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.
The Sweet Tooth
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.
The Meat Factor
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.
The Yuck Factor
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.
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.