4 min read


Can Dogs Taste Chewy Food?



4 min read


Can Dogs Taste Chewy Food?


We all love munching chewy foods such as candy, jerky, popcorn and even some fried stuff. Our pooches seem to like chewy stuff too; dog biscuits are among the most common dog food. 

Some of the chewy stuff may not be good for your dog. For instance, too much fried food can give your dog pancreatitis. But does your pup really enjoy the taste of chewy food? Or does chewy food simply remind them of bones and they just like to gnaw on it? Let’s find out.


Signs of Dogs Tasting Chewy Food

You must have noticed that your dog seems to like chewy food. A dog’s eating habits can sometimes confuse you. On one hand, they eat stuff that would make you throw up, and on the other, they enjoy many “human food” items including crispy foods such as chips and even fried chicken.

You can easily see when your dog likes the taste of crispy food. They will eat the chewy food without hesitation and they will wag their tail. If your pup wants and/or anticipates more chewy food, they will appear alert; you can see it as they raise their ears, tilt their head, or if they are getting a little impatient, they may even bark at you.

If your dog is pushing a particular chewy food around with their nose, they are probably searching for something better underneath it. You should take this as a sign they don’t like the taste of the chewy food in front of him. Sometimes, your pooch is simply not hungry. So, try offering them another food item you know they like. If they jump at it, it’s not hunger – it’s the chewy food.

Body Language

Here are some signs that will tell you your dog can taste, perhaps even like, the chewy food in front of them:

  • Alert
  • Barking
  • Chewing
  • Wag Tail
  • Pacing
  • Raise Ears

Other Signs

Here are some more signs that your pooch can taste chewy food:

  • Pawing At The Food
  • Reacting Differently To It Than Other Foods
  • Gobbling It Up

History of Dogs Tasting Chewy Food


Owning a dog has always meant, among other things, giving your doggo the right things to eat. Ensuring your dog gets to eat tasty and healthy food has historically been a hallmark of good, responsible dog owners. 

When you talk to other dog owners, you will get to hear numerous stories about their dog’s eating habits. Generally, dogs have always liked most chewy foods as it reminds them of bones and it exercises their jaw.

Science of Dogs Tasting Chewy Food


Your dog has around 1,700 taste buds. You have 9,000. So that makes your dog’s sense of taste a lot weaker than yours. You can see why dogs seem to eat so many things you wouldn’t dream of eating. This is not to say that your dog can’t taste, taste is just not their main concern. 

Also, consider the fact that dogs have a much sharper sense of smell. And as you know, smell plays a big role in the overall experience of consuming any food item. So, if you’re talking about the more aromatic chewy foods, your dog may react more strongly (positively or negatively) towards them. 

Of course, your pooch can pick up smells in chewy food that you may not. So even if a certain chewy food item doesn’t taste that good but your dog likes the smell, they will wolf it down. Also, keep in mind that dogs can sense the different taste classifications that we can – sweet, salty, sour and bitter. 

Some dogs are choosier when it comes to food. For instance, the Yorkie and the Maltese are usually fussy eaters. You will know your dog’s personality better, so you can make sense of their behavior and see how they are finding the taste of chewy food.

Training Your Dogs to Eat Chewy Food


As long as its healthy, your dog can have chewy food. Considering a dog’s metabolism is much stronger than ours, dogs are hungry pretty much all the time. Having said that, you need to limit the intake of fat and calories for your canine family member. 

Keeping your pup away from fried food is a good idea. Too much fried stuff can cause their pancreas to swell (pancreatitis), which can be quite serious. Occasionally it’s alright, but even then, you should expect a bout of diarrhea. Some people tend to toss their dogs pieces of jerky or rope candy. This is a bad feeding habit and while your dog may like it, you’re not doing them any favors. 

Overall, the goal is the same as for yourself – avoiding an overload of fat and calories. Consider the size and age of your pup to determine the right meal portions. You don’t want your dog to gain too much weight no matter how tasty the chewy food is. 

It’s important mentioning here that whether you’re giving chewy food to your dog or not, you should maintain good feeding habits with your pup. For puppies younger than 4 months, you need to feed them thrice a day. Four months and beyond, twice a day is considered healthy.

Teaching your pup good habits is important to demonstrate leadership and behavioral expectations. Young puppies, less than 4 months of age, need to be fed 3 times a day. Once your pup reaches 4 months, two meals a day is healthy. Some trainers and animal behaviorists believe that humans should eat their meals before the dog to demonstrate leadership.

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Safety Tips for Giving Your Dog Chewy Food:

  1. You may feel like sharing a piece of chewy jerky, but don’t do this too often.
  2. Always give small, manageable pieces of chewy food so your dog doesn’t choke.
  3. If your dog isn’t eating a chewy food you thought they'd like, don’t force them to eat it.
  4. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian.

By Fatima Mansoor

Published: 06/08/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

Wag! Specialist
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