How Do Dogs...?
Updated: May 30
How long does it/should it take for food to process through the dog's body once consumed? Well, it depends on a few factors, but generally between 4 to 8 hours.
Factors Affecting Digestion
Size, Age and Breed of the Dog
Generally, small dogs and puppies eat less food and therefore take less time to process it compared to larger dogs. Digestion usually take approximately 4 hours for small dogs and up to 8 hours for larger dogs. This is similar to humans. As parents are well aware, babies and young children eat more often and have more frequent bowel movements than adults. Age is also a factor impacting digestion. Metabolism usually slows down with age. Older dogs have less energy and therefore require fewer calories. The digestive system is also less efficient in older dogs and they may take longer to digest smaller amounts of food. Your dog's breeds can also play a part in digestion. Some breeds of dogs can be prone to gastrointestinal issues.
Health Conditions A dog's digestive health is closely related to its overall health and immune system. If your dog is over or under weight, it can impact digestion and nutrient absorption. Illnesses such as cancer, ulcers, parvovirus, colitis and leaky gut syndrome, to name a few can also affect digestion.
Activity Level Dogs can store large amounts of food in their stomach for long periods of time and can slowly digest that food to produce energy when needed. Therefore, the more energy the dog needs the faster the stored food will be digested.
Hydration The amount of water a dog drinks will impact digestion time. Water helps to soften food and increases enzymes and acids that help break down the food. Water also helps to soften stool for easier secretion.
Type of Food Eaten
Lastly, the type and volume of food affects digestion. The protein content and how it was processed is a major factor that impacts digestion time. Wet food is easier to digest then dry food. Wet food can be digested in 4 to 6 hours, while dry food can take between 8 and 10 hours. Raw dog food is the most digestible since it is not processed and doesn't contain starchy grains and sugars. It also contains live enzymes that make digestion more efficient.