How Long Does it Take a Dog to Digest Food?


healthy food

Dog owners are in a constant quest to find answers to some of the questions that arise in their minds while being with their little furballs. One question among dog parents is how long does it take a dog to digest food? Well, the answer cannot be summarized in a few words or a sentence, as many factors affect the overall digestion process. However, it is good to have in-depth knowledge about the entire digestive process of your pet to help them keep healthy and avoid GI tract related diseases. Here is a list of the factors that affect the digestion of food in dogs…

Age, size, dog breed

Not all breeds of dogs have similar digestion. This is also correlated to the size of the dog, as that is what makes the dog breeds distinguishable. There are different dog foods available for different dog breeds, as there are certain breeds that cannot process the nutrients others can. There is a reason why the dog experts always ask you to take the age and breed of your dog into consideration when buying food for your pet. 

Age is also one of the crucial factors that can affect the digestive process in your dog. Puppies have a higher rate of digestion compared to adult dogs because metabolism decreases with age. 

Type of dog food

types of dog food

Dogs are opportunist carnivorous animals. We have used the word opportunist here because dogs have adapted themselves like humans. They do need meat and other sources of protein that are not plant-based, yet they can derive nutrition from anything and everything. Dogs extract the maximum nutrients, including protein, from a meat-based diet. If you are feeding your dog a meat-based diet, their digestion process is completed in around 12 hours. As humans we take about four-five hours to digest a meat-based meal. With dogs, this time is more than doubled. Apart from this, it also depends upon the type of food your dog is eating:

Dry dog food: If you are feeding your dog packaged or canned dry food, then he or she may take about eight to ten hours to digest it and get the sufficient nutrition out of it entirely.

Wet dog food: Your dog will be happy to get something that is not completely dry, as it is easier to digest this type of food. Most canines take four to six hours to digest wet dog food.

Exercise routine

pet routines


Like humans, dogs also show a better digestion rate with a regular exercise routine.  If your dog is playful and has a good exercise routine of 45 minutes to an hour per day, the chances are they can digest it faster than the ones who are not physically active. The amount of exercise needed to burn the energy and calories is also age-dependent, so this is another factor to consider.

Health condition of your dog

dog health


Another factor that affects your pet’s rate of digestion is their overall health. Dogs facing problems related to their gut might find it difficult to digest food quickly. Other diseases or even stress can alter their eating habits as well. Overall medical conditions or illness also affect the time taken to digest the food.

Final thoughts

As mentioned, there is not one number for the time it takes a dog to digest their food. From the size of the dog to its eating habits, many factors affect the digestion process in your pet. However, keeping all the elements in mind, it is pretty easy to assume that your dog can take between 8 to 9 hours depending upon the food you are feeding and their exercise routine. Dry kibble will take much time to digest compared to wet dog food. Make sure to give your dog sufficient water to help them digest their food faster. 

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