How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Digest Food and Poop?

If it can be difficult to potty train a dog, no matter how early you begin training him. While training your buddy, you also have to understand the times he usually needs to poop and recognize his little signals. How long it takes a dog to digest food depends on a lot of factors, and you will understand his routine with time. Here, we’ve brought you all the things you need to know about a dog’s digestive system.

How Long Does It Take a Dog to Digest His Food?

Ideally, a healthy, adult dog should take about 6-8 hours to digest his food, and excrete it. A lot of factors influence this time, but you should realize your dog’s routine pretty quickly. You need to keep an eye on the time it takes for your dog to usually poop, so you can notice if there is something wrong with him. If your dog isn’t digesting his food in time or isn’t pooping for long periods, he might be sick. A problem with his digestive system means he isn’t getting enough nutrients from his food. This will have further adverse effects on his health.

How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Digest Food and Poop


Factors That Affect a Dog’s Digestive Time

The Age

Puppies need to poop faster after meals when compared to older dogs. As dogs age, they can hold it in longer, but puppies need to relieve themselves immediately after each meal. With puppies, we recommend taking them out to poop 20 minutes after the meal. However, this isn’t applicable in the morning. In the morning, you should take your dogs, both puppies, and adults, out to relieve themselves immediately.

Likewise, older dogs need to go often too. Their digestive system starts to slow with age, and isn’t as efficient as before. These dogs cannot digest most of this food when they eat something. Most of this food is removed from the body.

puppies take longer to digest their food

The Health

As dogs age, they become unable to digest a lot of things they were previously able to. You need to be careful with older, or sick dogs because the times they need to digest food greatly fluctuate. However, the inefficiency of their digestive system means they might get constipated very easily.

If your dog hasn’t pooped once a day, the diet you give him might be the reason for his constipation. However, if a dog doesn’t poop once every 2-3 days, you need to talk to your vet about it. A dog’s eating and pooping habits are a very good indication of his health. If he isn’t pooping enough, something might be extremely wrong.

two german shepherd running with one holding a stick in his mouth

The Diet

While it seems like your dog eats whatever you give him, that’s not true. Just because a dog eats something doesn’t mean it’s okay for him. The dog might not be able to digest it, and even if it can digest it, it may still be bad for its body in the long run.

The type of dog food you feed your dog is also important. Does your dog have kibble or wet food as its primary diet? 75% of water is contained in ingredients that make wet food.  Muscle meat is an example of a component of wet food that is made of a lot of water.  If your dog has food with high water content, he will need to poop after long periods and many feedings.

However, feeding your dog kibble is also important. Kibble has a lot of nutrients that are essential for your dog. You can also add vegetables, meat, and other things to your kibble for a varied diet.

dog sitting and a human feeding him a treat

The Breed

The breed of your dog, and ultimately his size and weight are of extreme significance. There is an average weight for every dog breed, and if your dog is overweight, he can have digestive problems. Your vet will be able to tell you the average weight for your dog, and you should work hard to maintain it. If your dog starts developing diarrhea, or constipation, you need to get in touch with your vet.  These conditions could be because of his extra weight from his system.

In contrast, if you see your dog gaining a lot of weight, even though his diet and the exercise he is getting remain the same, there might be something wrong. Talk to your vet about it.

dog smiling up at the camera, How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Digest Food and Poop

What Is the Digestibility of Food?

The digestibility of food is defined as the ability of the food to be absorbed into the body. Food with high digestibility is completely or majorly absorbed into the blood. The dog excretes a lot of the low-digestibility food out of its body.

In humans, 70% of the food is digested in the small intestine, and 30% of the food is digested in the stomach.  In contrast, the digestion of food happens 70% in the stomach and only 30% in the small intestine in the dog. Dog food with a digestibility rating of 75% or below, is considered poor for digestion. 25% of the food is excreted out of the body in the feces. A dog can have dog food with a digestibility of 75-84%.  Finally, food that has a  digestibility of over 85% is considered amazing in terms of nutrient absorption.

If you feed your dog food with high digestibility, he will not need to poop so often. Whereas, if your feed your dog food that has a lot of digestibility rating, he will need to poop very often.

It is best to buy dog food with good digestubility


Your dog should poop for about 7 hours about a meal. If he doesn’t, check if you’ve made changes in his diet or surroundings. If your dog appears lethargic and starts skipping meals, you should take him to a vet. Chances are, your furry friend has a stomach infection. The vet will prescribe him some medicine and a special diet. However, if the problem is something serious, he will identify it in time. If you identify the problem in time, the chances of safe recovery increase.

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