If you’re a dog owner, you might wonder: Does dog food taste good to dogs? What flavors do dogs prefer, and how do I know if my dog likes the food I’m buying?
Canine flavor preferences vary just as ours do, but they taste differently from humans. Keep reading to explore the complexities of dog taste buds and discover how to treat your canine companion to the best-tasting food.
Dog Taste vs. Human Taste
It’s easy to assume that your dog’s sense of taste works in the same way yours does, but this is not the case. Dogs have a different number of taste receptors and unique taste buds that we don’t have. They also boast a keener sense of smell, which influences mealtime.
Fewer Taste Buds
On average, humans have 9,000 taste receptors, while dogs have only 1,700. That means your sense of taste is five times more powerful than your dog’s.
Does that mean food tastes bland to dogs? Not at all. Dogs have many of the same receptors we have, so they can taste many of the same flavors, including:
- Savory (umami)
Your dog’s taste preferences vary just like ours do. Your pup might enjoy a stolen French fry, a sweet piece of watermelon, and a fatty beef strip.
Special Taste Buds
Have you ever eaten a helping of salty potato chips and then immediately chugged a full glass of water? Your dog will do this, too.
Your dog’s taste buds include receptors you don’t have that are especially sensitive to dehydrating flavors like salt. These special taste buds detect salty or sweet foods and alert canines they need to drink some water. These receptors are essential for your dog to remain well hydrated.
Sense of Smell
What dogs lack in taste receptors, they make up for with a powerful sense of smell, and food preferences often relate to the scent as much as the flavor. The question, “Does dog food taste good to dogs?” relates directly to another: Does dog food smell good?
Smell plays a huge role in how your dog experiences the world, including food. Humans have an average of six million olfactory receptors. Your dog’s receptors number an average of 300 million. Their brains dedicate 40 times the area of human brains to smell analysis.
Discovering Your Dog’s Preferences
Has your aging dog lost interest in the kibble that once disappeared in ten seconds flat? Do you want to determine what flavors your dog really wants at mealtime?
Specific canine preferences differ just as ours do. Some dogs are pickier than human toddlers, while others will gladly devour things that cannot strictly be called food. However, you can consider the following general rules to treat your dog to delicious meals.
Your dog’s sense of taste prefers certain flavors over others. In general, dogs seek out the following flavors:
- Umami (meat): Dogs in the wild eat diets containing 80% meat because canine taste buds tend to prefer savory, meaty, and fatty foods. Dogs love all kinds of protein, from beef and chicken to buffalo and fish.
- Sweet: Dogs also enjoy sweet flavors. In fact, your pup would rather have a sweet snack over a salty one. This doesn’t mean dogs need cupcakes and candy, but they will enjoy sweet fruits and vegetables like apples, melons, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
Canine preferences differ more significantly when it comes to food style. Dog foods come in two main varieties:
- Dry food: Dry kibble provides your dog with varying nutrient formulas. If your dog has lost interest in dry food, try a new flavor. These new smells may reignite your dog’s enthusiasm for mealtime.
- Wet food: Some dogs prefer wet canned food over dry kibble. Wet food’s higher moisture content makes it easier for puppies and senior dogs to chew and digest. Wet food is also more aromatic and therefore more appetizing to many dogs.
Experiment with your dogs to discover their food style preferences.
Boosting Flavor in Your Dog’s Food
Because canine flavor and food style preferences vary, answering the question, “Does dog food taste good to dogs?” is not as simple as yes or no. If you’re concerned with whether or not your dog likes the dog food you buy, consider the following tips for boosting the flavor of your dog’s dishes.
Keep It Fresh
Dogs prefer fresh foods because they smell more appetizing. Stale kibble and spoiled wet food don’t smell as good to dogs. Consider these tips to keep your dog’s food fresh and maximize the flavor:
- Close dry food bags well after opening.
- Keep dry kibble in an air-tight, sealed container.
- Don’t keep opened canned food in the refrigerator for longer than one week.
Warm It Up
Cold food does not produce as much smell as warm food, so heating up your dog’s meal can heighten the flavors. To heat dry food, stir in a bit of warm water. Be sure the food is warm, not hot, to protect your dog’s sensitive lips and tongue.
Add a Topper
You can add new flavors to your dog’s regular meals with delicious toppers. For example, True Beast dog food from XDOG includes meaty toppers to add more protein to your dog’s diet. This popular topper comes in several flavors, including beef liver, chicken, and ocean fish.
Here’s the final verdict: Does dog food taste good to dogs? If it features the dog’s preferred flavors and style, then absolutely! Test out some different kibbles, wet food brands, and toppers to give your dog flavorful meals.
You can treat your dog to a well-balanced diet featuring delicious, meaty flavors with True Beast Dog Food from XDOG. Keep exploring the XDOG blog to discover more great canine information, such as the connection between collagen and dogs.
Shop our selection of foods, toppers, and supplements to give your dogs healthy, tasty food with all the vitamins and nutrients they need.