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All the Reasons Why Your Pet is Gassy

All the Reasons Why Your Pet is Gassy

Critter Culture Staff



If you're a pet owner, you know how unpleasant a gassy animal can be. Just like humans, when the bacteria in an animal's gut is disturbed, it can create excess flatulence. Even though gas is normal and healthy, too much of it can cause a number of health problems if it is not treated properly. In order to resolve your pet's intestinal issues, you must first determine what's making your pet gassy.


Food allergies or sensitivities

puppy beside pet bowl Photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash

Food allergies and sensitivities are one of the leading causes of animal flatulence.

Low-cost pet foods have byproducts, additives, and artificial ingredients that make it hard for some animals to digest them. If you suspect your pet's food is the cause of their gas, try changing it for a product that consists of better ingredients. Switching out the main ingredient is an excellent first step, but wait at least a week before changing it again. This way, your pet's gut bacteria has a chance to reset.


Hard-to-digest foods

person holding brown and black airedale terrier puppy licking ice cream on cone Photo by Christian Bowen on Unsplash

While most off-the-shelf pet foods contain harmless ingredients, some pet owners tend to give their pets other foods, including supplements and human food.

It's important to only feed your pet food that has been designated as pet food. Even though an occasional tasty treat, say a bit of steak off your plate, might not cause too many digestive problems, you're tempting the fates and will likely run into a foul situation.


Too much fiber

owner pours dry food to the cat and dog in the kitchen. Master's hand. Close-up. Concept dry food for animals anastas_ / Getty Images

Fiber is a crucial nutrient most living beings need to have healthy gut bacteria — your pets included! On the other hand, a diet that is too high in fiber can result in an overproduction of smelly gut bacteria in your pet, leading them to become gassy.

Finding a good balance of nutrients is key to maintaining a healthy stomach. Many high-quality food brands are packed with above-average levels of fiber content. If you suspect your pet is getting too much fiber in their diet, try cutting their food with a lower-quality kibble to create a more balanced meal.

Top view of large fat black and white male cat lying comfortable stretched out over the furnace vent, to cool down or warming up. Selective focus. Petra Richli / Getty Images

Not enough exercise

Another simple cause of what's making your pet gassy is they're not getting enough exercise. Sedentary pets experience flatulence far more than active ones because food sits in their stomachs longer than if they were moving around and moving it through.

Addressing this cause of gas is an easy one. Ensure your pet has some exercise after meals. Taking a nice walk or playing a game of fetch is a great way to give your pet time to stretch their legs and their stomach.



Cute pug dog sleep rest in the floor, over the mat and tongue sticking out in the lazy time fongleon356 / Getty Images

Sometimes what's making your pet gassy is, well, your pet! Genetics plays a significant role in gut health and bacteria. Brachycephalic or flat-faced breeds like French bulldogs, pugs, and boxers will experience more smelly gas than any other breed of dog partially because these dog breeds tend to swallow large amounts of air while eating.

If you have a brachycephalic dog, be prepared to have a naturally gassy pet. While there are some steps you can take to reduce the amount of gas in these dog breeds, it is an unfortunate characteristic of the breed.


Eating habits

Spaniel holding a bowl James Brokensha Photography / Getty Images

Pets that eat too much too quickly can experience bloating, irritation, and gas.

Pets that eat too fast can swallow large amounts of air, leading to gas bubbles in their stomach. If your pet needs better eating habits, try using a special bowl that can help them slow down while eating.



cat eating Sergey Pakulin / Getty Images

There's a common belief that, unlike dogs, cats don't fart. This assumption, however, is false. Although cats don't produce the loud, stinky farts that accompany canine companions, cats do experience flatulence and upset stomachs.

One major contributor to feline gas is hairballs. Long-haired cats are more likely to get hairballs, which can make them gassy. Regular brushing and grooming visits are a great way to keep your cat's coat and stomach healthy.



dog taking a bite from a fork

Maldigestion, or malabsorption, is common in pets and occurs when an animal's body doesn't make enough of the proper enzymes to break down food or absorb nutrients. It happens most often in dogs, especially German shepherds and collie breeds, but it can also happen in cats. The two leading causes of maldigestion are genetics and old age.

If you suspect your pet is experiencing maldigestion or malabsorption, you should talk to your vet. They can identify the missing nutrients in your pet's diet and prescribe supplements to help.


Intestinal parasites

Kitten eats from a bowl outside in back yard eli_asenova / Getty Images

If you have a young pet experiencing an unusual amount of gas, you should have them examined by a vet for intestinal parasites.

Parasites, specifically roundworms, tapeworms, and stomach worms, are commonly found in puppies and kittens. These nasty creatures can cause flatulence in pets that don't receive treatment.



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