How Long Does It Take a Dog to Digest Food?|Everything You Need to Know

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Camila Smith
Camila Smith
Camila is ecstatic to be a member of Foods Explorer's amazing editorial staff. She collaborates with recipe writers, food writers, and content makers to create recipes that have an impact and practical cooking guides. She is an accomplished content strategist with expertise in managing social media, creating branded content, newsletter and headline writing, video creation, and many more areas.

How long does it take a dog to digest food?: Have you ever wondered how much time it takes for a meal to go around through your own dog’s body? The short and simple answer to the question is it takes around 4-8 hours which also depends on a lot of factors.

Yes you might guess how much time it takes for digestion of your own dog based on his/her pooping timings and schedule and how fast the dog gets hungry.

Below in this article, you will find out all your answers on how long it takes for a dog’s stomach to get empty and what are factors that affect the process, and how you own your own can make your dog’s digestive tract is healthy or not.

How Do Dogs Digest Food? how Dog’s Digestive System Works?

The dog goes through a lot of processes between the time the food is gone into the mouth of the dog and the time it takes her out for poop.

  • All these processes along the gastrointestinal passage are very important and very crucial to be able to make sure that all the necessary nutrients are absorbed by the dog while the dog consumes it food.
  • In the instance where your dog begins chewing the food, the digestive process will begin. Digestive enzymes start to secrete. It depends on overall gut health.
  • First and foremost the food is broken down into simpler and smaller pieces by the teeth.
  • After that, the food moves down to the esophagus and then finally into the stomach.
  • After that here the food is digested by acids particularly stomach acid which is called hydrochloric acid and some enzymes.
  • Here the natural enzymes break down the food components down into smaller nutrient dense components that are then easily absorbed by the body of the dog.
  • After that, the food then goes around out of the stomach and then into the intestinal tract. Here the walls of the intestines absorb all the important nutrients and water inthe bloodstream.
  • More organs like the liver and pancreas help in the process of digestion with the help of enzymes present in it.
  • After that, all the unwanted food or the unwanted waste is left on the large intestine itself and then finally all the waste comes out of the dog’s body as waste products.

What Happens to The Food that Cannot Be Digested?

  • You might be well aware that not everything that your consumes is absorbed by the body of the dog. Once the food is broken down into smaller components the nutrients which are essential for your dog are then absorbed on the way by the intestine.
  • In this process, the dogs leave behind fiber, bacteria, water, and some inorganic matter.
  • If the dog is consuming a lot of vegetables which is raw food (low food digestibility) you are most likely to see the signs of these vegetables in the stool of your dog. But don’t you worry this doesn’t mean that the dog has not gained any absorbable nutrients from the food which it has consumed.
  • It simply shows that the essential nutrients are absorbed by the digestive tract and the non-digestible unusable fiber has been taken out of the body from the healthy dog.
  • To keep the digestive system healthy fiber is very important. As you might know that fiber helps to regulate the stool’s water content. 
  • There are many factors that affect how much time does it take for your dog to digest its food and then poop the food out in what time and how frequently the healthy dog feels the hunger.

Factors Affecting to How Long Does It Take a Dog to Digest Food

Size, Age, and Breed of Dog

  • People generally think that smaller dogs which are less big puppies required less food intake and less time to digest food as compared to dogs that are larger in size.
  • Age is the x-factor when it comes to the digestion process of a dog there is also a reason that puppies seem to need to get out to the bathroom more frequently than that of adult dogs because smaller dogs take more time for digestion than adult dogs.
  • It takes about 4 hours for dogs which are of smaller breed and puppies as compared to around 8 hours which is required for an adult dog that is big enough. Also when a study has been found in which cities have been thought that larger Breed required more time and digestive are digested more slowly.
  • Anyways this is also similar in human beings to as you all know that baby and young children eat more frequently and put much more often than adults which were also found 
  • A study by a French scientist in which he told that the puppies’ digestion times were shorter than that of their dogs which are of a larger breed so it can also be said that the size was not a very big factor.
  • It is interesting to know how long can dogs go without food is also depends upon size, age and breed and medical history of dog.
  • The age of a dog also plays a very vital role in the improper digestion process. As you might be well aware of the fact that metabolism slows with age and older dogs get less energetic the dog get and so it requires less of food and calories intake.
  • Also as age passes of a dog, the digestive system also make get less efficient with age. Simply means that dog which are older require longer to digest small amount of food then the dogs which are young.
  • The Breed of a dog also plays a very vital role in how long does it take to digest foods some breed of dogs which includes the labrador and German Shepherds are more prone to stomach issues cause by undigested food.

Diseases and Health Conditions

  • As you might be well aware that the digestive health of a dog and also as a human is very much related to the overall health and the many the immune system of a person at if your dog is overweight or underweight or have any type of health condition.
  •  it can also affect the digestion and the nutrient absorption of the dog and so it is very much suggested that to keep the health conditions of a dog in fine conditions. 
  • Diseases like epi which is the short form of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency which is a malabsorption disease can also affect and cause the canine digestion of a dog i.e. canine digestive system.
  • Also, the intestinal blockage is also caused in a dog whenever the Dog eat and substance that is in digestible or which is not recommended for a dog and which got stuck in the digestive tract of the dog which causes Cancer ulcers per virus and also colitis.

Activity Level of The Dog Also Determines how Long Does It Take a Dog to Digest Food

  • As you might be well aware that dogs are genetically more wired to handle food sources which are raw meat-based diets.
  • dogs have the capability to store a large amounts of food in dogs stomachs for long periods of time and also they can digest the food slowly to produce energy as per the requirement.
  • Implies that the more the energy a dog uses the faster the body will break down the food stored in the stomach and also the faster the worst of the energy for the physical tasks will come up and to the food will move into the intestine so rapidly that the dog can get absorbed miscible nutrients and calories.


  • The level of water consumption of a dog also affects the digestion system of a dog’s affects the digestion time of the dog water helps of the food and to help the dog to chew food easier and which also increases the secretion of enzymes and acids that helps sound to break the food into smaller components of the surface of the stomach of the dog.
  • Water also acts as a soft tool so that the pooping experience enhances that of a dog. So make sure that your dog is always hydrated and has a plenty of filtered spring water for it to rely upon.

The Type of Food the Dog Eats

  • This is a very major factor in the digestion process of a dog has the type in volume of best dog food intake which also affects the dog digestion process as the protein content of the food is a very big factor in how to decide the digestion process the food which has been all the process also makes a very big difference.
  • Talking about the commercial pet foods you to dogs can have a more capability to digest wet food which is more easily digested by them than dry food because of the water retention which helps them move faster to the gas tract.
  •  According to research the wet dog food is broken down and digested in around 4 to 6 hours but the dry dog food takes around 8 to 10 hrs to digest.
  •  The raw food dog is the most digestible food which is available for the dogs. The most natural food available and it is very unlike processed foods which are raw food isn’t full of starch and sugar show the raw food contains life enzymes that also ate the efficient digestion of process of a dog overall the dog takes less time to digest raw food. 

Why Does My Dog Tend to Poop Right After Eating?

  • If your dog poops right after eating then don’t worry relax because the dog digests food too quickly which is not a very bad sign. Don’t worry Dog ain’t pooping out what it ate.
  • The dog is pooping out the food which is what she had at least eight hours earlier. You won’t be aware but the dog when the dog each day the natural reflection that kicks in on the stomach and when the new food enters the stomach the large intestine and get a signal that to push out the waste material which is already stored in the large is derived from earlier so that the kids space for the new one to enter this is also called the gastrocolic reflex.

How Long Does It Take for A Dog to Digest Medicine?

You may think that the medicine also goes through the same process as the food process continues in the digestive tract but wait a minute the medicine given orally works a bit differently on dogs.

Since it’s not that nutrient-giving content that we are providing your dog it isn’t really digested in the same way the food is digested by dog whenever we give the dog medicine orally it usually observed in the bloodstream right away within 10 to 20 minutes and then the pills with thick reporting can take longer to digest around 30 to 45 minutes.

Can My Dog Swim After Eating?

That dog should not same right after eating because there is a simple reason for it that ok should not jump into the water right away after having a meal.

Because dogs can suffer gastric Torsion or floating which is when dog’s stomach float over and dogs stomach fills with gastric torsion.

Whenever The dog dreams within full stomach the risk increases so it is advised to wait for some hours maybe two or three after the dog has eaten it’s made and then her out to the pool and then enjoy your day with the dog.

What Are the Symptoms of Digestive Problems in Dogs? for Dog Owners

Below are a few things which are listed that could be a sign that your dog is suffering from a digestion problem.

  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Bloating and gas
  • Reduced appetite
  • Dehydration

These above-mentioned signs are that the dog might face digestion issues and they might not work in the same way they should be and the dog might require some extra help. The dog might require a vet for a checkup and it is always recommended to have a checkup for your dog regularly.

So now you are all set to keep the digestive tract (gastrointestinal tract, small intestine, large intestine mainly) of the dog in better condition and you will also be able to recognize any such digestive cycle issue better.

So give the dog the best diet you can and it is always preferred to provide the dog with a raw meat-based diet that will enhance the overall health of the dog breeds which and allow a smooth dog digestive system.


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