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. 


  • How to Take Care of Newborn Puppies
    How to Take Care of Newborn Puppies
    How to Take Care of Newborn Puppies

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    Bringing a furry friend home is one of the greatest things you will do. If you are someone who has been longing for a furry companion, you should wait no more... however, only if you are confident that you can take complete care of this four-legged angel. Puppies need love and care, so as their caregivers, you need to help them grow into happy and healthy dogs.

    Stay by your pet’s side throughout its growing stage. This is that time of its life where you need to do more than just provide food, love, and fun times; you must understand dog nutrition, follow the vaccination schedule, and potty train your puppy. Sparing some time and energy to provide your pet with basic puppy care can help you build a loving relationship with your pooch. So, let us explore a few things you can look into while nurturing a puppy. This basic puppy care guide will also keep you informed with what to expect in the first few months of being a caregiver.

    • Bringing your puppy home

    Wondering what to know about taking care of a new puppy? Let us start with the most basic things like puppy proofing your house. That is right. Puppies and babies fall in the same category: delicate and fragile! You need to be careful about their surroundings and make sure that there is nothing hazardous around. Puppies are naturally curious. Make sure they do not encounter things like chemicals, electrical cords, harmful houseplants, valuables, and especially breakables. You also need to get necessary pup supplies like a feeding bowl, collar, leash, and more. Set up a cosy corner for your puppy to rest in!

    • Feeding your pooch

    Choosing the right puppy food is of paramount importance. You must pick out puppy food that is specifically formulated for growing puppies as it needs the right kind of nutrients to grow stronger. So, avoid adult dog food if your pet is still a pup.

    Not sure when to make a switch to adult dog food? Well, it totally depends on the breed size. If you have a small or medium breed dog, you can switch to dog food once it turns 9 to 12 months old. If you have a large breed dog, continue feeding puppy food until it turns 12 to 24 months old. Apart from that, make sure your pup always has access to fresh and clean water!

    This is what a typical puppy feeding schedule would look like: 

    • 6-12 weeks old: Four meals per day 
    • 3-6 months old: Three meals per day 
    • 6-12 months old: Two meals per day 

    At IAMS™, we offer a range of puppy as well as adult dog food that nourishes your furry friend with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other essential nutrients. Our products are made with premium-quality ingredients to ensure that your dog enjoys every bite of its food.

    • Vet visits and vaccinations

    Taking your furry friend to the vet is the most important part of taking care of a puppy. Your dog’s first visit to the vet will help you learn about your dog’s overall physical health. Vet visits will also keep you informed about the vaccination schedule.  In fact, it is recommended to make a list of all questions that you may have. This list should include topics like: 

    • Vaccination schedule 
    • Spaying or neutering 
    • Potty training 
    • Basic obedience training 
    • Any symptoms 
    • Diet and nutrition 
    • Deworming
    • Socialisation

    Puppies should meet a variety of different people, dogs, objects, and situations – all in a positive way. The most important time for pups to socialise is between three and 12 weeks of age, however, it should continue throughout a puppy’s development. As pet parents, you can take your pooch to puppy classes as it provides a great opportunity to socialise puppies.

    • Potty training

    You can get started with potty training from the day one. This will help inculcate basic bathroom manners in your dog and will save you from cleaning the floor every time your pooch excretes. So, pick a bathroom spot outside your house and take your pup to the same place whenever it is potty time. Praise it right after it is done. You can also reward it with treats. However, under no circumstances must a puppy be yelled at since it may ignite fear.

    The best way to train is to reward good behaviour and ignore unwanted behaviour. It is never too early to begin training a puppy, but owners must remember that very young puppies become tired or distracted easily so training sessions should be kept to a short duration.

    • Oral care

    Dogs are prone to losing tooth, bad breath, and periodontal diseases. Moreover, they are good at hiding their dental pain. Hence, owners should introduce some form of oral care for their puppy as early as possible. Consult your vet to ensure that you pick the best dental care option for your pooch.

    • Exercise

    Amounts of exercise should be controlled for puppies during growth. They should not be forced to exercise beyond the amount of time they would engage in with another puppy of the same age. Moreover, your furry friend must be allowed to rest when they need to. So, instead of offering a one long playtime period, go for two short walks.