guide on why does dog food taste bad

Why Does Dog Food Taste Bad?

Have you ever wondered if dog food is appetizing to the human palate? It’s an unconventional question and one that not many people are eager to put to the test, but it’s an interesting thought. You’re able to enjoy your favorite fried chicken, sushi, and everything else, but how does your dog’s kibble taste to him? Does your dog find something that smells unappetizing to you delicious?

These are all questions we’ll have answered and even present you with a few ways to make your dog’s food more appealing.

How Does Dog Food Taste Like?

How Does Dog Food Taste Like?
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Although we haven’t gone as far as to test our theory, we assume dog food will taste similar to how it smells. Depending on the brand and ingredients, some dog food smells bad while others are more acceptable. Then there is wet food, that can smell more palatable than dry kibble, that’s for sure.

Those we have tried claim that wet dog food, or canned food, tastes like meat, although which type of protein it was is more difficult to identify. Is it good? Well, that really depends on personal preference, but don’t give up human food just yet.

As for kibble, it surprisingly may taste better than canned food if you don’t purchase just may commercial dog food but one that is of high quality. Ones crafted from natural, fresh and organic ingredients can actually allow testers to taste some of it.

What dog food tastes like will really depend on what you try. We know that not many people would choose to conduct this experiment, but it’s interesting to know what dog food tastes like for humans. It’s also an interesting note that since dogs have fewer taste buds than us dog owners, it’s more about the aroma of the pet food for your dog to entice him.

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Why Does Dog Food Smell So Bad? The Truth Revealed!

Why Does Dog Food Smell So Bad? The Truth Revealed!
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Not all dog food smells bad, but ones that are unbalanced or have poor diet quality can leave an unpleasant scent. Essentially, what can contribute to the poor smell is low quality ingredients. Dog food or even dog treats such as dog biscuits that are not top notch may contain animal by-products and palatants. The by-products may smell of raw or cooked meat and the palatants are chemically-treated ingredients that are supposed to appeal to your dog and not necessarily to you.

These factors can create a foul smell in some dog food. However, sometimes dog food smells bad because it’s gone bad. Dog food that has exceeded its expiration date may have a slightly sour taste and dogs won’t like that.

We would suggest consuming the dog food within a month of opening it and storing it somewhere dry and cool. Oxidation will start to degrade pet food once you open the package, so don’t feed your dog food that has long since passed the expiration date.

Sometimes the food is obviously spoiled when it smells sour to us. However, dogs can detect it long before they can, so if you notice your dog avoiding the food, then it may be time to throw it out. Dog owners of picky canines may be at a loss here. Is it really spoiled food, or is your dog just being picky? The best way to tell is to look at the type of food you’re feeding to determine the shelf life.

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How Does Dog Food Taste to Dogs?

How Does Dog Food Taste to Dogs?

Food for dogs essentially tastes good to your canine. As said, they have fewer taste buds compared to us, so they don’t need much to please their palates. Even with just one-sixth of our taste buds, dogs can still taste basic flavors such as salty, sweet, bitter, and sour.

What really gets your dog going is not the taste as much as it is the texture and the smell. Since we can’t ask a dog and receive a decipherable answer, we assume that dog food tastes to dogs how it smells, or as much as their 1,700 taste buds can allow them to experience.

Speaking of dogs’ taste buds, they can taste water, which we cannot, and they also have a separate set that helps them search for meat. Dog food brands work hard to make dog food taste good to dogs (although maybe not as inviting as dog treats) so rest assured that you will be able to find one that your dog accepts.

Improving the Taste of Your Dog’s Food

Improving the Taste of Your Dog's Food

Many dogs aren’t picky, but there are large numbers of dogs who are. Dogs also have unique personalities, which also gives them one-of-a-kind preferences. A healthy breakfast cereal may taste like cardboard to some of us, and the same goes with dogs and some of their food. What one dog likes may not be appetizing to another. Luckily, there are ways a dog parent can coax their dog to eat, and it doesn’t involve dog treats.

The first supplement you can consider is meal toppers. This can come in the form of fresh food, wet food, freeze dried raw pieces, and more. Find out what flavors your dog likes and give these toppers a try. Just mix them into your dog’s food to make a more delicious meal. Raw meat can also be an option, but we would recommend consulting a vet before going raw.

You can also consider adding bone meal, pumpkin puree, and other types of human foods that are good for dogs. Bone broth is another popular one that can also make the food smell appetizing and also sounds yummy.

These food supplements have dual functions. Not only are they great for making the food tastier, but they can also provide more nutrition for a more balanced meal.

What is a Taste Deterrent for Dogs?

As said, dogs are unique so their likes and dislikes will vary. That being said, there are some close to unanimous preferences dogs share. For example, most dogs don’t like citrus scents, which is why they wouldn’t like citrus fruits. For this reason, citronella is an effective bark deterrent.

Dogs can taste sweet flavors, and most of them like it. One flavor their taste buds can detect isn’t so pleasant, and that is the bitter taste. Bitter apple and spicy flavors are also a taste deterrent for dogs. This is the reason why anti-chew sprays are usually these flavors.

Do Dog Treats Taste Different from Dog Foods?

Do Dog Treats Taste Different from Dog Foods?
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Dog treats and dog biscuits will rarely taste appetizing to us, but dogs love them! What is needed in dog treats to make them appealing to us such as seasoning and certain flavorings are non-existent, because dogs can’t handle it. They were formulated to cater to a dog.

As we mentioned, dogs like the texture and the smell. You may find some of their treats, such as peanut butter snacks, may even smell inviting to you. But we bet if you take a test bite it will be quite bland. Remember, it’s the smell and the texture that gets a dog salivating.

Most dog treats are crafted to be crunchy, and dogs love crunchy snacks. Feeding hard doggie treats to your dog is not only satisfying for your pooch, but it has health benefits as well. A hard doggie treat can help reduce plaque buildup and tartar accumulation. While you should still brush your dog’s teeth every day if possible, hard snacks can really help make it easier if you miss a day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is dog food so disgusting?

Dog food may be disgusting because of the ingredients it contains. Animal by-products and palatable added to the kibble or wet food may create a foul odor. The by-products smell like raw or cooked meat, which is understandably unappetizing to some. How the food smells or even tastes to you will be different from your dog. Dogs only have 1,700 taste buds compared to our 9000, which means they are less impacted by the taste of their food rather than the smell.

Is it ok to taste dog food?

Giving your dog’s food a taste is totally fine and completely safe. Although not many people would, we advise not making dog food a regular part of your diet simply because of its nutritional profile. Dog food is formulated to meet a dog’s needs – not ours. This means that a regular diet of dog food will leave a human malnourished. The same goes for dogs grazing on human food regularly, which is why vets generally suggest not giving your dog table scraps.

Is dog food gross to dogs?

No, the taste of dog food is generally not gross to dogs, but some can be picky eaters if they don’t like a certain flavor. However, dog food can be gross FOR dogs, we are referring to ones that are made with very low quality ingredients. These are ones that contain ingredients that are rejected for human consumption, meaning your dog is getting leftover parts of the animals. We strongly advise going for organic, top-quality, natural, human-grade ingredients.

Do dogs really like dog food?

Generally, yes. Dogs like dog food, but you have to give your pooch one he likes. Your dog may like good old-fashioned beef as the main protein, but another canine may prefer exotic bison and venison. it all comes down to a dog’s personal preference.


While dog food may not smell or taste appetizing to humans, it should not taste or smell bad. If it does, the food is most likely spoiled. Not liking the taste does not equate to disliking spoiled flavor. Make sure you’re feeding your dog fresh dog food and one that he likes.

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