Have you ever noticed how your dog sits by your dinner table during mealtime and puts on its hungriest face, begging for scraps from your plate?
Most dog owners have noticed the intense attention their pet dogs give them during meal times.
But why do dogs love human food so much?
Why Do Dogs Like Eating Human Food?
Dogs like human food because they like all food (made for dogs or humans).
They also like it because when they see their owners eating it, it triggers hunger signals making them want to consume the food.
And, of course, human food is tastier than dog food (human food has more salt and sugar).
Early Humans Used To Share Their Food With Dogs
Dogs formed strong bonds with humans thousands of years ago when their canine wolf ancestors would approach human camps searching for scraps.
Early humans would toss away food scraps or give them to these dogs in exchange for their protection as watchdogs.
Over time, this transactional relationship slowly evolved into canine domestication and a relationship that has lasted to this day.
So, when your dog begs for scraps at the dinner table, it basically repeats an action that has been deeply ingrained in its biology.
At one point, a dog’s very survival depended on humans feeding it with leftovers, and this trait hasn’t left since then.
NOTE – You may like to read this post about why dogs like antlers so much.
Other Reasons Dogs Want Human Food
As mentioned earlier, one of the reasons dogs like human food is because they watch their owners enjoying it.
They see us eating it and naturally want some for themselves.
Another reason (also mentioned above) is that dogs are hardwired to beg for scraps, as this was how they first became domesticated, begging from humans thousands of years ago.
However, while these are the main reasons dogs enjoy human food, there are other possible reasons, too.
1. Dog Food Isn’t As Interesting as Human Food
Imagine eating the same food, with the same taste, every day. It doesn’t sound exciting.
Well, it’s not fun for your dog, either!
Like Pedigree and other brands, dog food usually comes in a few flavors, like beef or chicken and vegetable.
However, real chicken, veggies, and beef taste much better than the dog food versions.
And a dog’s nose and taste buds are far more sensitive than you’d imagine.
So when your dog smells your food, it can pick up on a range of aromas and flavors that you can’t.
So when your dog has to choose between variety and eating what it’s used to, of course, it would prefer to eat human food.
Pet owners who feed their dogs the same food every day can’t blame them for begging at the dinner table.
The dog is understandably bored of the same old food.
So to keep your dog more interested in its food, try to mix it up a bit. Give them different flavors, different brands, and some tasty new treats.
Before we continue, let’s look at these two gorgeous goldens trying lots of different human foods. This video is adorable!
NOTE – You may also like to read this post looking at the question why do dogs like bones so much?
2. Dogs Have Very Strong Sense of Taste and Smell
This ties into the previous point because the variety of smells from human food can be enticing to a dog.
And to a dog, its smell is the window through which it perceives the world.
It’s the first ‘taste’ your dog gets before eating anything.
Dogs can taste various flavors, including spice, bitter, sour, sweet, and salty.
Additionally, dogs also have taste buds on the back of their throats.
So when we see a dog gulping down its food, we tend to assume that it can’t taste.
However, your dog probably tastes its food a lot longer than you do before it reaches its stomach!
Fun Fact: Dogs even have taste buds for tasting water!
NOTE – You may also enjoy reading this blog post answering the question: why is my dog greedy?
3. Eating Helps Dogs Satisfy Their Instinctual Drives
Remember that dogs are descended from wild animals, and in the wild, eating food is a top priority because you don’t know when you’ll get your next meal.
As such, dogs are more likely to be ready to eat at any given moment simply because their survival demanded it in their evolutionary past.
NOTE – You might also be interested in this post asking the question: Why is my dog eating slowly?
4. Lack of Nutrients in Low-Quality Dog Food May Cause Dogs To Beg for Human Food
While most dog feed claims to offer dogs a fully-balanced diet, this isn’t always the case.
Most food brands claim that dogs need only protein, and any food that offers maximum protein is ideal for your canine friend.
However, dogs are more omnivorous than we’d like to think. While they primarily subsist on meat, some nutrients may be unavailable in their diets, and your dinner may be able to compensate for this.
And since a dog has an acute sense of smell, it can probably tell which foods it requires to supplement its diet.
If you also notice your dog eating mud, take it to a vet to determine the nutrients it’s missing from its diet.
By supplementing these nutrients, you can ensure your dog stays healthy and doesn’t crave your food too often (although it still might for the other reasons mentioned above).
NOTE – This post might be useful if your dog always wants to eat more food.
5. Human Food Is More Textured Than Dog Food
As mentioned earlier, dog food can be pretty dull.
However, it’s not just the taste that’s boring but the repetitive texture that sometimes makes eating a challenging task.
If your dog has tasted human food, it knows that your food comes with various flavors and textures.
And this variety is enough to get your dog begging at the dining table during meals.
NOTE – You may also want to read this post looking at the question: do dogs like dog food?
Final Thoughts On Why Dogs Like Human Food
Dogs like human food for several reasons, including just liking all food in general and that human food is often more tasty and enticing than dog food.
You should make sure that the food you feed your dog is of the best possible quality and keep variation in their diet to stop them from becoming bored.
That’s the end of this post looking at the question: why do dogs like human food?
Thanks for stopping by to visit The Factual Doggo.
Before you go, you might want to take a look at this post asking the question: do dogs think humans are cute?
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!