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February 17, 2011
Flatulence in Dogs
Why dogs fart & how to help it.
Fermentation of poorly digested food material in the intestine is the most common cause of canine flatulence. Why? Because dogs, being carnivores, do not digest carbohydrates very well. Their bodies are deficient in the digestive enzymes needed to break down the indigestible fiber, oligosaccharides, and other carbohydrates that are contained in kibbles and canned foods with fillers. So, rather than being properly digested, the flours, beans, veggies, & rice are fermenting in his intestine, causing the production of hydrogen, methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and other gasses that lead to ... STINKOLA
Dogs that often pass gas can embarrass or distress their owners. The most common cause of flatulence is swallowing large amounts of air while gulping food. The next is eating highly fermentable foods such as beans, cauliflower, cabbage, and soybeans. Flatulence also occurs with malabsorption syndromes. The excess gas is related to incomplete digestion of carbohydrates. Boxers are renowned for flatulence problems.
(A sudden bout of flatulence, accompanied by abdominal discomfort, loss of appetite, or diarrhea, is an indication to seek veterinary attention).
Treatment: It’s important to first rule out any malabsorption syndrome. Change the dog’s food to a highly digestible, low-fiber diet, and avoid giving greasy, high fat table scraps. Add equal parts warm water to your dog’s kibble to slow consumption, prevent air swallowing, increase the absorption of nutrients and in general help “flush things” out. Also try feeding three small meals instead of one large meal to keep the dog from gulping.
Next, & I feel most importantly feed a digestive enzyme supplement to help your dog break down those carbs & starches. This is not to be confused with a probiotic (which is also a fabulous supplement, but enzymes & probiotics do different things). If your dog’s flatulence also comes with a loose stool add in those probiotics., and check out the rest of the article on malabsorption just to be sure.
If further treatment is desired, simethicone can be given to absorb intestinal gas. Simethicone is available over the counter for people as a liquid or tablets. Ask your veterinarian about the proper dose for your dog. Charcoal-based treats and biscuits, and supplements that contain yucca, may also assist with gas, but keep in mind these are band-aids, not solutions.
What Is Malabsorption Syndrome
Malabsorption is not a specific disease, but occurs as a consequence of some underlying disorder of the small bowel or the pancreas. In malabsorption syndrome, the dog either does not digest food or does not absorb the products of digestion from the small intestine. Dogs suffering from malabsorption are underweight and malnourished despite a voracious appetite. Diarrhea occurs three or four times a day. The stools are typically large, rancid smelling, and contain a great deal of fat. The hair around the anus may be oily or greasy.
Predisposing causes of malabsorption include exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, permanent damage to the intestinal mucosa following infectious enteritis, inflammatory bowel disease with inflamed or destroyed intestinal mucosa, surgical removal of a major portion of the small bowel, and primary diseases of the small intestine. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth has been identified as another important cause of malabsorption. In many cases the cause of malabsorption can be identified through special diagnostic tests, including stool analysis and an intestinal biopsy easily performed by your vet.
Treatment: Treatment is directed toward the specific disease. Dogs with villous atrophy are managed with gluten-free diets. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth usually responds to one or more courses of an oral broad-spectrum antibiotic. The addition of probiotics and live culture yogurt products AFTER the course of anti-biotics help in treatment as well