My dog’s farting, is it normal? All your gassy questions answered.
We’re all spending a lot more time at home right now, and while your pup will be loving the extra attention, you might be noticing just how gassy they are! If your dog’s diet is working for them, you shouldn’t be noticing nasty smells – at least not on a regular basis. A healthy diet should work with your dog’s digestive function and not result in an unpleasant smelling by-product.
If you’re starting to say ‘That’s just normal’ when your Friday movie evenings on the sofa are interrupted by a strong pong coming from your pupper, then stop right there – regular flatulence can even be an early sign of gastrointestinal disease. Rule number 1: Assume it is not normal!
My dog’s farting: how much is too much?
To a certain extent, flatulence is normal. After all, air swallowed when gulping food has to make its way out somehow! This gas, however, tends not to be smelly.
Occasional wind can also be normal in dogs who eat higher amounts of dietary fibre. However, if you notice your dog farting regularly, or it’s malodorous, there is probably some sort of gastro disturbance going on.
It starts with the microbiome
Your pup’s gut, like ours, contains trillions of micro-organisms that should be balanced and living in harmony together. It’s what we call their microbiome, and it not only plays a very important part in their gut health and digestion, but can also benefit their immune system and wellbeing overall. It takes the right sort of quality ingredients and nutrients to keep the microbiome healthy, which is why it’s so important what we feed our puppers. With a balanced microbiome and healthy digestive system, it’s unlikely your dog will have bad-smelling flatulence.
So what can cause bad smells?
While some healthy foods like vegetables can cause a little flatulence, others such as legumes (including beans and chickpeas), are well known for causing gassiness. Scientific evidence is rapidly emerging to indicate the negative impact that the type of proteins called lectins in these foods may have on the cells of the lining of the gut. Wheat (which contains the lectin gluten), corn and certain food additives can also cause wind, as can certain treats. Some supplements and medications can also cause flatulence, so ask your vet about side effects if your pup is on these.
Could it be allergies?
Food allergies are incredibly rare, and usually cause distinct symptoms that are part of the immune system going into overdrive – like hives where the skin is really itchy, for example. However, a food intolerance is different. It occurs if your pup is sensitive to a particular food and it’s very common. Integrative vets believe that flatulence and other digestive disorders may be the first signs of food intolerances and sensitivities and they’re now able to scientifically test saliva to help find out.
When should you talk to your vet?
There’s always the possibility that even symptoms that you might think are minor, like bad smelling flatulence, could have a more serious cause. Issues with the liver, pancreas and the intestinal tract can all have digestive symptoms, some of which are more serious, so your vet may want to screen for specific health conditions. These include food intolerances or sensitivities, dysbiosis (where their gut microbiome becomes disrupted, after antibiotic therapy for example), liver and pancreatic dysfunction, parasites and irritable bowel syndrome. Sometimes it can even be a symptom of generalised anxiety.
What symptoms should you look out for?
Keep an eye out for behaviours such as persistently eating grass, eating dog poop, vomiting, diarrhoea, poor appetite or having more than 2 bowel movements per day. If your dog farting is accompanied by any of these, it’s definitely time to do something about it and let your vet help you get to the bottom of the problem.
Is diet important?
Today’s dry dog foods (even those that are grain-free) are often highly processed, and contain high amounts of plant protein and inappropriate fibre profiles, both of which can lead to flatulence. With less meat protein and more plant-based proteins, they also tend to be too easily digestible and that can impact your pup’s gut health. Your pupper’s best health and wellbeing depends on eating a moderately-digestible diet that feeds the gut-friendly organisms of their microbiota.
If you successfully transition to a diet that supports your pup’s digestion, you should see that flatulence resolves within about the first six weeks.
Top tips to help my dog stop farting
As well as ensuring they get plenty of exercise, it’s important to ensure your pup follows a healthy eating routine:
- Try feeding twice a day, serving half-size portions for breakfast and dinner
- Many pups rush their meal, so consider ways of slowing this down, with multiple bowls, interactive puzzles or by using an indented feeding bowl
- Allow an hour after each meal before exercising your pup
- Don’t forget the impact of stress – about 15% of all gastrointestinal issues are related to stress and behavioural triggers in our dogs.
If a change of diet hasn’t reduced the dog farting, your pup could have an underlying medical condition or unhealthy bacteria in their gut. You might suspect this especially if your dog has had courses of antibiotics or immunosuppressive medications. Check with your vet, or seek a second opinion from an integrative veterinarian or a holistic practitioner.
Consider a change to fresh dog food
If it sounds (and smells) like your pup’s current diet isn’t working for them, it could be a great time to try switching to a natural diet that is designed for digestive health.
At Lyka, we believe every pup deserves the best diet to support a healthy, active life – and they will definitely look forward to meal times! Our complete and balanced meals are free from plant-based proteins like lectins and are made from delicious human-grade animal protein, with the correct balance of fibre and omega fatty acids.
How do I switch to Lyka?
For most windy pups, a slow transition over 14 days into our Lyka Bowl range should work well. If your pup has other digestive issues, or has had several antibiotic treatments over their life, we suggest our Sensitive Chicken Bowl, a gut-liver cleansing diet enriched with collagen plus probiotics and pre-biotic fibres to restore a healthy gut microbiome – you can then transition onto a rotation of the Lyka Bowl range. Your pupper will thank you for it!