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Why Do Dogs Fart So Much?

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Of all the things we love about dogs, their farts are least likely to make the list. Dog farts can be stinky, stealthy, or downright unpleasant. And if pet parents are dealing with an especially gassy dog, that flatulence may leave them wondering, “Why does my dog fart so much?”

Let’s take a closer look at why some dogs seem to fart more than others, what causes gas in dogs, when dog farts are a cause for concern, and more importantly, what pet parents can do about this smelly situation. 

Dog Farts: What They Are and Why They Happen 

After a dog eats, the bacteria in the gut breaks down the food. During this process, gas is released. When excessive amounts of gas form in the stomach or intestinal tract, that gas has to go somewhere! Gas is either released through burps (eructation) or through the other end (flatus or flatulence). Intestinal gas is mostly composed of gases that are odorless, including nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane. The problem is any gas that stinks, such as ammonia or hydrogen sulfide. Inadequately digested protein also contributes to the rotten smell of dog farts.

A small amount of daily farting is normal for dogs. However, if you feel like you have to leave the room every time your dog passes gas, you notice a distinct uptick in the number of farts your dog lets fly each day, or your dog is passing gas and having problems with vomiting, diarrhea, or changes in appetite, then something might be wrong. 

Why Does My Dog Fart So Much? 

Dog puppy eyes face over couch

There are many reasons why a dog could develop excessive gassiness, and they range from medical to food related to behavioral. 

Some of the more common causes of gassiness in dogs include:

Excessive Air Swallowing (Aerophagia)

Dogs that swallow excessive amounts of air while they eat fart more than other dogs. Dogs that may have an increased incidence of aerophagia include brachycephalic dogs (flat-faced, short-nosed dogs like Bulldogs, Pugs, etc.), dogs that are gluttons or competitive eaters, nervous dogs, dogs with respiratory conditions, and dogs that are fed right after exercise.  

Abrupt Food Changes

Suddenly changing dog food can upset the balance of gut flora and lead to increased flatulence.

Poorly Digested Foods

Food that is not properly digested is available for fermentation by gut bacteria, which results in, you guessed it, dog farts. Ingredients that are slowly absorbed, such as whole grains, beans, and peas, and spices can also contribute to gas. 

Fiber-Containing Foods

Corgi dog big ears laying on the ground

Diets high in fermentable fiber and containing inulin, psyllium, oat bran, or pectin may cause excessive gas due to decreased digestibility of fiber and increased fermentation within the GI tract. 

Inappropriate or Spoiled Foods

Dietary indiscretion (i.e., getting into the garbage) or food that has been contaminated with bacteria or fungus can cause gas in dogs. 

Disease Conditions

Intestinal disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease, imbalances in gut bacteria, irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal parasites like hookworms or giardia, adverse food reactions (food allergies), cancer, infections with Salmonella or Campylobacteria, and viruses that attack the digestive tract can all cause excessive gas. 

Sedentary Lifestyle

An older study reported that pet owners detected a higher incidence of flatulence in sedentary dogs. 

Lactose Intolerance

Adult dogs lack the enzyme necessary to digest milk products, and consuming dairy products like cheese may cause flatulence. 

Dog Gas: When to Worry

Dog laying on the ground

While dog farts themselves aren’t life threatening (except to human noses!), they can sometimes indicate a disease process that needs intervention. As noted above, several different intestinal disorders can lead to excessive flatulence, and in these cases, excessive gas should not be ignored. 

If dog farting is accompanied by the following warning signs, seek veterinary assistance:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty defecating (constipation)
  • Abdominal bloating or pain 
  • Loss of energy
  • Respiratory problems, such as coughing, sneezing, excessive panting, wheezing, etc. 

You should also contact your veterinarian if your dog has excessive, out-of-character farting that doesn’t resolve with home remedies.

Dog Farting a Lot: What to Do

Dog at the vet

If you notice excessive gas in your dog, then it is always a good idea to get a veterinary check-up. Your veterinarian will conduct a physical exam and may recommend some laboratory tests to determine the cause of your dog’s flatulence. It can be helpful to bring a stool sample with you. 

If your dog has a clean bill of health from your veterinarian, there are several home remedies that you can try to help reduce gas in your dog, such as:

Exercise. Exercise increases intestinal movement, so encourage your dog to have an active lifestyle. Depending on your dog’s breed, age, and overall health status, this may include taking your dog for twice daily brisk walks, playing games of fetch, or getting your dog involved in agility training. This will help expel excessive gas and promote regular bowel movements. 

Frequent, small meals. Feed small meals three to four times a day in a quiet environment, away from other pets or children. 

Food puzzles. If you have a dog that bolts (gulps) their food, try using a food puzzle or spread their food out on a cookie sheet to slow down eating. 

Digestible diet. Slowly transition to a food that is highly digestible, with low fiber and fat concentration. Therapeutic intestinal foods and therapeutic hypoallergenic foods are a good choice for dogs that have food allergies or digestive issues (both require a prescription card from your vet). You could also try an over-the-counter limited-ingredient food that uses protein sources your dog has not eaten before, like alligator, rabbit, or venison. If you want to cook for your dog, ask your veterinarian about a balanced, home-cooked diet that will reduce gas. 

Supplements. Supplement your dog with a high-quality probiotic daily to balance gut flora. You can also try feeding dog food and treats that contain zinc acetate and Yucca schidigera to reduce dog gas. 

Simethicone. Simethicone (brand name Gas-X) works by decreasing the surface tension of intestinal gas bubbles, making small bubbles into big bubbles that are more easily eliminated. It does not decrease gas formation, but it aids in elimination.

To help prevent dog gas, do not feed your dog table scraps and make sure they can’t get into the garbage or eat other things they shouldn’t, including poop. You should also avoid feeding your dog any dairy products or abruptly changing their dog food.

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