Q & A: Flatulence

Q: It seems that my dog has much more gas lately. Is this cause for concern?

A: Flatulence is a normal biological function, but an increase in amount or frequency could be due to a few things. If you have changed his diet lately, then that could be the cause.

Dietary fibre in pet food is not easily digested by the pet’s own enzyme systems but is readily digested by the gas-producing bacteria of the colon. As these fibres are broken down, gases are produced, so if you have changed to a diet that is higher in fibre, this could be the cause. This can be corrected by changing to a low residue diet. These are diets that have very good quality nutrients in them that are digested and absorbed by the pet before they reach the colon where the gas-forming bacteria are, therefore reducing the formation of gas.

If dogs swallow a lot of air when eating (greedy, fast eaters or brachycephalic dogs), they will also have more gas than normal.

If you think this can be a cause, try to feed smaller meals more often and use a slow-feeding bowl or spread the food out on a tray so the dog has to eat slower.

If your dog is showing other signs that concern you, like a decrease in appetite or change in behaviour, then I would suggest you take him to a vet.

Dr Vanessa Mcclure, veterinarian

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