My canine child, Bullet, is 100 pounds of pure nasty gas. He is a “Boxador”, or for those who don’t like pretentious names, a boxer/labrador mix. He’s just over a year old, so he is still growing. That makes for a lot of dog food purchases, and, well, lots of stinky farts.
Why do dogs fart so much? Well, one of the factors is the breed. Boxers are notoriously gassy, as well as many other deep-chested dog breeds, including the Labrador and the Coonhound. Most Bulldog breeds are also flatulent, as well as Pugs and Pekinese; and I am not talking about some dainty little “poof”….this is the “clear a room” type of gas. (Bullet sleeps on the floor on my side of the bed, and it’s pretty bad when the dog wakes you up simply by stench.) Many dogs also have food allergies that go undiagnosed unless there’s a serious reaction. Some of those allergies can cause itching, hives, and you guessed it….gas.
Rather than wear a gas mask to bed, I decided to do a little research into how to stop the funk, and came up with a few things that I would like to share with my dog loving friends.
Many things can cause a dog to be gassy, but the main culprit, besides breed, is food.
Most commercial dog foods contain a bunch of fillers, and these could be things that are either not extremely healthy or that irritate your particular dog’s digestive track. If you are buying dry kibble for your dog, you should make sure that the first ingredients listed on the label are meat proteins, followed by vegetables and carbohydrates. If the first thing you see is cornmeal, oatmeal, or white flour….skip it. Those are the fillers that can make your dog gassy, and can also make them fat.
Soy protein is hard for dogs to digest, and can make them fart a lot. (It makes humans fart, too). Preservatives in dry food can also be the culprit; BHA and BHT in particular. If you want to continue to feed your dog dry kibble, try to go organic, with the least amount of ingredients as possible. Otherwise, you can go one step further (and cheaper so far!) by making your own “dog food” at home.
Basically, you will want to make a food that is 50 percent protein, 25 percent vegetables (ground up so that they are easier to digest; some dogs are picky and will eat around large pieces), and 25 percent grains, such as rice or oatmeal. I add a bit of olive oil, because it’s rich in omegas, which helps to keep their skin and coat healthy. You can mix and match these things, obviously, but make sure to include all elements in each meal.
Here are some things that we have been feeding our pup :
Tonight, we had a mixture that I don’t do very often, but is a bit of a treat for him. The batch that I made consisted of a box of whole grain pasta, 2 lbs of ground beef (make sure that you cook it! Raw meat can contain foodborne pathogens, and animals are susceptible as well as people.), and a can of carrots and a can of green beans. I cooked the meat and the pasta, and added the veggies, then ran it all through the food processor so that it would be easy to eat. This is what it looked liked when I put it in Bullet’s bowl (about two cups worth):
When I rinsed the pasta, I used cold water so that it would cool down faster. A few of the penne didn’t chop up all that well, but they were small enough for him to eat easily. I would suggest limiting ground beef and going more for ground turkey or chicken, but ground beef is okay once in a while. It’s not that it’s horribly bad for them, but it contains a lot of fat, and will cause them to pack on the pounds, which is not healthy.
I feed him 2 cups of food twice a day, and this made enough for about 4 meals. Obviously, if you have a little dog, you won’t need this much. I would say that you should give them about 1 cup per 20 lbs of body weight, split into two meals. Bullet had oatmeal and eggs for breakfast this morning and thought he was in heaven. Here is a photo of him post-dinner scarfing; he’s still looking around for more that he dropped on the rug:
There are foods that you definitely do want to avoid. Some vegetables will make dogs even gassier: asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and beans will make your dog very flatulent, and probably pretty uncomfortable. There are also foods that you should avoid altogether because they could be hazardous or even poisonous for your dog…these include avocado, onions, garlic, raisins and grapes, milk and other dairy, yeast dough, any fruit with a pit, chocolate, and candy. Macadamia nuts are highly toxic, and eating as little as six nuts can kill a full-grown dog. If you find that your dog has eaten something that it should not have, you can call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4435. It’s always a good idea to keep your vet’s number and the number of an emergency clinic close at hand, just in case.
I wanted to add some information for those who have deep-chested breeds, like Boxers and Labs: If you ever notice that your dog seems “bloated”, take them to the vet right away. Bloat is a serious issue in a deep-chested dog, and can cause death if not treated promptly. Bloat is actually the second leading killer of dogs, so treat any symptoms of bloat as a life-threatening emergency. Symptoms are distended abdomen, pacing, restlessness, excessive drool, retching, and unproductive attempts at vomiting. We keep Gas X (simethicone) on hand just in case this would happen…the vet told us to give our dog half of the adult dose and get there right away if we ever suspect bloat.
We have been feeding Bullet a diet that is balanced by the proportions above for about a week and I am proud to say that we haven’t had any issues with nasty farts….yay! (Of course, the husband no longer has the dog to blame it on!) So…not only are we fart-free; we have peace of mind that our dog is getting a healthy diet free of fillers and preservatives. Cheap, too!
If you have a dog, I hope that you consider feeding them a home cooked diet, rather than the artificial crap that they put in commercial foods. Your dog will be happier, and you will no longer have to deal with the overwhelming stink!
Here’s to a fart-free dog!