Is Your Dog’s Food Making Him Fart?

Jennifer Coates, DVM
By Jennifer Coates, DVM on Feb. 26, 2016
Is Your Dog’s Food Making Him Fart?

My dog farts… a lot. Apollo could be the poster child for a support group for farting dogs. He’s a boxer, a breed notorious for producing noxious plumes of gas. He has inflammatory bowel disease and severe food allergies, both of which are associated with “rectal flatulence, as we say in the medical profession,” to quote the veterinarian from Walter the Farting Dog.

When I have good control over Apollo’s diet and inflammatory bowel disease, his gas subsides to normal levels, but when he eats something he shouldn’t, watch out!

Which brings me to my first point in this post dedicated to foods that reduce farting in dogs: If your pet has other symptoms of gastrointestinal problems, like weight loss, changes in appetite (decreased or increased), vomiting, or the production of abnormal stools, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Abnormal farting can be a symptom of several, potentially serious diseases including:

  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Intestinal parasitism
  • Pancreatitis
  • Food allergy or intolerance
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Once you are convinced that your dog is healthy and just farts a lot, it’s time to look at his diet.

The first thing to do is simplify, simplify, simplify. Table scraps, including what your kids drop (or throw) on the floor, and dietary indiscretion (e.g., getting into the garbage, horse poop in the pasture) can cause sensitive dogs to produce large amounts of foul-smelling gas. For about two weeks, make sure your dog eats absolutely nothing but his regular dog food. If his gas subsides during this time, you know it’s these extras and not his dog food that is to blame.

If your dog’s farting continues unabated after simplifying his diet, it’s time to change his food. 

A variety of dietary components can play a role in producing gas: Indigestible carbohydrates, especially soluble fiber sources like chicory, inulin, fructooligosacharides, pectins, psyllium, plant gums, oats, barley, beet pulp, and some types of fruits and legumes are likely causes because they are food for the many types of gas-producing bacteria that live in a dog’s large intestine.

Another culprit, particularly if your dog’s farts are especially foul-smelling, is meat. When a dog eats a diet consisting of a large amount of meat or meat that is not very digestible, bacteria within the large intestine break it down, releasing gasses that truly reek.

What Is the Best Dog Food for Dogs With Digestive Problems?

Individual dogs respond differently to particular foods, so picking the right diet does involve some trial and error. I recommend starting with an over-the-counter diet that is labeled as being highly-digestible or for dogs with a sensitive stomach. Look for products made from high quality meats (things that sound like something you’d eat) but that aren’t too high in protein; around 25% on a dry matter basis will meet all your dog’s needs without overdoing it. Also, avoid high-fiber foods, particularly those that contain several of the ingredients mentioned above.

Because food allergies/intolerances are a common cause of increased farting in dogs, another route to consider is a novel ingredient diet. Diets made from ingredients like duck and potato and venison and pea are available over the counter and worth a try. Probiotic supplements containing beneficial gut bacteria that can out-compete gas producing bacteria may also be helpful.

If two or three diet changes don’t make a difference, talk to your veterinarian. He or she can recommend prescription dog foods that do an even better job at reducing dog farts.

Does your dog fart a lot? What have you done to get it under control? 

Jennifer Coates, DVM


Jennifer Coates, DVM


Dr. Jennifer Coates is an accomplished veterinarian, writer, editor, and consultant with years of experience in the fields of veterinary...

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