Dog digestion 101 - How long it takes for your dog to digest food?

Let's face it, most dog parents don’t spend a lot of time thinking about their own digestive processes, much less the basics of their dog's digestive system. The only times we really face the realities of our dog's digestive system is when we feed them or clean up after them. But what really happens to a dog’s meal from the time it enters their mouth to when it passes out the other end? How long does it take for a dog to digest food?

Here are the facts. Food enters through the mouth and slides down the esophagus on its way to the stomach. From there, it takes it goes through the small and large intestines before finally departing the body. The dog digestive system involves a large number of organs, fluids and enzymes, all playing their roles to convert food into usable energy. Whatever is left over, as extra, is expelled through the anus in the form of waste.

How long does food stay in a dog’s stomach?

Even though dogs are omnivores, they are very much creature of opportunity. That means that while they can eat almost anything, a dog's digestive system can’t break down and utilize everything. A dog digestive system, is heavily dependent on meat proteins over plant protein as they are much more efficient in creating sustainable energy in dogs. Depending on your dog's digestibility, food can stay in their stomach much longer than either a human or a cow. If the meal is not strictly meat, comprising a variety of vegetable, grains and proteins, it will have vacated the stomach completely in 12 hours after eating. Compare that to four or five hours in a normal adult human.


How can you help your dog with better digestion?

There are so many variables involved in how well your dog will digest their meal. Even in a perfectly healthy dog can have a varying time to digest a single meal and times can be dramatically different. Certain questions can be asked though to determine if you pup's overall eating habits are affecting their digestion time. Questions like whether or not your dog is drinking enough water. This has an effect on digestion time as well.

Is your dog on the larger side because large dog breeds take significantly longer to digest food than small ones.

Is your dog sedentary, spending most of the day on the couch or does the dog get a couple of walks a day? Exercise has a definite impact on motility, or the way that the muscles of the dog digestive system push food through the process.

Total time from entry to exit also depends the quality of the food. Wet food takes less time to digest than dry kibble. Speaking very broadly, operating at optimum efficiency, a dog can process a can of wet food in as few as four hours, while the same amount of dry food can take eight hours to make the same journey. Foods that are highly processed are also more difficult to digest than raw, organic, natural foods.

When we developed Pips Treats, digestion was one of the key issues we focused on. Having experienced the negative effects of low quality dog food with our pup, we made a conscious effort to use ingredients that are not only gentle on the stomach, but also aid in helping the digestive process run more smoothly. In using Pips Treats overtime, you can look forward to your dog having more solid, easy going poops and less stomach irritations. Made with simple, natural ingredients, your dog will love the taste and you will love the results.