The 5 Senses Series: Taste

A dog’s sense of smell is 40 times great than ours. But when it comes to tastebuds, we humans have them licked. People have roughly 9,000 taste buds, whereas dogs have only around 1,700. Dogs still have a great sense of taste — just not in the same way humans experience taste.  But, studies have shown dogs do have the same four taste classifications that humans do — sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.


The taste of smell

So how do dogs taste if not with their tongue? Dogs actually taste foods through their sense of smell. They do this via a special organ along their palate. This is a highly evolved sense of taste, experienced through more than just taste buds. If you were to take away a dog’s sense of smell, it would lose most of its sense of taste. Correspondingly, the stronger a food smells, the better it will taste to a dog.


A taste for water

Dogs also have special taste buds just for tasting water. These taste buds are found at the tip of the tongue (cats and other carnivores also have these taste buds). They are more sensitive after eating salty and sugary foods. Scientists think this is because, in the wild, animals might need more water after eating certain foods that dehydrate them — such as meat or sweet fruits. As omnivores, dogs have a liking for sweet flavors, which they probably developed as they became domesticated and consumed many of the same sweet fruits and vegetables their ancient human companions ate.


What do dogs find most delicious?

It depends. Just like people, dogs have individual preferences. And, like people, a dog’s preferences are often centered on what they ate when they were young. But dogs like variety. If you feed them the same thing every day, they may get tired of it. Consider rotating your dog’s meals with all Born Free’s dog food formulas. You would not want to eat the same thing every day—so why should your dog?