Wouldn't life be so much easier if your dog could explain to you exactly which foods they love, and which they hope you never feed them again? Unfortunately, it doesn't work this way. Finding the right food for your dog can be quite a challenge, especially if you have a picky eater on your hands. While dogs certainly don't have as refined a palate as we do when it comes to taste, they aren't completely clueless.
Dogs have around 1,700 taste buds compared to our 9,000. This is a pretty big difference, which helps explain why your dog is often drawn to foods you couldn't be paid to touch! They also rely on their sense of smell in order to taste foods. In addition to smell, texture is an important component to understanding what they like. Mushy foods, for example, are appealing because they are easy to eat and digest, and often carry a very attractive scent.
Signs Your Dog Likes Mushy Food
If you aren't sure what kind of food your dog prefers, all you have to do is observe them to find out. Sure, dry kibble is an easy way to ensure Fido is getting all the nutrients they need, but it isn't your only option. Moist, mushy, wet - whatever you prefer to call it - food is texturally appealing AND full of all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your pup needs to be healthy and strong.
More pet owners are playing around with their dog's diet, looking for a combination that will fulfill their dietary needs and please their taste buds. Although your dog only has about a sixth of the taste buds you do, they still deserve taste to be a consideration. Many foods that are mushy and moist carry a strong aroma, which may make you turn your nose up, but for Fido, it's the smell of heaven. By understanding how important smell and texture are to your dog, you will be better prepared to feed them a diet they will never get sick of.
So, how do you know if your dog is loving the mushy food you are feeding them, or if they are not a huge fan? It will probably be pretty obvious to you, as most dogs can't contain their excitement when they are given something they love. Look for an overactive tail, lip-licking, drooling, begging, and maybe even jumping up and down or in circles. These are all signs your dog is excited and wants more from where that came from!
History Behind Dogs Tasting Mushy Foods
In order to understand how dogs taste and enjoy foods today, we must look at their ancestors and what they ate. It is believed that dogs evolved from wolves in China as long as 20,000 years ago. These animals relied on a primarily carnivorous diet, as well as anything they can forage for in the wild. Meat is naturally salty, which is why dog's taste buds evolved to skip the salty sensation. They were already getting so much salt naturally, it wasn't necessary for this to be a priority, evolutionarily speaking.
Now, it's safe to say your dog's wild ancestors weren't too concerned with texture, but over time, this has become an important factor. Dogs are often drawn to moist, mushy foods because of how they feel in their mouth - as well as the super yummy aroma they give off.
Science Behind Dogs Tasting Mushy Food
Understanding your dog's ability to taste different foods is relatively straightforward. Like humans, dogs have four main taste sensations: sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. However, they have about one-sixth the as many taste buds as humans do. So although they can experience bitter, salty, sweet, and sour, texture and smell play a much larger role in how excited they get about their dinner.
In order to understand how dogs taste mushy food, in particular, we must look at their sense of smell. Unlike humans, dogs rely mainly on their nose when it comes to what foods they will eat and which they could care less about.
It is no secret that dogs have an incredible sense of smell, in fact, it is considered the greatest trait. A dog's sense of smell is anywhere from 10-100,000 times more powerful than the human nose - impressive, don't you think?! Because of this, they are able to pick up on even the tiniest smells. Given their amazing sense of smell, it is no wonder many dogs prefer foods that are moist and mushy. This is because these foods often carry a very pungent, appealing smell to dogs.
This leads us to texture. Dogs usually prefer flavors that have an extra aroma, such as mushy (aka smelly) foods. Sure, dogs will eat foods that are odorless and dry, but they don't prefer it. Dogs like a variety of textures in their diet, which is something we dog owners don't always thing about. We assume dogs have a pretty basic taste of sense, and while this isn't too far off, this way of thinking can prevent our canine friends from getting the well-balanced diet they deserve.
Training Your Dog to Taste Mushy Food
Whether you have recently brought a new pup home and are experimenting with different foods, or your pooch is getting older and you need to adjust their diet, a good place to start is with wet or mushy food. Most canned dog food is highly nutritious and carries an odor attractive to dogs, not humans.
If you are considering trying to introduce this type of food to your pawsome partner's diet, always consult your vet beforehand. Your vet will know what diet is best and whether or not this is the right direction for Fido. Once they give you the green light, you can start experimenting with different mushy foods and see how they like it.
Veggies are often a safe way to get your dog used to foods of this texture - and it doesn't hurt they are full of awesome nutrients! Steam up some carrots, acorn squash, or beets and then mash them up (use a little elbow grease!) and place the mixture in your pup's bowl. Start with a small amount and see how it goes. You can either feed the mushy treat to your pup on its own or mix it up with their current food, dealer's choice.
By a Chihuahua lover Allie Wall
Published: 05/27/2018, edited: 04/06/2020