Updated on December 18, 2022

The digestive tract and the food a dog eats have a major impact on their overall health. What our pets eat and the nutrients they absorb are obviously crucial to their health. Although the nutritional value of a dog’s meal varies, just as it does with human fare.

What goes on in your dog’s digestive tract affects their immune system much more than you might think. This emphasises the need of providing kids with a food that supports healthy digestion in keeping them healthy overall.

Understanding how a dog’s digestive system works is just as crucial as learning what a dog should eat for optimal health. Your dog won’t obtain the nutrition it needs from its food if its digestive tract isn’t functioning properly. In addition, you should know how your dog’s digestive system functions so that you can see any irregularities early on in the event of disease.

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How, though, does a dog process the food it eats? In what time does a dog finish digesting its meal? In what ways can you know if their digestive system is healthy?

These are just some of the concerns we’ll address as we cover the fundamentals of canine digestion, including the anatomy and physiology of the digestive tract, the role of the digestive enzymes, and the impact of food on the digestive process.



All the organs that do work with consuming and digesting food are part of the dog’s digestive system. The digestive process begins the minute food enters the mouth and ends when all of the body’s necessary nutrients have been absorbed and any unwanted byproducts have been eliminated.

The canine digestive tract consists, at its most fundamental level, of a lengthy tube extending from the mouth to the anus. Through this passage, the digestive system breaks down the food we eat before it is either absorbed by the body or expelled as waste through the anus.

To break things down a bit more, below are the major steps of the canine digestive process.


The mouth is the site of the first digestive process. Dogs’ teeth shred their food into smaller bits, and enzymes in their saliva accomplish the chemical work of digestion.


The canine then swallows the meal, which makes its way down the oesophagus and into the stomach. The stomach’s acid then further dissolves the food.


After that, it’s on to the intestines for the digested meal. Most of the nutrients in meals are absorbed via the small intestine.

Here, the gallbladder’s bile is introduced to the meal to further bind the food and neutralise the stomach acid. They supplement their diet with pancreatic enzymes to hasten the chemical reactions that digest and absorb their food.

The nutrients in the food are absorbed by the intestinal walls into the blood, which is then distributed throughout the body. The liver plays a key role because it is where the body processes the food’s nutrients.

So, by the time the food reaches the big intestine, the majority of the nutrients have already been absorbed. The large intestine is where the body absorbs any residual water from food that was not fully digested or absorbed elsewhere in the digestive process. Eventually, a stool is made out of the waste.


Dogs store their waste in a pouch called the rectum until there is a critical mass of waste to prompt a reflex that makes them need to defecate. The dog’s waste is eliminated when it has to use the restroom.


The average dog will need between 6 and 8 hours to digest its food. However, the “normal” digestion time for your dog might be affected by a number of things. A dog’s digestion time will vary based on factors such as their age, size, breed, and health.

However, the food itself has the largest impact on how long it takes a dog to digest.

First, the digestive process is sped up by the presence of liquid in food. The next most important consideration is the nutritional value and digestibility of the food.

Important aspects that affect how long it takes a dog to digest food are:

Breed \sSize
Age \sHydration
Conditions already present in the patient’s health
Format of nourishment (Wet vs Dry)
Their food can be easily digested


The ability of dog food to be digested is one indicator of the nutritional value of that meal. Considered an important indicator of food quality.

To get the most nutritional value for your dog’s buck, look for a diet that is easily digestible. The acid in food that is less digestible is not absorbed and is instead expelled in the faeces.

The nutrient density of food that is easier to digest is higher relative to the amount of food consumed. Increased nutrient absorption can be achieved by feeding your dog a diet that is easier to digest. To get the same number of nutrients, a dog on a less digestible diet would have to consume more food.

Let’s say your dog eats 100 grammes of food and then poops out 18 grammes of waste.

They consume 18% of their total calories from food. This suggests that they were only able to absorb 82% of the calories they took in due to the high amount of food waste (18%).

One item may have a digestibility of 82.0, whereas another may only have a digestion of 74.0. This is due to the fact that its nutritional value and absorption rate are drastically reduced. This implies the dog will have more gas and poop than usual compared to when they eat a more digestible meal.

The digestibility of dog food can be roughly ranked as follows:

75% Indicates Terrible food quality
Quality ranges from 75% to 82%, with 75% being the lowest.
82% = Delicious, nutritious fare


You should feed your dog food that is easy for him to digest for his own short-term and long-term health. The dog’s flatulence and stool quality will change temporarily. Faeces from a dog that has been fed a diet that is easy to digest will be less watery and more solid. (Simplifying the process of learning.)

Long-term benefits include a healthier digestive system because their digestive tract doesn’t have to work as hard to process the food they eat. This aids in the avoidance of diseases like colitis. Since it will be getting all the nutrients it needs, your dog’s skin and fur will improve as well. It has also been hypothesised that feeding your dog a food that is both easy to digest and rich in nutrients will help him maintain a steady disposition and joyful disposition. Please read this post on our blog for more information on the correlation between your dog’s diet and his or her behaviour.


The protein sources and preparation methods used to create dog food are two of the most important considerations when it comes to digestibility.


The digestibility of dog food is affected by the type of protein used in its production. The higher the digestibility rating of the meat, the more nutrients your dog will be able to absorb from it.

There are distinctions in protein sources for two key reasons. The first is that some kinds of meat are easier to stomach than others, such fish compared to lamb.

Experiments compared the digestibility of fish meal, poultry meal, and lamb meal, three of the main proteins used in dry dog food.

Among the several types of animal protein meals tested, poultry meal and fish meal scored highest in terms of providing a balanced diet. The digestibility of fish meal was 87.0 while that of poultry meal was just 80.2.

This implies that chicken and fish not only supply more of the necessary nutrients needed for a healthy dog, but are also easier for dogs to digest.

This stands in stark contrast to lamb meal, another common source of protein in dry dog food. In comparison to other sources of protein like chicken or fish, the digestibility rating of lamb meal was just 71.5, making it a poorer choice.

Meat meals like these are an example of a protein source, but you shouldn’t always select a meal from the list of protein sources on the back of your dog food. Meal is a significantly poorer quality protein source because it can contain slaughterhouse by-products such as hooves and feathers, among other things. Instead, look for the protein (chicken, beef, fish, etc.) on its own. Here at Pure, we only ever use premium muscle meat fit for human consumption, never any sort of meal.


The second variable is the protein’s origin and the manufacturing technique. Meal vs raw meat is a common choice here. In comparison to rendered poultry meal (the main ingredient in most dry dog food), raw chicken has a value of 88.2.

This means that the protein source and the method used to produce it significantly affect how well the dog meal digests. However, it appears that food processing has a far greater impact on digestibility and nutritional value than the base ingredient itself. So, the more refined a dish is, the less nutrients it contains and the less easily it may be digested.

This was investigated in a study that indicated adding raw chicken to dry dog food (brown biscuits) didn’t significantly increase the biscuits’ nutritional content.

When raw chicken was substituted for a large portion of the poultry meal in the food preparation process, there was minimal change in the overall digestibility of the food. Incorporating raw chicken as a substitute for 25% of the poultry meal in food manufacturing did not significantly improve digestibility (by only 1%).

This basically indicates that the main element that made the food less digestible was the manufacturing process itself. Therefore, the process of extruding it to generate dry dog food (brown biscuits) was the key element in lowering the product’s nutritional content, rather than the protein source or the digestion of the protein itself.


Thankfully, there is a current movement encouraging pet food producers to be more forthright about their products’ contents, production processes, and digestibility.

Dry kibble (brown biscuits) has a lesser digestion, however there are welcome options. They’re less likely to get your dog sick than a raw food diet, which could expose them to dangerous pathogens like E. coli and salmonella.

Our Pure Pet Food is prepared in a human-grade kitchen using only the highest quality whole ingredients, making it easily digestible for your pet. After being washed, the food is air dried at a low temperature to preserve it, which allows it to keep for a longer period of time without losing any of its nutritional content. In comparison to a raw food diet, this method eliminates the possibility of dangerous germs.


Water, undigested food, germs, and indigestible inorganic material make up a dog’s stool.

Undigested food is typically made up of nutrients that are either poorly digestible and thus not absorbed by the body or cannot be broken down by the body at all (like fibre).

Veggie scraps are one common example of what you might find in your dog’s poop. Having trouble digesting food doesn’t necessary imply your dog hasn’t gotten enough of it. Even if veggies contain fibre, they will still be able to get the nutrients. Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the body, but it is crucial to intestinal health just as it is in humans.

The quality of your dog’s poop can tell you a lot about its digestive system and, by extension, its general well-being. This is why it’s crucial to keep an eye on your dog and consult a vet if it starts acting strangely, such as by having diarrhoea, constipation, or straining while using the bathroom.

Consistent diarrhoea or vomiting in your dog may indicate a digestive disorder. For instance, your dog’s diarrhoea could be the result of anxiety, an unhealthy diet, parasites, or problems in the intestines and stomach, such as colitis or malabsorption.

This is why it’s crucial to become familiar with your dog’s digestive system and its typical behaviours. You and other dog owners will be able to see deviations from the ordinary in time to seek professional help if you are familiar with your dog’s typical behaviour. As a bonus, you’ll have a deeper appreciation for the optimal diet for canine health and happiness.








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