Decoding Dog Gas — When Is It a Problem?

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    Have you ever been cuddling on the couch with your dog and heard strange rumbling sounds coming from his tummy? Dog gas has some seriously gross side effects. Some dogs belch and others have the opposite problem — their stinky gas can clear a room! “Gas is a normal byproduct of digestion,” explains Tracey Jensen, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, founding partner of Wellington Veterinary Hospital in Wellington, Colorado. “When you hear the stomach gurgling, it’s gas and liquid. It’s the same kind of sounds you hear in a soda can, it just sounds different because it’s inside a dog. Dogs burp just like people do and they expel gas from the intestines in the form of flatulence.”

    A dog sitting and looking back.

    Is that dog gas normal — or not? Photography ©Fly_dragonfly | Thinkstock.

    What’s normal and what’s not when it comes to dog gas?

    A small amount of stomach gurgling, burping or even farting is normal for most dogs, but excessive dog gas may signal a problem. “When it’s abnormal is when it’s excessive in volume or odor,” Dr. Jensen says. “When it’s consistent or persistent, it’s an indication of a variety of different things that warrant a visit to your veterinarian.”

    Excessive dog gas may be caused by a less-than-ideal diet. If the ingredients in your dog’s food are hard for him to digest, it might result in burping, stomach gurgling or flatulence. Large amounts of dog gas or very foul-smelling dog gas may also be signs of issues like inflammatory bowel disease or intestinal parasites.

    Diagnosing abnormal dog gas

    If your dog is very gassy, your vet might want to run certain tests, especially a fecal test to check for parasites. When you go to the appointment, bring a fresh stool sample, the label from your dog’s food and any supplements or treats your dog gets at home.

    Treating dog gas

    If no overt issues are discovered as the cause of the dog gas, your vet might talk to you about switching your dog to a higher quality of the food for increased digestibility, and perhaps adding daily probiotics.

    “In uncomplicated cases when there’s not an underlying medical problem, probiotics are fantastic,” Dr. Jensen advises in regards to treating dog gas. “Probiotics vary in their potency and in the evidence behind the specific preparation of probiotic, so definitely visit with your veterinarian so he or she can recommend which probiotics would be best for your pet.”

    Although it’s safe to give your dog small amounts of plain yogurt as a healthy snack, he likely won’t reap many benefits from the probiotics found in yogurt. “Let’s face it, dogs and cats eat things that we would never dream of,” Dr. Jensen says. “They have pretty robust digestive systems. Because of that, the probiotics that you find in yogurt are just not potent enough to get to the intestinal tract of our domestic pets.”

    Read more: dogster.com

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