Facts About What Dogs Like to Eat

by Adrienne Farricelli Google
    Scruffy's sniffer gains more information than his taste buds.

    Scruffy's sniffer gains more information than his taste buds.

    Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    You'll be surprised to learn that despite your dog's eagerness to eat just about anything in sight, his sense of taste is not as excellent as you might believe. Yes, Scruffy may drool buckets of saliva at the sight of baloney, but his overall taste is relatively poor. While he's capable of detecting bitter, sweet, salty and sour tastes, you'll be surprised to learn that he has only one-sixth the number of taste buds a human has.

    You can't deny that Scruffy has developed a liking for sweet stuff. His drool at the sight of doughnuts, ice cream and cookies cannot be ignored. This tendency to crave sweet foods may have an explanation if you look at your dog's evolutionary past. Prior to being domesticated and being fed food from a bag, Scruffy supplemented his diet with small animals and whatever fruits and plant material he could find.

    Yes, your dog may have survived with a diet supplemented with the occasional ingestion of plant material and berries, but over all, your dog remains a meat-eating animal at heart. Consider that in the wild, more than 80 percent of a canine's diet will consist of meat. Interestingly, your pampered pooch is gifted with special taste receptors that seem to be specifically tuned for meats. This explains why Scruffy loses his mind over hot dogs, juicy steaks and freeze-dried liver.

    Your pooch may crave some lip-smacking goodies; then there's those not-so-good goodies that literally turn your stomach. There's not much you can do about it, though; dogs seem programmed to want to eat animal feces. This behavior is quite normal and goes by the name of coprophagia. You may not want to know about this, but bunny poop and the poop of some hoofed animals seem to contain some important nutrients such as B vitamins, according to the SPCA of Texas.

    If your dog has taken a liking for puddy tat's food, don't be surprised. Many dogs turn up their noses at their commercial diets, but then eat cat food with gusto. The reason is that kitty's chow is quite rich in proteins and fat. As much as you may feel tempted to save some money and feed your canine and feline companions the same food, don't. For starters, cat food is not formulated for dogs, and secondly, it's ultimately not suitable for Scruffy's gastrointestinal tract –– and his waistline.

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    About the Author

    Adrienne Farricelli has been a writer since 2005, serving as an editor, steward and writer for several online publications. She brings expertise in canine topics, previously working with the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification as a dog trainer from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Farricelli offers reward-based training and behavior consults at Rover's Ranch Home Boarding and Training.

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