Gas in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

Written By hannah hollinger
Published: 09/07/2023Updated: 09/13/2023
Gas in Dogs | Wag!


Bad gas. Breaking wind. Excessive flatulence. Call it what you like, it’s highly likely that your dog is prone to making some unpleasant smells from time to time. While it’s all part of being a pet parent, if your dog has bad gas it could be the sign of a health or dietary issue that needs veterinary intervention.

In ten minutes or less, with this guide to dog gas you’ll learn:

  • What causes bad gas in dogs
  • How to spot the tell-tale signs that there's something wrong
  • How to treat the problem
  • When you should seek some professional help for your pup

My dog has gas – is this normal?

Dog gas is one of the dubious joys of being a pet parent. Just like humans – hey, we can’t always blame it on the dog – all dogs are prone to breaking wind from time to time, or more frequently than that. It can happen nightly, just when everyone in the household is relaxing and winding down for the evening.

Canine flatulence is common, across all breeds and all ages, so it would be highly unusual if your dog didn’t experience some gas. It’s quite normal, and not necessarily anything to worry about – unless it happens a lot, smells especially unpleasant, and/or causes your dog obvious pain. If you suspect it’s worse than normal, it might be time to consult a vet, but we’ll get to that soon.

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Symptoms of gas in dogs

Some of the symptoms that your dog has gas are obvious. They are audible and visible; you might see or hear your dog burp, or your dog fart. You’ll probably smell the gas being expelled, too. It won’t smell nice to you, or your dog – it’s not unusual for a dozing pup to wake, get up and wander off, in protest at the whiff he or she just made!

Other symptoms of gas in dogs are more subtle – a slightly or badly swollen stomach, or signs of discomfort. These aren’t always easy to spot, so it’s important to be aware of all the tell-tale signs of gas. Remember, a dog with gas is normal, and not always a cause for concern.

  • Expulsion of gas from the mouth or anus – burping or breaking wind – which may or may not smell bad
  • An unusually offensive odor – stronger and more unpleasant than usual
  • Discomfort and pain in the abdomen/stomach
  • Swelling and bloating of the stomach and intestines from the build up of gas
  • Rumbles and strange noises from the digestive system
  • Diarrhea or vomiting – these are symptoms of a potentially serious issue

Causes - why does my dog have gas?

There are many reasons why your dog has gas. Some are as a result of diet, some behavioral, and some – the more serious causes – are because of medical issues.

Problems with diet, or the wrong type of diet, are a common reason for bad dog gas. Excessive flatulence in dogs can be a sign that something is wrong with your pet’s digestive system, too. Dogs generate and pass gas just as their human owners do, so they can be affected in exactly the same way by foods that upset their stomach.

How can diet give my dog bad gas?

Sudden changes in diet are a likely cause of bad gas in dogs. Dogs have sensitive tummies, and if yours has been used to eating the same type of food for a long time, switching to a different sort could cause a reaction. 

If you’re thinking of a change in dog food, it’s better to phase the new stuff in gradually – perhaps mixing in with the existing food – rather than a total switch. Give your dog’s digestive system a chance to adapt.

Unsure of what to feed your dog? Find the best food with our friend and partner, Dog Food Advisor.

Eating unsuitable food is a major cause of dog gas. Dogs can’t break down certain food as easily as humans. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop many owners from either sharing their food with their dog, or feeding them snacks and tidbits as treats. We may think we’re being kind by doing so, but some food is likely to cause upset; if your dog has bad gas suddenly, your first thought should be, ‘what have they eaten today?’

It’s not just the foods you give your dog that can cause gas. Many dogs sneak and scavenge food they shouldn’t, whether that’s stealing stuff from the trash – which could have been sitting there for days – or stealthily munching on something they’ve stumbled on while out being walked. That ‘something’ could be anything from another dog’s poop to rotting roadkill, and neither’s going to be beneficial to his or her stomach.

If your dog generally has a sensitive stomach, you could consider a specialist dry food. Check out a selection of some of the best dog food for a sensitive stomach from our companion website, Dog Food Advisor.

Eating habits and bad gas in dogs

Diet and the type of food your dog eats is one cause of bad gas. So is the way your dog eats his or her food. If your dog approaches each mealtime as if it’s their last ever dinner – excitedly pouncing on the food and rapidly wolfing it down in what seems like a few seconds – don’t be surprised if your dog has bad gas suddenly.

When a dog eats food too quickly, it can also take in air, which can lead to gas. You might notice your dog gulping after bolting down their food - this is a sign that they’ve eaten too quickly, and are experiencing some excess gas. There’s actually a medical term for this; aerophagia means ‘air eating’.

If your dog has a habit of eating way too fast, try to reduce portion sizes by dividing what you’d normally feed your pup into two or three servings. You can also use a special slow feeder bowl or a food puzzle toy, which teaches a dog to eat at a reduced pace.

Eating food too fast can also lead to indigestion, which is painful and uncomfortable for dogs. Exercising your dog too soon after eating might also lead to bad gas, as well as a serious condition called bloat.

Health issues causing dog gas

A number of health issues can give your dog gas, and these are highly likely to need the advice and the intervention of a veterinarian to treat and resolve. Unlike diet-related causes, they won’t fix themselves.

Underlying health issues that can give your dog gas include pancreatitis – which is when the pancreas becomes inflamed – and colitis, when the colon is inflamed. Another condition that affects the pancreas and can cause bad gas in dogs is Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI). EPI means your dog will have difficulty digesting proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

This is when having comprehensive pet insurance in place can be a huge benefit, providing support for your dog if any of these health problems arise. Wag! Can help you to compare plans from some of the leading pet insurance providers in the USA - start here.

Gastrointestinal disorders that can be an underlying cause of excess gas include Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Gastrointestinal disorders can be one of the symptoms of cancer, too.

Gas can also be caused by parasites that your dog might have ingested. Internal parasites, or worms, are common issues in dogs, and medication is needed to kill off the infection.

On a more general health level, excessive flatulence is more common in overweight and sedentary dogs, but it can affect any breed of any age.

Checklist: Common Causes of Gas in Dogs

  • Indigestion
  • Eating too soon after vigorous exercise
  • Eating too quickly such that air is ingested
  • Sudden change in diet
  • Spicy food
  • Eating milk products
  • Diets with excessive soybeans, peas or beans
  • Diets with excessive fiber
  • Ingestion of spoiled food
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Parasitic infection
  • Intestinal tumors
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Food allergies or intolerances

Foods that can give dogs gas

Just as people have foods that ‘don’t agree’ with them, dogs are affected in the same way. While some dogs may have less sensitive digestive systems than others, there are certain foods that are best avoided as they are notoriously associated with triggering bad gas.

Spicy food should be avoided completely. Dairy products, including milk and cheese, can be a problem if your dog is lactose intolerant – and many are. Food high in fat and fiber could contribute to bad gas, too.

These include milk-based products (yes, cheese and especially blue cheese), spicy food and any type of beans, pulses and peas, as these are difficult for your dog’s digestive system to break down. Some vegetables, such as cauliflower and broccoli, can lead to excessive flatulence, too. 

Some foods could put your dog at greater risk than breaking wind. Chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins and avocado can all be harmful or worse – potentially toxic to the point of fatal, in the most severe cases.

Be aware that it’s not ‘human food’ that may leave your dog with bad gas. Poor quality dry or wet dog food can also cause issues, so if your dog eats almost nothing else other than his or her regular food, it might be worth considering another option and speaking to your vet for further advice.

When you consult a professional, come prepared with a record of your dog’s diet. The veterinarian will probably want a detailed account of the kind of food your pet is eating, the frequency and type of any treats, and whether it has been allowed to roam unsupervised.

When to worry about dog gas

As a pet parent, you know your dog better than anybody, so you’re best placed to judge a change in behavior. Dog gas is normal, but if your dog has bad gas suddenly, has it more frequently, and smells worse than usual, you’d be right to be suspicious.

That might pass and relatively quickly, if it’s a dietary issue. But if your dog starts vomiting or experiencing diarrhea – especially if it persists – it’s time to contact your veterinarian. 

Other symptoms that could show your dog has bad gas and possibly needs treatment are obvious pain – your dog could be making sounds of distress or objects to being touched – lethargy (more tired than usual) or a lack of appetite.

How to treat and relieve dog gas pain

What to give dogs for gas relief depends on what’s causing it, and your veterinarian will give you more advice on that. The vet will want to know what your dog has eaten – if it’s anything different to the norm that can help to pinpoint the issues – as well as what kind of diet they usually have.

If it’s a diet issue, and your dog has gas regularly as a result of poor dietary habits,

diet modification may be recommended by your veterinarian; make these changes incrementally and observe your pet carefully. If your dog isn’t particularly active, exercising more frequently – even taking shorter walks more often – can help relieve gas by getting the digestive system moving and preventing any uncomfortable build-up.

If there are other symptoms on top of the flatulence, the veterinarian may order lab tests to discover the problem. Tests may include examining a stool sample from your dog, culturing the bacteria of the gut, blood and urine tests, and imaging such as x-rays or ultrasound. These tests will help separate out what is causing your pet’s discomfort.

Occasionally, acute (temporary) gastroenteritis may occur after eating expired food or getting sick from a virus. This is usually temporary and resolves itself after a few days. 

Other causes won’t resolve themselves, and will need medication to treat it, which in turn should provide gas relief for your dog. Treatment for gastrointestinal dysfunction will vary according to the type and specific presentation of the illness – and will be determined by the veterinarian. 

Parasite infections will require medication and possibly further decontamination of the dog’s living space, such as where they sleep. This can help to prevent reinfection. Give the medication as directed by the veterinarian.

How to relieve gas in dogs naturally

‘My dog has bad gas – what can I give him?’ is often an owner’s first thought in this kind of situation. Well, if bad gas is not a result of a medical condition that needs the intervention of a vet, and more of a temporary issue causing your dog pain, there are some simple remedies you can try immediately to help provide relief.

Putting good bacteria back into your dog’s gut can help with dog gas relief, so feeding him or her a probiotic can be a real benefit. You can find probiotic supplements in the form of tablets, but a great source is natural yogurt; if you have some of that at home, give your dog a small portion of that.

Gentle massage is another way of how to relieve gas in dogs naturally. Just mild, circular rubbing around the dog’s stomach area can relieve a build-up of trapped gas and get it ‘moving’ again. And, what dog doesn’t enjoy a good ‘ol belly rub?

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Dog gas - at a glance advice

If you’re worried bad gas is a symptom of a potentially serious medical issue that needs treatment, don’t hesitate to get in contact with your veterinarian. This is what pet insurance is designed for, after all.

Don’t yet have pet insurance, or want more comprehensive coverage than your current provider offers? It’s quick, and simple, to compare insurers and get the best pet insurance plan for your dog.

Compare pet insurance plans today and check out a range of wellness plans that cover routine vet bills, too.

Gas in Dogs Average Cost

From 1022 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,500

Average Cost




Gas in Dogs Average Cost

From 1022 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,500

Average Cost


Wag Compare logo

Get a free pet insurance quote in less than 60 seconds!

Easily compare quotes from the most trusted pet insurance companies in the United States.

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