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How Long Does It Take for Dogs to Digest Food? — Let’s See!

How Long Does It Take for Dogs to Digest Food? — Let’s See!

Our furry companions aren’t too different from us. They see treats, they eat them, even if they’ve just finished eating their regular meal. 

Well, even their hoomans can’t resist a snack or two after a meal. 

And you’ve probably heard that this isn’t really recommended since you’re not giving your body enough time to digest what you’ve eaten before. 

But what about with the canine species? How long is their digestive process? 

Read more to find out.


How Long Does It Take For Dogs To Digest Food?

There is no definite time about how long your dog digests his food. The duration depends on the type of food you give him, breed, age, as well as activity of your pet determine how long food will travel in your buddy’s body.


A Dog’s Digestive Process

The digestion process starts with the mouth. Your dog’s teeth play an important role in putting the food to the back of its mouth, to the molars, so it will be ground into smaller pieces.

Saliva also helps your dog to swallow the food easily. Humans have enzymes and bacteria in saliva to help break down food. 

However, in dogs, saliva only plays the function of being a lubricant. Once processed in the mouth, it helps in moving the food to the esophagus. 

The esophagus contains strong muscles that help in directing the food down to the stomach. This makes sense considering the foods aren’t finely ground because of the absence of enzymes in the saliva.

The stomach, another important organ, is the storage facility of food. 

Digested foods are collected here so they can be readily converted into energy when needed. 

Interestingly, a dog’s stomach can expand more than its daily limits as part of its survival. This serves as a reservoir if your dog to survive extended periods of not having any food intake.

The stomach contains digestive enzymes that further process food, especially meat. 

The stomach acts as the regulator that determines how much food will be transported into the small intestine and at what rate.

After the stomach comes the small intestine. Don’t be fooled by its name, this organ has a big part in your dog’s digestive system. 

The intestines of a dog can be three times the length of your pet. This organ processes your dog’s food. 


Factors Affecting Canines’ Digestive Process


Type of food

Generally, dogs have one or two bowel movements every day. This entails the process of food being eaten, processed, and broken down. 

In terms of the type of food, dogs tend to digest wet food faster than dry ones. 

Wet foods travel easily through the digestive tract, unlike kibbles. You may also notice your dog having a hard time holding it after eating wet food because their poops are looser.

If you give your dogs high-fiber meals, expect that the food will be processed more quickly. 

You may be worried now about the type and volume of food your dog gets; fret not. 

As a rule of thumb, a cup of dog food per 30 pounds of your dog’s weight is usually enough per day. If you still have doubts, seek to consult with your pup’s veterinarian.

In addition to solid and wet foods, do consider your dog’s water intake. Lack of water can slow down digestion. 

It also weakens nutrient absorption that may bring health concerns. 

To avoid this, be mindful of when you refill your dog’s water bowl especially during the summer days and after a long walk. Ensure that the water bowl’s full of fresh water every day.



Additionally, if your dog is active, his body will be quick on processing anything that goes in his body and turn it into energy to sustain his activity. 

This means that you may have to adjust his food intake accordingly depending on the level of exercise he gets.



The breed affects how big or small the size of your dog’s digestive organs are. So, consider the size and the breed your dog belongs to. 

Since smaller dogs have smaller intestinal tracts, food will be digested faster.

Bigger breeds typically need 6-8 hours to fully digest their meals. On the other hand, smaller dogs and pups digest their foods in about four hours. 

Also, it is important to note that athletic breeds like Border Collie, Siberian Husky, and Jack Russell Terrier will have a faster digestion process than other breeds. 

This is mainly because they have a closer resemblance to ancient dog breeds that have faster metabolisms.



Ever notice how kids don’t seem to lose appetite especially when it comes to sweet or savory snacks? 

It’s because of their age. And it’s no different in dogs. 

Your fur baby’s age plays a major role in his metabolism. If your dog is old, his body makes take more time to break down the food. 

For young pups, be on the lookout for their food intake. 

Puppies need to eat a nutrient-rich diet on a regular basis compared to the grown-up adult ones. They need this to support the body’s growth and development.



Just like with humans, there is no definite duration of how long food is digested in dogs. 

But on average, it goes from 8 to 10 hours. It can even take anywhere between 4-12 hours. 

That’s quicker than the typical time of digestion in humans that take from 20 to 30 hours. 

Foods are quicker to be digested and broken down into nutrients in dogs. Hence, it’s not surprising that they’re more energetic than us!