As a dog parent, you’re likely quite familiar with your dog’s digestive quirks — especially if they experience frequent gas. It’s almost impossible to miss dog farts, but it can be difficult to identify the culprit of the gas. Sometimes a dog's flatulence turns into excessive or chronic gas as well, signifying a potential health issue.
Most often, gas in dogs is due to something they ate, so their diet is an essential factor to consider. In this article, we’ll cover why dogs get gassy, how to tell if gas is chronic or could be the sign of a larger medical issue, and what types of food can help gassy dogs.
Why Do Dogs Get Gassy?
Flatulence in dogs is common, and dogs typically get gassy from a new food or food that they weren’t meant to eat. Most gas is completely normal, but there are times when excessive gas is chronic or a sign of a larger health concern.
Chronic gas can occur if your dog often eats food they can’t digest very well, like a highly processed kibble, or foods that include high quantities of dairy, soybeans, peas, or foods that are high in fat. Excessive gas can not only be an annoyance to those around the pup but can be very uncomfortable for the dog itself, impacting their quality of life.
Additionally, how fast dogs eat, as well as their weight and activity level, can determine if they are more likely to experience flatulence. Most gas resolves itself naturally for dogs over time, but sometimes it can stick around as chronic gas.
Factors That Can Cause Gas
Low-quality ingredients and ultra-processed foods can cause flatulence in your pup as they are hard to digest. So if your dog can clear out a room or sounds like a one-dog horn section, the first step is to cut out any additions served with their meal, such as table scraps.
If your dog eats a balanced diet and is still constantly gassy after mealtime, it might be time to consider changing their food.
Common Table Scraps That Cause Gas
- Raw broccoli
- Green beans
- Cheese, milk, and other dairy products
- Fatty meats like pork and lamb
What Causes Excessive Gas in Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs?
Though passing gas is not abnormal, it’s less common in dogs than in humans, due to humans’ variable diets. Some dogs experience more severe or excessive gas than other dogs. For example, Boxers, Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Beagles, Golden Retrievers, and Pugs all have a higher tendency to pass gas than other dog breeds.
If your dog eats a high-quality complete and balanced diet without fillers and is less processed than most traditional dry kibble, excessive gas should be rare. The occasional passing of gas isn’t a red flag, but if your dog frequently experiences excessive gas, it’s important to look at the potential underlying causes.
Food Allergy or Intolerance
Though only 10-20% of allergy issues are caused by food, excessive gas may be a sign of a food allergy or intolerance. As noted, there are ingredients that are commonly known to be difficult for dogs to digest. It’s important to identify potential trigger ingredients in your dog’s diet and make appropriate dietary adjustments.
Identifying trigger ingredients can be tricky, but a good place to start is with an elimination diet. This is when you feed your dog a limited diet for a period of time, consisting of just a few ingredients you know they do not have trouble digesting. Then you can re-introduce other ingredients one at a time to help identify potential triggers.
If you are still unable to identify trigger ingredients after an elimination diet, consult your veterinarian. Allergy tests from a veterinarian or allergist may be an option for further trigger identification.
A Highly Processed Diet
As noted earlier, a highly processed diet can also increase digestive issues and other health problems that can lead to excessive gas. Selecting a dog food that promotes proper digestion is key. Some things to look for include:
- High-quality animal protein sources, not meat meals (for example, look for turkey or chicken instead of turkey meal or chicken meal)
- Complex carbohydrates from whole grains and sweet potatoes
- Omega fatty acids
- Vitamins from vegetables and fruits
A balanced diet can also increase immune health, which provides added quality and comfort to your pup’s life.
Certain gastrointestinal issues can contribute to excessive gas, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), bloat, and gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV).
Contrary to the name, inflammatory bowel disease is actually a syndrome, not a disease. IBD occurs due to repeated irritation in a dog’s intestinal tract, which is often the result of a parasite or bacterial infection. However, sometimes there is no underlying identifiable cause.
IBD can cause gas, as well as other symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. If you suspect your dog has IBD, visit the vet as soon as possible.
Bloat and GDV
Bloat, technically known as gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) complex, is a medical and surgical emergency. This condition is when a dog’s stomach twists on itself due to the buildup of gas.
When this happens, blood flow to the stomach, spleen, and sometimes the pancreas is cut off. Symptoms include excessive gas, burping, restlessness, and a swollen stomach.
Bloat can be fatal in dogs — especially dogs who are more prone to this condition. This includes deep-chested dogs like German shepherds, labradors, dobermans, and dalmatians.
Dr. Jeff Grognet of the American Kennel Club says that bloat kills about 30% of dogs it affects, even after intensive treatment. So if you think your dog is suffering from symptoms of bloat/GDV, call your emergency vet right away.
Tips for Living With a Gassy Dog
Sometimes gas is inevitable, but you can make life easier for your pup (and their family) by easing their discomfort through practical daily adjustments.
Some of these adjustments include monitoring how fast your dog eats, increasing their activity and water intake, and utilizing Gas-X (talk to your vet first) when necessary. Beyond that, some dogs may need a complete change of diet to find true relief.
Make Diet Adjustments Carefully
If your dog requires dietary adjustments, be sure to make them carefully and gradually to avoid further digestive system issues. The main goal is optimal general health for your dog, which sometimes takes patience, as well as trial and error.
Keep in mind, if you transition from a traditional kibble to a more balanced diet, it can cause some temporary additional gas, especially if you transition too fast. The gas is because your dog’s gut microflora needs a chance to adapt to the new food. The best way to avoid this is to go slow when transitioning and allow time for the microflora to adjust.
Add More Movement to Your Dog’s Day
Another way to make your gassy dog’s life easier is to add more movement to their day. Besides supporting your dog's overall health, regular exercise can aid digestion and reduce gas in dogs. So consider adding longer or more frequent walks and increased playtime to your dog’s daily routine.
Monitor Water Intake for Better Digestive Health
Adequate water intake supports your dog’s overall health, but it can also be crucial for maintaining healthy digestion. Make sure you monitor your dog’s water intake to ensure they are drinking enough throughout the day, especially if you increase their activity level.
Some dogs are just not good drinkers, which can be frustrating for pet parents. However, one thing you can do is add water or a liquid topper to their food for an added hydration boost.
Our Top Dog Foods That Can Help With Gassy Dogs
Dog food from The Honest Kitchen is a good option to support your dog’s healthy digestion. The Honest Kitchen offers a number of different complete and balanced dog food lines — all human grade and made without any fillers — that align with the nutritional needs and preferences of even the pickiest dogs.
Because The Honest Kitchen’s food is human grade, all food options are approved for human consumption at every stage of the production process. Higher-quality, natural ingredients and less processed cooking methods can be effective for reducing gas over the long term (with a proper transition phase, of course).
The Honest Kitchen’s Limited Ingredient Recipes
Limited-ingredient dog foods can be particularly beneficial for dogs who have digestion and gas issues and require a limited-ingredient diet. The Honest Kitchen’s Limited Ingredient Chicken Recipe includes slowly dehydrated chicken as the first ingredient.
It’s followed by organic quinoa, dehydrated sweet potatoes, dehydrated spinach, dried parsley, dried organic kelp, and tons of essential vitamins and minerals. So if you are trying to limit certain ingredients in your dog’s diet, this recipe could be a good option.
The Honest Kitchen’s Dry Food
If you’re looking for dog food that is a healthier and more digestion-friendly alternative to traditional kibble, check out The Honest Kitchen’s dry food options. They have grain-free and whole grain options that are made with thoughtfully sourced protein and support a variety of dietary needs.
Unlike traditional kibble, these recipes are roasted and gently dehydrated and contain added probiotics. This less processed process makes them easier on your pet’s tummy — and therefore, less likely to cause gas.
Grain-Free Dog Food
Grain-free dog food options are great for pups who have food sensitivities to grain or need to limit their carbs. The Honest Kitchen’s Grain-Free Chicken Clusters are convenient and full of ingredients to support your dog’s overall health, including digestion.
Free of fillers like corn, wheat and soy, this recipe includes cage free chicken as the first ingredient, and also includes healthy helpings of whole foods like lentils, carrots and pumpkin.
Whole Grain Dog Food
Whole grain dog food provides dogs with healthy grains that are minimally processed. The Honest Kitchen’s Whole Grain Chicken Clusters include ingredients like chicken, oats, barley, chicken liver, carrots, eggs, ground flaxseed, broccoli, pumpkin, apples, coconut oil, superfood chia seed, and salmon oil.
The Honest Kitchen’s Dehydrated Food
Dehydrated recipes from The Honest Kitchen can be the perfect option for a pup who isn’t getting enough hydration in their current diet, because you add warm water to the food to make a complete and hydrating meal.
Their Dehydrated Whole Grain Beef recipe uses high-quality ranch raised beef that is gently dehydrated to maintain nutrients and taste. Plus, it includes healthy, minimally processed whole grains, like oats and barley.
The Honest Kitchen’s Perfect Form Supplement
In addition to The Honest Kitchen’s dry and dehydrated dog foods, they also have an Herbal Digestive Supplement that can support your dog’s gut health even more.
Similar to how prebiotics and probiotics help digestion, herbs like slippery elm, fennel, and plantain can help soothe and protect the gastrointestinal tract. This supplement can also be a helpful additive to curb gas while transitioning your dog to a new diet.
Seek out a Healthy Food With The Honest Kitchen To Curb Your Dog’s Gas
Digestive health is an essential aspect of a dog’s overall wellness at any life stage and can also impact how much flatulence they experience. There are lifestyle changes that can decrease gas in dogs, like increasing exercise and water intake, but sometimes a diet change is necessary.
If that’s what your pup requires, explore what The Honest Kitchen has to offer. From limited ingredient dehydrated dog food to whole grain dried dog food and digestive supplements, they have an option for every dog’s dietary needs and palette.
*Health Disclaimer: This post is educational in nature and doesn’t constitute health advice. Please consult your pet's veterinarian or other healthcare professional for specific guidance on this topic.