Dear Katie, I have a dog with terrible wind!
We have a French Bulldog with terrible wind! We used to laugh about it, but it’s becoming embarrassing, and I have to remove him from the room sometimes. I’m wondering if a change of diet could help?
Having a dog with terrible wind is a widespread problem, and I’m so glad you asked. I’m always amazed owners manage to put up with this less-than-pleasant problem! Before we go any further: do ask your vet to check for any underlying causes of concern. To treat flatulence effectively, it’s essential to confirm whether it’s caused by a chronic (long-term) problem or an acute problem (a reaction triggered by something your pet’s recently ingested).
What can cause flatulence in dogs?
Gas is created in your dog’s digestive system as a by-product of digestion. Some gas is normal, but we can see an excess when meals aren’t being digested easily.
In a healthy dog, the good bacteria in the digestive system will produce a little gas, as it ferments food that passes through the colon. Excess gas production tends to occur if:
- There isn’t a healthy ecosystem of good bacteria to effectively digest food.
- Your canine’s diet contains a high percentage of non-species-appropriate ingredients.
While it’s true that some dog breeds are prone to wind (and some pooches are fast eaters, which can lead to extra gas), a flatulence problem is mainly rooted in diet.
How to help your dog with wind
The first step is to simply change your dog’s diet, opting for a new food plan containing different ingredients to their current meals.
It’s best to switch to a fresh, whole food diet that is low in carbohydrates: dogs didn’t evolve to thrive on these. I recommend avoiding recipes that feature a carbohydrate at the start of the ingredients list – this is a telltale sign of high-carb pet food, as ingredients are ordered by percentage. Opting for a natural diet of high-quality protein and veggies should provide a speedy solution. When feeding raw or cooked diets, owners have noted a significant reduction in smell, especially when shifting away from extruded kibble diets that tend to be super carb-heavy.
In some cases, you may need to take a second step to address gut health. Feeding the species-appropriate foods mentioned above will help your dog’s good bacteria colony enormously. However, they may still suffer from a poor microbiome – a hangover from their former high-carb lifestyle. In this instance, your canine could benefit from a course of probiotics, designed to increase the good bacteria in their digestive system.
Rebuilding a healthy bacteria colony takes time, but it really is the route to long-term health. A good probiotic contains a diverse range of beneficial species, rather than just one. I often recommend the Body Biotics range, as it includes soil based probiotics. Soil based bacteria would have been ingested by your dog’s ancestors in the wild pre-domestication, and are a powerful means of restoring the natural balance your dog’s digestive system needs.
Unlike other forms of probiotics, soil based probiotics are spore-forming. This means they form a “hard” coating that protects them from heat, stomach acids, and most antibiotics.
The soil based probiotics’ protective coating means they don’t need to be refrigerated. Better still, unlike most probiotics (like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium), soil based probiotics don’t come from dairy, making them ideal for dogs avoiding dairy.
You can also add some great natural probiotics to the diet such as natural yoghurt, kefir, and fermented veggies. Do note that some dogs can be sensitive to dairy, so it’s important to introduce any dairy products in very small amounts to avoid digestive upset.
These two steps should help combat flatulence in a dog with terrible wind but remember: please get checked by your vet if your pooch has any other symptoms or appears at all unwell.
I hope this advice helps and your Frenchie’s digestion is easier (less breezier) in the future.