If you’ve ever spent much time with a dog, chances are you’ve experienced the much dreaded effects of dog flatulence. Unlike us, dogs have no shame about relieving themselves of the discomfort associated with abdominal pressure and distress while in the presence of others. What causes flatulence in dogs, is it harmful, and how can it be avoided? Here are three things dog owners need to understand about dogs and gas.
What causes dogs to have gas?
One of the major causes of gas in dogs is the way they eat. Since they don’t have a fork or spoon to deliver food to their mouths, they must gulp to get it there. In the process of gulping, they swallow a lot of air, which results in a gassy stomach. This is much the same as why we burp after drinking carbonated sodas.
Also like their human counterparts, dogs can get gassy if they eat foods that are fermented, like beans, cauliflower or cabbage. As these foods ferment during digestion, they produce gas that causes bloating and discomfort.
Another common cause of flatulence in dogs is the incomplete digestion of carbohydrates. This is commonly seen when dogs eat low quality foods that are high in grain content.
Can excessive gas be harmful to dogs?
Although gas is a fairly common occurrence in dogs, it can be cause for concern. If symptoms occur quickly and are accompanied by loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea, you should take your dog to see his vet right away. In some instances, especially in larger breeds, a condition known as Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) can occur. According to Purdue University, “The clinical signs associated with GDV are restlessness, anxiousness, respiratory dysfunction, hypersalivation, retching, abdominal distension and frequent attempts to vomit.” Because GVD can be very serious and even fatal, medical intervention is required immediately.
What can I do to alleviate my dog’s gas?
The primary treatment for gas involves changing your dog’s diet. Switch to a food that is lower in fiber and is more highly digestible. You should also feed two or three smaller meals a day instead of a single large one. Consider purchasing a specialized food dish with dividers which deters dogs from gulping and thus, swallowing air. If these solutions still don’t do the trick, check with your vet about over-the-counter medications that may be suitable for your dog. Charcoal-based treats, as well as those that contain yucca can also help alleviate gas.
“Flatulence (Passing Gas) in Dogs,” WebMD.com
Elizabeth Natz, “Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus in Dogs,” Purdue.edu