Have you ever had friends over when an overly powerful awful smell takes hold of the room? When your friends ask what the smell is, you embarrassingly have to put your head down and explain to them that your dog can sometimes be a little "windy". Flatulence in dogs, although disruptive and obnoxious to you, is rarely a serious health issue. Sudden onset of gas may be associated with a change in diet, exploring through the trash can or an intestinal parasite. Chronic flatulence is more associated with diets that contain foods that are not easily digestible. Dogs that inhale their food are also swallowing a large amount of air, which is another common cause of gas. Dogs that are gassy may have some discomfort in their abdomen. Dogs who have an underlying digestive issue may also exhibit medical issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss in appetite and weight loss.
To help keep your dog's flatulence to a minimum, there are a few things that we, as pet owners, can do:
- Feed high-quality dog food and keep table food on the table. If you want to feed your dog human food stay away from peas, soybeans, dairy products, and fatty or spicy foods.
- Diet changes should be made gradually over a period of several weeks.
- Discourage competitive or fast eating. If you have competitive eaters because of another dog, separate dogs during meal time so they won't feel the need to gobble their food in fear of the other dog. If you're in a single dog household and your dog eats fast, try putting a larger sized ball in their food bowl so they have to work around it to get to their food. This will help in slowing them down and eliminate swallowing more air. You can also food smaller meals throughout the day.
- Have your dog's fecal checked for intestinal parasites at least once a year. Bring a sample to our veterinary office at your dog's annual exam.
If you have tried the steps listed above and your dog is still experiencing flatulence, an examination by our veterinarian should be sought to rule out any digestive disorders. If you have any questions regarding flatulence, please call us at Eagle Animal Hospital (610)458-8789 or visit our website: www.eagleanimalvet.com. Eagle Animal Hospital serves Chester Springs, Downingtown, Exton, Glenmoore and surrounding areas.
Written by Alyson Kelly, veterinary technician