Dogs get gas, just like humans, because they’ve eaten the wrong thing or too much of the right food or there is another underlying health issue. Gas, which can cause a distended abdominal area and discomfort, as well as smelly ‘fumes’, should not be confused with bloating in dogs. Bloating, unlike gas, can be fatal if left untreated.
Flatulence (gas) won’t kill your dog, although it can make him very uncomfortable, but stomach bloat and torsion can be a lethal combination. The medical term for this condition is Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) and is not the topic of this article.
Gas is frequently the result of zealous food consumption by a dog who gulps too much air. Dogs who eat too much or too fast or don’t eat on a regular schedule can also suffer from flatulence. Over-exercising right before a meal and not exercising enough can also both cause gas buildup.
Gas remedies meant for human consumption
If you or your veterinarian have established that your dog is suffering from gas and not GDV, you can give your dog Gas-X or other simethicone products, which is considered safe for dogs, according to Greg Tilford, author of Herbs for Pets: All you Ever Wanted to Know. However, note that these drugs contain antacids, which can alter the pH levels in the dog’s gut. Dogs require high acid levels in their digestive tracts in order to effectively break down foods. The high acidic levels are required because they protect dogs from food-borne pathogens. If you routinely give your dog human gas reduction products, acidic levels can be depleted, leaving your dog’s gut with inadequate protection against bacterial infection. Consequently, long-term use of human gas reduction products is not advisable.
Before giving your pet a simethicone product, consider the fact that while the medication may temporarily subdue your dog’s digestive issues, it cure cure the problem if something more serious than gas is going on. Flatulence is the body’s means of correcting itself. It is a symptom or an underlying issue. If your dog is regularly experiencing excessive gas there may be other issues present, and a trip to the vet may be advisable.
Fennel seed is one natural food source that can be used to alleviate your dog’s gas issues. Traditionally, fennel seed has been used to provide relief from colic and gas in both animals and humans. It contains oil constituents that relieve spasms and puts a halt to foaming activities in the gut. Fennel seed does not alter the high acid levels or flora population that dogs require in their guts. The seeds can be ground up using a mortar and pestle and added to your dog’s regular food. For an average size dog, add one teaspoon of ground fennel seed per day to your dog’s feed with a little bit of broth or water.
You may also try chamomile tea if your dog is experiencing gas or anxiety. This plant calms the belly and the brain. Chill the tea before giving it to your pet. You can also use chamomile tea to treat skin issues and irritated eyes by putting a warm (not hot) chamomile tea bag over your dog’s eyes or on skin wounds.
As with humans, probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria, can be very effective in easing digestion and reducing gas-producing fermentation in the gut. Add a bit of powdered probiotics daily to your dog’s regular food, following the suggested dosing on the probiotics container.
Lastly, you may want to add digestive enzymes to your dog’s daily diet. Most canine enzyme mixtures come in a powder form and include things like protease, amylase, diastase, lipase, cellulose, magnesium, manganese, peptidase and some sort of natural binder.
If you suspect there is something more than flatulence going on because your dog’s belly is tender, he’s bloated and passing volumes of gas on a regular basis, contact your vet. Sometimes emergency treatment is needed when a dog experiences extreme distension as a result of gas accumulation. Because dogs can develop the life-threatening condition GDV you will want to keep a close eye on your dog’s gut health.