4 min read


Can Dogs Taste Mashed Food?



4 min read


Can Dogs Taste Mashed Food?


Dogs are interesting creatures who rely on their various senses for pretty much everything. When it comes to their sense of taste, there are a few important tidbits to keep in mind. While they have less taste buds than humans (1700 compared to our 9,000), this doesn't mean they are completely clueless when it comes to the food they eat. 

Similarly to humans, dogs have four basic taste sensations: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Early studies discovered that domesticated dogs' taste receptors respond to the same chemicals that trigger human taste sensation, except for when it comes to salt. 

Texture is another important factor to consider when trying to better understand dog's taste buds. Dogs typically are exposed to two different textures of food - wet and dry. Many dogs prefer wet food because of the texture, which also helps us understand more about dog's relationships with mashed food. 


Signs Your Dog Can Taste Mashed Food

If you are wondering whether or not your dog can taste mashed food, all you have to do is observe them in order to know the answer. Dogs that taste - and enjoy - this texture of food will definitely make sure you know it! If you've never fed your dog canned wet food before, you are in for a real treat! 

It's safe to say that most dogs would do anything for the deliciousness of canned food, but why is this? First and foremost, it is important to understand that dogs rely on their sense of smell over their taste buds when it comes to food. Wet or mashed food often carries a certain smell that is quite appealing to your canine friend. Many refer to this as umami. While dogs may not have as refined a palate as we do when it comes to food, they undoubtedly know when they are getting a treat or something special. 

Some of the signs to watch for that will let you know your dog is lovin' the mashed food you fed them include: 

  • Total excitement¬†
  • Following you around¬†
  • Wagging their tail ferociously, waiting for the next morsel¬†
  • Eating so fast you can hardly keep up!¬†

All dogs are different, so it is important to take your time and find the diet that works best for your pawsome partner. If they seem to like the mashed food you are giving them, it's likely for a good reason and this is something to keep in mind moving forward. 

Body Language

Here are a few signs your dog can taste mashed food:

  • Alert
  • Jumping Up
  • Paw Raised
  • Ears Up

Other Signs

These are other signs your pooch can taste mashed food:

  • Finishing Every Last Morsel
  • Begging For More

History Behind Dogs Tasting Mashed Food


It is believed that dogs descended from wolves in China more than 20,000 years ago, which is an important fact for our purposes here today. We also know that their diet was primarily carnivorous when they were living in the wild, which is why today's domesticated dogs aren't too keen on salty foods (unlike humans!) 

Meat is naturally salty, so over time as dogs evolved, these taste buds were left behind. Dogs don't taste the tiny little nuances of food like humans do, which could help explain their relatively indiscriminate palate. Let's be honest, many of the foods our furry friends are drawn to are pretty unappealing to us. 

Also unlike humans, dogs have always relied on their sense of smell first when it comes to food. This is why they may find a piece of plastic that smells like meat attractive and like a viable option for dinner. Mashed food is just one of those things that is appealing on several different levels, which we can tie back to their carnivorous past and texture preferences. 

Science Behind Dogs Tasting Mashed Food


Smell and texture are two of the most important factors to keep in mind when trying to better understand how your dog responds to certain foods. Mashed foods, for example, are often attractive because of their texture and the ease in which they can be eaten. This is especially the case for senior dogs or those with dental problems. Sometimes, kibble is just too difficult for dogs to break down. So why is it that mashed food is so appealing to dogs? 

As we discussed, dogs have four main taste sensations, just like we do. Some researchers include a fifth sensation - umami - but for today's purposes, we are going to keep it simple. 

Dogs are omnivores who mainly eat meat, which can be confusing for some. There's a good chance if you offer your dog a piece of steak next to a couple of carrots, Fido will choose the meat. Texturally speaking, dogs are pretty simplistic. They don't care too much about having various textures all in one meal, but research shows that dogs that eat a well-balanced, texturally unique diet are better off. This is why many vets recommend wet food (i.e. mashed food) in conjunction with dry food. What does your pooch prefer?  

Training Your Dog to Enjoy Mashed Food


If you want to try your hand at feeding your dog different textures and foods in order to get a better idea of their taste buds, we recommend starting with some mashed foods. There are many different things you can mash up and feed your canine best friend, from healthy veggies such as carrots and cooked beets to wet food straight out of the can. 

When it comes to feeding your dog any new food, it is important to start slow and see how they respond. Dogs have very unique and oftentimes sensitive digestive systems, which is why it is imperative that you don't throw too much at them at once. It is also a good idea to talk to your vet before introducing any new foods to your pup's system. 

Mashed food is a great option for most dogs, as it is easy to digest and many dogs prefer the texture. We suggest you add in a bit of mashed food - whether it's cooked veggies or canned dog food - to their current food and see how it goes. Be sure to watch their reaction and check their stool, as some dogs may experience diarrhea with a change in consistency such as this. You can slowly increase the amount of mashed food you give your pup as the week goes on, completely phasing out their old food, if you so desire. 

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How to Safely Feed Your Dog Mashed Food:

  1. Start small and see how they respond.
  2. Check their stool and make sure they are digesting it okay.
  3. Always consult your vet first.

Written by a Chihuahua lover Allie Wall

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 05/27/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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