Home Forums Dog Dog Food and Treats Unique digestive system characteristics of dogs

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    Dogs belong to the carnivorous order in animal taxonomy. The dog’s ancestors mainly preyed on small animals and occasionally used tubers to satisfy their hunger. After being trained and raised by human beings, the diet of dogs has changed, and dogs have become omnivorous animals that mainly eat meat. However, vegetarianism can also maintain life. Even so, they still maintain the digestion characteristic of mainly eating meat. For example, the dog’s teeth have a pair of sharp canine teeth at the top and bottom, which shows that the carnivores are good at biting the prey. The dog’s molars are also sharp and strong, which can cut off the food. When biting the bone head, the pressure between the upper and lower teeth can reach 165 kg, but they are not good at chewing. Therefore, dogs are really “gobbling up” when they eat, and seldom chew.

    There are abundant striated muscles on the esophageal wall of dogs, and the vomiting center is developed. When ingested, it can cause a strong vomiting reflex. It is a unique defense ability to expel the poison swallowed in the stomach. The dog’s salivary gland is developed, which can secrete a large amount of saliva, moisten the mouth and feed, and facilitate chewing and swallowing. Saliva also contains lysozyme, which has bactericidal effect. In the hot season, depending on the evaporation and heat dissipation of water in saliva, the body temperature can be adjusted. Therefore, in summer, we can often see that dogs open their big mouths and extend their long tongues in place of sweating. The content of hydrochloric acid in gastric juice is 0.4-0.6%, which is the first in domestic animals. Hydrochloric acid can make the protein expand and denature, which is easy to decompose and digest. Therefore, the dog has a strong ability to digest protein, which is the basis of its meat eating habits.

    Dogs can empty all the food in their stomach 5-7 hours after eating, which is much faster than other herbivores or omnivores. The length of the intestine in dogs is only 3-4 times of the body length, while that in horses and rabbits with single stomach is 12 times of the body length. The dog has a thick intestinal wall and strong absorption capacity, which are typical meat eating characteristics. The liver of dog is bigger, which is about 3% of body weight. The bile secreted is good for fat absorption. The defecation center of dogs is underdeveloped, so they can’t defecate in the walking state like other domestic animals.

    Dogs can digest and absorb protein and fat very well, but they have poor digestion ability for crude fiber because of insufficient chewing and short intestine and no fermentation ability. Therefore, when feeding the dog with vegetables, it should be chopped and boiled, not fed in whole piece or in whole tree.

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