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Dogs Fart Just Like Humans Do
Just like in humans, farting (or flatulence) is caused by a buildup of gas in the intestines. In my house, we've had a standing (or sitting) joke for years: whenever one of us passes gas, we blame it on one of the dogs. In all the years that I have had dogs, though, our malamute Maxwell has raised the bar on farting. I should say he has blown it right off its hinges!
Some dogs pass gas in a way that's like a silent weapon—quiet but deadly. All of a sudden there is a permeating aroma in the room or the car that you swear is going to make you expire from the smell. It’s so bad that you're sure your eyes are watering and you're becoming sick from the smell. Nothing says hospitality like having a family gathering and you sense a toxic cloud enveloping your guests.
Other dogs pass gas audibly. From an early age, Max farted audibly like he was a balloon expelling gas. It definitely got our attention, and I wanted to learn more in order to cut down on the noxious fumes, not to mention the embarrassment of having a dog literally just prancing along farting as his hips swung from side to side. Better yet, assuming the sit position or a down and expelling a “symphony” of fart sounds. It began to feel like this was a gag gift being used and he wasn’t in on the joke.
What Causes Dog Farts?
According to the AKC and other sources, some of the most common causes are:
- Poor diet
- High-protein diet
- Diets high in corn and starch
- Dog food that is out of date
- Eating things they should not be eating
- Taking in too much air while eating or drinking
- Eating too fast
- Certain foods that produce more gas in your particular dog
- Intestinal parasites
- Gastrointestinal illnesses
- Allergies to foods
- Particular foods such as broccoli, cauliflower and peas
How to Cut Down on Fido's Farts
Max’s farting we determined had several prominent characteristics.
- He ate everything not nailed down including dog toys, sticks, etc.
- He did develop a parasite that needed treatment with antibiotics.
- He ate everything he could get his mouth on in 10 seconds or less.
However, the more we tried to limit all of the above and have the parasite treated, nothing seemed to work. He didn’t particularly have diarrhea; nor did he have vomiting. Our conclusion became it has to be the food!
We had him on a food that was salmon and sweet potato, then we changed him to chicken and potato, and several other foods that were highly recommended by the veterinarian as well as our breeder friends. Nothing seemed to work. In fact, if anything, it seemed that the farting got worse.
We had dogs before over the years that had very sensitive stomachs and we began to wonder if it was a food allergy. I’m not quite so convinced now that with our other dogs it really was a food allergy. I think especially in larger breed dogs it has more to do with the rate at which they inhale their food and then as well what other things they get into and digest when we aren’t aware.
We did change Max’s food to a more stomach-friendly diet. We always feed our dogs less ingredient foods as that makes more sense. They get snacks with vegetables and fruits so we feel they are getting well-balanced meals and the food is always high quality.
How to Reduce Dog Farts: Do's
- Make sure your dog has adequate exercise – this is true for humans as well
- Make sure your dog has lots of water every day
- Keep your dog out of the trash and away from spoiled food
- Find out if your dog has any allergies or seems to fart more with certain foods
- Err on the side of caution if you suspect parasites – see a vet
- Keep your dog away from kitty litter and enticing piles of dog poo
- Talk to your vet or breeder about recommended diets
- Feed the best quality food you can afford
- Think about a prebiotic or probiotic dog food
- Slow down the rate at which your dog ingests food
- Do think about giving your dog yogurt
- Do try adding pumpkin to your dog’s diet
How to Reduce Dog Farts: Dont's
- Don’t give your dog table scraps!
- Don’t overindulge your dog with processed snacks/treats
- Don’t let your dog consume small animals or road kill!
- Don’t overfeed your dog – be sure you are feeding for appropriate weight
- Don’t feed diets high in corn and soy products
- Don’t feed your dog dairy products (unless it’s yogurt)
Use Raised Dog Dishes to Reduce Air
Slow Down Food Consumption
One of the main reasons dogs fart is because they inhale their food. This can not only lead to farting, but in larger chested dogs, it can lead to a fatal medical condition called bloat, which is a turning of the intestine upon itself (a volvulus). It can sometimes be repaired by very costly surgery but is extremely painful and oftentimes can be fatal. I lost a 14-year-old lab to bloat and it was heartbreaking.
For large breed dogs especially, since the volume of food that they consume is obviously greater than that for smaller dogs, there are several factors to consider. A raised bowl (so that they are not bending down to the ground to consume/suck in/inhale food) is recommended – even for water. It makes it easier for them to get food that is on a level with their mouth rather than at floor level.
There are many methods for slowing down their rate of consumption of food. You can buy special dog bowls such as the one we got for Max (which has worked like a charm). They are called bloat bowls and they effectively make the dog take their time eating the kibble rather than wolfing it down in several bites. That's the biggest culprit in dog farting we've found – the excess gas that can accumulate because they literally inhale their food. We have seen a 95% decrease in Max’s farting since changing his diet to a more intestinal-friendly food and getting the bloat bowl. When he does fart, at least it's not toxic and we don't have to call out the biohazard team.
Even if you don't purchase a bloat bowl, there are other ways to get them to slow down their consumption of food. You can give it to them in a Kong toy and have them have to work to get at the food, thus slowing them down.
You can put a large rock or tennis balls in the middle of their food dish and they have to eat around it. You can also put it on a very large cookie tray and make them eat it. This methodology for big dogs to me didn't work out very well. They still inhaled it like a Hoover vacuum cleaner. The idea is just to slow them down and have them take in less amounts over a greater period of time, not try frantically to chase it all around the cookie tray!
Adding something like yogurt or pumpkin to their diet can also promote good bacteria in the intestines and reduce toxic buildup. Even though yogurt is a dairy product, it miraculously does help dogs’ stomachs encourage good bacterial growth and is recommended by many vets. Check to see what amount is right for your size dog.
Try a Slow Feeder Bowl
Toys Can Slow Down Food Consumption
How to Make Dog Farts Smell Less Bad
We tried probiotics and digestive enzymes for dogs and found that they didn't do anything at all to help Max with his gassy problems.
They were just one more thing that he tried to inhale and the farting continued.
In our opinion, the top choice in our war against farts was the bloat bowl and changing his diet to a simpler, GI-friendly diet.
Use a Slow Feeder Bowl - Also Helps Prevent Bloat
Which Dog Breeds Fart the Most?
Some breeds are more farty than others! Here are some of the best of breed farters!
- Neopolitan Mastiffs
- Golden Retrievers
- English Bulldogs
- German Shepherds
- Boston Terriers
I think Alaskan Malamutes might be nominated to join the blue ribbon leaders! The key is finding the right diet for the breed as all of them process starches and carbs differently, and then ensuring that you are feeding them in such a way as to give them exactly the right amount of food to achieve their ideal weight and provide adequate nutrients but also ensuring that they do not inhale said food like a vacuum.
The Last Word on Farting Dogs
Be careful of advertised dog fart remedies as these might help you mask a problem (such as a parasite or an intestinal illness). While simple supplements or enzymes might not “hurt” your dog, there’s no guarantee that they are really helping or fixing a problem. In fact, some might be doing harm if you don’t know what’s in them or what their long-term effects will be if you give them to your dog.
It’s always best to get to the root of the problem and break it down to its simplest terms. Once we figured out that maybe it was how we were feeding Max and even what we were feeding him, it became a much simpler problem to solve. For him, it became a matter of just a simpler, easier to digest food and slowing down his consumption rate. Also, we feed him twice a day rather than once a day. We find that has helped all of our dogs handle the larger quantities of food they need as big dogs.
A fartless world is probably not possible, but at least you can minimize a dog’s fart-ability by trying some of these alternatives.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2017 Audrey Kirchner
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 01, 2017:
That is a great point to make and confirms what we think as well! Giving processed dog treats really encourages gas production in our large dogs. Something else I did not realize for months was when I was training Griffin as a puppy, I didn't realize that his training treats were part of his daily diet, NOT on top of his diet. We couldn't figure out why he was in gastric distress after training sessions - well I guess we would be too if we were overfed! That's why veggies are such a good alternative as well - as long as they don't make gas and farting worse. Great points, Mary!
Mary Mitchell on September 30, 2017:
I agree with you on the large breed dogs seem to inhale their food. I need to get a different bowel and a higher one for Duke. We changed to feeding morning and night and it seems to help. Duke only has fresh Vegas and fruit for snacks. I have never bought him any processed dog treats. He is now 8 years old and still acts like a puppy.