Why the Taste of Your Dog’s Food Matters
Why the Taste of Your Dog’s Food Matters

Importance of Dog Food Palatability & How to Increase It?

Why Is Palatability Important?

Even if a pet food is formulated to provide all of the essential nutrients required by a dog, it is of little value if the animal will not eat it. Quality pet foods are carefully formulated not only to be highly nutritious but also to be highly palatable.

Highly palatable dog food recipes contain various ingredients and raw materials, including palatants. Palatants help improve the smell, flavor, and texture of your dog’s food. Examples of palatants include fat, salt, proteins, yeasts, and other flavors that are added to make food taste better. Dry foods usually need extra palatants to make them more pleasant and appealing. 


What Is Palatability?

Palatability is a term used to describe how well a dog likes the taste, smell, and texture of a food. A premium dog-food manufacturer spends a considerable amount of time conducting controlled feeding studies to determine the right combination of ingredients and processing techniques to produce a nutritious, palatable food.


How Is Palatability Measured?

There are two ways to test and measure the palatability of a dog food: 

First Bite: The first palatability test is called the “first bite” preference. This measures the dog's first impression of a food's aroma and appearance.

Total Volume: Because the novelty of a new diet can cause highs and lows in first-bite tests, a second test is conducted called “total volume” measurement. Total volume determines the staying power or ability of a diet to maintain the animal's interest over time. This is the dog’s overall choice of a food based on taste, texture, and nutrition for the entire test period.

Why Are Dogs Picky Eaters?

Dogs can become picky eaters for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons why dogs can become picky eaters include:

  • Being given an excessive amount of snacks or leftover food
  • Issues with a certain food ingredient
  • Lack of variety in their diet
  • Health problems

How Does A Dog Determine If Food Is Palatable?

In comparison to humans, dogs have significantly more smell sensors than taste receptors. This implies that foods with stronger aromas tend to appeal to dogs more. While scent is crucial, less odorous meals like dry kibble can also improve your dog’s food palatability. A dog’s taste buds are hard-wired to sense the presence of fats as well as salt (but not necessarily salt flavor). Fat is frequently added to kibble to improve flavor and palatability without making the food stinky.

While taste and scent are some of the primary ways a dog decides if something is pleasant, palatability can also be influenced by a wide range of factors, such as the dog’s unique preferences and even the owner’s preference for meals and feeding times.


How Do You Make A Dog Eat Food?

To make a dog eat food, you need to:

Chalk Out A Feeding Plan

Everybody in the household needs to accept and follow the pet’s feeding plan from the beginning. You should be consistent and rigorously adhere to your dog's diet. If you decide to give your dog leftovers, choose to combine nutritious foods with kibble.


Do Not Give Table Scraps

Offering your dog table scraps often promotes begging and throws off your pet’s diet. It can also lead to several health issues, including diarrhea and pancreatitis. Although human food is far more palatable, it is less healthy than canned or dry dog food.


Obey A Strict Mealtime Schedule

Puppies need to be fed two to three times a day, or as your vet may prescribe. As they get older, you can gradually increase the serving size while offering meals just once or twice a week. Additionally, you must add some variety and deliver equal servings.


Dog Food Palatibility

How Are Palatability Feeding Studies Conducted?

In order to obtain and interpret accurate results, palatability studies must be performed by experienced animal technicians and the data analyzed by research nutritionists. Feeding studies are conducted by offering an animal two bowls of food at the same time. Each bowl contains a different diet that has been carefully weighed and recorded.

The technician observes which food the dog chooses to eat first, and then records that as the first-bite preference. After a specific time period, bowls are removed, and any remaining food is weighed and recorded. Diets also are switched from left to right each day of the study to ensure that dogs are not eating one diet simply out of habit.

The total-volume measurement is determined by calculating the difference between the beginning and ending weights of each food. This procedure is repeated using the same two diets with the same group of dogs for five days. At the end of the five-day study, all observations and data are compiled and analyzed to determine the overall palatability of each diet.

Flavors That Dogs Like

Here is a quick look at some flavors that can appeal to your pet.

Meaty Flavor

  • Dogs like to eat animal meat
  • The salt content of meat is sufficient to meet your dog’s bodily needs without them needing to actively seek out extra salt
  • Look for dog diets with chicken, salmon, turkey, lamb, or beef
  • Meat sources of protein not only benefit your dog’s health but also have a pleasant flavor and aroma.

Animal Fats

  • Any dog food tastes better when it contains animal fat
  • Animal fat is a vital component of your pet’s diet
  • The safe amount of fat intake for each meal must be determined by your veterinarian.

Gravy or Stews

  • Dogs and puppies usually prefer wet food over dry food
  • Try mixing some broth, gravy, or stew with kibble
  • Dishes can be made tastier by the broth's wetness and added meaty taste.


What Affects Palatability of Pet Foods?

Dogs are attracted by not only the taste of a food, but also to its sight, aroma, and texture. Dogs are particularly interested in the smell of food.

How To Increase Palatability of Dog Food?

If you are wondering how to increase palatability of dog food, here are a few tips that might help.

  1. Select The Right Protein

    Whether your pooch prefers dry or wet dog food, remember that the choice of protein is extremely essential. The most palatable dog foods are ones that are available in different meaty flavors such as lamb, beef, and chicken.

  2. Add A Lot Of Fats

    By adding fats, salts, and other additives, dry dog foods are made more palatable. Additionally, fats contribute a softer taste to the food which dogs tend to enjoy. In fact, canines find fats to be tasty and will actively seek this flavor in their meals. While the aim is to serve highly palatable dog food to your pet, do be sure to check the right amount of fat content with the veterinarian./p>

  3. Try Food Additives

    Another strategy for improving the taste of food is to add food additives. These can be actual meats that the dog owner adds to the dish such as boiled turkey or any flavored store-bought gravies.

  4. Use Soft Treats

    Since many supplements aim to increase the nutritional value of food, they may include ingredients that are disliked by dogs. Try introducing liquid or soft treats to make dog food more palatable. There are also certain supplements which are tasty by nature. These can be used to enhance the flavor of dog food while maintaining nutritional value.


What Is Liquid Digest, and How Does It Affect Palatability?

Liquid digest is simply protein that is enzymatically broken down into amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. The enzymatic process reduces large protein pieces to smaller protein pieces and free amino acids. By adding small amounts of acid, the enzymatic or digestive reaction is stopped, and a stable liquid ingredient is produced. After a dry-food formula is cooked, formed into kibbles, and dried, the liquid digest is sprayed evenly on the outside of the dry kibbles. This is called “enrobing.” Not only does the liquid digest make the food highly palatable, but it also adds to the overall digestibility of the food.

Is Liquid Digest a Good Palatability Enhancer?

Yes. We use liquid digest made from chicken to enhance the palatability of dry foods and to contribute to the nutritional value of the diet. Some pet foods include flavor enhancers, such as onion powder, which simply mask the aroma and taste of the ingredients and provide no nutritional benefits to the animal.

Frequently asked Questions about palatability of dog food

  1. What are highly palatable foods for dogs?
  2. There are several brands that offer palatable dog food. These foods contain meat that is rich in protein and good for your dog's growth. Meat also helps in the healing of tissues. 


  3. What food is irresistible to dogs?
  4. Dogs prefer meats like beef and pork to lamb. They also like warm, wet foods over cold, dry foods. What’s more interesting is that dogs tend to prefer some variety in their food and may get bored if they constantly receive the same dish.


  5. Will a picky dog eventually eat?
  6. Yes, your picky dog will eventually prefer to eat what it is served overeating nothing at all. All you need to do is have patience. A dog that is a picky eater might turn down a few meals, but once it becomes too hungry, the pooch will eventually eat what is offered. 


  7. Why does my dog not like dry food anymore?
  8. Some dogs like all types of foods whereas others are more particular and fussier. If your dog prefers and eats other kinds of food, such as wet food, then you have a picky eater. 


  9. What dog food is best for picky eaters?
  10. You can offer a variety of food items to dogs who are picky eaters. These include dry-scrambled eggs, vegetable broth, and frozen or fresh water-based vegetables. 


  • Nutrition for Large- and Giant-Breed Adult Dogs
    Nutrition for Large- and Giant-Breed Adult Dogs
    Nutrition for Large- and Giant-Breed Adult Dogs

    Healthy joints and proper weight are especially important for dogs that grow to be more than 50 pounds. But not all large- and giant-breed adult dogs have the same nutritional needs. Is your dog getting proper exercise? Is she about to have puppies? Special conditions can dramatically affect your dog’s nutritional demands. Giving her a food specially formulated for her large size, life stage and activity level is the easiest way to make sure she’s getting the nutrients she needs.



    Choosing a Food for Overall Health

    To address the special needs of your large- or giant-breed dog, look for these features:

    • Less fat to help maintain an ideal body condition for less joint stress
    • Vitamin-rich fish oils for healthy skin, shiny coat and overall health
    • Essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system and help maintain good health
    • High-quality animal-based protein sources to help maintain muscle tone
    • A moderately fermentable fiber source, such as beet pulp, to maintain intestinal health, enhance your dog's ability to absorb nutrients, and reduce backyard cleanup
    • A carbohydrate blend to help sustain energy by maintaining normal blood sugar levels


    These components are key to good nutrition. Look for them in treats, wet dog food, or dry dog food, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Large Breed.



    Maintaining Healthy Joints and Cartilage

    Joint health is a big concern for owners of large- and giant-breed dogs. A large- or giant-breed formula that contains high-quality protein can help nourish healthy joints. Vitamins and minerals help promote the production of cartilage. Also, keeping your dog at a healthy weight will help minimize joint stress.



    Guarding Against Weight Gain

    Dogs with lower activity levels and dogs that have been neutered or spayed are all prone to weight gain. Controlling your dog’s weight is an important step toward protecting against the health effects of excess weight, such as diabetes or joint health problems. If you use a weight-management food, look for these characteristics:

    • A reduced fat level that still offers essential nutrients for skin and coat health
    • L-carnitine, a key nutrient that helps burn fat and maintain muscle mass during weight loss
    • Special carbohydrate blends that help maintain energy while managing weight
    • Vitamin-rich fish oils for overall health



    Providing Nutrition During Pregnancy

    Pregnant dogs have substantial nutrition requirements. Starting in the seventh week of her pregnancy, a mother dog will need to increase her energy intake up to 50% by the time she gives birth and increase it even more when she starts nursing her puppies. Because she may lose her appetite at times, it's important that she eats a nutrient-dense food. A complete, balanced puppy formula can give her the extra nutrients she needs. But avoid puppy food created for large and giant breeds; these formulas contain specially adjusted levels of energy and minerals that may not be sufficient for a pregnant or nursing dog.



    Switching to a Mature Diet

    Dogs who grow to be more than 50 pounds are considered mature or senior at age 5 or 6, which is earlier than small-breed dogs. So, it’s critical to make a proactive transition to a specially formulated mature diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Mature Adult Large Breed, to help keep your dog healthy and active as she ages.

    Nutrition for Large and Giant Breed Adult Dogs
    Nutrition for Large and Giant Breed Adult Dogs