Have you ever walked into a room only to be overwhelmed by an incredibly obnoxious smell? Has that smell emanated from the direction of your favorite canine pal who seems to be oblivious to the stink? If so, you know that canines suffering from flatulence can be a real problem. While dogs seem to revel in smelly odors, their owners typically don’t. Though the stink itself is enough to compel you to search for answers, the truth is excess gas or flatulence in your dog can be indicative of a far more serious problem. If your dog seems to be troubled with regular gas issues, it is important to try to assess what is causing the problem, so you can effectively treat it.
What is Flatulence?
In the normal canine intestinal system, gas is formulated on a regular basis. The problem comes in when gas is produced much more rapidly and in excess. Excess gas typically is formed as a result of a change in diet or when a dog is having difficulty digesting certain types of food. A less common phenomenon, malassimilation, a condition in which dogs are unable to properly absorb the nutrition housed in their diet, can also lead to flatulence issues.
Flatulence should be a rare occurrence in dogs. If a dog begins to suffer from flatulence on a regular basis, it is a chronic condition which may require veterinary assistance to alleviate.
What Causes Flatulence in Dogs?
Flatulence can be caused by a number of different issues. Among the most common problems which lead to excess gas build up are:
Rapid eating leading to swallowing of air
When dogs eat their food too quickly, they consume excess air in addition to their food. This gulping of air leads to discomfort in the intestines. At times, a dog’s stomach may appear swollen, and he may begin to suffer from problems such as burping or farting. A far more serious condition known as bloat, an illness which descends rapidly and is most often fatal, may also occur from rapid eating and air swallowing. Dogs who engage in this behavior must learn to eat their food at a more moderate pace or risk very serious health complications.
Inappropriate or poor quality diet
There are certain types of foods that the canine digestive system cannot properly identify or process. The most common food culprits which can lead to flatulence in dogs are diets that are too rich in meats, dairy of any sort, or items that are unpalatable to dogs such as peas, chickpeas, beans, and certain types of fibrous foods.
Consumption of food that is spoiled
Fermented foods or foods that are spoiled also cause issues when it comes to gas in our dogs. A condition sometimes referred to as “dietary indiscretion,” these items are foreign to our dogs’ systems and lead to gastrointestinal distress which can include excess gas production. Other common symptoms of dietary indiscretion include vomiting, diarrhea, and even some evidence of pain.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory Bowel Disease, also known as colitis, occurs when the intestinal tract becomes irritated and inflamed. Diarrhea, vomiting, and excess gas are common symptoms of this illness. Dogs suffering from this disease most often need to follow a very specific diet to alleviate this painful condition.
Certain types of tumors
Leiomyosarcoma of the stomach is a type of cancerous tumor which can affect both the large and small intestine. Symptoms of this type of tumor are similar to other conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome with flatulence being among the most common. Leiomyosarcoma typically affects older dogs and is often evidenced by blood which occurs in the dog’s fecal matter.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a condition which is similar to Inflammatory Bowel Disease, is identified by a consistent gastrointestinal distress which results in diarrhea, persistent gas, and even bloating of the stomach areas. Typically brought on by an intolerance to certain foods, Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be controlled by feeding a diet appropriate to your dog’s unique digestive preferences.
Because certain types of parasites find their nutrients in your dog’s food supply, their presence is often detected in your dog via weight loss, upset stomach, diarrhea, and gas problems. Roundworms are known to produce these types of effects in dogs.
Stomach upsets of unknown origin can often lead to flatulence among other symptoms.
How to Treat Flatulence
If your dog is suffering from regularly occurring flatulence, there are many different things you can try to help alleviate the problem. If the gas does not seem to be causing him any pain, your best course of action is to consider Fido’s diet. If you have been feeding your dog table scraps or varying his diet, now is the time to be ultra consistent. Eliminate any additional foods and stick strictly to a diet that is low in fat and high in fibers that are easy for your dog to consume.
For some dogs a switch in diet will be a good start, but it may not be sufficient to completely eradicate the problem. Under these circumstances, it may be wise to consider adding a good probiotic supplement to your dog’s food. Your veterinarian may also recommend a specific diet formulated to address gastrointestinal problems as well as a medication to help get the situation back under control.
A visit to your veterinarian for a complete wellness exam would never go amiss. Though most flatulence problems are simple to treat, some dogs do suffer with more serious issues that must be properly diagnosed then treated in order for your dog to find relief. It is always best to err on the side of caution and take your dog in for a visit even if you are uncertain as to the severity of the situation. Fido’s health and your peace of mind are worth the extra money. Often, your veterinarian will be able to diagnose a problem in its early stages and prevent it from becoming a serious, life-threatening issue.
Fido’s flatulence got you down? Follow the suggestions in this article to get him back on track and your house smelling like a rose once again. Your nose will thank you for it!