How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Digest Food?
There is a large portion of a dog's health that comes down to their diet. As such, it's never a bad idea for the responsible pet owner to learn a few things about canine digestion. Most people take 30-60 minutes to digest a meal fully, and we might be inclined to assume that dogs take about the same time. Is this true or not? Let's see if we can find out.
Dog Digestion: How Long Does It Take?
We don't want to dance around the answer, as many online articles tend to do. After all, you probably came here hoping for a straight answer, so we will give you one: Canine digestion generally takes four to eight hours before it moves from the stomach to the intestines. This is, of course, only a general estimate that seems to be agreed upon by most authorities.
So, how long does the digested food matter take before it travels through the intestinal tract and becomes doggy doo? Interestingly, the answer seems to almost be the same thing we saw before: Six to eight hours. This is interesting because the human digestive system usually takes 20-30 hours to fully process a batch of digested material. Thus, when it comes to the entire process, dogs digest much faster than we do. However, when it comes to the amount of time that the food spends in their stomach, their system is quite a bit slower than ours.
Breed, Size, And Age
So, what we have here is a large spectrum, consisting of 4-8 hours in the stomach and 6-8 hours in the digestive tract. That means a total of 10-16 hours for total digestion time. However, you don't need to worry all that much about the second part of the equation. Your dog is likely to get a little bit lazy after a big meal, and that is not a big deal. They probably won't continue laying around for 4-8 hours, but you should expect a little bit of this. As for where they fall on that spectrum, most of that will come down to breed, size, and age.
Smaller breeds naturally digest foods more quickly than large ones. This is just a matter of common sense, as their stomachs and intestinal tracts are much smaller. Thus, you can expect their digestive cycle to stay on the lower end of that 10-16-hour spectrum. Larger breeds, obviously, will be on the higher end.
Age is another factor that has to be considered. Older dogs have different dietary needs, as you may have heard in the past. This is because their ageing digestive system is no longer able to work as efficiently as it did in the past. As a result, they need more nutrient-dense food to stay healthy well into their old age. Even still, however, they are going to take longer in digestion than they did when they were young. For ageing dogs, you can expect a significant increase in digestion time, so don't be alarmed at that.
Diet And Exercise
Another factor that can greatly affect your dog's digestion time is diet and exercise. Needless to say, a diet that is high in carbs and fibre is going to be a little harder to digest. Dogs can eat these things, and it's usually not a problem. Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not true carnivores. They are more like omnivores that prefer meat. In any case, a high-protein diet tends to be digested a little more quickly. This is one area in which humans and dogs are more or less alike. This is also why older dogs need more protein, by the way: It won't sit around in their guts for nearly as long as a high-fibre meal.
Exercise aids the digestion process, and this is another area in which dogs and humans have a lot in common. Food is, of course, a source of energy. The canine digestive system tends to use that energy as needed, saving the rest for later. When they are engaged in a little bit of healthy exercise, the body has a reason to process that food a little more quickly.
Stress and Medication
Stress and medication can also play a role in how long your dog takes to digest their food. It is impossible for us to list all the different medications out there or to list their effects, but your veterinarian can give you a better idea of where to go on this matter. If your dog is taking any sort of medication that can slow or speed their digestive process, they will probably have told you so. Just to be sure, it wouldn't hurt to do a little bit of research and make sure.
What Happens If Foods Are Not Digested Properly In Dogs?
As you might expect, improper digestion tends to have one of two results: Constipation or diarrhoea. In other words, it will fail to come out fast enough, or it will come out much too fast for anyone's liking. There are a lot of things you can do to combat constipation, like using various laxatives. Just make sure you use something that is intended for dogs. As for diarrhoea, activated charcoal works very well and is as safe as you could ever want.
However, if your dog has long-term digestive issues, you might want to consider giving them some sort of probiotic supplement. Such as our all natural digestive enzymes for dogs. We also offer a dog wormers, which can also do a lot to ease digestive issues.
We hope that you have learned everything you ever wanted to know about canine digestion, and maybe even a few things you didn't want to know. Either way, it is good for a dog owner to understand what their dog is feeling and experiencing, as this allows them to provide better care. As a final note on that subject, you might also want to check out a couple of breath freshening products that are also very helpful. Thank you, and we hope to see you again soon.
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