What Are A Dog's Favorite Tastes?

Why are you eating that snow!

Have you ever seen your dog chewing on a piece of cardboard and wondered, "What is so appealing about that stale, tasteless paper?" If your answer was yes, you're not alone. Time and time again we are baffled by our dog's food choices. Sometimes, we're even a little sickened when certain dog-eating-his-own-waste moments pop up.

Dogs Have an Extra Taste
Obviously, dogs have a different sense of taste than us humans. Taste, which is sensed by the papillae on the tongue, is a little different in each and every mammal. Much of this has to do with genetics that have been passed down and evolved from generation to generation. Humans have taste receptors that pick up sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Dogs also have these four receptors, but they also have 1 more.

Bon Appetit for the meat!
Dogs have always been omnivores, which means that their diets consist of both meat and plants. Actually in the wild, their diet is approximately 80% meat and 20% plants. Because of the dominant presence of meat in their diet, dogs have actually developed a taste sensor that hunts out meats, fats, and meat related chemicals. Not only is this an extra taste, it is more dominant than the other receptors! Dogs will actually go out of their way to seek out the meat taste.

A Dog's Sense of Taste Is Not as Well Developed
Even though dogs have an extra taste sense, that does not mean they can taste their food as well as humans. This is because dogs have less than a quarter of the amount of taste buds that humans have; humans have 9000 taste buds compared to a dog's 1700. This accounts for a dog's willingness to eat almost anything!Unfortunately, it's true.

Dogs Favorite Tastes
For the reasons that I mentioned above, dogs are obsessed with meat flavors. Because of this, most dog treats are now made to be extremely meaty, and don't be surprised if your dog will do just about anything to get his paws on one. In addition to the meat flavor, there are a few other tastes that stand out to dogs. One of their favorite tastes is the chemical furaneol, which is primarily found in tomatoes and a number of other fruits. Experts believe this taste developed because wild dogs would complement their meaty meals with a sweet, fruity counterpart. All in all, dogs love sweetness.

On the flip side, dogs hate bitter tastes. In fact, a dog's hate for anything bitter has pushed many companies to develop sprays that dog owners can use as a repellent to keep canines off of the couch, counters, etc. Understanding your dog's sense of taste will help you to give him the food that he desperately craves, and it will help you to be the very best owner possible.

By: Tim Snyder
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