Is there gourmet dog food? Why does my dog explore food with his snout instead of using his tongue? Do you take pleasure in savoring a special stew?
Despite having that huge tongue, which hangs out when he’s exercising or in the heat, he doesn’t seem to be very interested in licking food before swallowing it.
What are the differences in the sense of taste between dogs and humans?
Of the five senses, in the dog taste is the least developed. The dog’s tongue has fewer than 2,000 taste buds, compared to 9,000 in humans. Their tongue is smoother, narrower and flatter than ours, and the absence of the typical roughness’s that characterize this appendix in humans can be clearly appreciated. That makes you less sensitive to flavors than we are.
Do dogs perceive flavors?
Despite having less ability to differentiate flavors in food, and contrary to what many think, dogs are sensitive to some flavors. There are different opinions, but it seems that all agree that sweet, bitter and acid are flavors that the dog can distinguish, but salty is difficult for them to assimilate. It seems logical since in their evolution dogs have been carnivores by instinct, which has meant that they have consumed a sufficient amount of salt in their meat diet and have not needed to develop the papillae responsible for detecting that flavor.
For all this, dogs do not taste food like we humans do; and since the sense of taste is underdeveloped, it will not be necessary to introduce frequent variations in your menu. But it will be your experience during the early years of life as a puppy that will greatly influence you. It has been observed that those who have tried different flavors and textures from a very young age tend to be more accepting of a variety of foods as adults. Some even accept strong flavors, such as greens and vegetables, while others insistently refuse to vary in their daily diet.
How do dogs enjoy food?
What makes food attractive and enjoyable is their extremely developed sense of smell. Hence, the dog food industry places an emphasis on strong odors when making its products. If we want our dog to be attracted to the diet that we prepare for him, we will have to monitor especially the aromas of the food and discover which his favorites are. It is evident when the dog ages and its sense of smell weakens, causing a loss of appetite since it is not able to smell food as before.
This limitation in taste, compared to the strength in smell, can hide a high risk since the attractive smell of an inedible object can attract you enough to swallow it, without worrying about the taste of it. Through the ingestion of objects or small animals with attractive smells, our pet can become infected with hidden parasites, such as Toxocara canis, and develop serious diseases. In addition, people (especially children) can become infected with some of these parasites and lead to clinical signs, sometimes even severe.