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Teeth and Digestion:

  • The digestive system is made up of all the organs needed to consume food and convert it (mechanically and chemically) into energy.
  • Besides the teeth, the dog's tongue also helps move food into the mouth.
  • The dog chews its food by the movement of its lower jaw.
  • The premolar and the carnassal teeth (the last upper premolar and the first lower molar) tear the meat to pieces.
  • The molars crush bone.
  • A young dog has only 28 milk teeth -- incisors, canines, and premolars, but no molars.
  • Around 6 or 7 months (or earlier for some breeds) a puppy looses its milk teeth and gets its full set of 42 adult teeth.
  • After chewing, the saliva secreted in the mouth starts the digestive process and helps the dog swallow the food.
  • The food travels down the esophagus to the stomach.
  • The stomach is a muscular pocket that holds from one quart in smaller dogs up to two gallons in big dogs.
  • Glands in the stomach wall secrete gastric juices.
  • The juices and the stomach muscles convert the food into a fluid mass ready for the small intestine.
  • In the small intestine nutrients are passed into the blood stream as the food mass makes its way to the large intestine -- and then out the dog.


Source: The Reader's Digest Illustrated Book of Dogs, 2nd ed., The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., Pleasantville, New York, 1993, p. 327-328.