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Dog Gas / Flatulence Odors

Flatulence or Gas

Flatulence refers to the passing of intestinal gas through the anus. This is also known by many other names, such as “farting,” “passing wind,” and “passing gas.”

If the odor is coming from your dog, then this may indicate a dietary or intestinal problem. Some flatulence is normal, but if this is regularly occurring, he needs to be seen by the veterinarian.

Flatulence more commonly affects dogs that are inactive and spend long periods indoors.

It is normal for dogs to pass gas in small quantities at infrequent intervals. However, persistent passage of excessive quantities of gas is abnormal. Excessive flatulence usually results from intolerance of one or more components (ingredients) of the dog’s diet.

Basically what happens is these ingredients pass through the intestinal tract without being absorbed and end up in the large intestine (colon and rectum), where bacteria ferment them to produce gas.

Some of these gases do not smell, but those derived from the fermentation of proteins and fats, smell very badly.

Another cause of flatulence can occur when a dog eats excessive quantities of food, overwhelming the ability of his gastrointestinal tract to digest the food.

In addition, some dogs are born without the ability to digest certain ingredients in their diets, such as digesting lactose (milk sugar). Other dogs have trouble digesting some legumes such as soy. Another cause of flatulence is greedy eating resulting in the ingestion of large quantities of air. Once ingested, air has to be removed from the gastrointestinal tract either by burping or by flatulence.

Although flatulence is usually normal, on occasion it can signify more serious gastrointestinal disease of the small bowel or pancreas. Please seek veterinary advice if gaseousness appears to be causing your dog abdominal discomfort, or if the flatulence is associated with vomiting or diarrhea. All of these signs suggest more serious gastrointestinal disease.

Some suggestions you can try:

1. Change to a high-quality (highly digestible) diet without excessive fat content. Suitable commercial products are available from most of the major manufacturers. Alternatively, owners can prepare a homemade diet of highly digestible protein and carbohydrate sources such as cottage cheese and rice appropriately balanced with vitamins and minerals. Please note however, homemade diets are less desirable than commercial diets because their long-term use is often associated with nutritional deficiencies or excesses. If dietary manipulation is not successful in controlling flatulence, call your veterinarian, because a diagnostic investigation of your pet’s digestive system may be required.

2. Regular exercise is helpful because it promotes regular defecation.

3. Reducing your dog’s gulping of air by avoiding situations that provoke nervousness and by discouraging greedy eating, for instance, by ensuring that the dog does not have to compete for food, may also be helpful.

4. Your veterinarian may suggest a trial with medications that reduce gas production by assisting digestion, absorbing gas, or assisting the passage of gas.

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