I have this dog — her name is Idgie (pronounced id-jee). She’s 80 pounds of snuggles and sass in equal measure. I rescued her as a flea-infested pup dumped on a rural country road, and she’s been my BFF for the nine and a half years since. God knows I love her.
Here’s the thing, though: She stinks.
I’m not talking a musty-dog-needs-a-bath kind of stench. I mean the ol’ girl is gassy, and that gas could very nearly peel paint off the walls. I only wish I was exaggerating.
The gravity of her flatulence is well-known in our household, as Idgie tends to satellite from room to room, positioning herself closest to her people. While this is flattering and we undoubtedly love having her near, it also means we’re in the line of fire.
Many a movie night has been disbanded by Idgie’s pungent odor. I kid you not — when she lets a particularly potent one rip, it’s every man for himself. My husband, my kids and I all stumble over one another, mouths covered in shirt collars, trying to make a break for the nearest door. It’s DEFCON 1.
After suffering through a distinctively stinky spell one night, I started wondering: Why do dog farts smell so bad? In my experience, it is a stench far worse than that created by any human.
So I decided to do a little research on the subject and checked in with some experts to discuss “stinky dog farts.” (Side note: Man, my job is weird sometimes.)
What I found, to my relief, was that this isn’t a problem relegated just to my fat, sassy and extremely flatulent dog. In fact, it’s pretty common. To save you a pseudo-embarrassing Google search of your own, here is what I learned.
What causes such a horrible smell?
When it comes to leaking out noxious smog, dogs are not that unlike their human counterparts. According to VetWest, the main culprits of flatulence are swallowing air — in dogs’ cases, this happens when they gulp down their food or water — and indigestion.
But the food that dogs are eating could be the root of some of that stink as well. Vet extraordinaire Dr. Brett Cordes (aka Brett the Vet) of Arizona Animal Hospital told us that “some of the foods that they eat are rich in sulfur-producing gas. The more sulfur in the food, the worse the gas smells.”
What are some of those sulfur-rich foods? Beans and eggs are the biggest culprits. Soybeans are used in lots of dog foods, so if you are determined the lessen the stench of your pup’s poots, try a dog food that does not contain soy.
Are dog farts more potent at different points in their life span?
I know what you are thinking… puppy farts are the worst! How can cute little creatures that produce such perfect puppy breath also create such spectacularly horrible clouds of stink? My line of thought has always been that puppy farts are next-level smelly, but I couldn’t find any hard evidence to this effect. However, perhaps it’s a phenomenon that is simply undocumented. I mean, what scientists want to be the ones signed on to test that theory?
Determined to find an answer to my puppy fart suspicions, I asked Brett the Vet for his thoughts on the matter. “That notion is actually a myth,” he said of puppy poots. “We hold puppies near and dear to our heart and therefore our nose. So when they have gas, it’s just closer to our face.” Ew… Well, now I know.
Should I be worried?
Aside from the obvious unpleasantness, pungent pooting by your pooch generally isn’t any cause for concern. However, if it seems especially frequent and/or is accompanied by other symptoms, it’s best to take your pup to the vet for a checkup.
“It’s not generally a cause for concern unless it’s followed up by something even more nasty — diarrhea,” explained Brett the Vet. “If the smelly gas is accompanied by diarrhea or vomiting, it could be a sign that your dog has a GI problem or got into something, including parasites or the garbage.”
Can anything be done about this death stench?
Here’s the good news: Yes, there are certain measures you can take to minimize the eye-watering impact of the smells coming from your dog’s derriere. If you are a naughty human like me, who gives in to your dog’s pitiful pleas for table scraps, consider this your cease and desist order. In fact, going all natural with your dog’s diet can make a world of difference in curbing stinky toots. Along with avoiding sulfur producing foods like beans and eggs, stay away from dog foods that contain processed ingredients as well as hard-to-digest ingredients like wheat and corn.
Just remember to make changes to your dog’s diet gradually, lest you exacerbate the situation (wait, it could get worse?). There are also natural supplements and enzymes on the market that may help with your pup’s poots — you know, like Beano for canines. Another idea? Put your pup on an exercise regimen. The more your pooch’s booty is on the go, the better it is for his or her digestive health.
The bottom (pun intended) line? It is what it is. Brett the Vet confirmed, “Dog farts are pretty unavoidable. But arguably they are more socially acceptable than people farts. In many cases, we think they’re cute, aside from the odor. Actually, the more we treat our pets like people, the more like people they become, and the more farts they will make.”
So basically, keep a couple of canisters of air freshener handy, and hope for the best, human! Now excuse me while I go stock up on organic dog kibble and Febreze.
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