All pet owners have experienced it. You're cuddling with your dog and suddenly there's a noxious smell. No matter what you call it -- gas, flatulence, smelly or stinky -- any way you slice it, it's unpleasant. Fortunately there are steps you can take to reduce your dog's smelly gas.
Flatulence is the result of accumulated gas in your dog's intestinal tract and colon. It's a natural part of any digestive system and usually nothing to be medically concerned about. Even so, it's still a smelly nuisance for many pet owners regardless of its harmless nature.
Your dog doesn't have to be gassy. A major component of flatulence is excess air. If your dog is a ravenous eater, he ultimately swallows air during his fervor. As a rule, air that goes in must come out. This results in, you guessed it, flatulence. There are many ways to slow your dog down as he eats, including feeding small amounts either by hand or in your dog's bowl, using food bowls specifically made for speedy eaters, and spreading his food out on a plate or cookie sheet.
There are, unfortunately, some breeds predisposed to flatulence. Any flat-faced breed like Boston terriers, pugs and bulldogs naturally swallow more air as they eat and drink than their counterparts. It's most important to make sure these breeds eat slowly to prevent unwelcome gas.
Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for your dog's health. A poor diet is the No. 1 cause of flatulence in dogs. There are many low-quality pet foods on the market so it's important to remain aware of ingredients that cause excess gas. Some of these difficult-to-digest ingredients include lactose, soybeans, ash, corn and wheat.
Some dogs suffer from allergy-induced gas. It's often difficult to pinpoint the food allergy responsible for your dog's chronic flatulence. One method involves careful removal of ingredients one at a time and then observing and charting any changes in your dog's gas levels. Your vet can help guide you through the elimination method and diet challenge.
When to See a Vet
If you notice a significant increase or change in smell of your dog's gas, or it's accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea, consult your veterinarian immediately. These symptoms can indicate gastrointestinal disease. Once disease is ruled out, your vet may prescribe medications such as zinc acetate or pancreatic enzyme supplements to help ease your dog's gas.
By Christina Stephens
About the Author
Christina Stephens is a writer from Portland, Ore. whose main areas of focus are pets and animals, travel and literature. A veterinary assistant, she taught English in South Korea and holds a BA in English with cum laude honors from Portland State University.