How does a dog’s sense of taste to compare with a cat’s sense of taste?

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While cats and dogs do have similarly heightened senses, both species have relatively underdeveloped senses of taste, relative to their senses of sight, smell and hearing. Cats and dogs have taste buds, just like humans do, that help them sample and analyze different basic taste sensations. Humans have around 9,000 taste buds; dogs, approximately 1,700; cats, only 470. Based on these numbers, it’s reasonable to conclude that dogs are able to taste more widely across the spectrum of flavor than cats.

Dogs and cats use their sense of taste to test the palatability of food given to them, as well as to stimulate salivary, gastric and pancreatic secretions. Sense of taste is developed early on in life, and becomes less acute as dogs and cats age. When a dog or cat is young, they develop taste preferences based on experience. When a new food is offered, it will be more easily accepted by the cat or dog if it is more palatable than what was previously being offered.

Some dogs and cats show taste preference when it comes to meat versus other foods. A dog or cat’s primal instinct is to seek high-fat and meaty diets based on what their ancestors ate in the wild. Dogs and cats are generally unable to differentiate between types of meats, but seem to prefer meat to other foods. Dogs and cats are both able to taste rancid, bitter, or spoiled foods and will generally stay away from the foods associated with these taste sensations.

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