Fats not only play an important role in keeping your Fido healthy, they also taste good. Fats give food flavor. For dogs, fats also provide a scent that make the food even more appealing and tasty. By themselves and in the right proportions, fats should be part of your dog's daily diet. As a responsible owner, save your own fatty treats for yourself and read the nutrition labels and expiration dates on your dog's food to ensure your pet is getting the best and freshest of food.
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Signs Your Dog Likes Fatty Food
Trainers and animal behaviorists are teaching us more and more about the obvious and subtle signs in our dog's body language. While individual dogs may vary in disposition and personality, with careful observation, you can learn to interpret your dog's behavior to be more responsive to your dog's needs.
Dogs have a natural attraction to fats. Dogs have a heightened ability to detect fats with their noses. When your dog is on the scent of something desirable, like fats, you will see the dog sniffing. The dog may actually lick their nose to keep it wet and more sensitive to attracting scents. Dogs have the ability to detect scents in the back of the mouth. You might see your dog opening their mouth with the tongue out slightly to draw in more of the attractive scents. Dogs will drop their ears and have a smooth forehead when alert to a substance or object.
If the dog is aroused by the food substance, you might experience some begging behavior. If your dog has been trained to have good manners, you and your dog may have a positive exchange in which the dog will follow you to a food location, sit, and wait for you to dispense the food or treat. You may see the dog staring at the food and watching you as you move the food.
Not all dogs are such polite beggars. Some, with more assertive breeds or dispositions, will bump you, nudging you to give them food at their demand. You might even experience some eager barking and running about. If the food is tasting good to your dog, you will find a clean dinner dish in short order.
- Dropped Ears
- Nose licking
- Tongue hanging
- Unbreakable gazing at the food
- Polite behavior in the hopes of getting rewarded
- Gobbling the food up
History of Dogs Liking Fatty Food
All mammals share commonalities when it comes to taste. Both humans and dogs have receptors on the tongue for tastes of sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Dogs have a special receptor capacity for water that is located at the tip of the tongue in the area where the tongue is cupped to drink. Wild dogs hunted meat, which is naturally salty. Dog taste has evolved such that they do not prefer salt and they are particularly sensitive to water.
Humans have 9000 taste receptors compared to about 1700 taste receptors for dogs, making human taste more refined than that of the dog.
But what about fats? Both humans and dogs like the taste of fats. Recent research has indicated that humans and mammals have a protein on their tongue that can sense the presence of fat. There is actually a gene for this protein that explains why some people are more sensitive to fats in foods than others.
Persons with less sensitivity to this protein are more likely to become obese. There are likely parallels with the capacity of dogs to taste fats, although not to the extent and specificity of humans. Remember that scent plays a more important role in dog attraction than taste and the smell of fat will enhance your dog's ability to perceive and enjoy fats.
The Science of Fatty Food for Dogs
If you feed your dog bad fats and your dog does not get enough exercise, you will make your dog fat, which can lead to other health problems. While dogs do not have cholesterol worries, they can develop heart problems, a diminished immune system and diabetes from obesity.
Fats give your dog more energy than protein or carbohydrates. Your dog food should include the right balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Fats are necessary for the normal development and function of body cells, nerves, muscles, and body tissues.
The fats also help with the production of prostaglandins, which reduce inflammation. Fats also serve to help your dog absorb important vitamins. Fats give dog food flavor. Be aware of the expiration date of your dog food. Fats can go rancid and you do not want to risk giving your dog bad food if it is stored for too long or under conditions that would cause the food to go bad.
Training Your Dog to Eat the Right Foods
First, remember that your dog will gladly eat the same thing every day. While humans crave variety in their diet, this is not the case with your dog. Many dogs need to have a specialized diet due to allergies or other health issues. You will need to establish the appropriate dietary needs for your dog with your veterinarian. If your dog is basically healthy but just picky, there are things you can do to teach your dog to eat dinner without a frustration for the two of you.
Your dog needs to learn that you are in control and there are not options. Set the bowl out for about 20 - 30 minutes and then remove it. The dog will learn to eat when food is offered. When the next mealtime comes, repeat the process. Set the bowl out for about 20 - 30 minutes and then remove it, whether or not the dog finished the meal. If your dog acts hungry or begs between meals, do not give in and give treats. You are setting a clear schedule that it is time to eat at mealtime.
If your dog is needing to change food, gradually introduce the new food by stirring it into the food the dog had been eating. Gradually increase the new food while decreasing the previous food until the food has been changed.
Always watch your dog to spot any issues with a reaction to a food, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or other symptoms of a negative reaction.
You can still use treats for training. Limit training times to short sessions and use small nibbles for rewards that are part of your training procedure. Remember that praise, toys, clickers and play time are rewards, too.
Safety Tips for Feeding Your Dog:
Read dog food labels and keep the food fresh.
Check for food that meets standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Do not feed your dog table scraps or share your junk food.
If you are using a homemade diet, ensure the food includes all the health requirements for a dog.