Dog having flatulence

Our question this week was:

Can you tell me what can cause a horrible odor when a dog has a bowel movement and when they pass gas that smells so bad. What can cause this? She is a 7-months-old Golden retriever and I am feeding her nutro-natural choice-lamb and rice. I feed my 2 yr old golden the same.

Nancy Stabley

Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. If there stools are normal and you dog is otherwise healthy, it may be no problem – just "gas".

Gas is also called "flatulence". It is most often produced by foods that are high in polysaccharides. There are several digestive processes that take place but essentially bacteria will feed on certain substances in the digestive tract producing gas. It can also be caused by dogs that eat too quickly and swallow a lot of air. Flatulence can be normal. However, I realize that it can be annoying and even embarrassing.

Just like with people, certain foods often agree with some people more than others. I see the same thing happen with dogs. There are certain foods that some dogs have a bigger problem digesting – including some vegetables, beans, potatoes, cheese, yeasts and milk products. Some dogs even digest some dog foods better than others.

Some pet owners just "tolerate" it. If you can't, some things you can do include:

  • Minimize treats – especially table foods that are milk or milk by products and vegetables.
  • Stay on one food only. If the gas continues, discuss changing food with your vet. Try a premium food e.g. Hill's Science Diet or Iams Products. Ensure the food is AAFCO approved and formulated to meet your dog's life stage (in this case if she is 7 months hold – formulated for puppies).
  • Some people also think that flatulence is worse in dogs that eat fast. You can try smaller frequent meals.
  • Never feed spoiled food.

    If your dog is having any abnormalities, see your veterinarian to ensure there is no underlying problem such as parasites.

    Best of luck!

    Dr. Debra

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