We all know one- the gassy smelly dog that looks at you with a surprised expression as if to say, “What? Wasn't me!” Dogs are renowned for passing foul smelling gas and it can make cuddling up on the couch with them really unpleasant. Fortunately there are a few strategies you can try to make your pooch a bit more socially acceptable.
There are two ways in which air gets into your dog’s gastrointestinal system. It is either swallowed or it is made by bacteria, predominantly in the large intestine. Swallowed air can be released in a belch or it can move along the intestines and out the end. This gas doesn’t usually smell too bad.
The most rancid flatulence in dogs comes from the gas that’s produced by bacteria acting on dietary fiber in the intestine.
It makes sense then that the way to reduce smelly flatulence is to firstly reduce the amount of air your dog swallows, and secondly control bacterial gas production. Here are some suggestions that may work on your pooch. If one doesn't work, try another; it’s likely you’ll find one or two that work better than the others for him.
Switch your dog’s kibble to a high digestibility low residue formula. If most of the nutrients are digested in the upper gastrointestinal tract, there will be less reaching the large intestine where the bacteria are. Make sure you change foods gradually or you may find yourself dealing with diarrhea as well as gas.
Slow Down Eating
Fast eaters who seem to inhale their food tend to swallow air as they gulp, so by slowing them down, they’ll take in less air. This means less gas. Give him two or three small meals a day rather than one big bowlful of kibble. You can also purchase a bowl that’s designed to slow down fast eaters.
Restrict Human Foods
Some of what we eat may contribute to gas production in dogs. Vegetable trimmings and fruit contain a lot of fiber, and this can fuel bacterial gas production. Adult dogs lack the enzyme lactase which breaks down milk sugar, so they can have trouble digesting dairy products. It’s safest to stick to feeding him his regular kibble and cut out any leftovers and human foods.
Some pet stores carry products that contain simethicone or charcoal and they claim that they will absorb gas odor and make your dog more pleasant to be around. If you want to give them a try, make sure you follow the instructions on the packet closely.
It’s worth trying a supplement or two to see if it makes any difference to your dog’s flatulence. Probiotics are bacteria which improve the balance of healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. They may or may not help. Some probiotics don’t appear to survive the journey down the intestines to the large intestine where they are needed. However, they’re safe and are unlikely to do any harm.
Yucca and Zinc may help with the smell of your dog’s gas. Some dog kibbles are now including these ingredients to help with smelly flatulence.
It’s fair to say that most dogs will have flatulence at some time in their lives and it doesn't cause any ill health. However, if your pooch becomes suddenly windy and appears to have a tummy ache or diarrhea, it’s time for a visit to your vet.