Us dog lovers will do anything for our furry pals, but let’s face it—sometimes they can really stink. As in, peel-the-paint, make you run out the door, grab the nearest gas mask, shriek in disgust, STINK. And whether they creep upon you (silent but deadly style), or blare like a fog horn, a dog’s farts have left many of us wondering: just why do they smell so awful?
Well, now you can satisfy your curiosity. Read on to learn the mystery behind your dog’s stench, and what you can (or can’t) do about it.
What Causes Your Dog to Fart?
Just like humans fart to release gas (c’mon, don’t act like you don’t do it!), dogs must do the same. Passing gas is normal; it’s what dogs’ bodies are meant to do. However, an excess of gas in your pooch may mean that something is off with your pal, such an imbalance of gut bacteria or maybe a change in diet that isn’t going over too well.
On the other hand, there are certain breeds that uh, tend to toot more than others. For example, doggies with flatter faces, like Pugs and English Bulldogs, are known as brachycephalic dogs. The shape of their faces means these dogs suck in more air throughout the day, leading to more gas. Makes sense, right?
What’s Diet Got To Do With It?
The short answer is: a lot!
The long answer: diet is almost always the culprit behind your dog’s stinky farts. And the reasons run the gamut, from sudden changes to your dog’s diet, foods that are high in carbohydrates, table foods, or allergies.
Perhaps your dog’s tummy isn’t cooperating with certain foods. Dogs tend to have challenges processing carbohydrates, which are often used as fillers in dry dog food. Or, if you’ve recently switched up your dog’s diet and they’re suddenly gassy as heck, then investigate the ingredients in their latest chow. It’s not just carbs that could be the problem; the additives in your dog’s food may cause gas. For example, carrageenan is an additive in wet dog food that many people believe is linked to IBS. Or, your dog may have gotten into something (think: trash dive!) that is causing more problems than normal.
And when it comes to table food, while you may find it fun to share your goodies with your pooch, the short-term joy may be causing long-term stench. Foods like fruits, milk products or sugary treats are known flatulence-inducers in dogs.
What You Can Do About Your Dog’s Farts
The first strategy is a no-brainer: review your dog’s diet (including what role table food may have in it) and talk to your vet. Your vet may be able to recommend a food that is lower in carbs and higher in protein.
And then get your dog moving! A simple walk before or after they eat will work your whole dog’s body, getting the blood moving and activating your dog’s digestive tract. A general rule: more exercise, less gas. And, walking after a meal is good for both of you.
Also, there are probiotics designed especially for dogs. The goal here is to keep the healthy bacterial in your dog’s gut. Ask your vet for a suggestion on which one to add to your dog’s diet.
Is It More Than Just Gas?
Of course, if you make changes to your dog’s diet and you’ve tried everything—the walks, the probiotics, the vet visits—well, then there may be something bigger going on. You’ll want to dig a bit deeper to see if your dog is suffering from IBS or even an internal parasite.
In the meantime, get used to your dog’s toots, open the windows and grab a copy of Walter the Farting Dog. Gas is a part of pet parenthood.