Science Project:

Dog Diets: Will a Dog Prefer Homemade Dog Food?

3.8 based on 84 ratings

Problem:

What foods do dogs prefer? Is a dog’s food preference connected to how healthy the food is?

Materials

  • ½ cup ground, lean meat
  • ½ cup pureed apples and leafy greens
  • Blender
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup canned dog food
  • ½ cup dry, store-bought dog food
  • ½ cup measuring cup
  • Stove
  • Frying pan
  • Spoon
  • Dog
  • 2 identical food bowls

Procedure

  1. First, it’s time to be a chef. Take your lean ground meat and divide it into two equal parts that are ¼ cup each. Set it aside. In a blender, puree an apple and some leafy greens, such as lettuce. Measure these into two ¼ cup portions. Mix up one of the ¼ cup portions with a ¼ cup of lean ground meat and place it into a bowl.
  2. On the first day at dinnertime, set out two bowls: one with ½ a cup of canned food, and the other with ½ a cup of the raw food you made. Which one does the dog go to first? Record the results.
  3. On the second day, use the meat and blended fruits and vegetables that you set aside, and cook these until they are lightly browned. For dinner on the second day, set out the half cup of cooked food and half a cup of dried food in two identical bowls. Which one does the dog go to first? Record the results.
  4. Continue the experiment over the next few days, trying different combinations of food to see what your dog likes the best. Try to do each combination twice to make sure that the dog chooses the same food in each pair.

Results

Dogs will usually prefer the raw food, but a dog’s preference also depends on what food it’s used to eating.

Why?

The domesticated dogs we keep as pets today used to be wild dogs. A wild dog like a coyote or a wolf hunts for food, and eats it raw. Depending on the type of dog, it might eat small animals like mice or it might hunt in a pack for larger animals.

Many thousands of years ago, dogs and humans began to work together. Dogs could guard the places where humans lived, hunt and track, and were also helpful for carrying and collecting things. As dogs and humans became friends, dogs started to eat human food given to them as well. Today, we have many different types of dog food for our pets.

Given what dogs eat in nature, you might expect that your dog would like to eat raw food. This might be the case. However, this preference can depend on the dog. If your dog is used to eating dry or canned food, it might eat that out of habit. Just like humans have foods that we’re used to and eat all of the time, so do dogs! To find out, you can try this experiment with several different dogs and note what they usually eat at home before you begin testing other kinds of foods.

Author: Tricia Edgar
Disclaimer and Safety Precautions

Education.com provides the Science Fair Project Ideas for informational purposes only. Education.com does not make any guarantee or representation regarding the Science Fair Project Ideas and is not responsible or liable for any loss or damage, directly or indirectly, caused by your use of such information. By accessing the Science Fair Project Ideas, you waive and renounce any claims against Education.com that arise thereof. In addition, your access to Education.com's website and Science Fair Project Ideas is covered by Education.com's Privacy Policy and site Terms of Use, which include limitations on Education.com's liability.

Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

How likely are you to recommend Education.com to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely