To help you build the BEST relationship with your German Shepherd Dog!
==> All of us smell it
But few people dare to speak about it
Dog Flatulence - Dog Farting
Yeah okay, I know! This topic is not to everyone's gusto (what an apt diction!). BUT:
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!
There was the hint! This Periodical may not just help your German Shepherd. Indeed, there's a good chance that it may serve your human family pack members very well too. So better keep this.
In this Periodical:
Are Dog Farts Normal?
Is Farting Healthy? How Much?
Can We Train Our Dog Not to Fart in our Presence?
Can the Dog Train Us Not to Fart? *
Causes of Flatulence
Foods That Cause Gas
How to Prevent Farting
How to Stop Farting (when Prevention comes too late)
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 causes of flatulence 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?
Yes. Often we find that a dog walks away from its own fart! It could be that a dog that passed a particularly nasty smelling fart, can't stand the smell itself.
Or, it could be that the dog has learned from our reactions that we don't like when the dog farts. - More on fart training in a minute.
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 causes of farting 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 causes of farting 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 rightfiber diet can cure all these GI problems (for humans), plus countless seemingly unrelated diseases!
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.
Jonathan: "Thank you for your period advice. It is excellent! My GSD puppy is now 8 months and we read your advice regularly."
Dwayne: "I love this site and the info you post onto it. Thanks again!!!!"
Penny: "Thanks for making your great articles available to all of us. it's nice to know that a recommended product is actually available in my country."
Stay with us and your dog will stay with you, both of you healthy and well-behaved.
If you are ever unhappy with anything we write, do or don't do, we want to be the first to know, thanks.
Disclaimer: Always apply your own common sense when you follow anyone's suggestions. As much as your dog is special (s)he may react different too.
There's nothing quite like a healthy and well-behaved German Shepherd who freely guards every corner of your home, who brings you peace, who brings you joy! Welcome to MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG - we help you that YOUR DOG does not end up in a(nother) shelter!