora

In addition to switching to healthy food, we recommend that you carry out an intestinal rehabilitation on your dog. The aim is to promote the proliferation of beneficial intestinal bacteria (bifidobacteria, lactobacilli) on a long-term and sustainable basis.

A dog eating healthy food from his bowl.

This strengthens the intestinal barrier. In addition, the bad bacteria are excreted in the feces through mannooligosaccharides during intestinal rehabilitation.

You should note that the regrouping of the intestinal flora takes a few days (about ten to 14 days). The dog may experience additional gas during the regrouping, which is normal.

However, you will notice the effect relatively quickly and the consistency of the feces will also improve as a result. Occasionally, you should also take an intestinal treatment for your dog after the administration of medication or wormer so that a healthy intestinal flora is restored.

Further measures against flatulence in dogs

  1. If your dog has gas, you can massage his stomach gently to release any gas.
  2. Light foods made from chicken and unsalted rice can help with acute complaints.
  3. If your four-legged friend is a elder dog, special food for elder dogs is recommended. The food ideally tailored to the needs of older animals and mainly contains easily digestible ingredients.
  4. If grain or gluten is causing your dog’s flatulence, grain-free dog food is recommended. This is not good for nutrition-sensitive four-legged friends because it contains neither wheat nor other types of grain. Instead, use alternative such as potatoes.
  5. In the case of feed intolerance, a test is usually necessary to find out which ingredients the four-legged friend does not tolerate. Like with the help of a blood test, elimination of diet or you can consult a veterinarian. 
  6. Some home remedies also work as measures if your dog has gas. These include caraway and fennel tea, healing earth, and orange juice.
  7. If your four-legged friend swallows a lot of air while eating, you can avoid this by hand-feeding. The problem occurs particularly often in short-snouted breeds such as the pug and the French bulldog. 
  8. If your dog likes to loop, an anti-loop bowl can help.
  9. It is well known that exercise stimulates digestion. This also applies to dogs: a walk after they have eaten can avoid unpleasant flatulence.
  10. If your dog’s flatulence is due to an overload of the gastrointestinal tract, you can reduce the amount per meal. Small portions of food put less strain on the digestive system.