Dobe Flatulance or “Quick Run, Wilbur Did It Again!”
By Margot B. Schwag, VMD
** Permission of author is required for use of this article.**


Flatulence is defined as the excessive formation of gas in the stomach or intestine, released through the anus. We know it as “not again?!”


Most gas is a result of swallowed air or bacterial fermentation of food within the gastrointestinal (g.i.) system. All of us make gas to some extent; dobes just seem to excel at the task. In most case, they eat something that they shouldn’t i.e. dietary indiscretion. At the same time, it may signal the presence of potentially harmful g.i. disease.


Causes of typical flatulence include:

  • Legumes-(ex. soy-beans), spoiled foods, high fat foods, milk products

  • Psyllium, fibrim, oat bran.

  • Rapid dog food changes--suddenly changes in carbohydrates or fiber until the g.i. adapts.

  • Eating way too fast, resulting in the dog swallowing lots of air at meal time.


Disease conditions include:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease--inflammation of the bowel wall precluding normal bowel function.

  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth of “bad” bacteria.

  • Cancer of the g.i. tract.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome-dysfunction of the g.i. motility.

  • Parasites-round/hook/whipworms, etc.

  • Bacterial, fungal or viral enteritis--E.coli, salmonella, candida, parvo, etc.

  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency--lack of pancreatic enzymes required to correctly break the food down to useful nutrients.


The majority of  gas passed is odorless; only 1% of the passed gas “stinks.” Most dogs are healthy and are flourishing. However an owner should become concerned if their dog’s gas production changes, or the dog starts to have problems with vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, etc.


Treatment includes first discovering any underlying disease. Assuming the dog is healthy, try:

  • A highly digestible, low-fiber/low-fat diet; Eukanuba low residue formula, Purina EN, IVD select care or Sensitive formula, etc.

  • Homemade diets should stress white rice, skinned chicken, cottage cheese, (don’t forget dog vitamin and mineral supplements).

  • Slow down the “feeding frenzy” by providing small frequent meals, in a private area, if needed.

  • Exercise is great, as the animal moves about outside, it will pass the gas outdoors.

  • Stop them from raiding garbage cans, mulch piles, eating their stool (copraphagia), etc.


Should none of these options help, try:

  • Simethicone tabs, an anti-foaming agent that helps prevent gas  build up. Try 1 tab 2-3 times daily (200 mg tabs).

  • Enzyme supplements- these aid the body to breakdown nutrients that would otherwise ferment and result in gas production.

  • Pepto Bismol- If the dog got into something, try 0.5 mg/lb. initially then ¼ that dose every 6 hours until normal.


Good luck!


© 2003 Margot B. Schwag, VMD. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint contact author at Landisville Animal Hospital, 3035 Harrisburg Pike, Landisville, PA 17538