Definition of Gas
Most people are familiar with the condition called “gas.” The medical term for this condition, flatulence, is defined as the excessive formation of gas in the stomach or intestinal tract. Gas is a normal component of digestive contents and is mostly composed of oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide, all of which are odorless. The main cause of flatulence in dogs is aerophagia, which is the gulping of air when swallowing. Gas also can develop from the interaction of certain food products and from bacterial fermentation. When excess gas develops, it eventually has to be released through one end of the gastrointestinal tract or the other. The clinical signs of gas depend upon which end of the dog the gas is released from. Gas can exit through the esophagus by “burping,” or through the anus by “farting.” It typically takes between 15 and 35 minutes for gas to move from the stomach through the small and large intestines and out through the anus. The rumbling sound that happens when gas moves through the intestinal tract is called borborygmus.