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the Dog Blog

Can Dogs Taste Their Food?

A dog with an empty bowl after he tasted his food.

Have you ever walked down a dog food aisle in a store and wondered if your furry friend can tell the difference between one type of food or the next? Different bags boast about different ingredients or reasons why your pooch will love their food, but can dogs truly taste the difference? The answer: Yes, they can.

However, the way dogs taste their food is different than how we enjoy ours. While dog food may not seem appetizing to us, it’s made to taste great to dogs while providing them with the nutrition they need to stay happy and healthy.

How Dogs Taste Their Food

According to the American Kennel Club, dogs have roughly one-sixth the number of taste buds as the average human. While that may seem small, that still means that your furry friend still has around 1,700 taste buds to enjoy their food. That means dogs can tell if something is sweet, salty, sour, bitter, or some combination of the four.

However, dogs react to these individual taste sensations differently than people, with salt being a notable example. While people generally love a good salty snack, dogs don’t crave it in the same way. According to Psychology Today, ancient dogs never developed the same desire for salt because their largely meat-based diet was already high in sodium. As such, dogs generally stay away from salty foods and can gravitate to sweeter treats or other taste sensations.

Canine taste buds react to more than just the taste of food. Dogs have taste buds at the tip of their tongues that identify the taste of water. These taste buds are even more active after your dog eats sugary or salty foods that may dehydrate them. This lets them know that that they should drink more water to keep them hydrated.

Your dog’s nose also plays a role in deciding what food is delicious. While dogs may not have as many taste buds as humans, their sense of smell is notably better than ours, to the point of where they can even tell if something is too salty, sweet, bitter, or sour for their tastes. This is part of why dogs will instinctively gravitate toward foods with meat and meat-related fats.

How to Identify Good, Tasty Dog Food, Even for Picky Eaters

While dogs can taste their food, that also means that they can have a discerning palate. Picky eaters are generally defined as dogs who won’t eat all their food at least once a day. This could be a sign your dog has a sensitive stomach, but it may indicate overfeeding or that he just isn’t that big of a fan of his food.

No dog wants to eat boring, stale food every day. Eating is a happy occasion, which makes it important to find a dog food that combines both great taste and nutrition. There are a few different ways to encourage healthy eating habits for picky pooches, and that includes making sure you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s made to appeal to his particular tastes.

So, what does it take to truly satiate your furry friend? It starts with a lot of high-quality protein. Dogs instinctively love meat, which is why Bil-Jac uses 23 lbs. of fresh, farm-raised chicken to make a 27 lb. bag of Picky No More® Dog Food. We even took it to another level by adding chicken liver to ramp up the flavor for even the most discerning dogs.

It’s important to note that ingredients aren’t the only factor that impacts the taste of your dog food. Preparation also plays a big role in taste and quality. By slow cooking Bil-Jac Dry Dog food at a lower controlled temperature, it helps protect the essential nutrients. This means your dog gets more of what he needs when he feeds, all while loving the taste of his dog food.

Dinner time should be a time for celebration. That’s why we take special care to provide dog food that’s made to make mealtime a happy, nutritious occasion. Want to learn other ways to help you support your dog? Join our Best Friends Club today to receive our exclusive email newsletter with helpful articles, dog care tips, and members-only discounts on Bil-Jac products.