Frequent farting in dogs – or flatulence – is not only disturbing, but often indicates that your pup’s gut is reacting to a certain trigger. Farting is often accompanied by stomach bloat, abdominal discomfort, and gaseous sounds coming from the stomach. While the occasional toot is very much normal, the excessive release of gas should not be overlooked.
Most often, the diet is the main cause of flatulence in a dog, and a simple diet change would eliminate the foul odour. Ingredients such as soybean, peas, beans, dairy, cauliflower, broccoli and spice tend to produce flatulence when ingested in large quantities. As such, it is a good idea to lay off on the table scraps if it seems to be bothering your pup’s gut. Low-quality dog food may also be the cause of your dog’s toots, as these foods are high in carb-heavy fillers such as corn, soy or wheat. Carbohydrates are pretty much indigestible by dogs, as such the undigested food will pass along the gut and produce gas.
You may also consider the possibility that your dog might be allergic to a type of food it has been eating. If you suspect this might be the case, a trip to the vet would be wise to locate the allergy, though it is often a case of trial-and-error through the process of elimination.
It may sound odd, but certain types of dogs are prone to swallowing excessive air that is then released out the other end. Brachycephalic breeds such as boxers, bulldogs and pugs are especially predisposed to flatulence due to the shape of their snout. These breeds tend to breathe through their mouth, and often swallow more air when eating and drinking.
Sometimes, surgery is required to improve your pup’s breathing, but you can also seek the help of a professional trainer to try behaviour modification techniques. Environmental management may also be recommended if your dog seems stressed during meal times due to competition from other dogs. Eating too quickly is a major cause of gas in dogs, but methods such as putting a tennis ball in the food bowl or purchasing a slow-feeding bowl can easily help resolve this.
Digestive-related illnesses such as irritable bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and intestinal parasites may also be the cause of your pup’s excessive farting. Additives in commercial dog food have been identified as possible causes of such diseases. Carrageenan is one such additive that has been singled out to cause irritable bowel disease, so if your dog doesn’t appear to be responding to any of the recommended dietary changes, it may be worth looking into this area.
Apart from the recommended diet and behavioural changes mentioned above, exercise has also been shown to reduce flatulence in dogs. Exercise before or after a meal helps to initiate the movement of your pup’s digestive tract, reducing the amount of gas produced. Probiotics or prebiotics may also be helpful, but always consult your vet before purchasing any supplement for your dog. Other supplements that have proven effective include activated charcoal and enzyme supplements.