It’s a Friday night, you’re all curled up with your sweetheart on the couch, engrossed in the latest DVD new release, sharing a glass of wine, when out of nowhere… OH. MY. GOD. A certain SMELL hits your nostrils, blowing you off the couch, nearly spilling your wine, and thoroughly ruining the mood. You look down, where your four legged friend is obliviously snoring (and farting) away.
While some amount of gas is normal and a natural by-product of, well, being a carbon based organism that takes in food and converts it into usable energy, for some dogs, flatulence is more than a source of occasional comedic annoyance around the living room but more like a horrible room clearing, frequent problem.
A common problem for big, barrel-chested breeds like Boxers and Bulldogs, flatulence can afflict any breed and stem from a variety of problems.
Most commonly, post-dinner gas results from wolfing down food too quickly and swallowing significant amounts of air in the process. If you feel that the flatulence is getting too excessive, it’s best to check with your vet to ensure that an infection or illness isn’t at the root of your dog’s odoriferous emissions. Diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite are usual accompaniments if there’s a serious problem.
If serious health problems have been ruled out, the gas is most likely due to a dietary issue including a potential allergy or sensitivity to an ingredient. Now it’s just a matter of trial and error: a good place to start is to change your dog’s food to a higher quality dog food that contains whole foods and no poor quality fillers like corn, split grains, or wheat. It’s also important to slow down your dog’s eating speed. Eating too fast can lead not only to bloating and intestinal gas, but also choking, obesity (since feelings of fullness aren’t triggered until too much food has already been eaten), and even the dangerous and even potentially fatal condition of gastric torsion.
Improve your dog’s mealtimes (and your indoor air quality) by:
- Feeding a high quality dog food without cheap fillers
- Feed smaller meals more frequently (so he isn’t so starving when it’s time for dinner that he literally inhales his food),
- Using a specially designed dish called a “slow feeder” or “obstacle bowl” that contains shapes and protrusions on the bottom of the bowl that decrease the amount of food your dog can ingest at one time.
- Adding canine-specific probiotic additives or a teaspoon of plain yogurt with active, live cultures to the dinner bowl is good for overall digestive health.
- Adding activated charcoal to the food, which has been known to diminish the odor, if not the situation itself.
- Keep your dogs active! A post-dinner walk will get the juices flowing, help ease digestion, keep the weight down and boredom at bay – for both of you. And any post-dinner gas that’s released can happen outside in the fresh air!
- Keep a bottle of earthbath spritz nearby — it does double duty as a natural air freshener as well as doggy deodorizer!