Why Does Dog Food Smell So Bad?

If you are a pet owner, you would agree that the smell of dog food is not something you would want to smell in any other place than your dog’s bowl. It can sometimes be as bad is when your dog eats tuna – and that is not pleasant!

Now, you may not already know this, but the horrible smell of your dog’s food has a lot to do with them even eating it at all. So the thought of having to replace their meals with something less awful smelling is not such a great one.

As for why it smells that way? That is a question that is answered by “what is in dog food??” and that is the answer to the awful smell.

What does Dog Food Contain?

Dog food is made up of animal byproducts. Animal parts that no one has a use for at all, and so they decide to mash them all together and kibble them. The result is what your dog eats. Beef, bone meals, livers, spleens, chicken necks, backs, animal lungs, and almost (almost, but not all) anything leftover from poultry and cattle farms that can not (or will not) be consumed by human mouths is brought together and kibbled. 

To make sure nutrients are balanced out, they might add a plant-based control protein source, soy flour, an animal-based control protein source, and dehydrated whole eggs too.


Now, after all these things are brought together in holy matrimony, the smell of it might not be so appealing to your dog. Why?? Because your dog’s senses are not enticed enough to eat. It is a known fact that the sense of smell in dogs is higher, much higher than in humans, but their sense of taste is also superior to ours, almost up to forty times the capability of the human nose. 

So when your dog is presented with a bowl of dog food and is not put off by the smell and still eats it, the taste will encourage it for a second bite.

Palatants are like flavors or ingredients that make food taste and smell better. They are specifically designed to appeal to your pet’s senses to make them want to eat the food. While the food is still foul-smelling, it is a smell that appeals to a particular part of their organs, and subsequently, their brains, that lets them know that this is something they can eat, the good stuff.

In instances where your pet is being picky with the brand it eats, it is because the palatants used in specific brands suit it better than the ones in others. 

It is almost like music preference in humans. You can attune yourself to genres, instruments, artists, or even particular chords. And this still doesn’t necessarily mean that everything in a particular genre will sit well with you enough for you to listen to it a second time if you get through the first time. And we also have people that are tone-deaf and are entirely averse to sounds and music. 

That is the same way palatants work with dogs.

The palatants entice their sense of smell and taste into eating their food.

Each dog then has its preferences for brands, flavors, additives, or whether it even wants wet or dry foods.

It is the very makeup of your dog food that makes it smell bad to humans.