All Doberman owners, myself included, have been there before—you take in a deep breath and inhale the putrid smell of a gas lovingly released by your Doberman. It’s not pleasant, but it’s not uncommon with Dobermans either. Here we’ll discuss why this is happening, what a normal amount of farting from your Doberman is, and when it should be cause for concern.
Why does my Doberman fart so much? Excessive farting from a Doberman is most often caused by a gas buildup due to poorly digested food. Other common causes are stomach sensitivities, ingestion of air while eating or drinking (Aerophagia), high-protein diets, and underlying health issues.
Dobermans have a couple of things working against them when it comes to gas buildup as compared to other breeds. Stomach sensitivities and their tendency to ingest significant amounts of air while eating or drinking are some of the biggest factors, but there are certainly other common reasons your Doberman is farting all the time.
Table of Contents
- Reasons Your Doberman Farts So Much
- How Much Farting is Normal for a Doberman
- Foods and Ingredients that Cause Gas in Dobermans
- How to Reduce Gas
- Raw Diets
- Gas and Bloat: When to be Concerned
- What should my Doberman’s stool look like?
- Other Gassy Dog Breeds
- Final Thoughts
Reasons Your Doberman Farts So Much
Most owners who get their first Doberman figure out fairly quickly that Dobermans are one of the gassier breeds out there. Here are some of the reasons you might be experiencing excessive flatulence from your Dobie.
1. Taking in Too Much Air While Eating or Drinking (Aerophagia)
Dobermans tend to take in a lot of air when they swallow. If you’ve ever closely watched your Doberman drink water, you’ve seen exactly how much air the swallow. This is a phenomenon known as aerophagia. There is some debate about whether taking in too much air can lead to additional gas in dogs, but it’s a pretty prominent theory. The basics of this theory is simply that consumed air must come out somehow, so it either comes out as a burp or a fart.
What You Can Do
- Many owners will try to minimize this by attempting to slow down their Dobie’s eating with either a slow-feeder bowl or by putting an obstruction in their bowl like a large dog toy. The obstruction in the dog’s bowl will make it harder for them to eat quickly and require them to slowly work around the toy to consume their food. Make sure you only use a toy that’s safe and never simply a tennis ball (the skin can easily come off and get swallowed causing an obstruction).
2. Stomach Sensitivity
Unfortunately, Dobermans are also known for having certain sensitivities and even allergic reactions to certain foods. They just aren’t able to digest food quite as easily as some other dogs. After your dog eats, bacteria will break down the food. Foods that are difficult to process can cause excessive gas to build up.
What You Can Do
- Take a look into the foods known to cause flatulence (there’s a list of these foods later in this article) and look for dog food that contains as few of those ingredients as possible. Sometimes you simply won’t know what ingredient in a certain food is to blame, but switching foods may still resolve the issue.
- In my recommended food and treats for Dobermans page, I recommend a dog food that seems easily digested by Dobermans. Purina also makes a food called Pro Plan Focus—Sensitive Skin and Stomach (Amazon link) which many owners swear by for reducing gas.
3. Eating High-Protein Food
Dobermans are large muscular dogs and owners often feed them high-protein dog foods, and for good reason. They need extra protein to feed all that lean muscle. The downside to high-protein diets, especially those made from red meat, is that they contain a lot of sulfur. When your dog’s stomach bacteria breaks down this sulfur, it makes for especially bad-smelling gas (source).
What You Can Do
- A common range for protein in a Dobermans food is anywhere from 20% to 35%. You can try finding food with a lower amount of protein to see if it helps. Personally, I would start my dog at somewhere around 25% and adjust down from there depending on how the dog is handling it, if excess gas is still an issue.
4. Lack of Exercise
This wouldn’t be the sole cause of excessive gas in your Doberman, but it can certainly be a contributing factor. Dobermans are working dogs and they are a high-energy breed whose bodies are built, on a genetic level, for lots of activity. Regular exercise actually helps the body to digest food in a more regular and complete way.
What You Can Do
- If your Doberman isn’t getting the exercise they need (1 to 2 hours of exercise per day, depending on the individual dog), try to slowly increase this amount.
5. Lactose Intolerance
When your Doberman was a puppy, he or she used to get nutrient-rich milk from their mother which was broken down by the “lactase” that your dog’s body naturally produced. However, after weaning, a dog’s body adapts and starts producing less lactase. This means that instead of absorbing the sugars, it’s now moved through the intestines where it’s broken down by bacteria and the end result is significant gas production.
What You Can Do
- Check the label of your dog’s food and treats to see if they’re getting any dairy. Reducing or eliminating dairy in their diet may help reduce gas.
6. Illness or Disease
Excess gas can be due to a gastrointestinal disorder, parasites, infections, tumors, pancreatic disorders, illnesses, intestinal blockages, or other serious issues. All of these things warrant a visit to your veterinarian. Did your Doberman recently swallow something they shouldn’t have like a piece of a toy that they chewed apart or maybe an old sock that was left lying around?
If you suspect a serious illness, disease, or other disorder, then it’s time to see a veterinarian. This is especially true if it’s accompanied by any other symptoms.
What You Can Do
- If you suspect illness or disease may be the cause, bring your dog to a qualified veterinarian for an examination.
7. Low-Quality Food
Remember that Dobermans are known for their sensitive stomachs, and as such, they are probably a bit more reactive to low-quality foods as well. In general, if the food you’re feeding your Dobie has a lot of fermentable fiber in it, it will generally cause a lot of gas.
As a general rule, a good quality dog food will have animal protein as one of its main (top 5) ingredients. These are proteins such as animal meat (make sure it lists what the meat is, and doesn’t just say “meat meal”), fish, and eggs.
What You Can Do
- Look for new, high-quality food to transition your dog to. Find one without lots of fermentable fiber like oats, barley, beet pulp, legumes, fruits, plant gums, pectins, and psyllium.
- Find a food that advertises that it’s highly digestible. This means it should be more completely digested by your dog early on in the tract, meaning less gas.
- Consider switching to a high-quality human-grade fresh dog food delivery service such as the one recommended on my Doberman dog food page.
8. Spoiled Food
If there’s a chance that your Dobie’s food is old or spoiled, then that may be the cause of their flatulence. This is more common when feeding wet or “fresh” foods if you’ve let the food sit for too long. It can certainly happen with dry kibble although that tends to have a longer shelf life.
What You Can Do
- If you suspect your dog’s food is olf or spoiled and your dog is experiencing more gas than normal, it might just be best to toss out the remainder of the food and buy fresh (I know, dog food is expensive, but this could be the issue).
- Seal your dog food in an airtight container and store it in cool temperatures that are as stable as possible.
How Much Farting is Normal for a Doberman
Over the years of owning my Dobermans, I’ve noticed that when my dog is consistently farting even while laying down and not moving, and the dog seems “surprised” at their own fart (i.e. their nose quickly whips around to their rear end) then I know something is likely upsetting their stomach.
I’ve seen this behavior multiple times in and around vet visits for other issues and have quickly made this correlation. So this is the first sign I usually watch out for.
However, in general, Dobermans will release gas at various times throughout the day. It usually doesn’t come in long bursts and typically happens when they’re moving their body, such as just waking up from a nap and stretching.
After a short time with your Dobie, you should have a good understanding of what’s normal. If the gas issue has cropped up as a recent concern of yours, chances are it’s coming at unusual levels since it’s got your attention more than normal and might be a cause for concern.
You just need to look for anything unusual for your dog specifically. As an example, for the amount of time I’m home with my Dobie I know that if I notice any more than two or three farts throughout the day, and especially if they seem to “surprise” my dog or they occur when he’s lying down and not moving, then I tend to become concerned.
Foods and Ingredients that Cause Gas in Dobermans
If you want to reduce the gas your Doberman produces, you should be aware that the following foods (or ingredients in dog foods) are known to produce excess gas.
- Red meat
- Plant gums
- Beet Pulp
- Legumes (Peas)
- Spicy foods
- High-fiber foods
- High-fat foods
The first step will be to look for dog food that doesn’t include any of these ingredients. Many of these foods require additional bacteria to break it down, such as red meat (source). The additional bacteria causes the gas to build up in your dog resulting in more flatulence.
How to Reduce Gas
Assuming you’ve ruled out the most serious causes for gas buildup in your Dobie, there are some things you can do to try and help reduce the levels of gas buildup. Before attempting these, it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian.
1. Change Diet
First, you want to consider slowly and gradually changing your dog’s diet. Look for foods specifically designed to help with sensitive stomachs. You should also look for foods without the ingredients listed above. Make sure to give the new food time to take effect.
It’s important that you transition your dog very slowly to their new food. You should transition them by feeding progressively larger portions of their new food (and smaller portions of their old food) with each meal until they’re fully transitioned. Do this slowly over the course of at least a week. You should wait about two weeks after being fully transitioned to the new food to see if you can notice a difference.
2. Avoid Table Scraps
You should also avoid feeding your dog too many table scraps. This is important to keep in mind if you have small kids in the house that might be tossing food on the ground for your dog without you knowing it.
Sure, your dog probably loves getting a piece of steak off your plate every now and then, but you might be surprised how much table scraps can increase gas issues in Dobermans. Cut back on everything but the dog food to keep the diet simple.
If nothing else, it’ll at least make it easier to narrow down the issue and determine if the food you’re feeding your Dobie is the problem.
3. Eat Slower
If your dog is a fast eater, that can be causing the problem too, so you need to encourage your dog to eat more slowly. This is incredibly important for Dobermans specifically since besides contributing to gas buildup, eating fast can also increase your dog’s risk of developing bloat. This is a serious and deadly condition that disproportionately affects Dobermans.
According to the AKC, fast eaters have a five times higher risk of developing bloat as compared to slow eaters (source). There are food bowls specifically designed to force dogs to eat slowly. I like the stainless slow-feeder bowls with a raised center portion. It seems to slow down their eating enough without also being extremely frustrating to the dog. One example is this stainless slow-feed bowl on Amazon.
DIY Slow Feeders
- Feed from a cupcake tin. You can try feeding your dog from a cupcake tin as this has generally the same effect as a slow feeder bowl.
- Place a toy in your dog’s food bowl. I like to use a Chuck-It ball or Kong toy in the middle of the food bowl for this. Don’t use a tennis ball since the outside skin is easily peeled off and swallowed, potentially creating an obstruction. This becomes more likley when the ball is soaked in your dog’s favorite food!
You can also feed the dog away from any other pets in your home to avoid the idea of any competition around feeding time, as that can also cause your dog to speed up their eating.
4. Ensure Plenty of Exercise
You should also be sure to take your dog out for exercise. Dobermans need a lot of exercise to be happy and reduce anxiety levels, but it also improves digestion. The average Doberman needs 1 to 2 hours of exercise each day, although this can vary depending on the individual dog.
Taking your dog out for some physical activity throughout the day helps with digestion and ultimately can help to reduce gas buildup. Just make sure not to give your dog any strenuous exercise an hour before, and one to two hours after eating, or this could increase their risk for bloat, according to one study.
Some people choose to try gas-reduction medication, but it could be dangerous. Always talk to your vet before giving your dog any gas medicine. If they do give you the okay to proceed with using medication for this purpose, it’ll likely be only after ruling out the more serious causes of excess gas and will include a specific medication recommendation.
Introducing more probiotics (live micro-organisms that help with digestion) into your Dobie’s diet can drastically reduce the amount of gas they expel. You can introduce more Probiotics in a couple of different ways. For one, many owners simply like to introduce a little bit of plain yogurt into their dog’s meal (check the ingredients and make sure it’s safe). The problem with this is it contains dairy, which can at times make the gas worse.
Another popular way to handle this in a way that won’t introduce dairy into your dog’s diet is to use a probiotic supplement powder like FortiFlora. This seems to be the most popular probiotic used by Doberman owners. It can improve digestion, increase the amount of good bacteria in your dog’s intestines, and reduce gas. I’ve used this off and on with my Dobermans over the years and it seems to have the added benefit of increasing their appetite (or maybe it just makes their food taste better—I’m not sure). But it certainly always reduced their gas.
While not all dogs are lactose intolerant, many are. The ones that aren’t can usually only handle a very small amount of lactose. As a puppy, your Doberman has no problem digesting his mother’s milk, but as your pup grew up, he likely began producing much less lactase.
Lactase is what’s needed to digest the sugars in dairy products and if your dog doesn’t have enough of this, then it can cause the sugars to make it further through the digestive tract without being broken down and can lead to more gas, upset stomach, and other issues.
So it’s a good idea to understand how much lactose is in various dairy products. Below is a table of some of the most popular dairy products and how much lactose they contain.
|Product||Lactose (per Cup)|
|Milk (Whole)||12 – 13 Grams|
|Milk (Skim)||12 – 13 Grams|
|Sour Cream||6 Grams|
|Cottage Cheese||6 Grams|
|American Cheese||6 Grams|
|Cream Cheese||3.6 Grams|
|Cheddar Cheese||3 Grams|
A raw diet won’t cause additional gas buildup in a Doberman unless certain ingredients are used such as raw meat, dairy, fruit, and oats.
Like any other diet, it’s not the form the food comes in, but the ingredients that are used. While a raw diet may be beneficial for your Dobie if properly formulated, an all-meat diet isn’t nutritionally balanced. Large quantities of red meat will actually contribute to gas buildup in your dog as well. So if you’re feeding a raw diet, focus on the ingredients you’re choosing.
If you want more information about Dobermans eating raw meat, see my article Should You Be Feeding Your Doberman Raw Meat here.
“When a dog eats a diet consisting of a large amount of meat or meat that is not very digestible, bacteria within the large intestine break it down, releasing gasses that truly reek.”Jennifer Coates, DVM, PET MD
Gas and Bloat: When to be Concerned
Dobermans have a bad relationship with gas buildup, especially in their stomach. They are a deep-chested breed and unfortunately are at a heightened risk of developing a condition called Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV or “Bloat”). It’s also often called Stomach Torsion or Stomach Twist in the Doberman world.
This occurs when gas builds up in their stomach and it can even cause their stomach to twist on itself and cut off circulation. Bloat will kill 30% of dogs who are affected. This is a scary condition that can kill a Doberman in just a few hours.
Common Symptoms of Bloat
- Enlarged abdomen.
- Rapid, shallow breathing.
- Pale nose, mouth, and gums.
- Non-productive Vomiting.
- Pacing and general anxiousness.
Notice that additional flatulence isn’t one of the common signs of bloat but in general, if you see anything unusual with your Doberman, especially when it has to do with any type of gas buildup, it’s very important to see a veterinarian.
For me personally, when I’m deciding if I should be concerned due to gas buildup in my dog, I look for any associated symptoms. If I see more than one symptom or things seem to be getting worse, then I’m much more likely to make the decision to take my Doberman to the vet.
What should my Doberman’s stool look like?
It’s not pleasant to look at your dog’s waste up close, but it can provide some clues into the problem. The stool should be hard and not runny or loose. It should also be brown or dark brown in color. If you notice odd colors or textures, it might be a sign that something more serious is happening and it could be a good time to see a veterinarian.
If your Doberman is producing stool that appears much darker in color than normal, or even black in color, then it could be a sign that there is blood in their stool. This can be a serious warning sign as well which warrants an immediate call to your vet.
Other Gassy Dog Breeds
Dobermans are generally gassy dogs, but they aren’t alone. There are many other breeds out there that are also known for their flatulence. Here are some of the other gassier dog breeds:
- Yorkshire Terriers
- Pit Bulls
- Golden Retrievers
- English Bulldogs
Dobermans are a gassier dog breed naturally, but remember to look for the signs I mentioned here that might indicate a bigger problem. Such as a surprised reaction from your Dobie when they release gas, or constant gas when they’re not moving. Any sign of pain or discomfort should also be concerning.
When in doubt, simply make a phone call to your veterinarian and run the issue past them to see if it’s worth a trip in. Luckily though, Dobermans are just naturally gassy and it’s fairly normal for them to fart quite often. Lucky you.