Here's a fun topic for any owner who has been the victim of unpleasant dog farts! We may laugh about it, but too much smelly gas is a sign of digestive issues, which should be taken seriously. Identifying them isn't difficult: in addition to the sound and/or smell of your dog's farts, you'll also notice a rumbling sound (digestive noises, "stomach gurgling", etc.).

Dog farts are most often the result of an intestinal flora imbalance, which is relatively easy to fix.

What is the Intestinal Flora?

The intestinal flora, or gut flora, is the group of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. In animals, as in humans, lots of these harmless, essential "good" bacteria live in the large and small intestines. The digestive system is said to be home to nearly a thousand different species, which live in symbiosis and function as small production factories. They thrive in environments with a neutral PH, as well as a healthy colon with a PH of around 7.5.

These bacteria are essential for the body:

  • they break down poorly digestible elements to help get the most out of them

  • they supply the intestinal cells with energy, in particular by fermenting soluble fibres

  • they produce vitamins

  • they protect against harmful bacteria

  • they break down toxins and help support the immune system

And these are just a few of their tasks! These good bacteria are believed to influence both the physical (e.g. overweight or undernourishment) and mental state (such as stress or depression) of an individual. During digestion, these bacteria produce gas, in particular when they ingest polysaccharides from starchy foods: beans, Brussels sprouts, prunes, and all types of grains (except rice).

The Difference Between Us and Our Pets

A dog's gut floraβ€”and this is even more true for a catβ€”is much less developed than a human's; a dog's digestive system plays host to around 10,000 bacteria per gram from more than 500 different species, compared to 10,000,000 bacteria per gram of several thousand species in humans!

This is completely normal: in domestic pets, the stomach does most of the digestion work. This means that the intestines, which are much shorter than ours, don't have to process such a wide variety of foods. That being said, your pet's intestinal flora is perfectly capable of adapting to new foods. The key is to gradually introduce any changes to avoid any disturbance in the gut, which can lead to.... you guessed it: stinky dog farts!


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What Causes Dog Farts?

The gas in dog farts comes from the poor degradation of food remaining in the colon, in particular carbohydrates or even some proteins which can cause excessive bacterial proliferation. This surplus of bacteria can occur for a variety of reasons:

  • unsuitable food: low-quality ingredients, incorrect storage, wet food fermented by contact with the air, ingestion of waste, etc.

  • digestive parasitism

  • pancreatic insufficiency (lack of secretion of pancreatic enzymes)

  • food intolerance

  • a sudden dietary transition

  • stress

  • eating too quickly

Technically, dog farts are most often caused by the digestion of carbohydrates, and sometimes even proteins, which are either poorly digestible or not sufficiently digested. Upon arrival into the large intestine, complex carbohydrates (such as beta-glucans from barley or oats, pectins from rye, pentosans from legume seeds, etc.) undergo acid fermentation by the gut flora, which derives energy from these carbohydrates: these are known as gram-positive bacteria.

Too much of this causes the production of gas (those lovely dog farts again!), volatile fatty acids (acetic acid, butyric acid, etc.), and occasionally lactic acid, which inflames the digestive wall. Logically, the inflamed intestinal wall reacts by evacuating the source of aggression in the form of dog farts and/or diarrhoea.

In turn, when poorly digestible (and incomplete) proteins reach the large intestine, their nitrogen is putrefied by the gut flora which derives energy from these proteins: these are known as gram-negative bacteria. This type of bacteria can cause toxic amino acids and, in the event of a surplus, instead of dog farts your pooch may produce more moist, dark, and smelly poops.

If chronic, these digestive disorders can cause hepatic overload, which is sometimes accompanied by food sensitivity, an increase in allergies, a dull, dry, and rough coat, signs of herpetic encephalitis, and an increase in uraemia. In a nutshell, food allergies are protein allergies.

So, How Do You Prevent Dog Farts?

If your dog has a persistent gas problem, food is often the main cause. Food sensitivity or poorly digestible food can lead to disturbance of the intestinal flora, which in turn causes the formation of the gas released as dog farts.

πŸ‘‰ Avoid Any Sudden Change in Diet

A dietary transition which is implemented too suddenly doesn’t allow time for the intestinal flora to adapt, which can cause inflammation of the digestive system as a whole. This can present as symptoms such as diarrhoea, dog farts, apathy, a decrease in immune defences, and the appearance of new allergies.

For any dietary change, you should respect a minimum transition period of at least 4/5 days.

πŸ‘‰ Only Transition to Higher Quality Food

A slow transition to a higher quality diet is often the solution to the annoying little problem of dog farts. Support your dog's dietary transition with prebiotics, probiotics, and even a little activated charcoal (which absorbs gas and toxins), and keep it simple and very digestible in terms of composition.

πŸ‘‰ Avoid Overfeeding

Overfeeding your dog overwhelms the enzymatic faculties of the small intestine and accelerates digestive transit, which often leads to dog farts. No matter the size, age, or activity level or your dog, we always recommend distributing their daily food ration between 2 or 3 meals of easily digestible food.

πŸ‘‰ Beware of Certain Foods

Be especially careful with foods which are rich in fibre from legumes (peas, lentils, chickpeas, etc.). For sensitive dogs, these can very quickly cause inflammation of the digestive system, the first sign of which is the production of excessive gas, i.e. dog farts.

Also, watch out for excessive enzyme-resistant and micro-biodegradable proteins. These proteins have an incomplete amino acid profile which is difficult to digest and thus escapes resorption in the small intestine, causing decay in the large intestine. Overall, to prevent unpleasant dog farts, favour a gentle cooking process for any food you give your dog.

πŸ‘‰ Put a Stop to Greedy Pups!

Consider investing in a fun bowl like a dispenser ball or snuffle mat to force your dog to take their time eating and thus prevent stomach troubles.

πŸ‘‰ Restore the Intestinal Flora

A suitable course of prebiotics and probiotics (containing, in particular, the Enterococcus Faecium strain), administered for at least a month, will help to restore a balanced intestinal flora.

Fibre to the Rescue

Completely indigestible carbohydrates, such as crude cellulose for carnivores, improve digestive hygiene by sweeping the large intestine. This sweeping action evacuates any substances likely to ferment in the large intestine, which reduces microbial activity and irritation of the digestive wall. When administered in small quantities, these indigestible carbohydrates play an important role in digestion.

πŸ‘‰ Soluble Fibre

Soluble fibre, such as blond psyllium, turns to gel during digestion. This helps to:

  • increase the viscosity of the contents of the stomach

  • decrease the flow of gastric transit and dry out its content (which helps prevent diarrhoea and dog farts)

  • increase the feeling of fullness (perfect for greedy pups!)

  • reduce the risk of overweight and obesity by decreasing fat assimilation

  • promote digestive hygiene

  • reduce the development of dangerous microorganisms, such as Salmonella

πŸ‘‰ Insoluble Fibre

Insoluble fibre, like oat bran, increases the frequency and volume of bowel movements. This helps to prevent constipation, as well as limit the accumulation of harmful, irritating, or carcinogenic substances, and stimulate the colon.


By the Hector Kitchen medical and scientific team


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