Dog Taste Buds: Basic Numbers and Role of Smell

dog taste buds numbers smell

At Farm Hounds, our constant goal is to provide clients with healthy,nutritious dog treats and chews, plus to support family farms and agriculture while doing so. Our all-natural dog treats and other products are absolutely loaded with nutrition, plus are made sustainably and promote a better environment -- and we also promote diligent care and support for all the animals we serve, providing owners with several resources in this area.

For example, many of our clients are interested in learning more about why their dogs enjoy certain chews, treats and other items more than others. Much of this comes down to their taste buds, which are similar in nature to humans -- but very different in terms of practical application and the quantities they exist in. This two-part blog series will go over a full primer on dog taste buds, how they compare to ours, and some of the flavors or food types they tend to enjoy most based on how their taste buds work.

Dog, Cat and Human Taste Buds

Generally speaking, medical research has shown that the sensitivity of a given animal's taste is directly associated with the number of taste buds present in its tongue and mouth. This is an area where humans have very different quantities than other animals -- humans average roughly 9,000 taste buds across their tongues, while dogs have about 1,700 and cats only about 470 taste buds.

As a result of this difference in quantity, scientists have noted that humans are able to distinguish between at least five different basic tastes -- sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. And while canines and felines may not have quite this range, it's also important to note -- especially in the case of dogs -- the role that smell plays here.

For humans, smell plays a limited role in taste. For dogs, however, it plays a major role -- so much so that most dogs actually have roughly 220 million more olfactory receptors than humans, allowing them to detect aromas up to 100 times better. In most cases, the fact that they can't taste as varied of a set of flavors is compensated for by their ability to smell far better, and there are certainly many examples of strong-smelling dog treats that turn out to be extremely delicious as well.

In this case, it's important to notice that smell and taste go hand-in-hand as they're the primary ways a dog (or cat) is able to detect flavor. This is something we'll discuss further in this post. 

Back of Throat

In addition, dogs have taste buds present not only on the tip of their tongues, but also further back in their throats. These are specifically designed to help them sense flavor when liquid is being consumed, and this plays a major role in why dogs tend to love lapping up water out of a bowl or off the ground -- they're actually tasting it as well!

In part two of this blog series, we'll go over some of the specific flavors or taste profiles dogs tend to like or dislike based on their sensory qualities and taste buds, plus connect this to some of the treats and other products we offer so you can choose the very best for your dog.

For more on this or any of our products, speak to the staff at Farm Hounds today

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