Do Dogs Fart? Yep! Here's What You Can Do To Reduce the Toots
Now before we start pointing fingers, let's clear the air: everybody poofs. Humans release gas about 12–25 times a day—sometimes more depending on our diet. How often do dogs fart? About the same amount, actually. Cats do, too.
So in most instances, flatulence or flatus is a completely normal bodily function. But there might be some reasons why your pooch is particularly windy.
Why Do Dogs Fart?
Our pups float air biscuits for the same reason we do: It's all part of their digestive process. In fact, according to Brian Evans, DVM, the medical director at Dutch, humans and dogs have similar digestive systems.
"While there are differences, both of our digestive tracts are filled with bacteria that help us digest our food," he says. "In this process, gas is produced and moves through the digestive tract until it eventually is released to the outside world." When we talk about gas, this includes both burps and farts, although the latter is definitely more frequent.
The Morris Animal Foundation reports that dogs have "several hundred families of bacteria in their intestinal tract, but 99 percent belong to one of five main groups: Firmicutes, Bacteroides, Fusobacteria, Proteobacteria, and Actinobacteria." Collectively, these make up what's called a gut microbiome: a community of millions of organisms that helps facilitate better digestion and overall good health.
Evans says some dog breeds also tend to be more gassy than others, including boxers, bulldogs, mastiffs, Newfoundlands, pugs, and some other brachycephalic breeds. This is because they have flat-faces and stubby snouts, which restrict nasal passages, so they often gulp in a lot of air while eating and drinking. In one end and out the other!
Why Do My Dog's Farts Smell So Bad?
"While some gas doesn't clear the room, others can make your eyes water. This is based on the amount of hydrogen sulfide found in the gas," Evans says. "The higher the levels of hydrogen sulfide, the greater the distance you'll need to move to breathe comfortably." This chemical is the main reason why your dog's farts smell like skunk or rotten eggs.
But it's not as though your dog farts on purpose to gross you out. Even if they're aware of the emission, just as they would be to other eliminations, rest assured they're not mad at you and seeking revenge. They're just being dogs—after all, sometimes they eat poop, don't they?
Smelly gas could also be the result of sudden dietary changes, low-quality fillers in their food, too many table scraps, or an upset stomach caused by food allergies.
However, Evans adds that dogs with chronic stinky gas might have an underlying gastrointestinal issue that may need to be addressed. He recommends a veterinary exam to check for conditions such as:
RELATED: Why Is My Dog Pooping Blood?
What To Do About Dog Farting
Interestingly, Evans' suggestions for reducing the toots are the same many humans hear from their physicians: exercise, eat right, and enjoy food slowly.
He references research that indicates daily walks, playtime, and other forms of exercise help decrease how many times dogs fart. Why? Regular movement helps gas slip out more easily, instead of building up. So let your doggo romp at the dog park or amble around the neighborhood more frequently, and hopefully the flatulence will be less noticeable. Exercise also helps reduce obesity, another reason for excessive poots.
Also work with your vet to evaluate diet and treats. Remember, no more than 10 percent of your dog's daily intake should be snacks. While certain human foods are safe for dogs as occasional treats, too much might still cause stomach upset, which results in additional gas. Ingredients such as milk, cheese, cauliflower, and broccoli might be culprits contributing to your pup's poofs.
"There are studies which have also shown that certain products can help. Purina Pro Plan Fortiflora probiotic is one that reduces not only the amount of gas but also the smell," Evans says.
What if your dog has a great vet check, is healthy and active, eats well and with control, but still breaks wind a lot? Evans says the majority of people just live with it.
"A survey of pet owners in New Zealand found about 40 percent of dog owners noted their dogs' flatulence," he says. "While some owners would consider switching the diet to help reduce their pet's gas, most were unconcerned and accepted it as a normal part of their pet."
'Cause as we all know, the unconditional love of a good dog is worth a sneaky toot now and then.