Love hangin' out with pups, obviously. But maybe the one single drawback to spending time with our lovable little furry friends is the fact that they don't care to adhere to certain social niceties — meaning that they really don't care who is around when they pass gas and stink up a whole joint. Not fun. If you have a dog of your own, it's helpful to know how to tell if your dog's farts are a health issue or just a plain ol' side effect of being a mammal with a digestive tract. I know I've personally had many a friends-plus-dogs movie night fully bombed by a pup lettin' one loose in our personal space bubble. And if you've experienced this, then you know it can be pretty unpleasant.
While dog farts are totally normal and we obviously need to just ~embrace~ the natural functions of our (and our animal companions') bodies, there are certainly some instances where dog gas can be a symptom of something more serious that could require veterinary assistance. Knowing the signs to look is super important — and knowing what causes gas in the first place can be helpful in reducing it, too.
So, here we go! This is a strange journey, but a journey we must take, dog people. Here's what you need to know about dog farts, and how to tell if your pup is passing gas normally or might have an underlying health issue contributing to their potentially stinky situation.
Firstly, Dog Farts Are Normal
Everybody farts, even those of us who won't admit it. And while doggos are near-perfect mammalian specimens, we can't expect them to bypass the laws of having a physical body, now can we? Having your dog pass some gas here and there can be unpleasant, yes, but normally it's nothing to worry about. That said, there are certainly some factors that can cause flatulence levels to become more severe, and it's important to rule out any that indicate health issues.
Diet May Be The Culprit
If you've recently changed something about your dog's diet (like gotten them on a new brand of food or eating schedule), that may be to blame for any excess gas. Certain human foods are particularly difficult for dogs to digest, such as legumes, dairy products, certain spices, and some high-fat and high-fiber foods, according to PetMD — so make sure you keep those away from your pup. And this is obvious, but make sure your dog doesn't get into any spoiled food that could be sitting out or in your trash can, and always check the dates to see that their food hasn't expired. This is another potential cause of doggy gas, so be aware!
Eating Habits Matter, Too
If your pup is scarfing down his food too quickly, it's pretty likely he's swallowing down some air with his lunch, too — and what goes in must come out, if you know what I mean. "[T]he source of most gas in dogs comes simply from swallowing too much air," explained PetMD on its site. If you suspect this is the case, stay with your dog while they eat and slow them down if you see them inhaling it all too quickly. Keep in mind that some dogs are actually genetically predisposed to swallowing more air while they eat and drink (and therefore, having more gas) — specifically breeds with shorter, flatter faces.
Unusually Loud, Smelly, or Excessive? Get It Checked
So yes, dog farts = normal. But there are certainly cases where it can get out of hand and indicate a health issue. "When it’s abnormal is when it’s excessive in volume or odor," said Dr. Tracey Jensen, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, in an interview with Dogster. "When it’s consistent or persistent, it’s an indication of a variety of different things that warrant a visit to your veterinarian." If you know your dog, you also likely know their gas-passing habits — and if there's a consistent change in your pup's flatulence, you may want to look at more than just their eating habits when it comes to resolving the issue.
Check For Parasites
Intestinal parasites are a common potential cause for abnormal dog flatulence, and they should definitely be addressed, if so. If you notice your pup's farts are a little worse smelling, louder, or more frequent than usual, see your vet and ask them to do a fecal test to check for parasites. This usually involves bringing a stool sample in with your pup to the appointment, and it's helpful to also bring along the labels of any foods or treats that your dog eats regularly.
Be Aware Of Gastrointestinal Disease
In a worst-case scenario, doggy farts could indicate more severe gastrointestinal issues, such as inflammatory bowel disease or other ailments. "When gastrointestinal disease is the cause, there are usually other symptoms, such as diarrhea and vomiting," explained PetMD on its site. "Your dog may also suffer from a loss of appetite and weight." If you notice any other unusual symptoms or behavioral changes in conjunction with your dog's more frequent flatulence, it's important to take them to a vet ASAP to get things checked out.