How Long Does it Take for a Dog to Digest Food?

How long does it take for a dog to digest food? Roughly between 6-10 hours.

This greatly depends on the dog’s size, breed, and age, but as a general rule of thumb, you are looking at around 6 hours for smaller dogs to 10 hours for larger breeds.

Puppies are around 4 hours, give or take.

How long does it take for food to get to a dog’s stomach?

Almost instantly…

Once your dog has chewed their food and swallowed, it takes just a few seconds for the food to travel down their oesophagus and into their stomach.

How do you know if your dog has digestive problems?

According to MSD Vet Manual, signs that your dog is experiencing digestive problems include:

  • Regurgitation/vomiting
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Straining to go to the toilet
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive drooling
  • Diarreah
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration

The above symptoms can then be used by your vet to determine the likely cause of their digestive issue.

For example, if your dog is experiencing biting, chewing, or swallowing issues, this would indicate that they could potentially have a disease/issue with their teeth, mouth, tongue, or oesophagus.

Equally, vomiting indicates a likely inflammation in the stomach and/or intestines, caused by an infection or irritation.

The above is just a guideline. If you have any concerns, speak to your vet without delay.

Do dogs stop eating when full?

Generally speaking, dogs will stop when they feel full. This very much depends on the dog though.

Some greedier types may push it, but rarely will they eat themselves to death, as some believe is the case.

In fact, I remember our family chocolate labrador, Ruby, managed to get the lid off her food bin one day and proceeded to eat her way through it.

It was the dried (kibble) type and of course, she ate as much as she could guzzle, but even an ultra greedy chocolate lab couldn’t keep on eating.

She suffered a bit afterwards but was ultimately fine.

That’s not to say that your dog would stop, but just know that they do have an off switch and will generally stop munching.

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Related FAQ’s

How long does it take for a dog’s stomach to empty?

As above, it can take between 4-12 hours, but generally speaking, you are looking at between 6 and 10 hours for a dog to complete its digestion cycle.

How long does it take for a dog to digest chocolate?

See our post on feeding your dog chocolate for a detailed run-through, but for the quick answer, you are looking at around 6-12 hours for chocolate and the potential risks of chocolate poisoning to take effect.