It is probably well known that dogs have different preferences than humans when it comes to food. But do our four-legged friends taste anything at all?
Considering the fact that they often seem to be anything but choosy and sometimes even eat carrion or the excrements of other animals, this question is quite justified.
The answer is given in this article. Below you will find everything you need to know about your dog's sense of taste.
As you probably know, there are five basic tastes with salty, bitter, spicy, umami (hearty) and sweet, for which our tongue is equipped with taste receptors.
For a long time it was thought that this was the case with other mammals and that their sense of taste was therefore not significantly different from ours. However, we now know that this is not the case and that what a species tastes exactly depends largely on the way it is eaten.
Pure carnivores, such as predatory or domestic cats, do not need a sense of taste for sweet food and therefore have no receptors for it.
Omnivores, such as bears, on the other hand, can also taste sweet, as they also feed on fruits such as berries and this sense of taste helps them in their search for suitable food.
Dogs are so-called semi-carnivores. This means that they feed mainly on meat, but that vegetable food components are also part of their diet, at least in smaller quantities.
In contrast to cats, they therefore also have taste receptors for sweets, as these are useful for the choice of their food.
About 9,000 taste receptors are distributed on the human tongue. In dogs, on the other hand, there are only about 1,700.
As a result, although they can taste more or less the same things as us, their sense of taste is much less pronounced.
They hardly notice saltiness in particular. As a rule, they completely avoid bitter-tasting food.
Although the tongue also plays an important role in the sense of taste of dogs, it is primarily used for drinking and cooling by panting.
Instead, dogs rely more on their good sense of smell when choosing their food. If they think that supposed food stinks, they usually don't eat it, so that their sense of taste can't come into play in the first place.
Even if the sense of taste is not too strong in dogs, this does not mean that you should only pay attention to the lowest possible price when buying dog food.
In the long run, inferior food often leads to health problems, such as food allergies. If you pay attention to a high quality with dog food, you can be sure that your four-legged friend is optimally supplied with all necessary nutrients and the risk of incompatibilities and other problems is reduced to a minimum.
As with humans, the sense of taste in dogs is able to perceive all five basic tastes. As the significantly lower number of taste receptors shows, however, this is weaker and plays a subordinate role for your dog compared to his sense of smell.
Regardless of this, high quality dog food is crucial for your dog's health and well-being.