There comes a point in every dog’s life when they suddenly get old. For some dogs, this is marked by an increase in sleeping or a decrease in activity.
For our dog, it is marked by an increase in gas.
Riley has always had something of a sensitive digestive system. I have written many times about the sometimes suffocating noxious assault his gastrointestinal attacks have had our family. The cause has often been his clandestine forays into the garbage pail at night and backyard binges on decomposing wildlife. But typically, he eats nothing but hypo-allergenic dog food. It is a mystery to us how someone can eat something so bland and create an odor so bad it makes hydrogen sulfide smell like lillies.
For some reason, complaining about our dog’s flatulence brings out the competitive nature in many of my friends. Rather than offer condolences, they tell me tales about the room-clearing, eye-tearing gas their dogs pass, as though somehow I would suffer less from my dog’s expulsions if I knew they were not as bad as Leslie’s Boston Terrier or Ed’s Golden Retriever. Of course, I’m pretty sure in Ed’s case, it is not really the dog at all, but rather Ed blaming the dog… but we won’t go there.
According to Dogster.com, the top five gassiest dog breeds are the Bulldog, the German Shepherd, the Mastiff, the Boxer, and the Labrador Retriever. As a Flat-Coated Retriever, our dog Riley doesn’t even make the top ten, which is seriously stunning to me considering the award-winning gas he passes. I have to imagine that if anyone were stupid or ignorant enough to own two of these breeds at the same time, it could possibly cause their home to be sucked into a malodorous vortex and disappear from the universe.
Meanwhile, back at Stink Central, things had gotten so bad I was pretty sure the neighbors could smell it wafting over from our house and were considering putting their house on the market because of it. I was afraid to light our grill to make dinner for fear that our house would instantly combust. It was clear that something had to be done. As far as I knew, no one had ever died from dog gas inhalation, but I didn’t want to be the first family to disprove this theory.
The dog websites and the vet all recommended a product called Beano for intestinal gas, but it seemed to have little effect on Riley. Then we tried Gas-x, Pepto and a whole host of other anti-flatulence medications which did nothing at all, leaving me to conclude that nothing short of a giant cork would solve the problem.
Then yesterday morning I woke up, went down to feed the dog and noticed… nothing. There was no bad smell. No noxious odors. No searing stenches. I quickly checked to make sure the dog was still, in fact, alive (which he was) and then I ran to share the good news with my husband.
“Hey come downstairs,” I said to him. “Riley’s gas has magically disappeared. The house doesn’t smell!”
“Really?” he asked, following me down to the kitchen. He quickly buried his nose in his bathrobe. “Honey, are you crazy… it STINKS down here!”
I furrowed my brow and inhaled deeply. Then I realized that I couldn’t inhale because my nose was completely stuffed up. In my excitement over the lack of smell, I hadn’t realized I was actually congested and couldn’t smell a thing.
I sneezed twice and suddenly realized I had the beginnings of a whopper of a cold.
“Oh man, I’m getting sick,” I groaned. “That’s why I couldn’t smell the dog farts.”
“Sorry Honey,” he said. Then he pinched his nose.
“Hey would you mind giving me your cold?”