Posted at 14 December 2018

Understanding the food preference of animals remains a challenge in sensory science. Here, a complementary approach combining food preference and food odor discrimination tests was applied to dogs as consumers. This approach was designed to distinguish a lack of preferential choice from a lack of discrimination in dogs. 

Consumption of four pet food products by a taster dog panel was evaluated. First choice and intake ratio results were strongly linked, suggesting that odor perception influenced the dogs' food consumption. Within this test, two products were preferred by the dogs and favored equally.

To provide more depth to the interpretation, an olfactometer was used to measure the dogs' discrimination of the four product odors. A panel of dogs, designated the expert panel, was specially trained in olfactory recognition of one of the two equally preferred products. 

The main results demonstrated that dogs can discriminate products by olfaction and express the same food preference for different products, even if they have different odors. Moreover, the olfactory experiments allowed to conclude that the differences in intensity among odors did not affect their discrimination. 


Journal of Sensory Studies - November 2018

Authors: Caroline Basque 1,2 ; Stéphanie Cambou 2; Franck Peron 2, Laure Le Paih 2, Cécile Marzin 1,3, Karine Hanaoka 2, Laurence Callejon 2, Carole Prost 1,3, Laurent Lethuaut 1,3

1 FLAVOR Research Team, MAPS2, UMR CNRS 6144 GEPEA, Nantes, France

2 Diana Pet Food, Z.A. du Gohélis, Elven, France

3 ONIRIS, Nantes Atlantic National College of Veterinary Medicine, Food Science and Engineering, Nantes, France"


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