Dog Lifestyle, Pet Health, Pets and Family

Can my dog taste sour? Plus other fun dog facts about how dogs enjoy food

If you have been wondering “can my dog taste sour?” then you have come to right place. 


Just like us, dogs have taste buds which can detect sweet, sour, salty, and bitter tastes.  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 taste 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 fussy eaters just swallow everything and food just disappears without being tasted.

Some 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. 

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. 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 and 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 a fun way!