Have you ever wondered “how long does it take a dog to digest food?” Don’t worry, here you will find the information you are looking for!

Having pets involves lots of responsibilities as they become members of our families. Since puppies have now an important place in our lives, we want to learn more about them. So, owners start asking themselves questions about the nature of their bodies.

When it comes to digesting food, dogs go through a number of stages during this process and they have a digestive system that differs from human beings.

What Is Digestion?

In general terms, digestion is the process by which the digestive system breaks down food and absorbs nutrients. The body uses nutrients for energy, growth, and cell repair.

The Digestive Cycle of a Dog

The digestive cycle of a dog is composed of several stages which are completely different. The first stage begins when the food reaches the dog’s mouth. Inside the oral cavity, the process of ingestion starts through chewing and salivation.

Once the food is swallowed, it travels through the esophagus to the stomach, where solid food will be dissolved by the secreted acid. This process will result in a substance called chyme. The chyme then travels to the small intestine, where the body extracts all the nutrients that it needs.

Finally, the remaining waste reaches the large intestine, which will be responsible for the elimination of this waste in the form of feces.

Every single stage of the digestive cycle is relevant and will take up its own time. Many organs will be involved during the digestion, and they will transform the food into the final product.

It is clearly demonstrated that the nature of this process is very complex. Therefore, your pet must be healthy in order to carry out this process appropriately.

Factors That Affect the Digestion in Dogs

The digestion does not have a specific duration since there are factors that affect the time of this process. The characteristics that influence the digestive cycle of a dog are the following:

Type and Amount of Food

The type and amount of food are very relevant in the digestion process. On the one hand, wet food is much quicker to digest than dry food. On the other hand, the amount of food we provide will increase or decrease the hours required for digestion. If they eat too much, it can make digestion difficult and cause stomach rumbling

Dog Size

The size of the canine will also impact digestion time, given that large or medium-sized pets tend to require more digestion time than smaller pups.


Another factor that plays a role in the length of digestion time is age. Normally, older dogs are more likely to have a slower metabolism than younger puppies.


Water is an essential element for all metabolic processes to take place properly. Thus, pets should always be well hydrated and have a bowl of freshwater nearby.

Daily Activity

A puppy that is physically active on a daily basis will have a healthier body than a sedentary dog. Physical inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle slows down the digestive process.

So, How Long Does It Take a Dog to Digest Food?

The fact is that there is no certainty when it comes to digestion time considering that this is affected by the factors mentioned above. Apart from that, the duration will vary because of digestion stages.

Nonetheless, the reality is that digestion time in canines is way longer than in human beings and will depend upon the sort of nourishment. Dry food can remain in the stomach between 8-12 hours before passing into the small intestine and wet food only requires between 4-6 hours.

Then, we should add the last stage of the digestive cycle and other factors that influence how our puppy digests his food. When we take into account all the possible variables, digestion time can last up to 12 hours.