If you think I have poor taste…..you’re right….but so do you.

I readily admit it, I’m taste challenged. Just one more item on the long list of things my dog has taught me.

I was wondering if my big dog was becoming a fresh water snob. She was suddenly turning down water only a couple of hours old and insisting I give her fresh water from the little dog’s bowl instead. It was puzzling to say the least.

When we got a second dog several months ago, we naturally got all the paraphernalia that goes with a puppy. And since she was of the lap dog variety, everything was scaled way down from our Labrador Retriever’s stuff. That was fine, until we started to notice that the lab, Queenie, hereinafter referred to as Q, (not to be confused with James Bond’s humorless tech guru) was no longer drinking out of her big water bowl, but drinking instead from the other dog’s smaller one. It required constant refilling. No amount of coaxing could get her back to her own bowl.


Absolute, definitive, indisputable scientific evidence. Big bowl full, little bowl empty.

To add to the mystery, the pup, Bella, hereinafter referred to as B, (not to be confused with the flying, stinging insect) drank water from either bowl at first, but as she grew, she too rejected the water in the big bowl. It seems that in the animal world at least, size does not matter. But taste buds do.

Here’s a scientific fact that you can file away for future reference (or forget about altogether, as you do with all my other posts)….though dogs only have 1700 taste buds as opposed to humans’ 9000, theirs are divided between food and water taste buds. Humans have no water taste buds whatsoever. Of course, everyone knows that dogs have an extremely keen sense of smell, but who knew they could smell and taste water?

Back to the mystery. Q really got our curiosity up to the point we decided to investigate. Both of the dogs’ bowl were silver metallic  Q’s bowls were older, naturally, but there was a more important difference. They were aluminum, whereas B’s were stainless steel. The light bulb started to glow brightly (the one in my thought bubble, not the one in the room). Of such things is genius born. We went to the pet store, bought a big stainless steel bowl, and the rest, as they say, is l’histoire. (I’m still working on why I’m suddenly speaking French). Turns out that as aluminum suffers wear and tear (from use, washing, etc.) its protective oxide coating can get damaged and it starts to react with water. Q, with her sensitive tongue, was not being finicky, but health conscious.  In B’s case, as her “water buds” finally developed, she too became more H2O discriminate.

Well, as the saying also goes, a picture is worth a thousand words………I know, too late.



Bella and Queenie enjoying water from their new family sized stainless steel bowl. The moral to the story: always mind your B’s and Q’s.


28 thoughts on “If you think I have poor taste…..you’re right….but so do you.

  1. Bella sure has grown up!

    As for taste buds, try this one out. Scrappy prefers “adventure drinking” to civility drinking. He would rather lap up the water that is any puddle on the street than what is in his freshly filled water bowl. Terriers! 😉

    • Absolutely (see my response to Cindy B, below). And don’t even get me started on the other junk they eat during a walk (deer poop for example).

  2. It must be in our family, I can (or used to be able to until my sinuses gave up again & now I can taste and smell nothing) both smell and taste water. Water in my house in Dublin tasted markedly different to that in my Nana’s house, or in my friends house up the mountains, or in my Uncles house in Sligo, or my aunties in Belfast, and the water in central London Yeugh!!! Nearly as bad as in my Nana’s house!!

    Where we live now it is Ok, but you have to leave it stand for an hour or so to allow the chlorine to escape from it. (London water is recycled 20 times so is treated with quite a lot of chemicals)

    Wilson can smell water a mile away, but then when my nose worked I could smell it too, the river smells (not like the Liffey in Dublin – that used to STINK) just a bit musty, and the sea smells strongly, and our pond smells, they are all watery smells.

    Your dogs are clever, drinking from aluminium containers has been proven to be one of the causes of Alzheimer’s (how many attempts did it take to spell that one!!!) so they obviously prefer to avoid it wherever possible

    You will remember what it feels like to touch your tongue on the blade of a pencil sharpener (it is one of those things we all have done in our lives) some metals and water don’t mix well!

    • It’s indeed scary to think of what we might be ingesting every time we take a drink of water. Even the so-called “pure” bottled water is suspect. Not to mention that it is contaminated by the plastic from the bottle itself. Do you think we should all emulate the French and drink nothing but wine? I’m game. You?

  3. Exellent post Al. I’m going to buy a new bowl today. We have two food bowls, one is aluminum, the other ceramic. C our small 8-year old dog will not eat from the aluminum bowl, now I know why. J our 4-year old will not eat from either bowl, giving up his bowl to C. Thanks for the tip. I mean who knew…obvously you. Dianne

  4. Where do you learn all this stuff? Water taste buds? I’m glad you figured out what was wrong with the bowl. Smart dogs!

    • They’re smart. They know it gets refreshed far more often than their own water bowls.

      Now eating other dogs’ poops….that’s an entirely different story.

  5. I wonder if Queenie would drink the water in Rhode Island, or at least at the first rest top outside of CT. I think the fountain is made out of the same ingredients as her old de-oxided bowl. You probably thought that as a women she was just going through the change. Mais non!

    • The whole thing baffles me. When I take Q on walks in the woods, she will drink out of the yuckiest ponds and streams you can imagine. Must be they have no aluminum in them.

    • Actually, we have hardwood floors and this is a cheap throw rug especially for the dogs (and me when I’m in the doghouse, which is often) The close-ups make it look like a wall-to-wall carpeting.

  6. Now you learn something every day, or in my case every decade. That thing about Aluminium and water. I didn’t realise that. As for the dogs. They sound very lovable which is a lovely thing to know

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