A practical approach to determine apparent faecal digestibility using privately owned dogs may be a useful tool in evaluating differences in nutrient digestibility between dogs with various life stages. The aim was to develop a simple method that would suit such studies using the whitening agent titanium oxide (TiO2) as an indigestible marker. Forty privately owned, healthy male and female dogs of various breeds were included. Selection was based on an owner questionnaire. Means with their standard errors age and body weight (BW) of the dogs were 6·2 (0·6) years (range 1·0–13·0 years) and 22·3 (2·5) kg (range 5·0–43·2 kg), respectively. Owners were provided a commercial dry extruded diet supplemented with a commercially available TiO2 containing kibble (final dietary TiO2 content: 0·77 g/kg). Dogs were fed the diet for seven consecutive days at 480 kJ × BW0·75. On day 7, owners were asked to collect all faeces during 24 h and store faeces at −20°C. Faecal samples were analysed for DM, ash, N, crude fat (CF), crude fibre and Ti and gross energy (GE) and organic matter were calculated. Means with their standard errors apparent faecal digestibility of GE, DM, organic matter, N, CF and crude fibre was 83·7 (0·71), 77·4 (0·79), 83·0 (0·61), 77·7 (0·81), 94·3 (0·51) and 30·3 (4·85), respectively. No significant differences were observed in nutrient digestibility due to weight, age, sex or neuter status. The digestibility assay using a practical approach described here may be a promising tool to determine digestibility of dietary nutrients under free-living conditions. Owner compliance, however, is a potentially limiting factor.