All living creatures must digest food in some form. This is done to get important nutrients from the food. Dogs, cats, horses, and humans all do this but with some differences. How long does it take for a dog to digest food? This will be the main question for today. Keep in mind that there are a lot of variations and a lot of things you have to know. We will explain all of them.
How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Digest Food
Many people claim that the digestive process in dogs takes 6-8 hours. You may have seen countless sources claiming this. But, according to the latest research, the actual process is much longer. It is up to 13 hours.
The size and breed of the dog have a huge role here. In general, bigger dogs need more time to digest food and some may need 21 hours. Others may need up to 57 hours which is stunning. On the other hand, we have small dog breeds that can complete this in less time. There are a lot of other factors here. For instance, the health of the dog, food, size, stress, and other conditions will affect the time.
You need to know that the digestive process means that the food will be consumed and after this period of time removed from the dog. This isn’t the same as the time needed for a dog to empty his stomach. In most cases, a dog’s stomach will be empty after 1.5 hours. This is however old data. New research shows that the stomach will be empty within 6-8 hours.
Digestion: Main Things To Know
Digestion is one process that is extremely important for all animals and humans. This is a process in which food is dissolved and broken on nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fats, carbs and so much more. In general, it is a process that a body uses to obtain nutrients from food. How long does it take for a dog to digest food? This is a related question and one that you need an answer to.
Digestive Process Explained
Many of you believe that only the mouth and stomach are part of the digestive tract. In reality, these are the main parts but not the only ones. The whole process starts with your dog chewing the food and making it smaller. Then, it is moved throughout the esophagus to the stomach. This process of moving the chewed food is called peristalsis. In the back of the throat, you can see epiglottis which makes it impossible for the food to get back into the mouth.
Once food reaches the stomach it will be mixed with acids and stomach juices. These are very powerful and they can dissolve almost anything. You may wonder how these juices don’t dissolve the stomach. Well, the stomach has a special lining that can prevent this. When this lining is damaged in humans, we get ulcers. Anyway, the stomach also has a sphincter that will keep the food away from returning to the esophagus.
After some time the food will be pushed to the small intestine. Here we can see the duodenum, jejunum, and also ileum which are the three main parts of the small intestine. Here the food is dissolved even more and juices from the liver and pancreas are added to the mix. The process is responsible for extracting healthy nutrients and moving the waste. Waste is moved to the large intestine and removed to the outside world. Yes, this is how food becomes poop.
Digestive Tract Problems
It is a well-known fact that dogs can have a lot of digestive tracts issues and problems. Here are some of the most common problems:
- Foreign objects
- Liver disease
- Bacterial or viral infections
Keep in mind that there are a lot more issues in this case scenario. If you notice that your dog has problems eating and that he refuses food you will want to take him to a vet. A proper exam can find the cause of the problem and your pet will be prescribed a treatment that is effective. It is important to start the treatment as soon as possible in order to make it more successful.
Activity and Hydration
An interesting fact is that dogs have anatomy that allows them to store a lot of raw meat in the stomach. They will burn it and transfer it into energy as needed. The more physical activity they have, the faster they will do this, and the more they will have to eat. In simple terms, a dog will digest the food much faster if he is more active. If he is not active, he will need more time to digest the food.
Water has a huge role in all of this as well. It is mandatory to make the digestion process faster and easier. See, water will help your pet dissolve food faster and more efficiently. It also makes pooping more pleasant because it will make the stool softer. Always make sure that your pet has a lot of water to drink. Water is essential to dogs and they cannot survive long without fresh and clean water.
Last but not least, the type of food your dog eats does affect digestion time. Wet food is much easier to digest and your dog will need 4-6 hours to do this. On the other hand, dry food will require more time. A dog will typically need between 6 and 8 hours for the same process.
The Final Word
All dog owners are wondering at some point the same question. How long does it take for a dog to digest food? Now you know the answer and you can apply this knowledge to the dog’s diet and meal plan. Try to remember that there are a lot of variations and a lot of things you need to know. After all, dogs are much different than us humans.