Frequent Why does my dogs fart make a noise? A Step-by-Step Guide

Why does my dog’s fart smell like skunk?

The primary reason this type of gas smells bad is that the bacteria in your dog’s gut are digesting some of the food. The bad odor is caused by the gases these bacteria release as part of their digestive processes.

9 Gassy Dog Breeds Who Frequently Let Wind

  • Boxers. …
  • Doberman Pinschers. …
  • Golden Retrievers. …
  • Pugs. …
  • Pit Bulls. …
  • Beagles. …
  • Yorkshire Terriers. …
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers. Soft-coated Wheaten terriers frequently appear in discussions of canine gas.
  • There is a lot of debate among animal behaviourists about this but most agree that no, dogs can’t laugh. At least not in the sense that humans can laugh. However, dogs can make a sound that is similar to a laugh, which they typically do when they are playing. It’s caused by a breathy panting that’s forcefully exhaled.

    Do dogs know if they fart?

    Dogs have a hugely sensitive sense of smell, and just as we found some gaseous emissions repulsive, so can dogs. A sensitive dog may even get up and walk away from the bad smell, which is positive proof that dogs can detect the sulfurous odor of flatulence.

    In a way, yes. Your dog might not be able to feel the social humiliation the way a person does, but they definitely can feel self-conscious and have subtle, embarrassed-like tendencies. Secondary emotions like embarrassment can be complicated when it comes to pets, but they definitely feel something similar to it.

    It happened at the same time as another bodily function

    Have you ever sneezed and happened to fart at exactly the same time? (This is a safe space, no one’s judging you.) Well, it probably surprised you when you realized you broke a little wind while you sneezed, because you were only expecting one bodily function.

    The same can happen to your dog, too.

    “My little dog will commonly cough and fart at the same time, which scares her,” Dr. Ochoa said. “I dont think she is expecting the fart. When she is coughing, everything just lets loose and she farts, scaring herself.”

    Why Do My Dogs Farts Smell So Bad (Reasons Explained)

    Even before the children’s book Walter the Farting Dog hit bookstores in 2001, the youngest members of society have known the truth. Dogs fart. They pass gas. The science-minded among us might refer to fart gas as ‘flatus’ (not to be confused with flautas, which might or might not give you flatus). Whatever you call it, dog farts can be silent but deadly, outrageously loud and stinky, even synchronized with a sneeze. In other words, dogs fart like us.

    While Walter the Farting Dog delivers on fiction—it is Walter’s flatulence that thwarts robbers—recent studies provide actual data on dog farts, their composition and how to make them less stinky. In 2001, researchers at the Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition in the UK published a study detailing a noninvasive technique to investigate dog flatulence in real-time. A special doggie jumpsuit with a tail-hole. A dog fart suit.

    Capturing flatus is not to be taken lightly. In a section titled, ‘Collection and analysis of rectal gases,’ the researchers describe the outfit they rigged up to assess the farts. The main component is a jacket that looks like something companion dogs might wear in the rain, although this jacket comes with a sulfur gas detecting pump near the dog’s butt. To complete the suit, dogs wear disposable paper underpants to “protect the sampling device from external interference and help maintain proximity of the tubing to the anus.” Like I said, sort of like a rain jacket but with more farting.

    But what makes dog farts stink? The researchers took their cue from human flatus, which contains “the atmospheric gases nitrogen and oxygen plus the non-atmospheric gases carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane, also referred to as fermentation gases.” Sulfur gases, particularly hydrogen sulfide, are behind our visceral response of, “EWWWWW! Who did THAT?” This distasteful smell is commonly associated with sulfur-rich foods like cauliflower or broccoli.

    To explore the composition of stinky dog farts, the researchers took a two-pronged approach. First, the fart suit measured what the dogs were dishing out, specifically hydrogen sulfide concentrations in parts per million. Second, an Odor Judge joined the team. Yes, someone was assigned to assess the odor of dog farts (and although the study does not spell it out, I presume the job was assigned using the highly advanced method of Who Was Out Of The Room When The Decision Was Made). The Odor Judge (who I hope wore a special sash or top hat) whiffed “each flatulence episode and rated the episode on a 1 to 5 scale, where 5 represented an unbearable odor and 1 was noise-only with no odor. A rating of 2 represented a slightly noticeable odor, 3 was a mildly unpleasant odor, and 4 was a bad odor.” I give you science.

    The Odor Judge’s assessments were then matched to real-time readings from the dog fart suit to uncover the composition of the most distasteful farts. As in humans, dog farts rated as more unbearable contained significantly more hydrogen sulfide than farts rated as less-noxious.

    Identification of the stink is merely a first step. Dog fart suit in hand, the researchers set out to investigate which compounds, if any, could render dog farts benign.

    In a study of human farts (where subjects first consumed pinto beans “to ensure flatus output” – you can’t make this stuff up), charcoal and zinc acetate reduced fart stinkiness. Another study found that Yucca schidigera reduced stink-inducing hydrogen sulfide concentrations in dog poop. While those substances are available as dietary supplements, don’t use any of them without veterinary approval.

    To investigate whether a combination of charcoal, Yucca schidigera, and zinc acetate would decrease the stink in dog farts, dogs got back in the fart suit. (The researchers call it a “flatulence-collecting system for dogs.” We’ll have to agree to disagree.) Then the dogs consumed treats containing the three ingredients.** The fart suit captured and measured hydrogen sulfide concentrations, while the Odor Judge rated the farts.

    The treats with the three ingredients did the trick! While the number of farting episodes did not decrease, the stench of the emissions was less aversive. With the treats, farting “episodes rated as 4 (bad) or 5 (unbearable) were significantly decreased, and [the] percentage of episodes rated as 2 (slightly noticeable) was significantly increased.”

    Make every day Dog Farting Awareness Day! Today is also National Dog Fighting Awareness Day. While illegal in every state, thousands of dogs are still forced to train, fight, and suffer every year. Lets end dog fighting.

    ** Additional note on dog farts: In the study, each fart-reducing treat contained “320 mg of activated charcoal, 2.5 mg of Yucca schidigera, and 17 mg of zinc in the form of zinc acetate dihydride.” Dogs were fed 1 treat per 11 lb of body weight. Jessica Hekman, DVM, MS and genomics PhD student adds, “We dont know if this stuff is safe to feed regularly. But thats one of the things good research does—provide ideas for future research. Like testing the safety of activated charcoal in anti-fart-stink dog treats.”

    This post was modified from earlier posts published in 2013, Dog Farts Part 1 and Part 2.

    Collins et al. 2001. Development of a technique for the in vivo assessment of flatulence in dogs. Am J Vet Res. 62, 1014-1019.

    Suarez et al. 1998. Identification of gases responsible for the odour of human flatus and evaluation of a device purported to reduce this odour. Gut. 43, 100-104.

    The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

    Julie Hecht is a Ph.D. student studying dog behavior and writes the Dog Spies blog at Follow Julie Hecht on Twitter