As a dog parent, you’re most likely very aware when your pup experiences gas. Whether it’s become a joking matter in your house or a true annoyance, it’s important to recognize if your dog’s flatulence is normal or a sign of a larger health concern.
In this article, we’ll dive into why dogs develop gas, how to determine what’s normal flatulence from what’s excessive flatulence, and tips you can implement to decrease farting in your dog.
What Causes Gas in Dogs?
Some of the most common causes of normal gas in dogs include changes in their diet or eating something that is spoiled or doesn’t sit well with their stomach. Those causes fall under diet-related factors, but several health issues, lifestyle factors, and environmental factors may also contribute to your dog’s flatulence.
Normal vs. Excessive Flatulence
There is a clear difference between normal flatulence and excessive flatulence. Generally speaking, if your pup is experiencing gas, stomach gurgling, and other symptoms of an upset stomach multiple times each week, it’s a good idea to look further into potential causes.
“Stomach gurgling (noises in the belly) and unpleasant odors can definitely be a sign of a problem for your pet,” says Dr. Amanda Nascimento, DVM, the NHV’s Natural Pet’s in-house veterinarian.
Flatulence every so often is more normal — especially if you can identify what may have caused it, such as your pup getting into something they shouldn’t have.
Should I Be Worried If My Dog Is Gassy?
If your dog has gas every now and then, it’s likely not a cause for concern. However, excessive flatulence can indicate an underlying health condition, ongoing allergy, or intolerance.
Common Causes of Excessive Gas in Dogs and Puppies
There are many possible causes of dog gas. The most common reasons dogs get gas include increased swallowing of air, compulsive eating, eating too close to exercise time, sudden changes in diet, breed-related factors, and diet. We’ll take a closer look at each of these causes.
Increased Air Swallowing
If a dog swallows an excessive amount of air — also known as aerophagia — they can be at risk for gas, which usually comes out as either a burp or a fart. The excess air gets trapped in your pup and has nowhere to go except out.
Compulsive eating or dogs who perceive eating as a speed competition are prone to more gas as well. This ties back to the increase in swallowing air, as well as the fact that they are eating faster than they can digest, which can cause stomach upset and gas.
Eating Immediately After Exercise
Another common cause of gas in adult dogs and puppies is eating right after exercise. It’s best to wait an hour to feed your pup after exercise. This will give their metabolism a chance to settle down. Additionally, exercise too close to mealtimes can increase the risk of bloat, otherwise known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV).
Sudden Changes in Diet
Whether your pup has a sensitive stomach or not, a sudden change in diet is another culprit of gas. If you need to switch your dog’s food, do it gradually over a few weeks (sometimes longer) to ensure they don’t have any digestion issues or stomach upset.
Flat-faced, or brachycephalic dog breeds tend to have a higher risk of gas. These breeds have difficulties breathing and swallowing due to the bone structure of their short snouts. They end up swallowing more air than other breeds while eating and drinking, so they pass gas more often in the form of burping or farting.
“In brachycephalic breeds or in animals that swallow a lot of air when they are breathing or eating, the production of gasses may be more evident,” Nascimento adds.
However, it’s important to note that while flatulence is more common in brachycephalic dogs — such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers, and Boston Terriers — it can affect any dog breed.
Diet High in Soybeans, Peas, or Beans
Just like with humans, any food in the bean family, which includes peas and soybeans, can cause excessive gas in dogs. Soy is also a very common allergy among dogs. So, if your dog’s food contains an excess of beans or peas, it can cause GI issues and gas because dogs cannot break legumes down as effectively as other foods.
Diet High in Dairy Products
Similar to beans, dogs also have a difficult time digesting dairy. In fact, many dogs are lactose intolerant. Some dogs may be able to handle milk, cheese, or plain yogurt, but it’s best to test those foods in small amounts to ensure they don’t cause stomach upset.
7 Ways To Get Rid of Your Dog’s Farts
But what happens when flatulence happens too frequently or when your dog's gas suddenly clears the room? The truth is that gas could be a sign of a serious problem that requires medical care, especially when passing gas comes together with other symptoms, such as foul odors, diarrhea, and more.
It’s a great idea to discuss any excessive gas with your dog’s vet to rule out anything more serious. But if you’re looking to improve the flatulence situation starting now, here are seven of our best tips!
1) Choose Human Grade Dog Food
One strategy you can use to support your dog’s digestion is feeding them human grade dog food. Human grade dog foods are suitable for human consumption at every step of the production process.
If dog food isn’t human grade, it is likely feed-grade — which allows a lot more fillers that aren’t approved for human consumption. Often, the fillers and highly processed ingredients can cause digestive upset in dogs, so choosing a human grade dog food can be a great place to start supporting a fart-free pup.
All of The Honest Kitchen’s recipes are 100% human grade, dog-approved, and supportive of your pup’s overall health — including healthy digestion.
2) Force Your Dog To Slow Down While Eating
One of the most common causes of flatulence is too much air in the belly. “This could be due to them swallowing a lot of air, which is very common with dogs that eat too fast,” says Nascimento.
If you have a dog who just swallows all the food in his bowl in seconds, try switching to smaller meals throughout the day rather than two big ones. You can also try a slow feeder bowl or use a treat-dispensing toy to feed your dog, as this will cause them to eat much slower.
3) Avoid Giving Your Dog Table Scraps
Dogs are inquisitive creatures, and they are guided by their acute sense of smell. If you regularly find trash bags ripped open, or your dog is an expert at clearing the table after you finish eating, try to avoid leaving scraps around and make sure your trash bags are tied securely and taken outside. Leftovers and stale or rotten food can contribute to gas and flatulence.
4) Feed Your Pup Probiotics, Yogurt, and Digestive Supplements
Probiotics, yogurt (if your dog isn’t lactose-intolerant), and digestive supplements are designed to facilitate healthy digestion to reduce the risk of gas and protect the gastrointestinal tract.
We recommend using The Honest Kitchen’s Perfect Form supplement, which is packed with herbs and natural goodness, including slippery elm, fennel, and plantain. This formula can help encourage regularity and curb gas.
5) Change Your Dog’s Diet Slowly (and Avoid Fart-Causing Foods)
If you are changing your dog’s diet, aim for gradual adjustments to let your canine companion get used to their new meal plan. It is hugely beneficial to feed dogs high-quality food to facilitate healthy digestion.
Some foods carry a higher risk of causing gas than others. Examples include Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. These foods can be used as healthy, nutritious treats, but try to avoid giving your dog large quantities to reduce the risk of gas.
6) Try a Food Elimination Plan To Rule Out Allergies
Food allergies can cause gas in dogs. If you have concerns about a gassy dog, it may be helpful to follow a food elimination plan to identify potential triggers. If you are able to highlight foods that cause dog gas, you can then cut them out of your dog’s diet and find alternatives.
Keep a food diary for your dog and phase out all the foods they usually eat, leaving just two key ingredients (one protein and one carbohydrate) they haven’t eaten before. Record and note down their reactions and any changes in their bowel habits.
7) Promote an Active Lifestyle
Though feeding your dog too close to exercise time is not recommended, an overall lifestyle that emphasizes activity can support your pup’s digestion. When the body is moving and active, the digestive system — and all other systems, for that matter — is more likely to work as intended, resulting in fewer digestive issues.
More Serious Health Issues That Can Give Dogs Bad Gas
In the majority of cases, there is no need to worry about a dog with gas, but excess gas may sometimes be linked to underlying health issues. If you have concerns about your dog, it’s wise to consult your vet.
If your dog does have a more serious condition that is causing gas or digestive issues, your vet may recommend treatment options, and they will monitor their progress closely.
Examples of health problems that may cause flatulence include:
- Canine colitis
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Intestinal parasites
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
For Dogs With Digestive Problems, Try These Recipes
“My dog has gas” is a common talking point among pet owners. If you have a dog with gas and you’re keen to try and improve their diet, why not try these recipes?
- Grain free beef recipe: Beef, low-carb, active adults, puppies, pregnancy, nursing
- Limited ingredient chicken recipe: Chicken, lower-carb, limited ingredients, active adults, puppies, pregnancy, nursing
- Grain free turkey recipe: Turkey, low-carb, active adults, puppies, pregnancy, nursing
- Grain free chicken recipe: Chicken, adult maintenance, moderate activity
- Grain free fish recipe: Haddock, whiting, salmon, low-carb, low-fat, lower-calorie, adult maintenance
- Grain free fruit & veggie base mix: Vegetarian foundation mix combined with meat for a complete meal, adult maintenance
Support Your Dog's Overall Wellness With The Honest Kitchen
It’s natural for dogs to have gas, especially after rummaging through bags of trash or indulging in too many vegetables, but in some cases, there may be an underlying cause. Digestive issues, food allergies, and sudden changes in diet can all increase the risk of gas.
One way to rule out potential gas-inducing ingredients is to transition your pup to a high-quality, human grade dog food like The Honest Kitchen. We offer great-tasting dog foods for even the pickiest eaters.
Check out our complete line of dog foods to learn more about what The Honest Kitchen has to offer!
*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.