Now that you know you can give your pup acorn squash, let's talk about their taste buds. Like humans, dogs have the same four classifications for taste: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. However, they only have around 1,700 taste buds compared to our 9,000. This means their sense of taste is about one-sixth as strong as ours.
When cooked, acorn squash boasts a sweet, nutty, and robust flavor that humans and dogs alike are huge fans of. If you decide to try feeding your pup this type of squash, remember to always roast it first and don't add any extra sweeteners or other ingredients. You will know if your dog is a fan or not, guaranteed!
Signs Your Dog Can Taste Acorn Squash
Again, not all dogs will jump at the sight of a steaming pile of mushy, roasted squash, and that's OK. Like humans, dogs have different palates and prefer some foods more than others. Because acorn squash is naturally sweet, most dogs don't have a problem with it. As always, we recommend starting out small and seeing how your dog likes it.
If your pooch has a sensitive tummy, be sure and check with your vet before introducing any new fruits or veggies, no matter how good they are for them. Although squash is a healthy treat, it can be difficult for some dogs to break down, and the last thing you want is a sick pooch on your hands.
It will probably be pretty obvious if your dog like acorn squash after tasting it just once, but here are a few signs:
- Has no problem eating it
- Comes back for more!
- Hangs around the kitchen, hoping a roasted cube or two fall on the ground
- Lip licking
- Ears up
- Eats it right up!
- Won't get out of the kitchen when you are roasting squash
History of Dogs Tasting Acorn Squash
These days, dogs have (and need) a lot of fruits and veggies in their diet, which are naturally sweeter. Enter: acorn squash. Since dogs are now omnivores, they have taken a liking to these sweet flavors and, in most cases, will eat anything that is even the slightest bit sweet.
Science Behind Dogs Tasting Acorn Squash
That being said, it is still a great addition to your dog's diet when prepared properly. Never feed your dog raw squash, as their sensitive digestive system will not be able to break it down, leading to gas, bloating, and possible vomiting and diarrhea. Also, when you cook squash, don't use any seasonings on it. Their taste buds aren't that refined, so they won't be able to tell if it's lacking in salt!
When looking at how dogs taste acorn squash, we must go back to those four taste sensations. Unlike humans, dogs aren't a huge fan of salt (namely because of their ancestors' diet). Over time, dogs have developed an affinity for sweet flavors, which is why acorn squash is so popular. Furthermore, even though their taste is a fraction of ours, their sense of smell is up to one million times stronger. Dogs don't just rely on their taste buds when it comes to food, but their sense of smell, too. This is one reason why they are often more interested in foods that smell strong, like roasted squash!
Training Your Dog to Eat Acorn Squash
Once you've roasted up the squash (free of any oil, salt, pepper, or any other additions), mash it up and mix a small amount in with their food. If they don't blink an eye and scarf it right up, you've got a winner. If your dog seems confused and even goes as far as to pick around the squash, they may not be a fan. You can try again the next day, it may just take them a few times to warm up to it.
Because dogs rely on both their taste buds and sense of smell, acorn squash can be hit or miss. It's sweet, nutty flavor often goes over well, but not for all pups. Be patient, take your time, and observe your dog's reaction to see if this is something you should be adding to their diet on a regular basis.
How to React if Your Dog Likes Acorn Squash:
Observe their behavior after eating and make sure it goes down well.
Add plain, roasted squash into their meals as a special treat.
Safety Tips for Feeding Your Dog Acorn Squash:
Always roast it plain before giving it to your dog.
Never feed them raw squash.
Watch their bowel movements and make sure they don't vomit or have diarrhea.