How Long Does It Take For Dogs To Digest Food??

Plenty of dog owners make the same mistake of assuming a canines digestion system functions similar to that of a humans digestion. Although, there are quite a handful of differences between the two that results in the different digestion process. If you’re not knowledgeable about your dog’s digestion time and process, you won’t be able to properly give them treatment and won’t have a clue on when to take him out for their daily walk after having finished their meal. Let go over some information that dog owners should become aware of when it comes to taking care of their dog’s digestion.

Digestion Time.

The standard digestion time for a dog tends to vary between different canine breeds and other various animals. The same time it will take for your canine companion to digest their food also depends upon what kind of food they are consuming. Generally, raw food and canned food will march through their system much quicker than dry foods, which have been noted to take some time between 4 and 6 hours for a pup to process a meal’s worth of canned food. Although, when it comes to processing dry food completely, it can take somewhere between 8 to 10 hours.


A canine’s mouth operates differently than our own. For instance, they contain over 42 teeth and nearly 2,000 taste buds, while a human being normally has 32 teeth and over 10,000 taste buds. Another difference between both a dog and human is the fact that we can take our time to enjoy the flavor of a meal, getting loads of enjoyment from the tasty dish as its fills our tummies. Dogs, on the other hand, cannot enjoy the flavor of their meals. Dogs did not develop the capabilities to enjoy fine food and consume as quickly as possible. Taste comes secondary to canines. Furthermore, a dog’s teeth aren’t capable of grinding their foods unlike humans do so they mostly swallow their food whole. The main purpose of a dog’s mouth is to have the food go straight down their esophagus and into the stomach as quickly and efficiently as possible.


When a person chews their food saliva is produced. Saliva contains an enzyme that helps break down food before it’s ingested into the stomach. Dogs, on the other hand, has to have their stomach do all the work for breaking the food down. The dog’s pancreas begins producing the necessary enzymes that help break the meal. The stomach also contains a gland that produces necessary acids. Dog’s can have almost anything go down into their stomachs, from grass, meat, kibble or bone, the acids are quite powerful for breaking down these substances. In fact, a dogs stomach acid is about three times stronger than a human. A dog’s stomach will work for a total of 8 hours on breaking down food before passing it into the intestine.

While dogs may be omnivores, they are quite opportunistic about it. What this means is that while they can consume almost anything, their digestive system can’t break down and find a use for everything. Humans contain GI tracts made to process plant matters. Because of this, our intestines are much longer and drawn out compared to those of dogs.

A dog’s digestive system, on the other hand, depends on much more on meat proteins in order to be efficient. Depending on how digestible the food is, it can stay on the dog’s stomach for a much longer duration than a human.  If the meals don’t strictly contain meat and comprise a variety of veggies, grains, and proteins, it will have vacated the stomach completely in a total of 12 hours after being consumed. This can be compared to the 4 to 5 hours that of a normal human adult.

There are a number of other important information that may contribute the difference in the average time it takes a dog to digest their meal. Some of the include, exercise level, overall health, weight, amount of water consumed, and pre-existing disease and conditions. This simply leads to a road of difficulty when trying to predict how any dog will even digest their food each day, let alone coming up with a more concrete answer for its digestive period.  Even so, simply monitoring your own dog’s tendencies in term of digestion based on the type of food they consume, you can develop a sixth sense for how long it takes them to do so.


Keep in mind, there are a number of important other differences when comparing your digestive systems to a canine. Pet owners should not try to apply their own timetable for digestion onto their dogs. Certain components of foods that dogs tend to eat will take a much longer period to break down and will no be broken completely as well. Simply put, your canine pal does not have similar enzymes necessary to break down carbohydrates as you do. In other words, this means a dog with heavy carbohydrate diet will usually take longer to digest their food than other types.

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