Most dogs like dog food. The best way to tell if your dog likes its food is to watch how they eat it. Do they scarf it down right away? If so, that means they enjoy their food. However, if they show little interest in the food and take all day to finish a bowl, they may not enjoy the kibble you’ve been feeding them.
Cats are known to be picky eaters, but dogs certainly aren’t. You can put anything in front of a dog, and it will eat it. Whether it’s kibble, human food, or trash, dogs seem eager to scarf anything down.
Some owners go out of their way to cook fresh food for their dog. Others will invest a lot of money in the best dog food brands.
However, other owners don’t have the time or money to do either of these, so they settle for cheaper dog food brands.
In spite of this, dogs rarely seem to care what you put in front of them. It doesn’t matter if the food is cheap, expensive, or home-cooked. They have no problem scarfing it down.
Even if you give them the same food every day, multiple times a day, they don’t seem to care. Same dry kibble for the 100th day in a row? He’s still as excited as the first time he ate it.
After observing your dog’s love for anything edible, you may wonder about their diet preferences.
Do dogs like their food? If they are so eager to eat almost anything, do they even have a preference? Heck, do they even taste the food they are vacuuming up?
Before we can answer these questions, we need to learn about dog anatomy and how it affects their diet and eating preferences.
Dog Anatomy and Taste
Before tackling the big question of this article, it’s important to distinguish the differences in anatomy between dogs and humans when talking about taste.
It should be clear to everyone that dogs and humans are not similar species. Though that’s obvious just by looking at the two species and listening to how they communicate, these differences significantly affect how both species see and value food.
Understanding the differences in taste buds and eating history will help us dissect the questions of this article a bit further.
Sense of Taste
Compared to humans, dogs have a fraction of the taste buds we have. Humans have over 9000 taste buds, dogs only have 1700.
With only a sixth of the taste power of humans, it makes sense why dogs aren’t nearly as picky about eating as we are!
Humans glorify the taste of food. We obsess over how good food tastes. But dogs don’t care about taste as much as we do.
That doesn’t mean they don’t have preferences, though. For example, dogs usually avoid anything bitter or salty, but enjoy sweet food.
Although dogs can’t taste as well as us, they can be extremely picky about texture. They tend to eat foods with similar textures to what they evolved to eat most – meat.
This is why dogs exposed to wet food develop a preference for it. Wet food has a texture that is more similar to meat when compared to dry kibble. Dogs who never eat wet food usually aren’t picky about their dry kibble because they don’t know what they are missing.
Sense of Smell
Though a dog’s sense of taste may be diminished compared to humans, their sense of smell certainly isn’t.
Dogs are known for their incredible sense of smell, and they use this to determine the quality of their meal.
Humans measure the quality of a meal through taste. Dogs measure it through texture and smell.
As long as something smells delicious, they will want to eat it. Whether it’s kibble, wet food, a home-cooked meal, or whatever is rotting in the kitchen trash can, if it smells good to a dog, they’ll want to consume it.
Evolution Of The Dog’s Diet
Before the Industrial Revolution, dogs ate the same food that humans did, mainly lots of meat. Kibble was introduced and popularized during the Industrial Revolution and served as a more effortless and cheaper way to feed dogs.
Even though dogs have survived on kibble for a few centuries, they ultimately did not evolve to eat such a high-carb diet.
Even after all this time, dogs still have a carnivorous instinct and prefer meat. This is why your dog is always begging for your food. His instincts are telling him to go after real food, not processed kibble. Though your dog may enjoy kibble, he will always prefer actual food.
Your dog is a carnivore. Although your dog may not be the hunter that his ancestors were, the evidence of his carnivorous past is still present.
His elongated teeth are a good example. All carnivores have long teeth at the front of their mouth to help consume the prey they catch.
Even though most dogs haven’t had to hunt for prey in the past few centuries, they haven’t lost their carnivorous instincts.
So Do Dogs Like Dog Food?
Now that we got the science out of the way, let’s answer the question: Do dogs like dog food?
The obvious answer is yes, considering most dogs vacuum up their kibble within seconds. They are certainly less picky than humans since they have a fraction of the taste buds. No matter what type of food you put in front of your dog, he is most likely going to scarf it down.
Since they only have a few taste buds, dogs aren’t picky about taste. Instead, they focus on texture and smell.
Kibble, wet food, and human food all have great scents and textures, making them great options in a dog’s opinion.
Picky dogs usually prefer wet food or human food. As mentioned before, wet food has a better texture, a better smell, and more nutritional value.
The only thing better than wet food is natural food, especially meat. Until the industrial revolution, dogs were eating what we were eating, mainly scraps and bits of meat.
Should I Change My Dog’s Diet?
After reading this article, you may wonder if it is better to include more wet food or meat into your dog’s meals.
This depends on a few factors. First, everyone knows that wet food is far more expensive than dry kibble. Because of this, most owners use wet food as a special treat.
The same issue applies to feeding your dog more meat. Buying all that meat can get expensive. Not to mention the fact that you will have to prepare it every time you want to feed your dog.
Another factor to keep in mind is that many brands of dry kibble have greatly improved in both quality and nutrition over the past few decades.
If you have the money to spend on wet food or meat, then there’s nothing wrong with incorporating them into the diet. But if you don’t have the budget for wet food and your dog is perfectly healthy and happy with dry kibble, then you don’t need to make any changes.
No matter what your dog is eating, he probably likes it. Dogs are known for their eagerness to eat food, and it certainly isn’t an act.
Dogs enjoy every meal, and except for a few picky eaters, they will like whatever you put in front of them.
Food Brings Your Dog Joy
Dogs enjoy their food, just not in the same way that humans do. Humans love the smell of food, but taste is the sense that reigns supreme.
For dogs, taste is not as important as texture or smell. Kibble, wet food, and human food check off all the critical items that a dog looks for in food.
So whether you have a picky eater or a vacuum on four legs, you can ensure that the food they are eating brings them pure joy.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.