What Can I Give My Boxer For Gas?

Many owners are under the impression that Boxers are an inherently “gassy” breed.

Scroll through the social media feeds of Boxer dog groups and you’ll find constant references to dogs with “farts that can clear a room”.

This is not normal.

Nor should it be ignored.

Fixing Boxer dog gas is not about giving your dog anything extra, either.

The solution is much simpler than that.

If your pup has foul-smelling gas, it’s time to look at what — and how much — you’re feeding him.

What Causes Flatulence In Boxers?

A little gas from time to time can happen.

But your dog’s gas should not be excessive or smell horribly bad.

This kind of gas is more than unpleasant for the rest of the family.

It’s an indication your Boxer is experiencing digestive upset.

Gas is produced when undigested matter, typically carbohydrate, reaches the large intestine and is fermented by the microbes that live there.

A certain amount of this is normal, but if this is happening to a large degree .. it means you’re making some mistakes in the way you’re feeding your dog.

Persistent, putrid-smelling gas in Boxers is most often caused by:

  • poor quality food
  • overfeeding
  • fat overconsumption
  • digestive conflict
  • malabsorption

The average Boxer is unfortunately subjected to many of these.

Poor Quality Food

Are you feeding kibble?

If so, the number one culprit for your dog’s gas is staring you in the face.

Kibble is junk food for dogs.

Selecting a “quality” brand just means you’re paying more for that junk.

High-end brands might avoid some of the scrappy ingredients but kibble is kibble.

It is, by definition, highly processed and full of all kinds of things that have no place in a dog’s body.

See also: What Every Boxer Owner Should Know About Kibble

Don’t fall for the sales tactics of dog food manufacturers.

Their profits depend upon convincing you it’s healthier to feed cooked, preserved, shelf-stable pellets instead of a fresh, natural canine diet — the diet dogs evolved eating and have thrived on for a million years.

Humans are consistently told to eat more fresh, whole food if they want to be healthy.

Yet we somehow are roped into believing our dogs will suffer no consequences if they eat only artificial food day in, day out.

Overfeeding

If you’re already providing a biologically-appropriate diet based on raw meaty bones, but your Boxer is still getting gas… consider how much food you are feeding.

Three to five per cent of your pup’s ideal body weight is a good rule of thumb when calculating how much raw food to give a Boxer.

But remember this is only a starting point.

Every dog is different. You will need to experiment to find exactly what amount works best for your dog’s body.

If your raw-fed Boxer has bad gas, decrease the amount you’re feeding.

Keep reducing until you find the sweet spot for your dog ..where he has no gas after meals.

Often less is more.

Increase the meal size, and you’ll find the gas returns.

How much food your dog’s body requires may well go up or down over time, too.

Never feed according to a formula, to the detriment of your dog.

As a dog’s gut health improves, digestion becomes more efficient and many owners find less food is required.

Be observant, and make adjustments according to the feedback your dog’s body is giving you.

Other symptoms of overfeeding include:

  • undigested, or recognizable, food in the poop
  • extreme lethargy after meals
  • begging (counterintuitive, but true)
  • distended abdomen after eating
  • restlessness, panting or discomfort after meals

A “meat coma” is alright, as long as your dog is enjoying it.

Your dog will rightly want to rest as his body attends to the energy-intensive task of digestion.

This is a particularly good idea for Boxers as it helps lower the risk of deadly bloat or gastric torsion.

But if your pup seems dramatically depleted or in any way “off”, try feeding less in order to reduce the digestive burden.

If you’ve reduced the meals to less than two per cent of ideal body weight and don’t want to go any further, try splitting the food into several smaller meals.

You don’t want your dog to be constantly eating throughout the day.

Dogs are feasters not grazing animals.

But even serving two smaller meals a couple of hours apart (at the same end of the day) can help make digestion more manageable.

In fact, giving two smaller meals is a good idea for most Boxers.

Again, it’s because of the bloat risk in deep-chested breeds.

Giving only one large meal per day is thought to increase the likelihood of this emergency, which is fatal without immediate veterinary intervention.

See also: How To Prevent Bloat In Boxers

Fat Overconsumption

So you’re feeding a fresh, raw diet and you’ve already significantly cut the size of the meals.. but your Boxer still has terrible gas?

The next thing to do as you troubleshoot the problem is to look at how much fat you are feeding.

Signs of fat overconsumption include:

  • scooting
  • licking
  • paw gnawing
  • itchiness

Do you remove the skin and all visible fat from your Boxer’s raw meats?

Start now.

The products of human agriculture are deliberately fattened for slaughter. Chooks. Cattle. You name it.

This makes them a lot fatter than the lean, game meats that dogs evolved eating.

By trimming fat you return the fat content of factory-farmed meats to a more natural level, one that more closely resembles the muscle:fat:bone ratio of a wild animal.

A rabbit, say. Or a deer.

Are you feeding a commercial raw grind or pre-prepared meat patties?

These products are the kibble of the raw feeding world.

They will, without exception, be high in fat.

It is not profitable for manufacturers to remove the fat and so they mince it all in.

And then they engage in deceptive labelling practices to conceal it.

Convinced your dog’s food is superb quality and has an appropriate amount of fat?

Check the carton.

Is the fat content expressed in calories?

No.

It’s expressed as fat percentage by weight.

This is no accident.

Dog food companies know that fat weighs less than muscle.

So, if you express the fat content as a percentage of total weight, it will give you a smaller number than if you express the fat content as a proportion of the total calories… which is what actually matters to the body.

Don’t take this article’s word for it.

Do the calculations for yourself.

Convert the fat content of your dog’s food from fat by weight to fat by calorie and you will see the true fat content.

Suddenly you find, for instance, that a pre-made raw dog food sold as 14% fat… becomes 62% fat.

Respected integrative veterinarian Dr Karen Becker defines food with more than 31 per cent of calories from fat as high fat.

So that seemingly low fat food is actually off the charts high in fat.

For a dog food to be genuinely low fat, Dr Becker says it needs to derive less than 17 per cent of its calories from fat.

17 to 23 per cent calories from fat is moderately fatty.

So, if you’re feeding a pre-made raw dog food… it’s time to stop outsourcing your dog’s diet.

That is the only way you will be able to ensure he is not getting too much fat.

Only owners care enough to remove it.

Preparing your dog’s food at home is not complicated or time consuming.

All you need is a butcher or supermarket.

Here’s a good starter guide for raw feeding a Boxer.

Why Is High Fat Food A Problem For Boxers?

The sheer fact that it represents a huge departure from a natural canine diet ought to be a red flag.

But, if you want to understand exactly why high fat diets are detrimental to dogs, let’s break it down.

Hard To Digest

Even if your dog receives the right amount of fat, it’s worth remembering that fat is the hardest macronutrient to digest.

It takes more work than digesting protein, which is tougher to digest than carbohydrate.

Simple sugars require the least digestive work of all.

In the right proportions, the work of digesting fat is worth it.

Fat is an important component of the diet.

But when your dog consumes too much fat, it’s extra work for no gain — only pain.

Overburden Of Waste

First of all, fat in excess of the body’s requirements creates an overburden of waste.

This waste must be metabolized, filtered out and excreted.

All of which overtaxes your dog’s body.

Day after day this takes a toll, sapping your dog’s vitality.

Toxins

Another problem with eating too much fat is that animals store toxins in adipose (fatty) tissue.

So, the more fat your dog eats, the more toxins he will be consuming.

Which toxins?

All those chemicals the livestock were treated with or exposed to.

From cattle drenches and worming chemicals to antibiotics and vaccines.

Then there are the herbicides and pesticides used on the paddocks where the cattle and sheep graze.

The older the animal, the more toxins will have been accumulated in their tissues.

So, lamb might have fewer toxins than beef.

This logic doesn’t always hold.

Chooks live only a few short months but are notoriously pumped full of antibiotics, and vaccinated multiple times.

Sourcing organic meats goes some way towards avoiding chemicals in your dog’s food.

Wild game represent ideal dog food, in theory.

But what if these animals are ranging across, and grazing on, chemically-treated farmlands?

Trimming fat is a good insurance policy.

Digestive Conflict

The different macronutrient groups require different digestive enzymes to break them down, so that they can be absorbed as nutrition.

Amylase digests carbohydrate. Protease digests protein. Lipase digests fat.

Each of those digestive enzymes requires a slightly different pH in order to work.

So the theory goes, when you feed plant (carbohydrate) and meat (protein and fat) together, neither is digested as well as when fed alone.

Digestion is thought to become inefficient and incomplete.

Plants and meat also digest at different rates.

Plants (especially fruit) are in and out of the stomach rapidly, whereas the protein and fat in meat makes for a much more labor-intensive process.

These ideas are the basis of “food combining”, which is one aspect of the movement known as Natural Hygiene.

Natural Hygiene is a form of alternative medicine that dates to the 1830s and emphasizes diet and other lifestyle measures as the key to disease prevention.

The same principles apply to canine digestive health, and align with what happens in nature.

Observations of wolves reveal that they never consume meat and plant material in the same sitting.

As “facultative” carnivores they gorge on fresh meats as their first preference.

However, when prey is scarce they will sustain themselves on fruit like berries.

Fruit and meat, though, are never consumed simultaneously.

This is one mistake made by so-called “BARF-model” raw feeders who mix fruit and other plant matter in with their dog’s meat meals.

Recipes that combine a multitude of ingredients are a human invention.

Dogs?

They eat “mono” meals, one type of food at a time.

You could say they are naturally eating within the limits of their digestive enzymes.

When we force them to do otherwise, digestive havoc results.

Aka smelly farts.

Malabsorption

When dogs first switch from kibble to raw, owners sometimes encounter digestive upset including diarrhea.

There’s a tendency to mistakenly interpret this as a sign that “a raw diet isn’t right for every dog”.

That’s like saying eating healthy isn’t for every human.

When you change the diet, there is a period of adjustment.

A temporary uptick in flatulence can be part of that.

If your dog is experiencing gas while transitioning to a raw diet, give it time.

Quite often dogs have a level of digestive dysfunction as a result of previous misfeeding.

They may have gut damage from the use of chemical wormers and flea and tick treatments, vaccines and drugs.

Usually it’s a cocktail of all of the above.

Medication such as antibiotics disturb the gut biome, destroying a delicate balance that can be difficult to restore.

Other commonly prescribed drugs like prednisone do a real number on the gut.

All of these insults can lead to your dog being “malabsorbed”.

Malabsorption is when the gastrointestinal tract is unable to properly digest food and absorb nutrients.

You may feed more and more without your dog being able to gain weight.

This too can heal.

How long it takes depends on how old the dog is and how long he was previously misfeed and to what degree he was dosed with drugs and other chemicals.

These toxins don’t exit the system overnight and the damage they do to the body doesn’t magically disappear.

This is a long haul.

How To Stop Bad Gas In Boxers

To get rid of gas in your Boxer:

  • feed a fresh, raw meaty bone-based diet
  • reduce your dog’s portion size
  • remove the skin and trim all visible fat
  • feed meat and plant matter separately

Other measures that are enormously helpful in healing gut problems include:

  • fasting
  • fruit-only days

See also: Why Your Boxer Should Eat Bananas

How Not To Fix Farting In Boxer Dogs

While bad gas shouldn’t be overlooked, it’s not a reason to run your dog to the vet for a battery of tests.

You don’t need a referral to a specialist.

Common but misguided responses to gas in Boxers include:

  • switching brands of kibble
  • probiotics and “gut health” supplements
  • “medicinal” foods like bone broth, kefir, kimchi, yoghurt
  • allergy testing
  • elimination diets

Switching Brands Of Kibble

Changing brands of kibble might seem to fix the problem… for a while.

What’s happening is that the particular errors of one kibble have been temporarily relieved by a new food that doesn’t make those exact mistakes… but invariably has different problems of its own.

Inevitably owners see the new kibble “work” for a month or two… but the gas and other symptoms ultimately return.

Then, they’re on the hunt for yet another brand… and so the merry-go-round continues.

The sooner you get kibble in the rear-vision mirror, the better off your Boxer will be.

Try raw feeding and see the results for yourself.

Probiotics And Supplements

Probiotics and other supplements billed as supporting gut health are not necessary.

Nor are “healing” foods.

At worst, they can create other issues. At best, they amount to tinkering at the edges of the problem.

The body will repair and right itself without this meddling.

The only supplements that has a place in all this are digestive enzymes.

Digestive Enzymes can be useful during a transition to raw, to give your dog’s pancreas a chance to recalibrate.

Even then they should only be used briefly, for a week or two.

Any longer and you risk dependence.

What you want is for the body to make its own enzymes, not come to rely on synthetic ones.

Allergy Tests And Elimination Diets

Allergy testing and elimination diets are another rabbit hole many owners go down in their quest to solve their Boxers’ digestive issues.

They send away tufts of their dog’s hair or samples of saliva for analysis …and get back long lists of “allergens” their dogs are supposedly “allergic” to.

Or they fork out thousands of dollars for scans and tests, ferry their Boxer from one internal medicine specialist to another, only to be slapped with diagnoses of “Boxer colitis” or irritable bowel disease.

They are told Boxers have “sensitive stomachs”.

They’re instructed to keep their dogs on strict diets of hydrolyzed protein or so-called “prescription” dog food …which is, of course, kibble.

They end up with cabinets overflowing with anti-histamines, antibiotics such as Metronidazole (Flagyl), steroids like prednisone or the immunosuppressant Apoquel.

The calendar fills up with vet appointments for “preventive” Cytopoint shots from here to eternity.

All of this intervention misses the point.

Worse, it sets in train a cascade of serious side effects that culminate in a world of pain down the track.

On the other hand, owners who correct the simple dietary mistakes that are undermining their dog’s health have a different trajectory.

They go on to see their Boxers happily eat chicken and all manner of other foods they were previously misdiagnosed as “allergic” to.

So, before you pop pills or reach for the seemingly quick fix, try going back to basics.

Conclusion: Do Boxers Fart More Than Other Dogs?

Bad gas is not a Boxer dog’s lot in life.

It is a reflection of shortcomings in his diet, or broader care.

It’s fair to say Boxers are “sensitive” …in the sense that they will suffer the consequences if you don’t feed them properly.

But a healthy, naturally fed Boxer should be no gassier than any other breed.

A farting Boxer is either:

  • being fed kibble
  • being fed raw food in the wrong way, or
  • recovering from gut damage inflicted by veterinary drugs and the like.

The good news is all this is within your power to fix, if you’re willing to optimize the diet, and eliminate other toxic inputs.

By doing so you’ll not only resolve the flatulence, but lay the foundations for a healthier life for your pup.

What To Read Next

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