Canine companions explore their environment using their taste and other senses. Dogs will sometimes eat almost anything. From garbage to feces, even undigestible objects like fabric and toys. Sometimes dogs are very particular about what they eat.
How do dogs decide what they like? Can dogs taste like humans? Why would dogs eat foods that we wouldn’t?
Can dogs taste?
Taste buds are found on papillae, which is a small bump that can be seen. The tongue has papillae, which are small bumps that can be seen. Human mouths contain approximately 9000 taste buds. Dogs only have 1700.
After a few weeks, puppies develop the ability to taste. It is the first sense to develop, before vision and hearing. The number of tastebuds and sense of smell decreases as dogs age. This may contribute to picky eating habits or a reduced appetite.
If the taste is sufficiently strong, each taste bud can detect all flavors. Different areas of the tongue have taste buds that are more sensitive than others to different flavors. The taste buds for bitter and sour flavors are found at the back of your tongue. The front of the mouth is where you will find the taste buds for salty and sweet.
Due to the fact that their ancestral diet was dominated by meat, dogs have taste receptors that are tuned to specific meats, oils, and chemicals. Dogs have fewer taste buds than humans, which may account for their reduced ability to discern subtle tastes, such as the difference between different types of meat, including chicken, beef, pork, and berries.
Water is also a taste that dogs have. Humans do not have this ability. It is only seen in cats, other carnivores, and dogs. The taste buds at the tip of the tongue are sensitive to drinking water and become even more so when thirsty.
The difference between dogs’ sense of smell and their taste buds
The smell of an object can improve its flavor. Dogs’ perception of flavor is largely influenced by the smell of food items.
A unique organ that is located along the palate of dogs allows them to “taste” food through scent. When a canine smells it captures molecules that tell them what the food tastes like. Due to their fewer tastebuds, dogs can still taste, even without smell. Their sense of smell, however, is more refined. Combining their taste and smell senses, they intuitively recognize when food is unsafe for consumption.
Do dogs like spicy, sweet, sour, or salty food?
The same receptors are found in dogs for all the taste categories that humans have, such as spicy, sweet and sour foods, salty, bitter or sour. Dogs have not developed highly-tuned salt receptors like humans. It is because their ancestral diet, which was largely meat-based, contains a lot of salt. They did not have to add salt and had a lower affinity for salty food.
Dogs are particularly fond of sweet flavors, likely due to their ancestral diet which included wild fruits and veggies. This does not mean they can eat as much fruit or vegetables. Sugar is bad for dogs. Sweet produce should only be consumed in small amounts. Dogs should avoid sugary foods for humans.
What Does Not Taste Good to Dogs
Most dogs avoid spicy, salty, bitter, or sour tastes. Some of them may not be safe to consume. Food will taste bad for dogs if it contains toxins, or if there is bacterial contamination.
Bitter ingredients are used in many sprays that deter dogs from chewing. Bitter medications can also cause dogs to reject them.
Capsaicin is the compound that causes spicy food to burn. Dogs can react physically even though they cannot detect any of their flavors.