Can Dogs Taste?
Studies have shown that dogs have the same four taste classifications that humans do; meaning they can identify sweet, sour, salty and bitter. However, dogs also have special taste buds geared specifically for water. Cats and other carnivores have these taste buds, but they aren’t found in humans. 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.
If dogs can taste, why is it that they’ll eat anything from prime rib to garbage? The answer has to do with smell. Although a dog’s ability to taste is roughly a fraction of a human’s, his sense of smell is up to one million times stronger. 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. To exemplify this point, you can note that while dogs can differentiate between meat-based and non-meat-based foods without smell, they cannot differentiate between chicken, beef, fish, or pork without smell. Humans don’t have the ability to taste smell in this sense, but it certainly proves the point that if something smells good, it’s going to taste good to a dog. This is also why dogs are more interested in foods that smell stronger, such as canned foods versus dry kibbles. Canned foods are often much more aromatic, and therefore, more enticing.
Learn more about canine nutrition in the video below.