Ever seen your dog swallow a piece of food whole, or eat something that would make you sick? Here’s a break-down on how they digest their food.
Human jaw- can move up and down side to side and in a rounded motion. Teeth are designed for grinding having a flatter surface.
Dog jaw- can only move up and down. The teeth are designed to crush dense objects, having a three root system and are solid and sharp.
Human- used for breaking down food and lubricating digestion.
Dog- also used for lubricating food but they lack the enzymes to break down food. Instead their saliva contains enzymes that kill off bacteria. If you've ever seen your dog eat something old and gross and not get sick? Now you know why.
Humans- helps keep food from entering the wind pipe and designed for food to stay in our stomachs
Dogs- Good gag reflex. Even though dogs cannot chew up their food before it goes down the throat, it must still be the right size and amount to fit. If not, the dog simply throws up! Your dog is not sick. It's just his body telling him to try again. I know it's gross but completely natural.
Humans- food takes about one hour to move through our stomach, but depending on the amount and complexity sometimes longer.
Dogs- this is where most of their ability to break down foods take place. Their stomach is more acidic so it can break down large pieces of meat and bone. Food is kept in the stomach for a longer period of time, allowing the acid to break down animal proteins, bones, and fats. This explains why dogs can live with being fed only once or twice a day. They feel full longer because the food remains in their stomach longer.
Humans- where absorption of food takes place, the human intestinal tract is a lot longer than a dogs and therefore the body has more time to absorb nutrients from more complex foods such as plant and grain based foods.
Dogs-Digestive tract is a lot smaller. This means the dogs have less time to absorb nutrients from their food. This is why dogs do better on foods that are easily broken down such as meats bones and organs. But can struggle on complex foods such as plants and grains. This also means that bacteria have less time to multiply and cause problems. Ever seen your dog eat poop? Yes very gross, but plant based nutrients found in poo have been pre-digested making it a very convenient meal for our canine friend.
Yes some of our doggy friend’s habits may not be socially accepted by human standards but as you can see there may be reasoning behind their behaviour. Just maybe hold back from those doggy kisses!
Bianca is the owner and groomer at Funky Fur dog grooming and always looking for ways to help you care for your pet.