Every dog parent knows that dog farts are a reality of pet companionship. From the silent but deadly stinkers to the startlingly loud rips, dogs fart just like us. It’s a normal bodily function that reminds us all that our digestive systems are hard at work. However, it can be concerning when your dog’s farts are more smelly or more frequent than usual.
We have the answers to the most asked questions from dog owners about their pooch’s flatulence. Keep reading to learn all about dog farts, including what causes them, how to stop them, and how to tell when they might be a sign of a more serious health issue.
What Is A Fart?
Flatulence is the buildup of gas in the intestine that exits through the rear end creating a smell, a noise, or both that we call a ‘fart’. The word ‘flatulence’ originates from the Latin word, ‘flatus’, which means “a blowing, a breaking wind.”
The air that makes up a fart typically comes from two places. It is either swallowed air that has traveled through the gastrointestinal tract, or it is the byproduct from bacteria breaking down food in the large intestine.
Is It Normal For A Dog To Fart A Lot?
Dogs typically break wind about 5 to 20 times per day. Most are silent and odorless, so you may not even notice them. Your dog’s diet, gut health, breed, age, and lifestyle will affect what a normal amount of gas is for them.
Consistently smelly gas may be a sign that something isn’t quite right with your dog’s diet and/or gut health. We discuss both of these topics in more detail later on, including what you can do to address your dog’s flatulence problem.
Which Dogs Are More At Risk Of Having Chronic Flatulence?
Breed Matters! Dogs with flat faces (brachycephalic breeds), such as bulldogs and pugs, typically fart more than other dogs. This is because they take in more air when eating and drinking due to their unique facial structure.
Dogs with sedentary lifestyles, mature age, obesity, and certain health issues are more likely to produce smellier and higher amounts of gas compared to their counterparts. Most of these factors are connected to their gut health, and more specifically, the bacteria that live in your dog’s intestine.
Why Do Dogs Fart A Lot?
Intestinal gas is the normal byproduct of your dog’s gut bacteria hard at work. Sometimes when these gut bacteria are faced with a challenge, such as a new food, they may produce more gas than normal. Here are the most common reasons your dog may produce excess gas.
Your Dog’s Diet Affects Flatulence
Difficult to Digest Foods
Complex Carbohydrates and High Fiber Foods
As robust as dogs’ guts may seem, there are a lot of foods that are hard for them to digest. Complex carbohydrates and high-fiber foods are particularly difficult for the dog’s stomach and small intestine to digest.
Bacteria in the large intestine break down these ingredients instead, creating fermentation gasses in the process. Examples of these foods include soybeans, lentils, peas, and beans. The fiber within these foods are important for feeding your dog’s beneficial gut microbes. So if you think too much fiber explains your dog’s flatulence, it is best to focus on reduction rather than elimination.
Soybeans, a common additive to some dog foods as a protein source, may be contributing to your dog’s farts. A research group in Brazil found that dogs fed soya hulls had increased intestinal gas production compared to other study groups. Another research group in the United States found that soybean meal increased fecal-smelling gas compared to other diets.
Foods With A High Sulfur Compound
Food high in sulfur compounds lead to the production of hydrogen sulfide, the smelly gas that is to blame for extra stinky farts. Eggs, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and legumes are all high in sulfur-containing amino acids. If your dog is clearing the room with the smell of their gas, you can consider reducing or eliminating these ingredients from their diet.
If your dog eats too much of a food and doesn’t have the digestive enzymes to properly break it down, it may make them extra gassy. Check out this informative article about how to create the best diet for your dog to learn more.
Food Allergy or Sensitivity
Food intolerances can cause indigestion, loose poop, vomiting, and you guessed it – gas. Food allergies and sensitivities occur when your dog lacks sufficient digestive enzymes to properly break down the ingredients in their food.
Dairy products that contain lactose are one of the most common food intolerances for adult dogs, because they don’t produce lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose, the sugar in milk).
Sudden Diet Change
It takes some time for your dog’s digestive tract to adjust to a new diet. If you are switching your dog to a new food, we recommend gradually transitioning them to their new diet. The best way to do this is to mix their new food with their old food in increasing proportions over the course of a week.
How Your Dog Eats
It’s not only what your dog is eating, but how they eat it that factors into your dog’s flatulence. Swallowing a lot of air when they eat – called aerophagia – can lead to excess gas. This typically happens when your dog eats too fast, but sometimes the shape and size of the kibble can cause your dog to take in extra air too.
There are many tools available to help slow down the speed at which your dog eats. Food puzzle bowls, slow feeding mats, and timer-activated food dispensers can slow down the rate at which dogs eat their food. Some pet parents have also found that slightly wetting kibble is an effective way to minimize air intake.
Gut Microbiome Imbalance
The two biggest influences on your dog’s digestive system are the food that goes in and the bacteria that break the food down. There are hundreds of different kinds of bacteria that live inside your dog’s digestive system. They each play a unique role in breaking down the food your dog eats. Altogether, these bacteria make up the gut microbiome. A gut microbiome is considered healthy when the bacteria present are diverse and balanced.
A gut microbiome imbalance occurs when important beneficial bacteria are missing, there aren’t enough beneficial bacteria, or there are too many harmful bacteria. When this happens, the gut can’t perform all of its functions effectively. This can lead to problems with absorbing nutrients and immune function, both of which can lead to excessive gas.
Imbalances can happen for several reasons, the most common of which are caused by antibiotic treatment or a sudden change in diet.
With an at-home gut microbiome test for dogs, you can gain a detailed understanding of the bacteria in your dog’s gut and whether an imbalance is present. The report also provides personalized diet and supplement recommendations for relieving symptoms and for improving overall health. Learn more about microbiome testing here.
Health Problems Associated with Flatulence
There are few more concerning causes of dog flatulence that need veterinary attention. These include:
- Intestinal parasites, like worms and Giardia, can lead to increased flatulence. They can also cause vomiting and diarrhea, which can also be symptoms of more serious underlying problems, such as pancreatic disease and some cancers.
- Gastrointestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or canine colitis, could also be to blame for your dog’s unrelenting farts. These issues are sometimes difficult to diagnose and can be challenging to treat.
Pay attention to your dog if they have an increase in the amount or odor of their toots and take note if any other symptoms have appeared. If your dog’s gas doesn’t resolve on its own in a few days or improve with dietary adjustments, contact your veterinarian to make sure your dog isn’t showing signs of a more serious problem.
How to Stop Dog Farts?
You can’t eliminate your dog’s farts completely, but there are many options available to you to make them less frequent and less stinky. It may take some trial and error to identify the source of your dog’s farts. We encourage you to talk with your veterinarian about these methods:
Test The Microbiome
When important groups of bacteria are missing or the various populations are not present in the right amounts, your dog’s gut microbiome is out of balance. As a result, the microbiome can’t perform all of its important functions. This may cause your dog to experience a variety of uncomfortable symptoms like excess gas, diarrhea, allergies, and skin problems.
Gut microbiome testing can give you valuable information about what’s going on in your dog’s gut, revealing any imbalances that may be causing troublesome symptoms. The at-home Gut Microbiome Health Test kit includes everything you’ll need to collect a small sample of your dog’s poop. The test report provides actionable insights for relieving symptoms and improving your dog’s digestive and overall health. The report includes diet and supplement recommendations based on your dog’s unique microbiome.
Learn More About Gut Microbiome Testing
Assess Your Dog’s Diet
If you feed your dog kibble or wet food, closely read all of the ingredients on the Nutrition Facts label on the back. Some dog kibbles contain additive and filler ingredients (such as soy) that your dog may be sensitive to and may contribute to increased flatulence. Talk with your veterinarian about their recommendations for healthy dog food or opt for a diet that supports your dog’s GI tract health.
No More Table Scraps
Don’t forget that human food counts too! It’s tempting to cave for those puppy dog eyes, but table scraps are often the culprit behind your doggy passing gas. Human food may contain ingredients that your dog’s digestive system isn’t able to break down easily.
A research group in the United Kingdom found in their study that the plant Yucca schidigera, zinc acetate, and activated charcoal reduce the hydrogen sulfide concentration in dog flatulence. While these supplements may make farts less smelly, they don’t address the source of increased flatulence.
Supporting the gut microbiome with prebiotic, probiotic, and postbiotic supplements are effective ways of reducing flatulence at its source. There are prebiotics for dogs, which are a type of fiber that feed beneficial gut bacteria so they can efficiently break down your dog’s food. Probiotics introduce beneficial bacteria that reduce gas by improving digestion and bringing balance to the gut microbiome.
Get Your Dog Moving
Stinky dog farts could be a sign that your dog’s bowels aren’t moving well. Going for a walk can relieve bloating and constipation – it literally gets things moving!
Adding bulk to your dog’s diet in the form of fiber can also help material move along more easily. It’s great fuel for your dog’s beneficial gut bacteria too! Luckily, dietary fiber is easy to add to your dog’s diet. For example, DoggyBiome™ S. boulardii + FOS Powder contains probiotic S. boulardii and a prebiotic fiber that feeds beneficial bacteria in your dog’s intestinal tract.
Not Sure How To Tackle Your Dog’s Gas Problem?
Get in touch! We’d love to talk to you about your dog’s health and how we can support you in their path to a healthy (and less gassy!) gut.
We encourage you to talk with your veterinarian as well, especially if your dog has other persistent symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, or gas that don’t let up with dietary changes.