Bloat and Flatulence in Senior Dogs

Bloat and Flatulence in Senior Dogs

By Dave Eckholm

Let’s face it…It’s not a pretty subject. But dog flatulence or doggie gas can be an important indicator of serious problems for a senior dog. Some breeds are more prone to this room-clearing disorder than others. Understanding that bloat could be a serious problem rather than just an odorous annoyance is essential.

Not every gas episode is the sign of a disorder. Most dogs do have gas from time to time. Some foods are not tolerated well by the canine digestive system such as dairy products, table scraps and spoiled meat. Often a dog that “wolfs” down his dinner has more flatulence trouble because he has swallowed too much air while eating. Drinking large quantities of water at one time will have a similar affect. Also dogs with a high-strung temperament can have trouble if they are prone to hyperventilate. Some breeds are more gassy than others. Large breed, deep-chested dogs such as hounds, Dobermans, retrievers, Shepards and St. Bernards are more likely to experience episodic gas and bloat.

If you have a senior dog, it is more susceptible to flatulence. Because his intestines progressively lose muscle tone it becomes a more common occurrence than when your pet was younger. If it continues it could become a more serious form of bloat where the stomach becomes abnormally enlarged and start to twist. This is a very painful condition for a dog and can cause death.

Prevention of bloat for the senior dog:

* Feed small meals 2-3 times a day.

* Don’t let your dog drink too much water too quickly.

* Mild exercise or walking after meals is good but extreme activity, excitement and stress should be avoid 1 hour before and 2 hours after eating. Dogs should not roll over after eating.

* Avoid feeding foods that are know to cause gas such as peas, onions, beans, dairy and soy.

* Consult veterinarian regarding adding yogurt with live cultures to improve digestion or charcoal to your dogs diet.

Although many older dogs do benefit from having an elevated feeding dish, if your dog is prone to bloat and gas, you may want to consider an alternative. While a raised dish allows more comfort to the neck and back, it has been associated with causing bloat in certain breeds. Discuss this further with your veterinarian if you have concerns as to which type of dish is best for your dog.

Keep older dogs calm. Hyperventilating causes extreme intakes of air. Talk with your veterinarian about giving your dog simethecone (an over-the-counter gas remedy) during stressful situations.

Copyright 2006 Dave Eckholm

Dave Eckholm is the owner and creator of, a site dedicated to the care and comfort of our old friends. As our dog Tikki began to lose his eyesight and became grey around his muzzle, we were concerned for his quality of life. As a senior dog, he started to have special needs. We searched for new ideas, resources and products to enhance his life. Old Dog Paws shares this information, including a national pet sitter directory, with all dog lovers so your friend can enjoy wonderful senior years too!

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