Dog Digestion Time

Many pet owners make the mistake of assuming that dog digestion is similar in function and procedure to human digestion. However, there are a number of differences between the two that result in different digestion processes entirely. If you don't know about your dog's digestion time and process, you'll not be able to adequately treat him and you won't know when exactly to take him outside or for a walk after having completed a meal. Read on for some overviews of standard dog digestion time and other differences between human and dog digestion.

Dog Digestion Time

The standard for dog digestion time varies between different breeds and even between individual animals. Similarly, the time that it will take for your dog to digest his food also depends upon what type of food he eats. Generally speaking, raw food and canned food will move through his system faster than dry food; it typically takes between 4 and 6 hours for a dog to process a meal's worth of canned food. On the other hand, it may take as many as 8 to 10 hours for the same dog to process dry food completely.

Other Factors

There are a number of other factors that may contribute to a difference in the average time that it takes your dog to digest his meal. These include the following, among many others:

  • Exercise level
  • Overall health level
  • Weight
  • Amount of water consumed
  • Preexisting diseases and conditions

Because of this, it becomes very difficult to predict how any one dog will even digest his food from day to day, let alone to make broad generalizations about every animal. Still, by monitoring your own pet's tendencies in terms of digestion based on the food that he eats, you can develop a sense for how long it takes him to do so.

Additional Differences

There are a number of important other differences between human and canine digestion that pet owners should keep in mind. First, dogs do not contain the same enzymes in their mouths that humans do. This means that certain components of the foods that they eat will take longer to break down and will not be broken down as well. Specifically, your dog does not have the same enzymes that are necessary to break down carbohydrates that you do. This means that a dog with a carbohydrate-heavy diet will generally take longer to digest this food than other types.

Because of this enzyme difference, carbohydrates tend to build up on your pet's teeth as he eats. This can easily turn into tartar and cause damage to his teeth and gums. It is for this reason primarily that pet owners must vigilantly brush their dog's teeth. Do this about once per week in order to maintain your pet's oral health. Ask a vet for additional information about how to best deal with the digestion differences between you and your dog.