Have you ever walked down a dog food aisle in a store and wondered if your furry friend can tell the difference between one type of food and the next? Different bags boast about special ingredients or reasons why your pooch will love their food, but can dogs truly taste the difference? The answer: Yes, they can!
Even though our best friends wolf down their food, they can still discern between a delicious kibble and a less appetizing substitute. However, our dog’s ability to taste their food is different than how we experience flavor. Let’s break down exactly how our best friends’ sense of taste work and how it impacts their food preferences.
How Do Dogs Taste Their Food?
Both dogs and humans are able to taste food the same way – through their taste buds. The key difference between us and our canine companions is that dogs have a different set of taste buds than humans.
According to studies, dogs have roughly one-sixth the number of taste buds as the average human. While that may seem small, that still means that your furry friend still has around 1,700 taste receptors to enjoy their food. Those taste buds mean that our furry friends can and will prefer a kibble or wet food that tastes better to them.
While humans can distinctly taste sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy foods, dogs react to these individual tastes differently than people. For example, dogs can taste sweet things, but don’t love sour or bitter sensations. Dog’s also don’t have the taste buds to truly appreciate spicy foods, but they can still feel the heat and have a painful experience without any of the enjoyable flavor.
Salt is another notable example. While people generally love a good salty snack, dogs don’t crave it in the same way. According to Psychology Today, ancient dogs never developed the same desire for salt because their largely meat-based diet was already high in sodium. As such, dogs generally stay away from salty foods and can gravitate to sweeter treats or other taste sensations.
Canine taste buds react to more than just the taste of food. Dogs have taste buds at the tip of their tongues that identify the taste of water. These special taste buds are even more active after your dog eats sugary or salty foods that may dehydrate them. This sensation lets them know that they should drink more water to keep them hydrated.
Your dog’s nose also plays a role in deciding what food is delicious. While dogs may not have as many taste buds as humans, their sense of smell is notably better than ours, to the point of where they can even tell if something is too salty, sweet, bitter, or sour for their tastes. This combination of smell and taste is part of why dogs will instinctively gravitate toward foods with meat and meat-related fats.
How to Identify Good, Tasty Dog Food, Even for Picky Eaters
Since dogs can taste their food, that also means that they can have a discerning palate. Dog food may not seem appetizing to us, but that same kibble or wet food is specially made to not only taste great to dogs, but also provide them with the nutrition they need to stay happy and healthy.
Of course, some dogs are a little more particular about what’s in their food bowl. Picky eaters are generally defined as dogs who won’t eat all their food at least once a day. This could be a sign your dog has a sensitive stomach, but it may indicate overfeeding or that your pooch just isn’t that big of a fan of that particular food.
No dog wants to eat boring, stale food every day. Eating is a happy occasion, which makes it important to find a dog food that combines both great taste and nutrition. There are a few different ways to encourage healthy eating habits for picky pooches, and that includes making sure you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s made to appeal to their particular tastes.
What does it take to truly satisfy your furry friend? It starts with a lot of high-quality protein. Dogs instinctively love meat, which is why Bil-Jac uses 23 lbs. of fresh, farm-raised chicken to make a 27 lb. bag of Picky No More® Dog Food. We even took it to another level by adding chicken liver to ramp up the flavor for even the most persnickety dogs.
It’s important to note that ingredients aren’t the only factor that impacts the taste of dog food. Preparation also plays a big role in flavor and quality. Slow cooking Bil-Jac Dry Dog Food at a lower controlled temperature helps protect the essential nutrients. This process means that dogs get more of what they need, while still loving the taste of their dog food.
Celebrate Meal Time with Delicious Dog Food
Dinner time should be a time for celebration. That’s why we take special care to provide dog food that’s made to make mealtime a happy, nutritious occasion.
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