Sunday, September 24, 2023


You’ve probably noticed your dog’s preference for napping after eating. Surely you have wondered about the digestive process in dogs and you are wondering how long it takes a dog to digest. To dispel all doubts and questions about it, in this article we will give the keys to the digestion process.


As in the case of other animalsthe function of the digestive system is to break down food so that the body can absorb it and take advantage of its nutrients . All undigested material, the system itself is responsible for expelling it. Now, to know how long it takes a dog to digest, we must take into account different variables:

  • The type of food the dog eats: wet or dry food .
  • The amount of protein and fat that he eats: your dog will need more time to break down the proteins and, in addition, the fat slows down the emptying of the stomach.
  • The age of your dog is also a factor to consider.
  • The physical activity you do: walks, games, specific training…
  • The water you drink throughout the day.

In addition to these factors, we can establish what exactly are the organs that make up the dog’s digestive system and the time each one needs to perform its function :

  • Your dog’s stomach can take anywhere from 5 to 10 hours to empty.
  • The transit through the small intestine can take between 1 hour and a half and 4.
  • In the case of the large intestine , the transit can last from 7 to 42 hours.
  • In total , from the time your dog ingests its food until it discards the undigested food through the feces, between 20 and 60 hours may have passed.


Now that we know how long it takes a dog to digest, it is worth reviewing which are the organs that make this long process possible.

  • Mouth. In his oral cavity, your dog has 42 teeth—10 more than you. On the contrary, he has fewer taste buds. For this reason he barely tastes the food and uses his teeth to quickly tear and swallow everything you put on his plate. Did you know that it is a habit inherited from their wild ancestors who ate very quickly? For this reason, dogs do not have the enzyme alpha amylase —humans do—, that is, their digestion process does not begin in the mouth, since the absence of the enzyme does not favor the breakdown of any nutrient. Your saliva only serves to lubricate the food and help it to swallow and pass through the esophagus and reach the stomach.
  • Swallowing through the esophagus . After swallowing the food, the muscles of the esophagus contract to promote peristaltic movements that push the food bolus towards the stomach.
  • stomach . Did you know that your dog’s stomach is quite large? This ability allows you to eat large amounts of food in a short time. Hydrochloric acid and pepsinogen are secreted in the dog’s stomach. The mixture of both produces pepsin, an enzyme that breaks proteins into smaller fragments. The stomach also performs peristaltic movements that help mix food with gastric juices to promote digestion . When the food particles reach a size of about 2 millimeters they already form a porridge, which is called chyme, which is ready to pass through the pylorus. This sphincter separates the stomach from the intestine. The larger the pieces are, the longer they will take to break down and reach the intestine.
  • Small intestine . Although it depends on the size of the dog, this organ usually measures between 1.8 and 4.8 meters. The function of the small intestine is to absorb nutrients. To do this, its interior is covered with intestinal villi. They look like the cedars of a brush that protrude from the intestinal walls, managing to increase the absorption surfaceThe first section of the small intestine is the duodenum , where bile made in the liver arrives. Bile helps break down fats. The duodenum also receives pancreatic juices that help break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Thus, thanks to all these secretions, throughout the small intestine, the nutrients are absorbed .
  • Large intestine . It usually measures around 0.6 meters. All those substances that are not absorbed, such as fiber or undigested food, reach the large intestine. These remains leave the dog’s body in the form of feces. In the colon, which is part of the large intestine, water and electrolytes, such as sodium or chlorine, are absorbed. A part of the fiber in the food will be fermented by the bacteria in the colon, which will use a part of the resulting substances as food, and another part will nourish the cells of the colon. What is not absorbed will come out with the stool.
how long does it take for a dog to digest

As you have seen, the digestion process is long and complex. Therefore, there are many variables that influence how long it takes a dog to digest. You must bear in mind that a food adapted to the needs of your dog and his digestive system will help him to have healthy digestions and general well-being. TRUE INSTINCT foods have no preservatives or artificial colors ; In addition, it is formulated with natural ingredients that your dog will love. Help him have healthy digestions!



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