Animal Welfare

Hey Fido! Did You Even Taste That?

It would seem that a dog's world is motivated by food, always yearning and begging for something to eat. But do they even taste what they eat? How do their taste buds compare to ours?

As humans, we love to taste our food, to savor it and enjoy the flavors, but dogs just gobble it up in a second without even chewing. The food just slips down their throats and sometimes it seems like a waste when you give them something special to eat.

And you wonder, do dogs even taste their food?  We know that smell is the main sense for dogs and helps them decide whether or not an item will be eaten. But as it turns out, they do taste food! They do not have the amount of taste buds humans have, but they do have some. Dogs only have about 1,700 taste buds when we have up to 9,000.

An article in Psychology Today reports that dogs can taste differences in food. They have taste buds to detect bitter, sweet, and sour. But the main difference between dogs and humans is that they do not have the same response to salt as humans and most other mammals. Since dogs were primarily carnivores in the wild, their taste buds are designed to find meat products, and since meat contains sufficient sodium, there is no need to seek out salt.

Although they are pretty happy to receive a potato chip occasionally, they do not crave salt they way we do. Dogs are omnivores, eating plants and meat, but what gets their taste buds excited is the taste and smell of meat. You won’t see the same excitement if you pass them a piece of broccoli. Sense of smell contributes in humans to the way food tastes and helps us determine how it will taste. Without a sense of smell, we could be confused about what something tastes like. Dogs have a huge advantage over humans with their sense of smell, and that enhances their eating pleasure.

Dogs do have taste buds to enjoy sweets, but they do not appreciate bitter or spice flavors.

But the question remains, why do they not savor their food instead of swallowing it all and as quickly as possible? I guess there is always hope there are more treats coming, so I better hurry up in case there are.

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