Every dog owner knows the horrors of canine gas. The scent itself can send the family running from the room.
All joking aside, your dog’s flatulence can be a horror of another kind if it is indicative of something more dangerous. But how do you know if it’s just gas or something worse?
What Causes Gas in Dogs?
Dogs can get gas in many ways that are perfectly natural. If it doesn’t last too long and your dog doesn’t seem to be in any major discomfort, it’s probably just gas.
Normal causes of flatulence in dogs include:
Have you recently changed your dog’s food? Even a switch in brands or recipes can cause gastric distress that leads to gas. Before switching to a new type of food, make sure you have some of your old brand left so you can introduce the new food gradually. This will help your dog’s tummy adjust to the new brand without the tell-tale toots. Also, be sure to always clear any dietary changes with your veterinarian.
As tempting as it is to fill your pup’s belly with yummy treats, high-fat foods can cause stomach issues. Limit or eliminate fatty foods from your dog’s diet to keep them healthy and comfortable.
Spices are a critical part of human cooking, but they don’t sit well in a dog’s stomach. This is one of the many reasons feeding your dog table scraps isn’t a good idea. If you want to give your pup something that you would normally eat, try plain baked chicken or select fruits and vegetables for a yummy treat.
Dogs can’t break down lactose, so dairy products may cause an increase in flatulence. They’ll probably love the flavor of cream and cheese, but the truth is it doesn’t sit well in their stomachs and can make them sick.
Eating or Drinking Too Quickly
Does your dog scarf their dinner every day and then spend the evening belching on the couch beside you? Try a slow feeder bowl or a water fountain to help slow them down and make it easier on their stomachs.
What Are Signs That It’s More Than Gas?
Because your dog can’t tell you when their tummy ache feels worse than usual, it’s hard to know that something is actually wrong. After all, occasional gas is normal in all creatures, dogs included, so when do you need to take your dog to the vet?
Gas That Is Chronic or Excessive
Your dog should not constantly have gas, so long-term or frequent gas could indicate that something more is going on. It may be a simple fix like switching their food or being better about keeping your dog out of the trashcan, but it could also be a sign of internal issues. Your vet will be able to help you identify exactly what the issue is and offer a remedy. You and your pup will be relieved by the diagnosis.
Gas Accompanied by Vomiting or Diarrhea
Gas is a symptom and, when paired with vomiting or diarrhea, it is a sign that something more is going on. Pay attention to your pup’s stool; if it is out of the ordinary or they’re struggling to go, take them to the vet for a checkup. It could still just be something your pup ate, but without an exam, you won’t know how extreme the issue is.
Weight Loss or Change in Appetite
If you’ve noticed your dog isn’t eating like they did in the past, or they have lost a significant amount of weight on top of having gas, there could be another cause. It may seem like a small thing to worry about, but a dog’s diet is a major part of their health, so any sudden changes are worthy of note.
What Diseases Have Gas as a Symptom?
Not every instance of gas is related to a disease or physical issue, but it can be the symptom of something major. That’s why a vet’s opinion is so important. It could be something as simple as indigestion, but other diseases such as inflammation, infection, parasites, or even cancer may be indicated by gas, so if it’s impacting your dog’s day-to-day life, take them to a professional for an exam.
How Can I Prevent Gas in My Dog?
The biggest cause of gas in a dog is related to diet, so the first way to keep your pup gas-free is a healthy, regular diet limiting fatty snacks and dairy-based treats. Similarly, you’ll want to keep your dog out of the trash to make sure they aren’t getting into anything they shouldn’t. Get a trashcan with a lid or put it somewhere they can’t access it. If your dog is a fast eater, invest in a slow feeder or give them smaller portions at a time.
Keeping your dog healthy and regular can be a challenge for those with mischievous pups, but monitoring their diet and getting regular exercise is a great way to keep health issues like gas at bay.
However, if something does happen and you notice a change, get a vet involved as quickly as possible. Once you take your dog to the vet, you’ll have a diagnosis and they’ll be able to recommend treatment that will give your pup relief.
Don’t be afraid to take small things seriously, because it could not only make your dog more comfortable, but also prevent a major illness from striking down the road.
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