Dog Wishes You Knew About the Canine Stomach
Most pet parents don’t know that their pup’s stomach has a greater role in digestion than what they give it credit for. Your dog will be able to better digest his food and waste if you understand how the stomach works, as well as recognize when your pup needs medical attention from an expert veterinarian.
Temporary storage and much more
Your dog’s stomach is a large, muscular sac-like organ located between the esophagus and small intestine. It assists in the early stages of digestion by performing three important functions:
1) churning food into smaller pieces with digestive enzymes, so it can be absorbed more easily; 2) absorbing liquid from your pet’s meal to produce highly concentrated material called chyme that will make its way through their intestines for further breakdown; 3) producing acids which help break down proteins involved in the initial stage of protein hydrolysis.
Storage: The stomach is a perfect place for storing food because it’s short-term but also has the ability to digest over an extended period of time. It allows you to eat quickly and then continue eating at your own pace later on when needed, which helps keep you satisfied while giving your body sufficient nutrients.
Mixer/grinder: The stomach holds a secret ingredient for making the perfect smoothie. When food enters your mouth, it’s ground into tiny pieces in an acid bath and mixed with enzymes to create something called chyme.
Controller: The stomach controls the rate of release of food into the small intestine.
The stomach is a beautiful organ, so diverse and complex that it can be thought of as the ‘man-machine.’ It has muscular walls to grind down food and unique cells which secrete enzymes during digestion. In addition, with its many folds, this stretchy pouch expands when we eat for more space!
The most important cells lining the inside of your stomach are mucous cells. These guys produce an alkaline, bicarbonate-rich substance that coats and protects the slippery walls with a protective layer called “mucus.” The damage could occur to sensitive tissue over time without this coating, resulting in something awful like ulcers!
Some cells secrete hydrochloric acid, which creates an extremely acidic environment — about pH 2 (pH 7 is neutral), although this can vary from one dog to the next. Such a low pH can remove paint from many surfaces! In the stomach, hydrochloric acid helps convert pepsinogen to pepsin, the enzyme responsible for breaking down proteins. It also disables bacteria and other microorganisms that may have been eaten during the meal.
Proteases (enzymes that break down proteins)
Pepsinogen is a protein-digesting enzyme precursor that activates when it contacts hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid converts pepsinogen into its active form, the strong protease called Pepsin. This happens in the stomach, where proteins are actually digested by this potent digestive agent for food to be absorbed later on down south at our favorite destination – the small intestine!
At least eight variations of pepsinogen are secreted primarily by cells of the stomach known as chief cells. These enzyme precursors convert to their full-blown activity after encountering hydrochloric acids (HCl). The process occurs specifically within one’s gut which finishes off what starts up top with those pesky enzymes, converting these proteases.
The stomach is home to a plethora of digestive enzymes such as pepsinogen, which begins protein digestion when activated by gastrin and hydrochloric acid.
A very effective food grinder and mixer
Your whole digestive system is lined with muscle, but there’s an extra layer in the stomach that enables complex grinding movements. Low frequency and sustained contractions within the upper part of your gut create pressure inside it to help push food through. But lower down, where wave-like contractions (aka peristalsis) occur, those become stronger as they move toward the sphincter between your stomach and small intestine – which then contracts again at its end to push food back. Up into your mouth for a second, go around!
The muscles deep within our guts are doing all this work without any conscious input from us – so while we might think we’re just “eating lunch,” what really happens is that these days have been going on long before you.
On to the next stage
The food you eat is transformed into a liquid, known as chyme. The stomach slowly releases the contents through gastric juices and enzymes that break down proteins, fats, sugars, etc. These nutrients are then absorbed by small intestine cells to be distributed throughout your body’s tissues for use in cellular processes such as generating new tissue or providing energy for muscle contractions (8).
Animal scientists have learned from this process that different foods move at varying rates and leave segments of the digestive tract unequally filled with digested material because some parts can only accommodate a few things before they get full. In contrast, others don’t fill up until later on during digestion (4).
What the stomach doesn’t do
A well-functioning digestive system is essential to your dog’s health. It allows them to use the nutrients in food for energy and building and repairing tissues, which would otherwise be impossible without a properly working stomach. If you’re worried about how your pet digests its food (or if they have any other problems), you must talk with his vet as soon as possible.
If your dog is suffering from digestive problems, it can lead to several health issues. A well-functioning stomach will enable them the energy they need and help with tissue repairs in their body. If you have any questions or concerns about your pup’s digestion system, be sure to talk with a veterinarian!