Can Dogs Tell By Smell If Food Is Spoiled Or Not? Answered!

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
If the food has expired, can your dog detect it? Read on and discover if dogs can feel detect spoiled food.

Dogs have amazing smell capabilities.

Not only that they use smell to explore the world around them and learn new things but they also use it to determine what is good for them in terms of nutrition.

It is no secret that dogs are massive food lovers and that they would try any food as long as it smells interesting to them. However, some dishes (and products) should still be far from their reach.

Did you know that dogs can tell by the smell of the food is spoiled or not?

If you’re a dog owner already you have probably noticed how dogs are fast to turn their heads away from certain food items?

As if they don’t like the smell? The thing is that they don’t.

Dogs can tell when something is bad or not, thanks to their impeccable smell.

Even if they eat it and realize while chewing that it’s bad for them they will throw it up. In most cases, they won’t eat it again.

As a general rule, if a dog refuses food or throws up, you should know that something is really wrong with it.

Can Dogs Detect Spoiled Food?

Different studies have shown that dogs can make some classification among food opposite to humans who have a far more sensitive stomach.

In other words, dogs can make the difference between sweet, sour, salty, and bitter flavors.

Did you know that dogs have specially designed taste buds for water?

This is something that is found in dogs, cats and other carnivores, while humans aren’t blessed with this item.

For dogs do know which food reasons with them they have to taste it. This means that they learn from experience.

Just like in humans, food preferences may vary from dog to dog. Some dogs may enjoy dry food all the time, while others need moisturized food to inspire them to eat dry food at all.

It all varies from dog to dog. Plus, some dogs may prefer food that is packed with chicken, while others may prefer food with beef flavor and so on. It’s definitely a good idea to compare dog foods before choosing to start giving it to your dog.

But… As real foodies can dog detect spoiled food? Dog experts would advise you not to depend on your dog’s smell to detect whether is food is good or not.

Why do they turn their heads then if they don’t know the difference? Since they learn from experience, if they have tasted it once, and disliked it, they know that they won’t like it again. It’s just that simple.

But… What if they have never tasted it before? It only means that the smell is just too strong and they don’t find it interesting.

This is handy especially when it comes to standing near food items that are dangerous to dogs such as onion and garlic.

It’s a common belief that dogs can detect spoiled food in no time, but the truth is that dogs rarely get food poisoning.

The main reason for this is that their stomachs are far more acidic than in humans (digestive tracts in dogs are shorter than they are in humans).

Since their digestive tracts are much shorter they are capable of handling all kinds of rank stuff indulging in rotting garbage.

Rotting garbage like dogs do is something that humans could not handle. In fact, this is something that would make humans deadly ill.

Does this mean that you can feed your dog something that isn’t fresh or 100% healthy?

Of course not, as dogs should be on a high-quality food diet, of fresh ingredients and the perfect balance between dry and moisturized food.

What Happens When Dogs Eat Spoiled Food?

If your dog grabs spoiled food and eats it, you should know what the bacteria gets into the digestive tract.

There, bacteria can produce toxins that can easily get absorbed into the bloodstream. This may happen if the dog grabs something from garbage, from a trash can, table scraps, and even dead animals.

It’s not uncommon for bacteria to enter a dog’s digestive tract or feces from other animals.

This is why parasite control is important and is something that not only that will keep your dog healthy in the long run, but will also save you from the high veterinarian bills.

How Do Dogs Know What’s Edible?

As mentioned earlier, dogs learn from experience. This doesn’t mean that they only learn firsthand.

No, they also learn from the experience of their parents. Some dogs need to taste before they make their final decision.

This is why they will often take a small bit of food and decide on the sport if they enjoy the taste or not.

Some animals may avoid color or a combination of colors, but this is something that no dog owners can affect. They may also decide if they like a certain food or not, merely on the taste.

As a general rule, anything that is new, different, and apart from their everyday diet will usually be approved and adored.

This doesn’t mean that human chocolate should be something that they should eat, but a nice slice of cucumber is something that can enrich their everyday enormously.

If a scent is strong and can overpower a dog’s sense of smell, it can cause certain disturbances in dogs.

Some strong smells, such as bleach are so powerful that they may cause complete scent loss in dogs.

Before we elaborate further on dogs and their smell, let’s see how dog smell work.

How Does Canine Smell Work?

It’s well-known that dogs have an amazing sense of smell and their smell and it’s considered to be their super skill.

Their smell is so strong that it has been used in a wide variety of jobs from tracking lost people to assisting in different jobs, such as search and rescue, or as service dogs.

Did you know that dogs, due to their great smell sense, are also used in medical tests? Dog’s smell may vary based on their age, breed, and even sex.

Did you know that a dog’s sense of smell is up to 100,000 times more powerful than the human nose?

In practice, this means that what humans may not detect, dogs may feel a highly intense smell.

Every dog comes with a super smell, but male dogs have a more powerful smell compared to female dogs.

When you know about a dog’s ancestry this makes a lot of sense. Back in the days when dogs were not so much domesticated, younger males had to track scents to find either mates or territories.

Smell helped them find what they were searching for.

Moreover, smell helped them not only find their mates and different territories but also helped them detect other animals nearby.

Just like in humans, as dogs get older their hearing and smell decline. Dog’s nose is always uniquely shaped and nasal cavities aid in smell as well, by helping to mix new odors with the old ones.

Once the inhaled air enters the dog’s nose, it will split up in the nasal passageways where the part of it will go to the lings and the other part will enter the olfactory area of the nose.

This area is located in the olfactory area of the nose and its main function is to help dogs detect and process the smell.

Have you heard about the vomeronasal organ in dogs? This organ is specialized in detecting hormones and pheromones in the body.

How Does Canine Taste Work?

Now that we know more about how smell in dogs works, let’s see how dog taste works.

Just like in humans taste is often linked with the smell. Many species are actually using their smelling features to help get more from what they are tasting.

In other words, if something smells bad it probably has to taste bad as well.

All in all, compared to humans, dogs are much better at smelling than tasting their food.

Does this mean that a dog won’t try food if there is no smell first? No, but they do prefer to smell food before they take a bite.

Taste is something that begins in puppyhood and helps the dog to determine what is good to eat and what may be harmful.

How does taste in dogs work? In dogs, the taste is done through the work of taste buds that are located in various parts of the mouth.

These buds are mostly located on the tongue and they look like small bumps that are visible when looking inside a dog’s mouth.

Does this mean that all papillae types have taste buds? No, but it does mean that some papillae are specialized. That being said, some papillae will determine what they taste depending on their location on the tongue.

Each taste bud can sense all tastes if the taste is strong enough. However, some parts may be more sensitive to certain flavors than others.

Dogs can make separate sweet and bitter things, but they don’t have taste buds to identify salty foods as humans do.

When it comes to meat and fat, their senses are much more refined than the ones in humans.

Dog experts claim that this is due to the mostly meaty diet that their ancestors enjoyed in the past.

Dogs can detect sweet flavors, but they cannot detect artificial sugars. This is why xylitol is so dangerous to dogs, and why dogs should never taste human chocolate.

If you want to provide your dog with something sweet, make sure that you shop for a treat in the pet shop. There, you can find even chocolate that is carefully designed for dogs.

Dogs will naturally avoid bitter foods, which is handy when it comes to avoiding toxic foods. This is why there are so issues when it comes to giving your dog medication – they strongly dislike that bitter taste.

This attitude toward bitter food won’t stop them from being foodies. They will still enjoy flavors that come with extra aromas, such as meats dipped in a juicy grave, or canned food that is interesting.

Be careful when it comes to serving canned foods to your dog as canned food is usually packed with salt which is harmful to dogs.

Food Texture

Texture may not be so big a deal as smell and taste are, but some dogs are so picky that they will think about food texture as well.

You may even tell that these dogs are picky eaters, but if they don’t like the texture they will refuse the food.

Some food may be too hard, while some may be too realistic – how food feels under the tongue matters.

In fact, texture can often make a big difference.

All in all, dogs prefer food that is easy to chew. This is why they enjoy soft food so much.

Be Careful When It Comes To Dog Treats

Dogs love treats. No matter how much treats you serve them they will never refuse them. This is why it’s important to be careful when it comes to serving these delicious bites.

Treats are much more fun and tastier than regular dog food which can lead to weight gain.

Obesity in dogs is across the States and you don’t want your dog to be part of this negative trend.

Once you get a dog you are directly responsible for his weight. If you serve your Fido extra treats you can expect him to develop a much stronger appetite over time.

Also, if there are too many people who give your dog food continually, including table scraps, he may just speed up his way to obesity.

All in all, treats should never be up to no more than 10% of the total calories you feed your dog daily.

To Sum Up…

Still not sure if a dog refuses food because of the smell or the taste? If so, you might consult your veterinarian.

Just guessing what an issue might be worn solve the problem. Since no one can tell for sure if a dog can tell by the smell if a goof is the dog for them or not, you need to step up and be the best dog owner ever.

It’s up to you to provide the best nutrition possible, to serve high-quality food, to know how much your dog should eat and when, and to provide regular veterinarian check-ups.

If you suspect that certain food might be spiled do not serve it to your dog.

For any other doubt regarding your dog’s nutrition, make sure that you contact your veterinarian.