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What Does Dog Food Taste Like? The Truth (Updated 2023)

What Does Dog Food Taste Like

Most Fidos gobble down kibble or wet food with delight.

So admit it or not…

You may have once wondered what it tastes like.

And if it’s okay for you to have some.

Well. Say no more, as I’ll feed you all the necessary dog food info.

Keep reading to learn:

  • What dog food tastes like to humans.
  • If canines actually like the taste or not.
  • 3 best-tasting dog food brands for humans.
  • Whether it’s safe for you to eat dog food or not.
  • And a lot more…

What does dog food taste like?

Dog food may taste like cardboard or the unseasoned ingredients on its label. You can observe the former in cheap dry kibble rich in grains. But some brands may have a sweet, nutty, or sour taste too. Meanwhile, the latter’s for dog food with higher-quality ingredients. Say animal meat or organs.

Now that you know what it tastes like, the next question is…

Is it safe to eat dog food?

It’s safe to eat dog food. But since it’s specially made for canines, it won’t supply all the nutrients a human needs. So consuming it long-term as the main part of your diet isn’t a good idea.

Aside from malnutrition, below are…

3 dangers of eating dog food

#1: Menadione (vitamin K3)

Like you, your furry friend also needs vitamins to stay strong and healthy.

One of those is vitamin K. Which plays a role in maintaining bones and blood clotting.

However, some dog food has ‘menadione,’ a.k.a. vitamin K3.

“What is it?”

It’s an artificial version of vitamin K.

According to experts, it changes to its natural form (vitamin K2) inside a Fido’s body.

Menadione is safe for most dogs. 

But, it can be toxic to you at large doses.

“How much menadione is enough for humans?”

For men, the standard amount is .0000004.23 oz (0.12 mg) per day. 

Meanwhile, it’s 0.000003.17 oz (0.09 mg) daily for women.

The amount of menadione varies per brand of dog food. 

So it’s hard to know how much kibble is toxic for humans.

But the good thing is that most companies only put a little dose of it into their products.

Also, a study shows that vitamin K3 poisoning is rare in humans.

Despite this, it’s still not good to only have dog food in your meals for days.

#2: Foodborne diseases

Eating Dog Food Can Cause Foodborne Diseases

Bacteria may also contaminate dog food.

“But how? Do companies cook their products well?”

That’s right. Usually, that process kills any organisms in the food.

However, if you add contaminated flavoring to the product afterward…

That’s when bacteria spread.

As well as if you store the item at the wrong temperature and expose it to heat.

4 common bacteria you may get in dog food
Name of bacteriaDescription
SalmonellaAttacks the intestines and causes fever, diarrhea, and stomachache.
E.coliResults in an upset stomach, urinary tract infection, or pneumonia.
Listeria monocytogenesMostly affects babies, pregnant women, and people with a weak immune system.
CampylobacterCommon reason for diarrhea (often bloody) in the US and stomach cramps.

Usually, you’ll get these by eating contaminated raw food, like:

But people and dogs may also get these by drinking untreated water. Or anything that had contact with infected animals.

These are the reasons why companies do recalls. Or withdraw their products from stores.

Thus, this happens in real life.

But one research found that 78% of dog parents aren’t aware of this.

So stay tuned for notices from the US Food and Drug Administration, a.k.a. FDA.

And search for recalls of the product you’re planning to buy.

Do this before rushing to the nearest pet food shop or clicking ‘buy.’

#3: Nutritional deficiency

Tasting dog food or eating them as a snack won’t harm you.

But again, it must not be your only source of nutrients.

It’s because you and your Fido have different nutritional needs.

So a day’s kibble or canned food won’t keep you healthy in the long run.

“How different are dogs’ and humans’ nutrition?”

Vitamin C

You need this nutrient to repair and grow body tissues. And also to protect your cells from damage.

Now, as a human, you can’t produce vitamin C alone. 

So a study says you need to get it solely from your diet.

But according to experts, dogs can make vitamin C in their liver.

Thus, they don’t depend much on their food to get this nutrient.

That’s why if you mainly rely on dog food for nutrition…

You can be at risk of vitamin C deficiency.

And its common signs in humans are:

  • Bruises.
  • Swollen joints.
  • Bleeding gums.
  • Dry, bumpy skin.
  • Abnormal weight gain.
  • Wounds that heal slowly.
Amino acids and protein

To make proteins, the body needs ‘essential amino acids.’

Based on specialists, these help in:

  • Digesting food.
  • Building muscles.
  • Making hormones.
  • Repairing body tissues.
  • Improving the immune system.
  • Keeping the hair, skin, and nails healthy.

Both dogs and humans should get those amino acids from food.

But your furry friend needs 10 of them. While you only have to obtain 9.

Also, not all dog food contains all the essential amino acids. 

Especially products filled with plant-based proteins like grains.

So it’s highly likely that you won’t meet your needs by eating dog food.

Don’t forget to check out: 17 Worst Dog Food Brands (Avoid #3 At All Times)

#BONUS: Choking hazard

Lastly, aside from foodborne illnesses…

Children are also at risk of choking.

Kids are curious about everything.

So if they find an open bag of dry dog food on the table, they may try and eat some of it.

However, some dry kibble might be hard to swallow for small children. And this may result in choking.

Note: If you have kids at home, store dog-related or toxic products out of their reach.

Do dogs like dog food? Does it taste good to them?

Dogs like dog food. But instead of the flavor, the product’s scent or texture appeals more to them. And it’s because canines have a stronger sense of smell than taste.

Your furry friend can tell flavors apart, such as:

  • Sour.
  • Salty.
  • Spicy.
  • Bitter.
  • Sweet.

But according to PetMD, dogs only have 1,700 taste buds.

Meanwhile, humans have around 9,000. Which makes you more sensitive to those flavors.

Thus, you may not find most dog food tasty.

However, your pooch’s more focused on the product’s odor. 

That’s why they might not mind the food’s taste at all.

Remember, some dogs even chew used sanitary pads and eat poop (e.g., rabbit, deer).

So this isn’t too surprising.

Now, you can’t beat Fidos’ nose in detecting odors.

To lure dogs, most companies add interesting scents to their food.

And they usually use ‘animal digest’ for this.

It’s made of materials treated with acids or heat to enhance its flavor.

The digest gives the product a meaty aroma. Which can increase a dog’s appetite.

Fun fact: Since dogs are okay with bland food, experts say water isn’t tasteless to them, either. It’s because they have a special taste bud for it. And you can find it at the tip of their tongue.

If you want to know more, read this article: Do dogs like dog food?

Best-tasting dog food for humans

#1: Hills Science Diet (Dry Formula for Sensitive Stomach)

Let’s talk about dry dog food first.

This product lists chicken meat as its protein source.

It contains rice and peas too. Plus, most of the other ingredients are specific and familiar to you.

So a piece of this kibble can be tolerable for most humans.

The formula tastes healthy. And the texture might remind you of Grape-Nuts cereal.

#2: Iams Adult Dry Dog Food

People who have tasted this say that with milk…

Iams dry food can pass as breakfast cereals.

Well. It’s what you can expect from a recipe full of grains.

#3: Ollie Dog Food

Guess what. Some pet food companies also make human-grade products.

“What does human-grade means?”

It’s a term for products approved for people’s consumption.

So this dog food brand only uses fresh, natural ingredients.

Thus you may still find the taste familiar.

Warning: Just because the dog food’s tasty for you doesn’t mean it’s good for your Fido. What matters more than taste is its ingredients. So check the product’s label carefully.