Silent But Deadly: Gas in Pets

A woman holds a dog in one arm and her nose with the other.

Some of our beloved pets have the innate gift to be able to clear a room with a simple fart. While passing gas is a natural part of having a digestive system, some pets are a little more talented in this arena than others. 

When gas in pets is interfering with your ability to enjoy their company, there is an issue. Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates wants to be sure that you are able to enjoy your stinky stinkers, gas and all.

The Deets on Digestion

Bacteria are a normal part of the digestive tract and play an important role in digesting the food that our pets eat. They also produce their own waste products, often in the form of stinky methane gas that must leave out one end of our pets or the other. 

Gas can also enter the digestive tract when swallowed. Big gulps of air pass through and carry the odor of their surroundings. 

Some gas is going to happen no matter what, and that is something that we all deal with. When more gas than normal is produced, however, it is called flatulence. And as you may know, excessive flatulence in pets can be a big problem.

Many things can contribute to increased gas in pets. Some of the more common include:

  • Gulping air (i.e. when stressed or nervous)
  • Changes in diet
  • Respiratory problems
  • Being a brachycephalic breed due to respiratory issues
  • Difficult to digest diets
  • Milk or dairy products
  • Spoiled or non-digestible food
  • Over-eating
  • Spicy foods
  • Disturbance in normal gut bacteria
  • Parasites
  • Food allergy
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Tumors
  • Pancreatic issues

Combating Gas in Pets

If your pet is having increased flatulence, there may be a simple explanation. If there was a recent diet change or a stressful experience, their digestive system may just need a little time to adjust. If it is persistent, though, or accompanied by other worrisome signs such as a painful abdomen, diarrhea, or appetite change, it is time to give us a call for an appointment

Some gas in pets can be avoided by simply taking a few precautionary measures. For instance;

  • Always make diet changes slowly (over 7 days is sufficient for most pets)
  • Avoid foods high in soybeans, peas, beans, oat bran, or psyllium
  • Monitor if new treats contribute to flatulence
  • Limit or avoid table food
  • Consider a veterinary probiotic
  • Change to smaller, more frequent feedings for over-enthusiastic eaters
  • Limit access to trash or other pets’ food
  • Allow us to perform routine fecal testing
  • Do not share dairy products (despite contrary belief, even cats are lactose intolerant)

Because some flatulence in pets can signal a more serious issue, it is important to let us know if you are experiencing it more than normally. Diagnostic testing may be needed to get to the source of the stink.

Gas in pets can be a serious issue, whether it be because it signals a problem with your pet’s health or because it affects your relationship. The human-animal bond is a powerful and important thing, and our staff is willing to help strengthen it in any way possible, even if it involves fixing flatulence.