Dog Lifestyle, Pet Health, Pets and Family

Can My Dog Taste Sour? How Dogs Enjoy Food

If you have been wondering “can my dog taste sour?” and other fun facts about how dogs enjoy food then you have come to right place. 

Blonde Labrador dog sneaking some treats from a dark table with a red background.

Just like us, dogs have taste buds which can detect sweet, sour, salty, bitter tastes and spicy hot!  Which means that they can probably taste sour and tell the difference, between the various flavors. 

We are fascinated with how our dogs taste and experience life through their senses which includes taste which we first explored in our article Can Dogs Taste Sugar and Other Fun Facts About How Dogs Taste Food.

Unfortunately our dogs cannot tell us so we have to use other ways to find the answer as to whether dogs taste sour or not.  

One way is looking at the amount of taste buds that dogs have.  “Dogs have fewer taste buds than we do – about 1,700 in the average dog compared to 9,000 in us. Like us, dogs can identify sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.” AKC

Signs that dogs can taste sour food?

Signs that a dog is reacting to sour food include:

  • Alert 
  • Head tilting 
  • Chewing 
  • Wag tail 
  • Sniffing 
  • Raise ears
  • Gulping down food 
  • Lip smacking 
  • Guarding the food bowl 
  • Circling around the food bowl

How dogs approach food that tastes sour

All dogs have a different ability to taste, like people. Most dogs are likely to investigate the sour taste of food first and decide whether or not it’s safe to eat. Some non-fussy eaters just swallow everything and food just disappears without being tasted.

Brown and white bulldog eating food out of a red bowl on a bricks.
All dogs will approach sour foods differently

Dog Taste Facts

  • Dogs have very strong sense of smell, so their response in the first instance is based on smell.
  • Whilst still some distance away, the dog is likely to sweep their head from side to side while taking lots of rapid, shallow breaths.
  • Once close to the food, the dog will take fewer but deeper breaths to fully explores the aroma of the sour food.
  • The dog will most likely lick at the sour food tentatively. Your fur buddy may then lick their lips to decide if this is something they would like to eat or not.
  • With a decision made that this food is worth eating, dogs just chew and gulp, rather than savoring the sour flavor.

Do dogs care what their food tastes like?

Well, dogs do care what their food tastes like but not in the same way we do. Along with tastebuds for sweet, salty, sour and bitter, they have a fifth set of taste buds specific to water. Also, dogs have some specific taste receptors tuned for meats, fats and meat related products. 

Brown dog drinking water out of a tap outside in the sun.
Dogs have a fifth taste for water

Compared to human beings, dogs can’t taste salt very well. Also, most dogs dislike the smell of bitter and acidic foods.

Most of the dogs prefer foods that contain meat or flavors extracted from meat as professional dog food tasters know. That’s why the picky eaters tend to prefer canned flavored food or food toppers.

Our Favorite meat topper: Marie’s Magical Dinner Dust made with grass fed beef

Dogs don’t crave salty or sour foods. However, just like us, some canines have stronger food preferences than others.

Pet parent tip:Dogs enjoy variety in their food. If you feed them the same thing every day, they will get tired of it. Give your furry companion something new and they’ll eat up it up happily.

Final thoughts

Just like people, every dog has individual preferences. A sour flavor that tastes pleasant to one dog, may be unpleasant for another. That can partly arise from preferring what food they ate as a puppy.

If some food smells good to a dog, he will likely go down to explore it. After a few bites, the taste of that food might play a role, too.

You may also be interested in our article Can Dogs Taste Sugar and Other Fun Facts About How Dogs Taste Food

Find more can my dog eat articles:

Can My Dog Eat honey? this article includes everything honey including all of the benefits and how to use.

Can My Dog Have Summer Sausage?

 Find more fun in our Fun Discussion on Everything Dog in our book Motherpuppin’ Adorable: What to do when your dog is better than everyone else’s where we discuss everything about living life with dogs in an amusing and tongue-in-cheek way!

Can My dog Taste Sour Dog Taste FAQs

Do dogs like sour?

Many dogs will avoid the taste of sour, sweet and bitter as it is not a natural flavor born of their ancestral diets.

Can dogs lick sour candy?

Dogs may lick sour candy out of curiosity. It will not hurt them to have small amounts of candy and they likely will not have too much as dogs generally will avoid sour foods. Sugar and sweets are hard on a dogs system, are inflammatory to dogs (as most mammals) and can cause obesity and other health problems in dogs but this is not a danger with only a lick.

What are dogs favorite flavors?

Dogs are all different and the complexity of the way they taste are a challenge to professional dog food tasters but in general dogs like meat, like bacon, chicken, and steak, fish, cheese, and starchy flavors in form of potatoes the most.