Do dogs possess sweet tooth receptors?

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While dogs and people are able to taste the same basic taste sensations, such as sweet, salty, sour and bitter, it’s not likely that they possess sweet tooth receptors. Unlike humans, who have around 9,000 taste buds, dogs only have 1,700 on their entire tongue. The function of a dog’s taste buds is to sample and deliver information to the brain, letting the brain know if the food being eaten is palatable. A dog’s taste buds can discern tastes between groups of food such as plant food or meat, but cannot truly discern more subtle flavors such as how sweet or salty a food is.

Because of a dog’s limited number of taste buds and their passive relationship with food, it’s not likely that dogs have definite taste cravings or even recognize the difference between various taste sensations. While people eat for both nutritional reasons and enjoyment, a dog’s primary motivation to eat is for survival. As long as a food is palatable, most dogs will eat what is placed in front of them without much thought or hesitation. A dog’s brain doesn’t stop to think how good one food tastes in relation to another, or even what tastes are present on the taste buds, so long as they are not bitter or rotten.

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