Dogs will eat anything from bugs to the trash, yet they still go bananas for that piece of juicy grass-fed steak you’re having for dinner. What gives? Do dogs really have a palate like ours when it comes to food, and how does it measure up to ours?
Dogs have about 1,706 taste buds. Compared to humans with 9,000 taste buds, that leaves them with a palate six times inferior to ours. Their taste buds are set on the tip of your pooch’s tongue, and they can taste bitter, sweet, sour and salty flavors just like us. Their sense of taste though, is not very developed, which is why you can feed a dog the same dog food every day, and they love eating things that make you want to puke… like puke.
When you try to feed your dog something new and he refuses to eat it, it’s most likely an act of defiance and a way to manipulate their owner rather than “I’ll pass; this doesn’t have enough salt on it.”
Despite having very few taste buds, dogs can show a preference for a meat versus a non-meat diet even without the sense of smell. But they can’t determine the difference between beef, pork, chicken or fish without smell.
Which brings us to smell… smell, smell, smell! Taste and smell are closely related and it’s probable that dogs receive more info about their food from smell rather than taste. Their sense of smell is one million times better than humans and is closely related to how things taste to them. Basically, they have a membrane inside their noses which captures molecules and sends impulses to their brain. Along with a special organ on the dog’s palate, they can even taste certain smells. So, regardless of how something tastes, if it smells good to a dog, they’ll eat it and love it.
What the grossest thing your dog ever ate?
Image by Brianne DiSylvester