If your dog has a lot of gas, you may be wondering if it's a sign of an upset stomach. The medical term for excessive gas in the stomach and intestines is flatulence and it's emission through the rear end is known as "flatus." Many dogs are naturally gassy without having an upset stomach. If your dog has a lot of gas and doesn't show any other signs of digestive upset, the gassiness may be simply a "side-effect" of eating certain foods or engaging in behaviors that predispose him to a bout of flatulence. Following are some common reasons of dogs being gassy.
The Effect of Certain Foods
Gas can be simply a byproduct of bacterial fermentation often due to the foods dogs are fed. Highly fermentable fibers, carbohydrates that are difficult to digest and sudden, dietary indiscretion and abrupt dietary changes are often the culprits for a gassy dog, explains veterinary nutrition st, Dr. Claudia Kirk.
Common culprits can be high-fiber foods, high-meat diets rich in or high-fat diets or simply diets with foods that are difficult to digest such as soybeans, peas or milk products. A table scrap such as a small piece of cheese, may be enough to cause flatulence in a dog who is lactose intolerant.
Dog Breed Predisposition
Certain breeds are naturally predisposed to be gassy such as dogs with pushed in faces medically referred to as brachycephalic. Brachycephalic breeds include boxers, bulldogs, pugs, Pekingese and Boston terriers. What makes these breeds more predisposed? Mostly the fact that their short faces and the positioning of their noses causes them to swallow a lot of air.
Dog Eating Habits
The way your dog eats may also play a big role in his level of gassiness. Consider that dogs who gulp down their meals within seconds are more likely to inhale a lot of air. This is often seen in dogs who compete against other dogs during meal time or dogs who resource guard their foods. These behaviors though are more likely to result in episodes of burping rather than flatulence in the real sense of the word.
Signs of Digestive Problems
In some cases, flatulence in dogs may be a sign of a digestive problem. This can be seen in dogs with food allergies. Once these dogs are put on a diet containing novel proteins, there are chances their gassiness will subside, but not always.
Other digestive problems that cause excessive flatulence in dogs may include conditions such as malabsorption, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and inflammatory bowel disease. Some dogs may get flatulence after a round of antibiotics or because of the presence of intestinal parasites.
Generally though when a dog has excessive foul flatulence due to an underlying GI disease, they present with other accompanying symptoms such as abdominal pain or distention, vomiting and other symptoms, explains Jillian Haines, veterinarian and assistant professor at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Helping Dogs with Too Much Gas
There are several ways to help gassy dogs, but as with any medications or supplements, you need to consult with your vet. Sometimes gradually switching to a lower fiber food that's more readily digestible under your vet's recommendation may help. Another beneficial tip is to supplement with prebiotics and probiotics.
While probiotics introduce beneficial bacteria in the dog's gut, prebiotics instead nourish the bacteria already in the gut so that the thrive and work on reducing the gas.
There are several other solutions such as supplementation of Yucca schidigera, dry activated charcoal or medications such as Pepto-bismol and GasX for dog gas, but you will need to consult with your vet before administering any of these supplements or medications. Finally, dogs who ingest too much air from eating fast, may be helped by feeding them separately from other dogs or using a special bowl such as a"Brake-Fast bowl" to slow them down.