We've all experienced it. We're in bed or on the couch, snuggling with our furry friend, when suddenly like a dark cloud floating through to block out the sun, we're hit with that putrid smell of canine gas.
That silent-but-deadly dog fart has struck again. After you've paused Netflix and hightailed it to another room to escape the stench, you may start to wonder why exactly our pooches are equipped with these stink bombs. So here, we're going to break to answer some of your most pressing questions about dog farts, because knowledge is power.
Like humans, dogs produce gas in their digestive tract. And that means they have to let the gas out, either by burping or farting. So a little bit of farting is natural. But if your dog farts constantly, and if they're the kind of smelly ones that clear a room, there may be some things you can do to minimize the gas.
First of all, what causes all these farts?
The simplest answer? Food. Similar to humans, the bacteria in dog stomachs help break down food, and the main by-product of that digestion is gas. In fact, Science tells us that most animals pass gas, including tons of invertebrates. So even though it may be unpleasant that our dogs fart, it's totally natural.
Like humans, dogs can suffer from GI issues like IBS and food allergies. One of the symptoms of gastrointestinal illness tends to be excessive gas. Another case of gas might be your dog's eating habits. If your dog swallows a lot of air along with their food, that might cause extra flatulence.
Why do they smell so bad?
When things get really stinky, that may mean you need to do something to change things. Smelly farts usually suggest that your dog's digestion is not optimal. If your dog's food isn't thoroughly digested in the stomach, then it gets fermented (aka smelly) in the intestine. And thus, a very pungent fart is formed. Also, if your dog might have a medical condition that causes excessively smelly gas. And if that's the case, they need to be taken to the vet ASAP.
What medical conditions might cause this smelly gas?
As with anything unusual you notice in your dog, it's best to get an expert's opinion first. Because you don't want to accidentally mask a bigger issue with home remedies. It's better to find out if there is a medical condition present. Dr. Marty Becker, Vet and Chief Veterinary Correspondent for the American Humane Society recommends having your dog checked by a vet before making lifestyle changes to rule out any medical conditions. He reminds us "sometimes gas-passing is more than meets the nose — there could be a serious health problem."
Your vet will examine your dog for any physical signs, and they may order further testing if they think there's a serious issue. Some of the medical conditions that cause excess flatulence include food allergies, IBS, parasites, parvovirus, tumors, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, enteritis, and other disorders. So it's really best to get the expert's opinion first.
But seriously, is there anything I can do about the stench?
Get your dog outside for more exercise. As we mentioned, smelly gas often gets created due to bad digestion, and exercise can help aid that digestion to help things break down more smoothly.
Change your pup's diet. Maybe your pup can't digest their current food very well. Try changing it up, and you may find yourself free of the stink.
Curb those between-meal snacks. If it's not their main food that's causing bad gas, it might be treats or table scraps. Try to limit those to see if the gas improves.
Slow down your dog's eating. As we mentioned above, gas might be caused by gulping air while eating. So if your dog seems to scarf down their food, Dr. Becker recommends a bowl designed to slow them down or a puzzle toy that forces dogs to eat slower.
In the end, you may not be able to completely end your dog's smelly farting, but hopefully with some small changes you can curb the stench. And remember, your pet's a mammal like we are, so there's only so much they can do about their stinky farts. So we just have to love them as they come, stinky gas bombs and all.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.