Dog Flatulence

Diet, Internal Illness are possible Causes


I have a 15 year old boxer beagle mix. He is in great health except he is getting gas worse and worse. It really smells bad and can clear the room. I have had to purchase a small fan to put at his rear end to blow the fumes out of the room. I have had all blood work, urinalysis, and fecal tests done and he is good. Also, he drinks about a gallon of water a day. He does not have diabetes. He will even “wet” the bed at night sometimes.


Dr. Nichol:

Flatulence (flatus), often the subject of adolescent male humor, is clearly a serious sign in your dog. There are complex physiologic reasons for it; in many cases it’s a red flag for stomach, intestinal or colonic disease.


Your canine senior may be unable to break down some of the nutrients in his diet, resulting in bacterial fermentation and gas production. A dog food with a dry matter digestibility of 90% or greater could make a big difference. Avoid diets with soybeans, which contain nonabsorbable sugars, and dried fruits because of their fermentable fiber. Rice as a carbohydrate source may also help. I recommend a dry food with lamb meal and rice or barley.


Dogs who eat too fast can swallow a lot of air, which can also cause gas. Feeding smaller, more frequent meals away from other pets may reduce your boy’s tendency to compete. A small amount of gas production is normal but a bacterial overgrowth in his gut would generate a lot more. Your veterinarian can prescribe the antibiotic neomycin. Probiotics (supplemental healthy bacteria) and pancreatic enzyme supplements have helped some dogs.


Finally, your canine senior’s excessive urinating will put his kidneys at risk if his drinking doesn’t keep up. I recommend a vasopressin response test to rule out diabetes insipidus (unrelated to diabetes mellitus a.k.a. sugar diabetes).