The Dog Digestive Tract

The dog digestive tract differs from ours. Ever wonder why they can swallow without chewing? Why they throw up food only to wolf it down again? It's natural!

If your dog is throwing up whole chunks of food shortly after eating, it may be a normal bodily function.


Why a Healthy Dog Throws Up Whole Food

Dogs have a natural regurgitation instinct which allows them to spit out food that has not been processed correctly, then to re-swallow it. What do I mean? 

Many of our pooches tend to swallow quickly or "wolf down their food". If too much goes down too quickly it will be hard to digest so the body automatically regurgitates it.

I can remember dozens of times I took food away thinking my dogs had upset stomachs! While it doesn't look very appetizing to us, they seem to enjoy it the second time as much as they did the first.  Even if it looks nasty. And they probably digest it better as well.


Dog Digestion

Unlike humans whose digestion actually starts in the mouth by chewing to release enzymes in the saliva, the first step in dog digestion occurs in the stomach.

Powerful stomach acids break down even large pieces of protein and bones that dogs ingest.

Next it moves on to the small dog intestine. This is where the main part of the digestion occurs and where the food is assimilated into nutrients for the dog's body.

From the small intestine, the unassimilated food passes through to the large intestine. The large intestine is the last stop before fecal matter forms to decorate your yard.


Canines Digest Food Faster

The dog actually has the shortest digestive system of mammals. It takes roughly 8-9 hours for the whole digestive process. Puppies digest even faster which is why we need to feed them several times a day.

Why on earth would their digestive tract be so short? Think raw meat. The higher the stomach acid and the shorter the path, the less likely any bacteria from that raw stuff can hurt them.

It's simply not in there long enough.

Keep in mind pooping is just as important as eating. Watch your dog's elimination habits. They may tell if something is wrong before any other symptoms happen. Please read about Poop Watch and Dog Poop Health.

Although most dogs experience some gas just like we do, particularly unpleasant gas means something is wrong. You may want to read Dog Farting. (And yes, I really did name it that.)

Often the dog digestive tract can be helped with canine probiotics.


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