how many taste buds do dogs have?
Dogs have less taste buds than humans!
Yes, that is true. Humans win this round with a whopping 9000 taste buds compared to 1700 that your dog has. This means your pooch’s palate is six times more inferior to ours! A Smaller number of taste buds doesn’t mean they can’t taste at all.
Like us, dogs can taste sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami*. However, unlike us, they have a fifth set of taste buds specific to water. And dogs also have a set of taste buds dedicated to helping them find meat. And although dogs don’t crave salty snacks – probably because they get enough salt from the meat they eat – we do know that, like us, dogs crave sweet foods!
According to a piece in Psychology Today:
“In addition to sensors for sweet, salt, sour and bitter, dogs also have some specific taste receptors that are tuned for meats, fats and meat related chemicals. Dogs will tend to seek out, and clearly prefer the taste of things that contain meat or flavours extracted from meat.”
That might explain why even picky dogs tend to go gaga over certain food or toppers. Moreover, dogs can taste and even prefer certain foods more than others.
Can dogs taste water?
Dogs do have specific taste buds for water. It’s difficult to wrap one’s head around what this tasting experience is like. At the tip of your dog’s tongue is a set of taste buds that are especially perceptive to water.
“The everyday experience of dogs as messy drinkers results from the backward curl of the tongue, which increases the size of the water column and thus enables dogs to drink more per lap than with a straight tongue.” Gart, Sean et all.
**Umami means “the essence of deliciousness” in Japanese and describes flavours that are savory, meaty.