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?

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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. Allowing a schedule also helps keep your dogs weight in check.

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. IAMS™ Proactive Health™ Adult Dog food has chicken in it and is the best choice for your dog.
  • 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.

  • 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. 


  •  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. 
  • 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.
  • 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.


If you're looking for the perfect dog for you, try our Dog Breed Selector today and enjoy a lifetime of tail-wagging joy.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Palatability Of Dog Food

  1. What are highly palatable foods for dogs?  
  2. There are several brands that offer highly 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. 


  • 3 reasons why animal-based protein might be better for your dog​
    3 reasons why animal-based protein might be better for your dog​
    3 reasons why animal-based protein might be better for your dog​

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    A balanced diet with high-quality protein is essential for your dog's optimal wellness.

    Author: Dr. Saza Curaming

    Dogs are semi-carnivores. They can be nourished by protein from animal sources, plant sources or a combination of both. Although dogs are often fed a plant-based diet, they are not herbivores. 

    The difference between animal-based protein and plant-based protein sources is that animal-based ones incorporate chicken, lamb, fish meal, and beef while plant-based protein sources include corn-gluten and soybean meal. 

    Similar to their carnivorous ancestors–wolves, coyotes, foxes, and jackals, the body structure of dogs is optimized for eating meat which is relatively easier for them to digest than a plant-based diet. 

    Even though dogs are semi-carnivores, it is important to not leave out animal-based proteins from their diet. Feeding our dogs meat-based products are closely related to their natural ancestral diet. There are three main reasons animal-based proteins are better suited for our furry friends than plant-based proteins.

    Not all proteins are created equal 

    Including protein in your pet dog’s diet serves several functions. For one, a high-quality protein food for dogs can provide amino acids. Amino acids play a key part in building hair, skin, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Protein plays a key role in hormone and enzyme production.

    Amino acids are building blocks and are considered critical to our furry best friend. Different studies have shown that out of the 20 amino acids, 10 of these are called non-essential and can be made by your dog when they need it.


    Protein is crucial throughout a dog’s lifetime

    A dog’s need for amino acids will also change depending on age and condition. As dogs age, their body composition and muscle-specific proteins decline and for that reason, giving them protein in their meal helps them maintain a healthy body throughout the years.

    That said, it goes without saying that puppies require sufficient protein for growth. According to a study, a puppy's diet should consist of at least 22% protein. For an adult dog, 18% of protein should be incorporated into their everyday meal. 


    Protein a day, keeps doctors away

    Animal protein sources contain an average of 35% higher protein concentration. It contains higher doses of calcium, phosphorus, omega 6, methionine, cystine, and taurine. 

    While protein can be derived from plants, the canine digestive system typically has an easier time utilizing animal-sourced protein. Our dog's gastrointestinal tract is not designed to digest large amounts of plant-based products.

    To deliver a healthy balance of amino acids to support your dog's health and vitality, IAMS created a recipe that uses chicken as their number one ingredient and aids in maintaining healthy digestion, immune system, skin and coat, and even provides dental care support that is developed with veterinarians. 

    Ready to achieve your dog’s optimal health with an animal-based protein food? For more information about IAMS Dog, visit https://iams.asia/my/. IAMS Dog is available at all leading supermarkets and grocery stores nationwide.