TRACIE HOTCHNER: DOG “NASTY GAS” – THE REST OF THE STORY

After introducing the slightly embarrassing topic of “dogs who toot,” I wanted to follow it with some of the other reasons that cause a dog to make Nasty Gas. Lactose intolerance (intolerance to dairy products) can be the same problem for some dogs as it is for some people: drinking milk for these people and pooches causes bloating, gas and even diarrhea. However, the issue of lactose intolerance is generally misunderstood even for people, who believe it includes all dairy products – but that is not correct.

The presence of lactose in dairy products varies widely. Milk is high in lactose, while cream is less so (the fat in cream displaces the lactose). Most cheese is low in lactose and cottage cheese is especially low. Yogurt is almost entirely lactose-free. Therefore, the main culprit in a lactose reaction would be milk – so if you find your dog does have the Nasty Gas reaction fairly soon after drinking some milk, then your solution is easy: don’t offer it again and your problem will be solved!

The breed of your dog can also figure in the Nasty Gas equation. English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and some other “bully breeds’ are renowned for being Super Gas Producers – the English Bulldog being the most frequently blamed for emptying a room with a symphony of tooting. You may mistakenly believe this is an unavoidable attribute you have to tolerate for love of a breed – yet all you really need to do in most cases to have a dog who is emission-free is improve the overall quality of your Bulldog’s diet, and in many cases reducing carbohydrates.

There are a couple of solutions to the Nasty Gas problem: feed a better quality of food and add pre- and pro-biotics (in the form of yogurt, if you wish) to your dog’s meals. Serving a super premium dry food brand like Halo ensures that the basic ingredients that go into the kibble are top shelf, never using food fragments or meat meals. The canned Halo Spot’s Stew can be a good choice for the bully breeds, who can often benefit from fewer carbohydrates to manage a gas problem.

Adding probiotics and prebiotics to your dog’s food can be helpful in many cases – and has no downside. You can add a good probiotic to the food in the form of a powder or capsule. You can get a product from your vet or go to a health food store and get a quality probiotic supplement with a high level of live organisms. Probiotics aid in improving digestion and also boost the immune system and promote general good health, (which is true not only for your dog, but for yourself and other two-legged family members, too!). But quality plain yogurt naturally has probiotics in it – any dog can benefit from adding a couple of tablespoons of a yogurt to every meal, but for those with the gaseous emissions, yogurt may be part of the solution in stopping their production of Nasty Gas.

There are several medical conditions that can be gas-producing in dogs and you’ll want to consult with your veterinarian to rule out medical issues where gassiness is an issue. Inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatic insufficiency would both cause a dog to produce excess intestinal gas. A dog can also have insufficient levels of hydrochloric acid in her gut or she can lack specific digestive enzymes. These are just a few of the medical conditions that you need to partner with your veterinarian in diagnosing and managing.

Intestinal parasites are something your dog can pick up from other dogs or from drinking standing water, including ponds and lakes. The single-cell organisms “giardia “and “coccidia” can be responsible for chronic, malodorous gas; an infestation with roundworm and whipworms is also a possibility. Have a fecal sample checked by your vet as soon as possible and be sure to mention the “gas problem.”

Tracie Hotchner, author of The Dog Bible and The Cat Bible, guest blogs here every Thursday on healthy, natural choices for pets.

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