by Sam Mazzotta
DEAR PAW’S CORNER: My dog “Scraps,” an 8-year-old Lab-collie mix, has a rather embarrassing problem. He has a lot of smelly gas, and when he eliminates, well — his poo smells. Like, to the point that I have to look away when I pick it up because my eyes water. Is this normal? Is there a way to stop this? — Melanie T., via e-mail
DEAR MELANIE: You should take Scraps to the veterinarian for a complete checkup, and be sure to mention every delicate detail of his poop and his gassiness. Bring notes to help you remember, in particular: Does the smell have a particular odor? How often is Scraps gassy? Have you noticed a pattern between, for example, when he eats and when he gets gassy? Does his poop always smell? What color is it? Is it firm or runny? (Bring a small sample with you, in a plastic bag or specimen cup.)
The reason I want you to consult the vet first is that smelly elimination is often the first indicator of an illness. The illness may be minor and easy to treat or recover from, but it also may be more serious and need immediate medical attention. Only your vet can say for sure.
If Scraps’ problem is not major, then the vet may recommend some changes in his diet. If he eats table scraps or gets into the garbage often, stop both of those behaviors. (Table scraps are often higher in fat than is recommended for pets, and garbage — well, you may have no idea what he’s ingesting.) A supplement or medication also might be recommended, and if Scraps has a weight problem, the vet will recommend a diet to help him shed a few pounds.