How Long Does It Take For Dogs to Digest Food?

The digestive system of your dog is a complicated system with many variables to account for, which will affect their food digestion timeframe depending on breed, size, age, exercise regiments, food type and gut health status.

Your dog’s digestion of food begins in their mouth, where they chew to break it down into smaller pieces before entering their esophagus and stomach for partial digestion.


Dogs of different sizes digest food differently, with smaller breeds eating faster and digesting their meals in less time than larger breeds. Size, however, is only one factor influencing digestion time: breed type and diet also impact digestion time significantly – typically four-12 hours for full digestion to occur.

Digestion involves both mechanical and chemical breakdown of food as your dog eats it. Once digested, the pieces move down through their digestive tract into their throat esophagus stomach intestines before entering their waste tract where they’re transformed into waste products.

Digesting times vary for dogs depending on breed and age, with smaller pups digesting more quickly due to having smaller digestive tracts that are easier to fill and empty than their larger counterparts.

Water can have a profound effect on digestion times in dogs. Water softens food, eases chewing, increases secretion of enzymes and acids needed for breaking down meals more effectively and aids in absorption of essential nutrients and calories.

After reaching the small intestine, food travels through to the jejunum where enzymes again break it down into smaller pieces for absorption into the bloodstream. Any undigested material then travels back through to the large intestine where it eventually enters the waste tract to be eliminated via feces.

Digestive health plays a pivotal role in your dog’s overall health and immune system. Healthy gut microbiomes mean your pup can absorb the nutrients they consume more efficiently, leading to better overall health outcomes.

If your dog isn’t digesting their food properly, it could lead to weight gain, allergies and even gastrointestinal disorders. But improving digestion is easy! By feeding a high quality diet with highly digestible components like Bernie’s Perfect Poop products you can ensure their digestive tract is operating at maximum potential.


Dogs typically require four to 12 hours for digestion of their food. Digestibility is crucial in order to absorb nutrients into the body instead of passing right through, which could result in illness. There are various factors which influence digestion time such as size, age, exercise level and type of food consumed by their dogs.

A dog’s digestive system consists of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. Each component plays an essential part in breaking down food for absorption into energy sources for energy production, growth, cell repair, and other essential bodily processes.

As soon as a dog chews its food, the digestive process begins by moistening it with saliva and mixing it with gastric juices to begin breaking down carbohydrates and proteins. Once in the stomach, more acid breaks down proteins while killing any harmful bacteria; once finished in there a sphincter connects from esophagus to stomach prevents any regurgitated material from being regurgitated back up the esophagus again; in small intestine where more enzymes and hormones from liver/pancreas help dilute acidity; ultimately being absorbed back into bloodstream for use as fuel for cells/tissues of all parts of body cells/tissues as fuel by tissues of body cells and tissues of our bodies as fuel sources.

The small intestine absorbs water and essential minerals directly into the bloodstream while pushing chyme through its duodenum and ileum. Any undigested nutrition that cannot be digested leaves through feces.

Water is essential to healthy canine digestion. Drinking enough can soften food as it passes through their gastrointestinal tract, making chewing and digesting simpler; and can stimulate enzyme secretions and acids for breaking down food more quickly. In addition, drinking water hydrates their gut, promote healthy bowel movements, and ensure smooth intestinal movement – without which their digestive tract could dry out and lead to health complications.

Type of Food

Not only can your dog’s size and age affect digestion times, but the type of food they eat also has an effect. For instance, dry kibble requires more chewing to break it into swallowable pieces; making it more challenging than soft-cooked or raw food which breaks into more easily assimilated particles of nutrition.

Considerations should also be given to your pet’s overall health when making this choice, as feeding high quality food may reduce gastrointestinal issues like gas and diarrhea. In addition, premium supplements can enhance digestibility so your pup can quickly absorb their essential vitamins and minerals.

Once the food arrives at the stomach, digestion begins in earnest with acid and enzyme production breaking down proteins into absorbable nutrients and any non-digested particles being expelled through feces.

Humans may consume both plant- and meat-based foods, which requires their digestive systems to process them more slowly than dog’s who consume exclusively meat protein-based diet. As a result, dogs’ stomachs typically empty four or five hours post meal!

If your pup takes longer than usual to digest their food, consult with a veterinarian immediately. They’ll be able to assess if there are any health issues affecting their digestion process and offer solutions that might help. Dieticians can also give recommendations for diet and exercise to enhance your pup’s digestive health, speeding up their overall digestive process. When switching foods, give it some time for their stomachs to adjust before trying again. Your dog should receive both soft-cooked and raw foods to see how that affects their digestive process. Make sure they stay well hydrated with plenty of exercise to support better digestion and absorption of vital nutrients.


Dogs need food in order to get energy, but they also must digest it so the nutrients can enter the bloodstream and be used by their bodies. Without enough exercise, their digestive tract can slow down, making food digestion even slower than before. But physical activity stimulates their digestive system to speed up this process – that’s why having your pup play or go for walks is so essential!

Dogs’ digestive systems are designed to process proteins and fats as their main sources of energy; however, they can also absorb carbohydrates when prepared properly if required. According to VCA Canada, an estimated four to 12 hours is typically needed for their system to empty out their stomach based on factors like size, age, activity level and food type.

As digestion continues, food travels from the mouth into the small intestines where it mixes with digestive juices produced by pancreas and liver via gallbladders to mix with more digestive juices from gallbladders of both organs. Once through this stage of digestion, food passes onwards into large intestines connected to rectum anal canal and eliminated via stool production.

One factor that may impede a dog’s digestion time is having an underlying medical condition like EPI, IBD or leaky gut syndrome that interferes with proper absorption of nutrients resulting in diarrhea or constipation. Furthermore, being overweight will force their digestive system to work harder, taking longer and eventually delaying completion of digestion process.

Lisa Thompson

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