Is my dog abnormally gassy?

If you have a dog or have been around dogs for an extended period of time, you will know that dogs flatulate just like humans. And just like the gases we produce, dogs flatulence can be pungent on the nostrils for many different reasons. It's important to know that this is a natural bodily function, but it's also good to understand just how much gas is 'normal' and when should you seek advice.

Gas is produced during the digestion process, as food is digested small amounts of gas are released which makes its way out through the anus. Air can also be swallowed while your dog is chowing down on their favourite meal or snack, which is normally resolved through burping or belching.

If your dog has suddenly become more gassy than usual, there are a few common factors which may have contributed to the change:
  • Sudden change in diet: This may inflame the walls of the digestive tract and put out the balance between harmful bacteria and beneficial bacteria. Diets are best being introduced slowly so that your dog's digestive system can adapt to cope with the changes.
  • If your dog is eating foods that are high in fat, this can lead to pancreatitis which inflames the pancreas, resulting in a release of digestive enzymes that lead to severe gastrointestinal upset.
  • Dairy or milk products can lead to increased gas as many adult dogs are lactose intolerant.
There are of course more serious conditions that you should watch for, which may be the cause of your dog's gas problems. Common diseases include:

  • Enteritis: This occurs when the small intestine is inflamed and can be caused by a myriad of factors such as stress, diet changes, viral and bacterial infections, ingestion of toxic substances. Symptoms including diarrhoea, vomiting, and abdominal sensitivity and pain.
  • Intestinal parasites: Parasites like roundworm and hookworm can cause inflammation in the intestines. In addition to regular worm medications and treatments, you should also undertake checks of your dog's poo at least once a year.
  • IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome): If your dog has diarrhoea or constipation on and off, as well as intermittently passing a small amount of poo containing mucus, they may have IBS. This disease can be diagnosed through a biopsy of the intestinal tract and managed with medication.
There are ways you can help minimise the volume of gas passing through your dog's body and it starts with ensuring everybody in the household follows the same simple rules:

  1. Do not give your dog scraps from the table. Not only does it set your pooch up for bad table manners, but human food can cause havoc with their stomach
  2. Ensure trash is not accessible. Dogs will eat almost anything they can get their paws on, tempting them with trash is a recipe for intestinal disaster.
  3. If you want/need to change your dog's diet, make small step changes rather than suddenly switching out their food. Sudden changes will often lead to inflammation and digestive upset.