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Saturday, 3 December 2011

Warming the heart and the dinner

I know I prefer warm food, but what about dogs? Why do we mostly serve their dinners cold?
What's the best food warmed and does it really make a difference to their enjoyment like it does to us?
I've taken to warming up my dogs tinned food as I had often put half a can back in the fridge and it felt terrible giving him something really very chilly. He seems to appreciate the warm version and I can't help but notice the smell is stronger.
Why does the aroma increase when you heat food? Sounds like a silly question, there's obviously a massive difference between the smell of uncooked bacon and cooked - but why does it make us more hungry when we smell cooked food?
As dogs' noses are so very much more advanced than ours surely smell is even more significant to them and must increase their enjoyment and anticipation.
Or am I just anthropomorphising my dog too much by choosing to 'cook' his tea each night with the rest of the family!
Either way I'm not stopping, he appreciates my cooking a lot more than the humans!
Yvonne Reynolds, Manchester


  1. My pair are fed raw so it doesn't get warmed up in fact they seem to prefer it when it's still a wee bit frozen.

  2. How do you warm the food, microwave, saucepan, oven?

  3. You are indeed anthropomorphising! Canids in the wild don't eat warm food; and prey they catch is body temperature, but no warmer, and will quickly cool down to the surrounding temperature.

    As for food smelling more strongly when it is warm, heat 'excites' molecules in food, meaning that they move faster than in cooler food; this is what is involved in the process of cooking food, as well as the process of food smelling "more".

  4. In answer to the original question, I have no idea, as I don't know what Anthropomorphising is! What I do know is my Cocker Spaniel Badger is a dog that can go for days without eating, and then there are days when he will eat. He is not a fussy dog, he just he only eats what he feels he needs which is wasteful for us, (he doesn't like treats either)...

    Several months ago I started feeding raw on the recommendation of Claire Goyer at Haslemere Pet Co and all went well for several weeks, then the walking away from the Dinner bowl started again. So I now heat up his meat in a saucepan until cooked, let it cool a little, so as not to burn his mouth and he wolfs it down, even licking the bowl clean which he never used to do..

    He defiantly prefers it warm, to the point where I have had to reduce his food intake considerably, as he went from being a slender dog (9.5kgs) for nearly 10 years to a slight chubby chops, so reduction was required (his weight has now returned to normal).

    As to weather dogs prefer warmed food, I think they are like us and every dog is different.

    Just for the record, I myself prefer to eat cold food, most people think of that as odd too...

  5. I think Yvonne has a point and is not necessarily anthropomorphising.
    Dogs, as animals, desire food based on odour first (then texture and finally taste). Dog's are scavengers and hunters and using their nose is how they locate food when necessary. We are all aware of the powerful sense of smell the dog has, therefore does it not follow that hot, pungent food is more desirable and enjoyable?
    Research was carried out regarding the dog's taste in food by Katherine Houpt. It was found that smell, not taste, was the main factor in a dog preferring one food to another.

  6. My dog is mostly raw fed and will eat his meat very cold or even still fairly frozen. It has the added advantage of making him work harder to eat it, and eat slower so he doesn't wolf it down too quickly.

    I don't think dogs prefer warm food.
    Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object.

    Whilst dogs seem to be attracted to some foods via smell, it does not necessarily follow that those foods are better for them, or more enjoyable either. For example, I like the smell of curry, but sometimes the curry itsself is disappointing in flavour. There are times when I prefer a salad sandwich to a mediocre yet nice smelling cooked meal.

    Back to dogs though, as pawsitively training said, in the wild dogs do not cook their food, and most meat would be eaten cold.

    Be careful heating meat for dogs, as cooking makes bones brittle and dangerous for a dog to eat, so if you do cook their meat, be sure it's boneless, never give cooked bones to a dog.