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Flatulence (farting) in dogs and cats

All animals produce gas in their gastrointestinal tract. It is normally expelled by the body either in the forms of farting from the bottom, or burping (eructation) from the mouth. Some flatulence is normal and shouldn’t be considered a health problem, but excessive gas is undesirable! If it is excessive, or there are other associated symptoms, it may require investigation. Read our vet’s advice about how to reduce this common problem.

This article was written by a FirstVet vet


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Causes of excessive flatulence in dogs and cats

  • Dietary related - dietary changes, new foods, table scraps, dietary indiscretion (eating things they shouldn’t eg animal faeces), food allergies, inappropriate or poor quality diets

  • Gastrointestinal disease - diarrhoea, malabsorption syndromes such as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

  • Infections - viral, bacterial, protozoal or parasitic infections

  • There are some suggestions that gulping air, for example during eating, can cause excessive gas, or not chewing food properly. However, there isn’t much evidence to support this

Reducing flatulence in dogs and cats

Your pet is always going to pass some gas. This is normal and should not be a cause for concern. However, if your dog or cat seems to be passing excessive gas then the following steps may help:

  • If your pet gulps food quickly - try using an anti-gulp bowl, slow feeder or puzzle feeder to slow them down. Give them smaller meals spaced out throughout the day. Smaller sized kibble or a cold pressed diet may help if they do not chew their food very well

  • Avoid rapid dietary changes or table scraps - this will help keep your dog’s digestion on an even keel

  • Address any underlying health issues - if the flatulence is associated with other symptoms such as soft faeces, diarrhoea, weight loss or vomiting, it is worth visiting your vet for a check up and discuss investigation that may be required

  • Feeding a high quality dog food - that is specific for your dog’s life stage. Feeding cheap poor quality food may increase gas production as they are often filled with starchy carbohydrates such as corn which is more difficult for your dog to digest

  • Change their diet to a different brand to see if a different protein (for example turkey or white fish) suits them better. You could try a different diet, for example a cooked diet. Make sure to introduce this slowly and observe any changes for at least three weeks

  • Probiotics - these can be beneficial for your dog, but could also cause flatulence. They are worth considering after a course of antibiotics or recent gastrointestinal illness, for example Purina Fortiflora

When to see your vet?

  • Your dog continues to have excessive flatulence, despite trying the steps above

  • Your dog has symptoms, such as diarrhoea, weight loss or a poor appetite

Still have questions?

If you would like more advice on nutrition or raw feeding, please book an online video appointment to have a chat with one of our FirstVet nutrition vets

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