5 min read


Can Dogs Taste Moist Food?



5 min read


Can Dogs Taste Moist Food?


You may think your dog doesn't have as refined a palate as you do (and you'd be right), but this doesn't mean you shouldn't consider taste when trying to decide what to feed them. Both taste and nutrition are important when it comes to feeding your dog, and their needs will vary depending on breed, age, and medical history. These days there are many different options out there in the world of dog food - from your standard dry kibble to canned wet food, raw food, and even dehydrated options. With so many choices, it can be difficult to know where to start!

Before you do anything, it helps to have a good understanding of your dog's sense of taste. Like humans, dogs have four taste sensations: sweet, bitter, sour, and salty. Furthermore, they can also discern between different textures - like wet and dry. Many picky eaters have an affinity for wet for over dry, which comes down to texture. Wet - or moist - food is also easier for them to digest and much more enjoyable to take down than hard, dry kibbles. 


Signs Your Dog Likes Moist Food

If your dog is all of a sudden showing distaste for their food, you might try adding a bit of water and warming it up. While dogs are primarily attracted to food based on the way it smells, texture also plays a crucial role. If the texture is unappealing to them, they are more likely to ignore their food and refuse to eat it. When this happens, your dog is missing out on crucial nutrients. On the other hand, a texture that your dog enjoys and finds rewarding will have a better chance of attracting them to a certain food they may have otherwise ignored.

Finding out how your dog feels about texture and what food they prefer will probably take a bit of trial and error on your part, but it will be worth it in the end. Many experts believe the best diet for Fido is one that has multiple textures, as it will keep your dog interested and engaged. Think about what they eat in the wild - probably a variety of textures from fur, feather, bones, flesh, and vegetation. 

A great option is to give your dog canned food and a handful of kibble. Not only will they like the moist texture of the wet food, but this ensures your dog's nutritional needs are being met. You can also get creative and add bits of carrot, beets, or other safe veggies as well as a sprinkle of flax seeds. To determine what is going to work best for your dog, be sure and observe them closely and see how they react to this new bowl of heaven. 

Body Language

Here are signs your dog loves moist food:

  • Wag Tail
  • Lip Licking
  • Drooling
  • Paw Raised

Other Signs

These are other signs your dog enjoys moist food:

  • Eating It Right Up
  • Begging For More
  • Excited Behavior

History Behind Dogs Tasting Moist Food


According to research, nearly a quarter of all dog owners warm their dog's food. Why? Many pet food companies suggest their products be served at room temperature so they can have the full experience. However, bringing a can of wet food that has been in the fridge all night to room temperature can take forever. 

Because of this, many dog owners actually microwave their furry friend's food in order to bring it to room temperature and make it moist for their consumption. Is this really necessary, you may be asking. The answer? It depends.

Dogs have evolved in a major way since their wild ancestors, which helps to explain some of the funny quirks we see with their eating habits. Many moons ago, wild dogs relied primarily on a carnivorous diet that was salty and rich. Because of this, their salt receptors actually never developed. This is why, unlike humans, dogs could care less about salty food. 

Texture, on the other hand, plays a vital role. Dogs enjoy a variety of textures in their diet, and unfortunately, most domesticated dogs don't get this. Today we are seeing more and more pet owners think outside the box and introduce a diet that is both nutritious and full of flavor and different textures. 

Science Behind Dogs Tasting Moist Food


Dogs experience food differently than we do. First and foremost, they use their nose and then their taste buds when they eat. For dogs, texture also plays a role. This is why - while you may be aghast - dogs have zero problem eating their own vomit or feces. There is just something about the smell they are drawn, even if we think it's disgusting! 

One of the hardest decisions for dog owners is what type of food to feed their canine best friend. From dry kibble to raw food, dehydrated food, and wet food, the options can be overwhelming. It is always a good idea to consult your vet if you aren't sure which direction to go, as they will be able to offer you invaluable advice. 

Most agree that a holistic dry food diet will do the trick, but what about those picky eaters or dogs with sensitive tummies? If this sounds like your pooch, wet or moist food may be a great option. Not only is it easier to digest, but the aroma of wet food is far more attractive to dogs than simple kibbles. 

Training Your Dog to Taste Moist Food


If your dog is a picky eater and is no longer eating their dry kibble, you may want to consider adding a bit of water to make it moist. Even though dogs have just 1,700 taste buds compared to our 9,000, they are still able to experience bitter, salt, sweet, and sour. However, the smell and texture of what they are eating are likely the most important factors in how excited they will get. There are two main textures of dog food - wet and dry. There are benefits to both:

  • Wet food gives your dog more hydration which is great for dogs that don't drink as much water as they should
  • Wet food is easier to chew, making it ideal for older dogs 
  • Dry foods are a great option for dogs that like to graze all day
  • Dry foods are highly nutritious and have everything Fido needs wrapped into one small bite 

Wet food is also far more potent in taste, which is why they are often drawn to the smell. If you want to introduce moist or wet food to your dog's diet, always consult your vet first. 

Once they've given you the green light, start small and see how they respond. Never completely stop feeding your dog their current food, as this can wreak havoc on their system. A good place to gauge how they will react to a potential wet food diet is to add a bit of water to their dry food. Some dogs love this texture, but others may turn their nose up. 

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Safety Tips for When Your Dog Tastes Moist Food:

  1. Observe them closely and watch for any adverse reaction.
  2. Check their stool for diarrhea.

By a Chihuahua lover Allie Wall

Published: 05/18/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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