How Strong is Your Dog’s Sense of Taste?

March 7, 2016

dog taste georgieBy Laurie Darroch

Dogs do have taste sensation on their tongues, but the way their taste buds function is somewhat different than ours. Their food preference may be affected more by their sense of smell than by the papillae in their taste buds. A dog’s taste buds are geared toward their particular needs, just as ours are.

Their sense of taste is part of survival in dog populace. The senses of taste and smell provide warnings as to the content of whatever food or substance they come across in their environment. The sense of taste is one that develops early in a dog.

Humans have many more taste buds than dogs do, with approximately 9,000 to a dog’s 1,700. Our sense of taste is much more selective than that of our canine companions. This may contribute to our perception that our dogs will eat just about anything, including things we find unpalatable and even disgusting. Like a child, dogs often put things in their mouths to see if it is edible. Since their sense of taste is limited, this may be part of why they will continue chewing something that is repulsive to us.

The opposite is true for the sense of smell. A dog’s sense of smell is far superior to that of a human. The sense of smell is more likely to attract a dog to food than the initial sense of taste. The sense of smell in a dog is one of their strongest guides in dealing and interacting with the world around them. The strength of their sense of smell varies by breed, but a dog has 125 million or more scent glands compared to the much lower human count of about 5 million. Every smell is a full story to your dog. Every taste is much less comprehensive for them.

Dogs generally do not like the strong smell of hot pepper (although that may vary by individual), and will often steer clear of foods that smell strongly of spicy peppers.Bitter tastes may be associated with poisons or inedible finds. A dog will let you know when they do not like a smell or a taste. They spit out food or medicines they find unpleasant. It dog taste kirbyis often easier to give a dog medication disguised in something that tastes and smells better to them, such as a piece of meat or a CANIDAE PURE Chewy Dog Treat.

One very unique sense the dog tongue provides is the ability to taste water, one that is shared with cats and other carnivores, but humans do not have. This ability is found at the tip of their tongue. It is important to always keep plenty of water available for your dog, no matter the weather.

Unlike cats, dogs will eat a much wider variety of foods, but even the instinct for survival may not let your dog know when a specific human food is one that is dangerous for them to consume. Dogs will eat fruits and vegetables as part of their diet, and often seem to enjoy consuming them; however, it is important to know and understand which ones are dangerous for your dog to consume.

When your dog is really hungry, he may seem to inhale the food you give him without any discrimination, but he does have some taste preferences and will favor the smell and taste of some food over others, if given a choice. Choose carefully and feed them food that tastes good, smells good, is healthy for them and is food they enjoy eating, such as CANIDAE.

Although your dog may not qualify as a taste expert, their sense of taste is made to do the job they need it to do in order to survive. Many dogs tolerate more variety than a cat does, but this does not mean it is healthy for your dog to consume everything. Their taste preferences can also be vastly affected by what they are exposed to in food options. As the responsible pet owner, you are the guide to your dog’s healthy eating.

Top photo by Georgie Pauwels/Flickr
Bottom photo by Kirby the Dorkie/Flickr

Read more articles by Laurie Darroch

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