My Greyhound has Bad Gas: how-to survival guide

If you are reading this, you likely have been shocked by awful gas from your sweet, little greyhound!

Flatulence in greyhounds derives from hydrogen sulfide, which can develop in his digestive tract.  The most common causes of this overabundance of gas are intestinal parasites, bacteria flowing into his gut from bad teeth, and inefficiency of his digestive system.

This article is different than any other you will read about your greyhound’s gas woes, because my goal is to teach you how to have a better life with your greyhound. This means solving problems, instead of settling for just masking symptoms….and make no mistake, gas is a symptom

88% of greyhound owners report having been “gassed” by their pets.  On the good side, 2 out of 3 of these owners said that it’s only a “sometimes” thing.  29% claimed that their greyhounds are – how do I put this delicately? –  frequent flyers? …but about half that amount said that their dogs never have this problem (full survey is over at the Greytalk forum, linked below this article). 

You’re not a veterinarian; but your veterinarian can do more for your greyhound, if you give him clearer, more concise information. If you present the beast to your vet and say “He has gas. What should I do?” Many vets will say, “Change his food,” because, generally speaking, that is the most common cause of gas in dogs. 

From there, you’re likely to find things go from bad to worse, because changing foods is a splendid way to give a greyhound moonshot-level gas.  Then, the vet will tell you to stop swapping foods so much, and give the dog a chance to adjust.  In the meantime, the true cause goes untreated; leaving your best buddy miserable, and paint peeling from your walls (or so it seems).  Not only is gas painful; it could be the result of something that will impact his overall health and, ultimately, shorten his life. 

Your vet’s diagnosis is, to some extent, a reflection of the information that is given to him.  A vet who has a lot of experience with greyhounds knows to check his teeth first, and screen for worms.  In fact, it was my first greyhound’s vet who taught me so much of the valuable information in this article.  

What follows are many causes of gas in greyhounds, starting with the two biggies; which you must rule out right away, as they can cause a multitude of health problems.

Prefer watching to reading? Scroll to the bottom of this page for my companion video to this article!

The Two Most Common Causes of Gas in Greyhounds

Although your greyhound’s food may irritate his digestive tract, a better question is why his digestive tract is so sensitive in the first place.  For greyhounds, the answer is often teeth and/or worms. A more easily-digestible food will help, but the teeth and worms must be dealt with immediately. 

Greyhounds with Bad Teeth

It is said that greyhounds often have bad teeth because their diet at the track is soft, and doesn’t involve enough chewing to clean their teeth.  I think this is an over-simplification.  Greyhounds, in general, are poor drinkers.  Could the lack of rinsing contribute to the build-up of bacteria in their mouth?  

Regardless of how that bacteria builds up, it creates problems.  It finds its way into your greyhound’s gut, and contributes to the gas.  

If your greyhound is gaseous on a regular basis, bad teeth could be the culprit.  

Greyhounds are used to having their teeth looked at, so don’t be afraid to have a look in his mouth.  Get a flashlight, and be sure to pull his lip back  – Those teeth go pretty far back!

Don’t worry that you are not a doggie dentist!  If your dog has nasty breath and his teeth look messy, it’s time to get proactive about cleaning up his mouth.  

See below for more on doggie dental hygiene.

Greyhound Gas Can be a Symptom of Worms

Intestinal parasites are a common culprit of greyhound gas.  Often, these worms are microscopic.  Greyhounds can get them as puppies, from their mothers.  They can also get them from eating something off the ground, as worms can live in the ground for 30 years.  

If your greyhound’s gas shows up suddenly (and with avengence) every few weeks, worms could be the cause.  What happens is the worms feed off the blood of your dog’s intestines.  They lay eggs, and die.  The waste from the worms causes a perfect storm of gas inside of your dog.  

Your vet will assess a stool sample from your dog.  Analyzing the sample will not only determine whether your pet has worms, but will also reveal what kind.  Some medications target specific worms.  Your greyhound will be prescribed one of these dewormers, and possibly an antibioic to reduce any infection.  Administer all of the medication exactly as directed, and do not hesitate to call the vet’s office if you are at all unsure of the plan.  

With luck, you will get rid of the worms on the first try, but don’t be discouraged if the worms return.  

Greyhounds Get Gas from Eating What They Shouldn’t

The Great Outdoors: your greyhound’s salad bar

Whether it’s “checking his pee-mail” a little too closely, or eating free samples from the ground, greyhounds love to explore by tasting.

Watch out, because they love to fake you out!  You know – he’ll pretend he’s sniffing, or shoves his head into the roadside brush while he tinkles, and suddenly that long tongue zaps out and sneaks a surreptitious lick. 

They like to taste where another dog has recently tinkled. They munch on grass, especially if it’s the fresh, new grass of Springtime, or if they aren’t feeling well. Grossest of all, they love to eat poop.  If it’s from another species, all the better; kind of like people who enjoy exotic wild game. 

All of these may cause gastric upset, which leads to the dreaded gas. 

Greyhounds Graze Indoors, too

One tricky thing about greyhounds is that one minute they’re snug in their beds; and the next, there’s a stick of butter missing from the counter.  Your tall dog may be a “counter surfer,”  which is yet another way he can end up eating something that will give him gas.

Greyhounds have great curiousity, and they love to eat, in addition to the love for exploring I mentioned in the previous section.  They are also strong and clever; yet they are not wise, so you want to devise ways to keep them out of your trash.  This includes wastebaskets and even Kitty’s litterbox.  

Greyhounds Get Gas from their Food

Sometimes, the gas is caused by what we are feeding our greyhounds.  

A Word About Food Allergies

Food allergies/intolerances are the “flavor of the month” for the pet food industry.  Food allergies are a long topic, which I will save for another article.  Let me reassure you, though, that true allergies are NOT subtle, and are also not very common.  There are, however, certain foods and ingredients that often do not agree with greyhounds, which I go into at length, in my article, “What Foods are Bad for my Greyhound?”  .  Read through that article, and consult the label of your dog’s food.

Swtiching Food Can Cause Gas

Since switching your dog’s kibble can, itself, cause gas, you don’t want to do this, unless he is constantly gassy, and you have eliminated the other possibilities mentioned in this article.  

If you think the kibble is the culprit, use “What Foods are Bad for my Greyhound?” to help you assess which ingredient may be the problem.  Get a small bag of kibble that does not contain the ingredient, and phase it into your dog’s food gradually.   On the first day, replace 1/4c. of his usual kibble with the new stuff.  The second day, replace 1/2c., instead.  Increase every day in 1/4c. increments, and see how he does.

Add-ins Can Help or Hurt

A good rule of thumb with greyhounds is bland and steady is better.  Mixing boiled rice and a bit of boiled meat in with the kibble can make it more digestible/less gassy.  Greyhounds love vegetables, but avoid cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage). 

Treats Can be Nasty

Just like with people treats, there is a stunning range of dog treats on the market; from junky and nasty, to wholesome.  Often, poor ingredients are pulled together with overly-processed starches, and masked with chemical dyes and flavorings.  Doesn’t sound very digestible, does it?  Luckily, there are great options, if you take the time to read the labels.  One more thing you want to look for on that label – Try to get treats that are manufactured in your own country; especially avoiding those from China.  

The Hidden Gas-Producers in People-Food

Alliums (onions, garlic, etc.) are toxic to greyhounds, and the food we eat is full of them.  Restaurant foods and processed foods, in particular, use these ingredients in practically everything, because they taste good.  

Any kind of pepper is another ingredient that often does not sit well with greyhounds.  

It’s funny – Some greyhounds eat all kinds of things, and never have a problem; and others are just more sensitive.

Other Problems Which Cause Greyhound Gas

There is a handful of other things worth mentioning, which can cause greyhound gas.

Like with some people, if your greyhound suffers an emotional upset, he may have a bout of gas.  This can mean anything from a sudden, loud noise to thunder, to some conflict in your home.  

Believe it or not, some greyhounds get carsick!  If your dog seems to be acting as a car air anti-freshener, this may be something worth exploring and curing.  My Lily is the first greyhound I’ve had that gets carsick.  She just can’t get it through her head that doing the traditional 3 spins before she lays down is a bad idea in a moving vehicle.

Finally, eating too fast is often a cause of gas, since they swallow so much air when they do so.  I have a great article full of stategies for dealing with this particular behavior:

What About “Syndromes?”

“Syndrome” just means a set of symptoms that occur together, but the doctors can’t seem to pin them down to a known disease or cause.  I mention this, because syndromes are another label that people love to throw around, in a way can seem very narrow and hopeless and final.  

If you are told that your greyhound has IBS or another digestive syndrome, that is not the end of your journey; it is the beginning.  Keep exploring, until you find the cause or trigger of your greyhound’s symptoms.  Greyhounds, somehow, understand when you have helped them, and made a change in their health, and the resulting gratitude is unmistakeable…and adorable.

With that goal in mind, let’s explore ways in which you can be proactive about your greyhound’s gas.

Help Your Greyhound’s Gas, Starting Today

Start by Keeping a Journal

If you aren’t sure what is causing your greyhound’s gas, keep a journal for a while, from 1 – 6 weeks.  Basically, it should contain daily entries in which you note what he ate and what his behaviors and activities were that day….and, of course, any bouts of gas.

Supervision Can Save You a Lot on Vet Bills!

Remember, greyhounds can be very sneaky, and they develop an absolute clairvoyance about when you might not approve of a certain behavior.  Of course, you want to teach him that it’s bad manners to snitch your food or eat nasty stuff; but it’s also important to help him succeed, by removing temptations.  

  • Keep an eye on any exposed food, and teach family and guests the same.  If you need to walk away, push the food back further on the counter, or put it up higher.
  • Know where your greyhound is at all times.  Keep tabs on him.
  • Crate him, if you think he might misbehave.
  • Leave him content.  Playing a radio, making sure the room temperature is comfy, giving him a treat ball to roll around if he’s restless are all good ways to keep your greyhound out of mischief, so he’s not nibbling on things.
  • Whenever he does a #2, pick up after him right away, and keep an eye out for other animal poops in your yard (cat, raccoon, etc.)

Brush His Teeth

You can start brushing his teeth right away.  I find those long dog toothbrushes rather awkward to handle, and prefer working with a small children’s toothbrush.  Even a cheap one from the dollar store works fine, as long as it has soft bristles.  Any toothpaste is fine.  The important thing is to use only a small amount, the size of a pea or even less.

You can get him used to it gradually, if you prefer, by just brushing a few front teeth the first time, and brushing a few more teeth every day.

Feed Less, but More Often

Spreading out your greyhound’s meal into 2 or 3 smaller meals helps in two ways.  First, it keeps him from eating too much at once, and getting too much food and air in his stomach.  Second, it gives his digestive system a chance to work more efficiently.  One small meal helps to push forward the previous one, so his food is distributed throughout his system, instead of all in one place.

Get Him Moving

Many greyhounds do absolutely nothing between walks and meals, just lolling around in the same spot for hour after hour.  A lot of gas can build up when they do this; so find excuses to get your greyhound up more often.  This usually involves food, so be sure to keep these treats small.  Call him over and give him a little taste when you’re cooking.  Take a minute or two to work on a trick.  This is another time when the treat ball comes in handy!

Dietary Changes and Add-in’s to Ease Greyhound Gas

Temporary Fixes

If your dog is having an acute bout of gas (say, where he has eaten something that doesn’t agree, or is going through a bout of worms), a dose of simethicone (gas drops) or Beeno can get him past it.

Gas-Stopping Supplements and Treats

One name I see over and over is Olewo Carrots.  Owners rave about this dried-carrot treat.  Apparently, it works and the dogs love them (they’re on Amazon – I just checked!).  There are also probiotic supplements, which can help.

When Peaches was going through a lot of digestive problems because of her bad teeth, the vet told me to get her an acid reducer.  This worked very well – Less acid, less inflammation; less inflammation, less gas.

Susan Paretts (AKC) says that “dog foods and treats that contain ingredients like Yucca schidigera and zinc acetate may help reduce the odor.”  This may be a good idea, if the cause of your dog’s gas is something that is going to take a while to resolve.

Dietary Changes to Cut Down on Gas

Many owners, myself included, swear by adding some yogurt to the dog’s food.  I give about a Tablespoon a day.

Another thing I feed daily is rice.  This started with my first greyhound, and I have continued it ever since.  It makes the food more digestible, and it cuts down the expense of feeding a large dog on premium dog food.  It’s important to note, though, when you add rice, you lower the protein content of your dog’s meal.  My previous dogs’ meals consisted of 1/3 – 1/2 rice.  My current greyhound, Lily, gained too much weight on that amount of rice, so I cut it back to 1/4 of her food, or even less.

In case you’re wondering what I feed my greyhound, it’s Biljac Adult Select.  They have several formulas, but I stick with this one.  I tried the Senior Formula on Shannon, when he got to be an elderly gentleman of a greyhound, but, well, it gave him gas!  This is the food that was recommended to me by the vet for its digestibility, and it worked great on Peaches.  I’ve seen several brands recommended by other owners; but for each one who likes it, there always seems to be someone else who responds that it didn’t work out for his dog.

When to Call the Vet

  • If you have been keeping track of his habits for a month, and you still can’t figure out what’s causing your greyhound’s gas.
  • If his bouts of gas occur every few weeks, he may have parasites.  Gastric upset often coincides with the life-cycle of the parasites.
  • If you have been brushing his teeth, and his breath is still bad, or his teeth or gums still look messy.
  • If your dog is having chronic diarrhea along with the gas
  • If he is not eating as usual.

Sources for Further Information

Enjoy my companion video to this article, right here:

1.  More tips from Susan Paretts:

2. In case you want to celebrate the official dog gas awareness day, here’s the rest of Julie Hecht’s piece in Scientific American:

3. Help from fellow greyhound owners:

Categorized as Health

By Gail McGaffigan

The owner of the Greyhound Homecare website and YouTube channel, Gail has had retired racing greyhounds as pets since 1997. Please visit our channel, too!