Dog Digestion: Here’s What You Need To Know

Ever thought about what happens to the food that enters your doggo’s mouth?

Dog digestion is an interesting topic as it is the process that gives your pup the nutrients they need to stay happy and healthy, and the energy to get up to all those crazy antics.

What you put in the top end will significantly impact what comes out of the bottom end!

So, let’s explore the topic of dog digestion and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this complicated process.

Dog Digestion: Here’s What You Need To Know

How Does Dog Digestion Work?

When your pup gobbles up their food or snaffles a dropped morsel off the ground, their bodies will need to process it. That is called digestion and is the process where food is broken down by your pup’s digestive system and nutrients are absorbed by their body.

Here’s what’s going on in that process:

  1. Mouth: Digestion all begins in the mouth, the entry point for any food. Your pup will use its teeth to chew the food into smaller pieces. Saliva is also produced, which contains enzymes that help break down starches in the food to better digest them.

  2. Esophagus: After chewing, the food is swallowed and travels down the esophagus, a muscular tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. No specific digestion or absorption of nutrients occurs within the esophagus, it simply transports the food to the stomach and seals it in there, preventing the backflow of stomach acid.

  3. Stomach: Once in the stomach, food is mixed with gastric juices, including hydrochloric acid and enzymes. These help to break down proteins and kill bacteria. The stomach muscles also churn the food, turning it into a semi-liquid substance called chyme.

  4. Small Intestine: What’s left of the food then moves into the small intestine, where most of the digestion and absorption of nutrients occurs. A few things happen during this part of the digestion process:

    Enzymes: The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine. The enzymes break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats for easier absorption into the bloodstream.

    Bile: The liver produces bile, which is stored in the gallbladder and released into the small intestine to aid in the digestion and absorption of fats.

    Nutrient Absorption: The small intestine absorbs nutrients from the digested food into the bloodstream. This process is greatly aided by villi, tiny finger-like projections that line the small intestine, increasing the surface area available for nutrient absorption. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars, proteins into amino acids, and fats into fatty acids and glycerol. These nutrients are then transported to various cells in the body to provide energy and support everyday bodily functions.

    Water: Along with nutrient absorption, the small intestine also absorbs some water. This helps to maintain your doggo’s hydration levels and prevents excessive water loss when they dispose of their waste.

  5. Large Intestine: The undigested and unabsorbed materials, along with water, then move into the large intestine or colon. This is where a last pass happens on any remaining good stuff in the food! The colon's main function is to absorb water and electrolytes, forming feces from the remaining waste products.

  6. Rectum and Anus: By the time the final product reaches this part of your dog’s digestive system, all the nutrients and water have been absorbed from it. All that remains is waste (or the technical term is feces). The feces are stored in the rectum until they are eliminated from your pup’s butt when they poop.

Why Good Food Is Important For Digestion

As we just learnt, the process of digestion is all about converting the good stuff in your dog’s food into energy and fuel for their body. If the food you are feeding your pup is not rich in the vital nutrients they need, then they will create more waste and will be hungrier more often.

Here’s a couple of reasons why nutrient-rich food is essential from a digestive perspective:

Proper Digestive Function

Nutrient-rich food provides the necessary components for a healthy body. It contains a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Not only do these nutrients keep your pup in good overall health, but they also help to maintain the integrity and function of their digestive organs, including the stomach, intestines, and associated enzymes.

Nutrient Absorption

A nutrient-rich diet ensures that your doggo receives the essential nutrients they need for overall health. By providing nutrient-rich food, you increase the availability and absorption of essential nutrients, meaning your doggo has to eat less to get the good stuff out. It doesn’t hurt that nutrient-rich food promotes optimal health and vitality too!

Digestive Efficiency:

Nutrient-rich food (like Real Dog Food) is specially formulated to be easily digestible. That means it can be efficiently broken down and absorbed by your pup’s digestive system. Highly digestible diets can help minimise any strain on your dog’s digestive organs and ensure your furry friend is obtaining the maximum nutritional benefit from their food. This is particularly important for dogs with sensitive stomachs or digestive disorders.

Fibre Content and Digestive Health

Nutrient-rich food contains the appropriate amount of dietary fibre. Fibre plays a crucial role in maintaining good digestive health. It helps with the exit path, shall we say! Fibre adds bulk to the stool, promoting regular bowel movements and minimising the risk of constipation or diarrhea. Fibre can also support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This helps maintain a healthy balance of the gut microbiota and supports overall digestive function.

Reduced Digestive Upset

If you have a doggo with a touchy tum, you’ll know the perils (and smells) of digestive upset! Feeding your dog nutrient-rich food can help minimise the risk of upset tummies. High-quality diets formulated with easily digestible ingredients and balanced nutrient profiles are less likely to cause digestive issues such as bloating and gas. Rather, they promote comfort and good wellbeing.

What Does Good Food Look Like?

So, what food is best for good doggy digestion? Well, we think one of the greatest options is Real Dog Food. And that is because it has been specially formulated by leading pet nutritionists and professors of animal nutrition. The unique formulations perfectly fit the dietary needs of a huge range of pups - big, small, old, young, working or lazy, and even those with allergies or wheat intolerances.

Packed with the correct balance of probiotics, vitamins, minerals, proteins and goodness, it is hard to imagine a more healthy and balanced diet than this nutritious dog food for your furry best friend.

The great news is, our baked biscuits are a complete dietary solution for your doggo, so you don’t need to supplement feed with any other kind of food.

Check out our range of complete and nutrient rich foods here.