Have you ever wondered how long your Pit takes to digest its food?
This breed has a healthy appetite, and they can put away a good amount of food. You’ll have to pick up that mess later, but how long until their last-eaten meal turns into the feces you toss in a doggy bag?
You might think that you have it worked out like clockwork. Many pet parents get into a rhythm with their dogs, learning when they’ll poop and pee throughout the day.
A routine is always welcome, but the digestive process isn’t as cut and dry as you think.
Understanding the Digestive Process
Before we go any further, let’s clear up some misconceptions about the digestive tract.
When people think of digestion, they immediately go to the unseen process that happens in the intestinal tract. However, digestion begins long before that.
When your dog eats, the food enters the mouth. Your Pit uses its strong, enormous jaws to turn that food into a pulp that’s easy to swallow.
The food then passes through the esophagus and enters the stomach. The stomach is where partially digest sits and waits to move into the intestines.
The food is sitting there doing nothing!
The stomach is a highly acidic environment. It’s even more for dogs. That’s how they can eat garbage and raw meat without worrying about getting sick.
Their stomach acid breaks down food into a liquid pulp, prepping it for the intestines.
How long does food sit in your Pitbull’s stomach?
On average, food sits in the stomach for four to eight hours.
That’s a broad range, but we’ll get into factors that affect the timeline later.
As medium- to large-sized dogs, Pits usually fall into the middle of that range. So, you can expect food to sit in the belly for about 6 hours.
After that, the broken-down food moves into the small intestines. That’s where most of the nutrient absorption happens.
Then, it moves to the large intestine, turning into the feces you pick up. The latter part of the process after the stomach is referred to as the digestive tract.
In total, food takes between six and eight hours to go through the digestive tract.
That brings us to a grand total of 10 to 16 hours from eating to complete digestion and bowel-emptying.
Factors That Affect the Digestion Timeline
The 10- to 16-hour timeline is the best estimate. The truth is that the digestive process is more complex than that.
Some dogs may digest food in as little as four hours! Others will take more than 16 hours.
The range we covered is normal for the Pitbull, but many factors come into play.
Size and Breed
Of course, size and breed make a huge difference.
Smaller dogs usually process foods much quicker. They eat less, but their bodies digest food only a fraction of the time as a massive dog.
That’s one of the reasons why puppies and toy breeds seem to go to the bathroom more often. They simply have a more efficient system.
Age is another factor that can influence digestion.
A young adult dog has a relatively pristine gastrointestinal tract. They’re getting a good amount of exercise and are at the peak of their health.
Things change as canines get older. Like human seniors, elderly dogs can suffer from more regular constipation.
Things come to a crawl, and the digestive process takes several hours longer.
What’s your dog eating?
Interestingly, the quality of dog food can impact digestion. Generally, formulas high in grains and carbohydrates take longer to process.
The ingredients are of lower quality, resulting in fewer nutrients getting into the system, too.
Meanwhile, protein-rich dog food will keep your dog more regular. Protein is absorbed into the body efficiently, leading to quicker digestion.
Related: Best Food for Pitbull puppies
Regarding exercise, the digestion rate comes down to how much energy your dog needs.
Pups who are constantly exerting physical energy use up more fuel.
They need more calories to burn, so the body digests food quickly. A canine that lives a sedentary lifestyle is the opposite.
They barely use up calories, making the body’s digestive process slow.
What Makes Digestion Take Longer?
If your dog seems to be amidst digestive troubles, there could be a few reasons.
Pitbulls are tough and adaptable, but they’re not immune to stomach problems.
Medications can wreak havoc on the gut microbiome. Your Pit’s stomach and digestive tract are full of healthy microorganisms.
The gut flora promotes efficient digestion. But when a dog takes antibiotics and other medicines, the drug kills the microbiome. It leaves the system picking up the pieces.
The result is diarrhea, stomach pain, and more.
Stress can do the same thing. Fortunately, you can fix this problem with probiotics. Probiotic-rich dog food will introduce beneficial bacteria, making the system more efficient.
Our Final Thoughts
Pitbulls usually need between 10 and 16 hours to digest their meals fully. Hopefully, you’re providing consistently hearty meals that fulfill your dog’s dietary requirements.
When you do, your dog will eat more food before the last batch gets processed.
That’s OK. Your Pit should have a steady supply of food. A healthy digestive system is always working to give your pet nutrients and energy