Can dogs burp?

April 13, 2012

Dogs have a lot of comic acts. Our canine friends can be such a clown. Dogs can stand on their hind legs and dance. A dog can cock its head and look appealingly at the master as if imploring for a treat. A dog humping the leg of a lady guest would certainly be embarrassing. Dogs drool and have the tendency to let out obnoxious gasses from their rear ends. In spite of these not so appealing habits, we love our dogs anyway. So can a dog burp? Certainly! Some breeds would even burp the loudest. You would think the dog have been to a bar and have downed a pitcher or two of beer or has consumed several bottles of soda.

Expelling gas is a process common not only to humans but to dogs as well. The gas is expelled either through the mouth or through the anus. When excessive air is not burped it would exit through the rear end as flatus. Fart which is “politely” termed as saluting the queen oftentimes have an abhorrent odor because of the presence of hydrogen sulphide. Eructation, burping or belching is the action of releasing gas through the mouth. Burping can be voluntary or involuntary. The act necessitates the coordination of the larynx, the esophagus and the diaphragm to release air from the stomach. People would usually burp after a meal because of swallowed air. Although this habit can be annoying, others would say that the action is an appreciation for a well prepared meal.

Swallowed air inflates and distends the stomach causing discomfort. Humans burp 6 to 20 times a day to expel gas from the abdomen. Why do dogs burp? Dogs are not so different from humans. Dogs burp for the same reasons that humans do. Excessive air is accumulated in the stomach when the dog eats and drinks too fast. Dogs are voracious eaters. In the wild, a dog would need to eat fast. Dining leisurely is not possible as the dog would need to compete not only with other animals but also with other dogs in the pack. Present day dogs no longer need to fight for their food. Food is regularly provided by the dog owner. However, man’s best friend would still eat fast as gulping food is an ingrained habit. The same thing is true with drinking. Dogs lap water rapidly and in doing so swallow air as well.

Diet has something to do with the buildup of air in the stomach. Hard to digest carbohydrates, food high in protein and raw vegetables takes longer to be processed and stays longer than normal in the stomach. The acid build up causes a chemical reaction that creates hydrogen sulfide. The dog would feel bloated and would burp to expel the air.

Burping should not be considered a medical concern. Similar to humans, it is perfectly normal for dogs to burp and to expel the air from the stomach. However, a dog that is excessively burping or one that is continuously trying to burp but unable to do so should be a cause for concern. The dog would need to have immediate veterinary attention especially if the pet has a history of bloat. Other health concerns are also possible. The dog may also be reacting to a new diet.

Burping is a normal behavior of dogs. Owners of burping dogs have nothing to worry about although if they are rather annoyed by the behavior, there are ways to make the dog burp less. Instead of one big meal a day, why not give the dog three small meals. The dog will be prevented from wolfing down the food. The same goes true with water. It would also be a good idea to train the dog to eat slowly too.

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