==> All of us do it (and smell it)
But few people dare to speak about it
Yeah okay, I know! This topic is not to everyone's gusto (what an apt diction!).
- This is a MUST-READ Periodical, a Periodical in disguise, because it will clearly show why we always suggest certain remedies and things you do: It all feeds into each other. Thus having a dog (and more so with a GSD) demands our holistic approach.
- When you get to the bottom, you'll probably agree "that wasn't too bad after all" - certainly better than the smell.
And, believe it or not, when we give ourselves a small nudge, we may even find this topic hugely funny - certainly our kids do: Walter the Farting Dog has become such a worldwide success that they made a book series from it and are now producing a movie!
The gastroenterologist Dr. Wes Jones says about this subject matter: "It's time to get GI problems out into the open" (GI = GastroIntestinal).
And although he refers to us (humans), getting the topic of flatulence of our canine friends out into the open certainly means a breath of fresh air too!
Indeed, there's a good chance that it may serve your human family pack members very well too. So better keep this as keepsake.
Is Dog Farting Normal? Puppy Farting too?
Canine Gastrointestinal Tract Animation from the Nutramaxlabs website - yes, those guys that developed the incredibly effective dog mobility remedy Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM that works wonders in cases like Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Arthritis, Lumbosacral Stenosis, and Panosteitis
Are dog farts normal?
Yes and no.
Dogs have a complex GI tract just like we have. And dogs eat all sorts of Not-So-Good-Foods and Bad-Foods just like we do. Accordingly, dogs in general also face the issue of excess gas.
Some dogs suffer more from flatulence (eg boxers), others less (eg German Shepherds) - IF they get proper food and sufficient exercise!
More on the flatulence causes in a minute.
The No: From my own experience with dogs I know, when dogs pass a flatus:
- They notice it
- It surprises them! (initially)
- Some dogs feel either embarassed or they don't like the smell!
- Dogs cannot cure themselves from flatulence!
It surprises them?
Yes, unless your dog has been suffering from flatulence for a longer period, you will have noticed this too from your dog's reaction, right? I certainly have observed countless times with many dogs that, upon a fart, they look at their anus like they are wondering: "Huups, what was that?". - Until they get used to farting. Just like we do.
This shows: Farting is not 'normal' to dogs (in their own mind)!
Some dogs feel either embarassed or they don't like the smell?
Dogs cannot cure themselves from flatulence?
This seems obvious since dogs are surprised by flatulence (see above). It's not that for example dogs know "If I eat that stuff, I'll be farting all day, so I better not eat that stuff". Dogs just eat whatever they can get their mouth on or what we provide.
Really? I am not so sure about that! We've had many dogs over the years that did not eat "everything they can get their mouth on". Dogs that (apparently consciously) avoided certain foods - they just wouldn't eat them!
Now, of course you could argue that the dogs didn't like the foods. But I could counter-argue: How do you know?
Maybe some dogs don't eat certain foods because they remember(!) that they made them feel unwell? As I have shown many times, dogs do remember much more than the established bestselling dog book authors accept - who still wrongly insist that dogs have only a very short-term memory.
It seems we need more research into this puzzling question: Why does a particular dog avoid particular foods?!
But certainly, without our help, dogs cannot decide over things like:
- changing their diet systematically to avoid flatulence
- getting a flatulence remedy from the pharmacy (and which one)
- and when it's time to consult the vet
Is Farting Healthy? How Much?
From the above (and the flatulence causes below) it is clear that there is no point in aiming to stop farting altogether. Passing a little bit of gas every few hours rather is a sign of health:
It shows that the Gastrointestinal tract is able to pass excess gas through the gut - which avoids Bloat, a dangerous health condition (particularly for GSDs) because in dogs Bloat can lead to Gastric Torsion without warning sign! Make sure that you re-read the linked chapter in the MYGERMANSHEPHERD Health Manual.
However, the level of healthy farting is much lower for dogs than for us (see below why).
Also note that any gas inside the gut has only 3 ways to get out:
- absorbed through the intestinal wall into the body
- northern route (belching)
- southern route (farting)
The last two are excess gas.
On the other hand/buttock: Why is there excess gas at all?
- the Gastrointestinal (GI) tract is intact
- and the GI tract gets the right input (foods)
- and the GI tract releases the right output (one complete piece of soft feces) within 8 hours (canines) to 12 hours (humans) after each meal
- there should be no excess gas production in the gut
- and the gas produced during the fermentation of the food is released together with the feces
- minimising both belching and farting to maybe one or two per meal (canines) or three to four per meal (humans)
For reasons that will become more evident when we look at the farting causes below, I would therefore argue that when a dog farts more than twice in one hour, then this is a point of concern.
Basically the same holds true for us humans. This is my understanding from the incredibly helpful book from Dr. Wes Jones who showed why excess gas and straining and diarrhea (and all in between) actually are signs of constipation - and how the right fiber diet can cure all these GI problems (for people), plus countless seemingly unrelated disorders.
I say basically, because I would argue for one specific differentiation: The gut in healthy canines should produce much less excess gas than the gut of healthy humans. Some brief reasons:
- The gut of canines and humans is very different: Eg in dogs the upper gut is the large intestine, which absorbs ca. 80% of the nutrients and water in the food through digestion; in humans the lower gut (colon) is the large intestine, which absorbs most nutrients and water through fermentation. It is the process of fermentation that produces gas.
- Like for like in body size, the entire human gut is about 2.5 times longer than the entire canine gut. Food passage in healthy canines is much quicker (ca 8 hours) than food passage in healthy humans (ca 12 hours). The slower the food passage, the more gas is produced.
- The food intake of dogs and people is very different too: We consume primarily carbohydrates (grains, potatoes, sodas, sweets, etc), while dogs that are fed naturally consume primarily meat (no carbohydrates) and low-carb vegetables (see eg Dog Meals, Meal Times, and Feeding Routine and German Shepherd Dog Relatives) - although particularly in the USA most dogs are fed kibble that's full of grain fillers (cheaper than meat) and chemical additives (to increase shelf life), see Life Extender #1.
Therefore, note that with the above general advice I don't mean when a dog farts more than twice every hour then this is a point of concern. I mean when a dog farts more than twice in any given hour.
Possibly, more than twice or thrice per meal is more accurate advice (between meals are usually at least three to six hours, depending on how often you feed your dog/yourself).
Can We Train Our Dog Not to Fart in our Presence?
I came across an interesting video of a guy who used a fart machine (don't ask me what that is, I have no idea) to find out: "Do dogs know about farting?" (that's how he titled his video).
However, what he really showed without realizing it: Dogs associate the fart sound with their anus(!) - at least a German Shepherd can.
In case you wonder why this GSD looks at her anus slightly before the sound from that 'fart machine': She doesn't - video post production often moves the soundtrack slightly before the videotrack.
In plain English: The dog hears a fart sound and immediately thinks that something just escaped its own anus!
The fact that the dog makes this mental connection allows us to train our dog not to fart in our and our guests' presence! - IF we want to train our dog that?
So the answer is: Yes, we can train our dog not to fart in our presence.
First of all, we should keep in mind that a few dog farts a day are okay (see above) - and a few more farts for us, see the tastefully written article Flatulence expert defines 'normal' output rate.
Frankly, when we had a flatulence issue with a boxer long ago (typical for them, really), there was no targeted attempt made to train the dog not to fart in our presence. But the dog learned it nonetheless - which taught me how this can be trained willfully, if you so wish? Don't you worry, I won't extend too much on this delicate topic.
- Everytime your dog passes gas in your presence, you can call your dog's name (here Bimo) and say something like: "NOOO Bimo!" and point your finger on the elongated arm to the door.
- Our dog understood this means 'Go out of this room'. If your's initially won't understand this cue, then get up, walk to the door, and repeat: "NOOO Bimo!" and point your finger on the elongated arm through the door - and wait for your dog to come to you and go through that door. Then gently close the door behind the dog.
- If your dog complies with your cue and leaves the room, without you getting up and pointing through the door, then no need to close the door (although this bit of exercise would be good for you).
- Note that there must not be any pulling, pushing, shouting, or whatever! My "NOOO" is not meant as shouting, it is meant to indicate accentuation. All is done very calm - as with all training according to our approach: Behavior Training, not Obedience Training.
- Repeat from step 1 whenever your dog passes gas in your presence.
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!
The ultimate training outcome is that your dog leaves the room before (s)he is going to pass a flatus. Depending on how relaxed and how consistent you are with your training, this may take just three times or it may take three weeks.
Arguably in the order of frequency of occurrence:
- Stress! Drastically increases the chance of developing chronic flatulence. - One of the many reasons why I always stress that you must avoid stress for your GSD if you want a long, healthy and happy life for your dog and for yourself.
- Antibiotics! Based on all empirical evidence (and, sadly, my personal experience too), repeated intake of oral antibiotics guarantees damage of the intestinal microflora, resulting in chronic flatulence, among many other ailments! - One of the many reasons why I always urge you to avoid antibiotics, unless your dog or you are facing a life-threatening condition!???
- Eating highly fermentable foods is the 'devil' for flatulence sufferers, both canine and human! Highly fermentable foods cause acute flatulence. To understand this key point, see the explanation below this bullet-point list.
- Ingestion of large amounts of food at once can cause acute flatulence. - One of the many reasons why I always urge you to serve several smaller meals rather than one or two large meals. This also gives you more chances to practice your accepted Pack leader status.
- Gulping down the food (out of fear the food intake may be disturbed, or out of experience of inconsistent meal times) can cause acute flatulence. - One of the many reasons why I always urge you 1) to apply our Feeding Routine (incl. Gesture-Eating), 2) to serve the meals in an Eat-Slow Bowl, 3) to ensure your dog is in peace during meals, and 4) to stick to consistent meal times.
- Eating poor-quality "foods" can cause acute flatulence. Particularly kibble and processed wet food are well-known to contain an abundance of additives and preservatives that can cause excess gas. - One of the many reasons why I always urge you to choose for your dog (and for yourself!) a natural, balanced, homemade diet of REAL foods only whenever you can.
- Also, Corticosteroids and many other medication, oral vaccines and deworming remedies can cause chronic flatulence.
- Unsuitable feeding times (particularly before sleeping/dozing) can cause acute flatulence.
- Specifically for dogs as large and energetic as the German Shepherd, mineral deficits and mineral imbalances can cause acute flatulence.
- Parasites (particularly certain worms and viruses) can cause acute or chronic flatulence.
- Idiopathic Villous Atrophy, thought to be a hereditary defect that particularly affects German Shepherds: The intestinal wall of affected dogs is underdeveloped, which prevents intestinal absorption of gas, thus that all gas produced in the gut has to leave the gut as excess gas - either through belching or farting.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the form that results from an overgrowth of intestinal bacteria (Lymphocytic-Plasmacytic Enterocolitis) particularly affects German Shepherds and can lead to flatulence - as well as to anemia, diarrhea, food malabsorption, weight loss, etc.
- Food allergies can cause chronic flatulence.
- Diabetes Mellitus (Sugar Diabetes), thought to be a hereditary defect that particularly affects German Shepherds: Inadequate production of insulin in the pancreas can cause flatulence (as well as a whole array of more commonly known ailments).
- Congenital Megaesophagus, thought to be a hereditary defect that particularly affects German Shepherds and other midsize and large dog breeds. Thought to lead to a development disorder during puppyhood where the esophagus becomes obstructed, leading to difficulties eating solid foods. The repeated regurgitation and inhalation of food can lead to chronic flatulence, among many other health consequences.
- Certain anesthetics can cause acute flatulence, and frequent administration of anesthetics can cause chronic flatulence.
Phew! That's a long list, I know.
Eating highly fermentable foods - explained
This must be avoided wherever possible when our dog (or we!) suffer from flatulence. Think about it this way: Any food we and our dog eat:
- either is already fermented
- or ferments in the gut
- or ferments in the sewage system
- or cannot be fermented
There is no other possibility!
Before we delve deeper into the above, note that fermentable is not the same as soluble (as wrongly suggested in most text sources). Fermentable means bacteria ferment those foods (think of putrefaction). Soluble means those foods dissolve in water. - Most foods are fermentable although they are not soluble (while soluble foods are always also fermentable).
Foods that are already fermented are the best foods in terms of fart avoidance (and much more!): Additional fermentation by the gut bacteria is minimal, thus gas production is minimal! This is crucial for us because we primarily ferment foods, and a bit less important for dogs because they primarily digest foods (see above).
Foods that ferment in the gut produce hydrogen and other gases during fermentation in the gut. The longer our dog or we carry our digestive waste around(!), the more gas is being produced (resulting in all that excess gas that we release as flatus or fart) - and the more time we give that digestive waste to intoxicate our body!!!
Note that the extent of fermentability is key: While most foods are subject to a certain degree of fermentation in the gut, some foods are nothing short of a kingly feast for gut bacteria (see the list below). While both the human and the canine gut are naturally occupied by billions of 'good' bacteria, many of the causes of flatulence listed above (plus countless additional causes) lead to an overpopulation with 'bad' bacteria.
Note that the overpopulation with 'bad' bacteria is of course causing MUCH MUCH MUCH more than flatulence (our topic here): The overpopulation with 'bad' bacteria in the gut results in a build-up of toxins (see above), which over time cross the intestinal wall and reach the bloodstream, where the toxins are then transported and disseminated throughout the entire body, incl. the brain cells.
This life-long intoxication causes most if not all modern chronic disorders: Allergies, Alzheimer and similar dementias, arthritis, asthma, autism, cancer, diabetes, heart disorders(!), osteoporosis, etc!
We are only half-through this Periodical yet, but if you've got an extra hour to spare - for your own life and quality of life(!) - invest that hour to watch the following video before it's taken down. Dr. Seneff explains what is causing each of the chronic disorders listed above - and so how you can prevent them!
Sure, the video is a bit more demanding than some kind of dog training video... but stay tuned, for your benefit and that of your family that is (or going to be?) affected by a chronic disorder:
- Mobility - We take a relaxed walk with our dog. Normal walking pace, no tough exercise at this time: dangerous! The mobility helps to get any gas pockets pass through the GI tract. Note that the gut is a muscle that requires stimulation to keep strong!
- Drinking water - Intake of liquid also helps to get excess gas pass through the GI tract, and to give stool a firm but soft texture. - In this regard a reminder: Do look at your dog's stool from time to time (and always when there's any problem) to compare if the stool is 'normal' for your dog, because many health issues manifest in the stool.
- Activated charcoal chew-bone, powder, tablets, or capsules can serve well for acute digestion problems (including flatulence). But note that then you need a quality charcoal remedy (many are not; this one is good for both you and your dog), and you must not use it regularly because charcoal not only binds/absorbs toxins and gas, it also binds/absorbs essential nutrients like minerals (as well as medication you may be taking)!
Thus, if you give activated charcoal (or take it yourself) then both ample water supply and a quality electrolyte supplement like Drool Fuel are essential in order to replenish your dog's required level and balance of minerals like sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, etc (for yourself Nuun is a good one, but you must not give this to your dog!).
If these preventative measures and measures to stop farting (or rather reduce it to a healthy level) don't help, then consulting a vet is advisable to get an individual diagnosis for your dog/yourself, and to rule out any other causes of flatulence.
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