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Key takeaways

Flatulence in dogs is a common occurrence resulting from accumulation of gas in the digestive tract. 

  • Infrequent and recurring flatulence is normal but dogs that experience changes in the pattern, frequency, or severity of gas production may have an underlying health condition
  • Excessive gas in the digestive tract is the result of swallowing of air or increased production from bacteria lining the digestive tract
  • Conditions resulting in increased flatulence include diet changes or indiscretions, inflammatory bowel disease, and bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections
  • Investigation involves physical examination, blood work, fecal samples, X-rays, and abdominal ultrasound
  • Definitive treatment depends on the underlying condition but includes diet changes, medical treatment of infection or parasites,  immunomodulatory drugs, and lifestyle changes
  • Prognosis varies between cases
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A closer look: Flatulence in Dogs

Flatulence describes the normal function of expelling excess gas from the body and is an everyday occurrence in all dogs.

Conditions that result in excessive flatulence are often mild, or self limiting such as intestinal inflammation, dietary changes, or indiscretions.

In rare cases increased flatulence may be symptomatic of a more serious underlying condition such as intestinal tumors. Dogs with sudden changes in the frequency, volume, or odor of flatulence benefit from prompt investigation.

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Possible causes

Flatulence is the result of excess gas in the intestinal tract. Underlying causes can be categorized according to how the gas arrives in the intestines.

Excessive consumption of air is associated with:

  • Eating too quickly
  • Short nosed (brachycephalic) breeds who ingest air due to increased respiratory effort

Fermentation within the tract is associated with eating beans, legumes, and milk.

Risk factors

The severity of flatulence depends on the underlying cause.

Excessive air consumption normally results in mildly increased flatulence which often doesn’t have an odor, whereas moderate flatulence is a common feature of inflammatory bowel disease.

Infections, acute intestinal inflammation, or tumors sometimes result in severe, persistent, foul-smelling flatulence.

Testing and diagnosis

If flatulence is persistent or concerning enough to warrant veterinary attention, investigation may include:

  • Physical examination
  • Blood work
  • Fecal samples -Intestinal biopsies -X-rays -Abdominal ultrasound -Endoscopy

Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Recommendations may include:

  • Encouraging an active lifestyle
  • Feeding smaller meals more often
  • Using a slow feeder to reduce the speed of eating
  • Allowing dogs to eat in a noncompetitive environment
  • Discouraging scavenging behavior
  • Changing to a highly digestible diet
  • Medications to reduce gas production
  • Probiotics and other supplements

Treatment of the underlying disease process, if present, may include:

  • Antiparasitic medication
  • Antibiotic medication
  • Immunomodulatory medication
  • Medical or surgical treatment of intestinal tumors

Similar symptoms

Increased flatulence is usually an obvious symptom. Anal gland issues such as infection, or impaction sometimes result in an odor coming from the anus which may be confused with passing gas. Other causes of odor around the rear end include skin infections or fecal matter trapped in the fur.

Associated symptoms

Some causes of increased flatulence occur as a single symptom. Other cases may be found alongside other symptoms.


Wendy Brooks, DVM, DABVP - Writing for Veterinary Partner
Tammy Hunter, DVM; Ernest Ward, DVM - Writing for VCA Animal Hospitals
Alice Defarges , DVM, DACVIM / Shauna Blois , DVM, DVSc, DACVIM-SAIM / Edward J. Hall , MA, VetMB, PhD, DECVIM-CA / Thomas W. G. Gibson , BSc, BEd, DVM, DVSc, DACVSMR / Kelly D. Mitchell , BSc, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM - Writing for Merck Veterinary Manual
PetMD Editorial - Writing for PetMD
Erin Ollila - Writing for Hill's Pet Nutrition
Wendy Brooks, DVM, DABVP - Writing for Veterinary Partner

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