Doggie Digestion

Have you ever wondered if dogs digest their food the same way humans do?  Maybe you have heard not to feed your dog like you feed yourself, and have wondered why that is.

The answer, in short, is that a dog’s digestive system is vitally different from the human digestive system.  Dogs eat differently than us, which is both cause and indicator that they process food differently than us.

Domesticated dogs evolved from wolves.  Many dogs are still inherently wild animals, and while a toy breed has little chance of surviving in the wild, many other canines can and do survive on their own.  Like wolves, dogs use their teeth and mouths to grab food and rip it apart, bones and all.  They chew and ingest large chunks of meat, fat, and bone quickly.   Their food does not undergo the first round of enzymatic breakdown that it does in the human mouth with our saliva.

The food passes through the esophagus into the dog’s stomach, where it is met with high levels of potent hydrochloric acid, stronger than the acid inside the human stomach, because here is where dog digestion essentially begins.  The acid also needs to be powerful enough to break up large chunks of protein and, if they are present, bones.  If what goes down doesn’t digest enough, dogs are able to regurgitate their food and try again.  It undergoes the process of stomach digestion a second time, and when all the food has been successfully broken down into liquid, it passes into the small intestine.

From here the process is not that radically different from human digestion.  In the small intestine, where the bulk of digestion occurs, nutrients are absorbed and assimilated into the body.  Anything that can be used is extracted, such as amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.  Whatever is left over passes on to the large intestine in a more solid form. The large intestine removes water as needed from feces, keeping the hydration level of the body constant.  It stores fecal matter until it is released through the rectum, out the anus, and onto the ground.

The feces ejected from a dog have gone through a process of only eight or nine hours.  It is the shortest mammal digestion time from food to feces.  Like people, dogs can become bloated or gassy, which is usually a sign of improper nutrition or eating habits.  Feces should be removed from the ground using dog poop bags.  High quality, affordable poop bags are on sale at

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