Do Dogs Taste?


I recently sent a survey to my newsletter subscribers and asked how many currently cook and/or bake for their dogs. It turns out, 65% of my regular Proud Dog Mom readers take the time to whip up homemade goodies for their fur kids. That’s amazing! While I’m a huge fan of making home-cooking and fresh food for health reasons, do our canine cuties actually savor the taste of our creations?

Short answer: Yes! Although, their sense of taste isn’t nearly as powerful as it is for us humans.


Dog Taste Buds vs. Human Taste Buds

Humans have approximately 9,000 taste buds, while dogs have around 1,700. So their sense of taste is only about one-sixth as powerful as ours. While the flavors may not be as prominent to our canine companions, research shows that dogs do share the same four taste classifications as we do:

  1. Sweet
  2. Salty
  3. Sour
  4. Bitter

Extra Taste Buds

Unlike humans, dogs have special taste buds found at the tip of their tongue that react specifically to water. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC): 

“They are found at the tip of the tongue where it curls as the animal laps water, and although it reacts to water at all times, it’s more sensitive after eating salty and sugary foods. The theory behind this is that, when in the wild, animals might need more water after eating certain foods that may dehydrate them.”


When It Comes To What A Dog Eats, Though, It’s Not All About Taste

Aside from flavor and texture, experts say smell plays a very large role in what our dogs eat. If something smells interesting or appealing, chances are your dog will go in for a few bites.

You see, dogs have a very powerful sniffer. In fact, depending on the breed, dogs have an estimated 125 million sensory glands in the nose (that’s way more than the 5-10 million that humans have). According to the AKC


“Smell and taste are very closely related, and dogs can actually taste foods through their sense of smell with a special organ along the dog’s palate.”

This is exactly why dogs wag their tail for fresh and aromatic foods!


Feeding Fido

Most dogs enjoy chowing down on a variety of flavors and quickly accept new foods. But, some dogs are picky and have strong preferences.

For picky eaters, you may have more success with wet and fresh foods that offer up strong aromas.

Plus, pay attention to expiration dates and proper storage tips. As foods age, they lose their enticing aroma, satisfying flavor, and nutritional value. Find out how to properly store kibble HERE.


Feeding Senior Fido

As your pooch ages, his senses can weaken. That means, he may not be able to smell and taste as well as he once did. So, if senior Fido doesn’t seem as driven to his food bowl as he once was, try offering him food choices that have a stronger aroma. Stimulate his sniffer and you just may stimulate his urge to eat! (Let me just mention that I am talking about taste buds here not medical conditions, so if your senior pooch has stopped eating and you think something is wrong, definitely see your vet).