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A diet change could be key in solving dog gas issues

By HELEN PALMER

K9 Corner

A reader wrote regarding her dog’s problems with excess gas and consistent licking of her rectum. I had a similar question a few years ago, so I will repeat my answer.

In the case of gas, it is usually caused by the food your dog eats. Occasionally, it is caused by swallowing air as the animal bolts her food down, possibly because of a rivalry with another family pet.

The food sources most likely to cause gas formation are highly fermentable foods like grains, and vegetables such as beans, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and soybeans. Drinking large quantities of milk or consuming diets high in meats can also predispose the animal to gas formation. Some animals are allergic to certain foods, which may be a cause for this condition.

There are two remedies for gas. You may want to try a different diet on your own or check with your veterinarian for advice. If you decide to change diet on your own, purchase a brand with totally different ingredients. For example, if your dog is currently eating a brand predominantly beef and corn, you might choose a brand with lamb and rice. If you are feeding lamb and rice, there is a dog food featuring duck meat. Whatever your current brand, choose something that does not have the same ingredients.

To prevent your dog from being overwhelmed by the change, and to avoid vomiting and diarrhea, wean her off her old diet gradually. (Since your dog is large, exchange the food in ½ cup increments such as: the first two days, use the dog’s regular amount of old food minus ½ cup. Add ½ cup of the new food to each meal. The third and fourth days use the regular amount of old food minus one cup. Add one cup new food to each meal. Continue decreasing the amount of the old diet and increasing the amount of the new diet until the switch is complete.

The licking of the anus and rectum can be caused by several different conditions. One of the most common reasons is full or impacted anal glands.

Anal glands are small sacs located at about five and seven o’clock in reference to the circumference of the anus. These sacs contain the territorial marking scent and help dogs to identify one another. These sacs are normally emptied during defecation, but occasionally a dog will need some assistance to relieve the pressure inside the sacs. Most pet owners prefer to take their animals to the veterinarian, or groomer, if they suspect full or impacted anal glands because of the smell and location of the glands.

Other possible causes of licking can be caused by the passage of bone chips or other sharp objects in the feces or by a hard, dry stool. (The change in diet should help this as well as an abundance of cool, clean water.) Insect bites, worms and false constipation are other causes.