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Why are dogs afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

  1. Aug 11, 2012 #1

    Pythagorean

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    There appears to be many cases of people's domestic dogs showing anxious and aversive behavior around cooked lamb.

    Examples:

    Dog afraid of lamb jerky

    several different exmples over the years of people asking the internet why their dogs cower every time they cook lamb:

    http://ask.metafilter.com/82237/Why-is-my-dog-scared-of-cooked-lamb
    http://www.askmehelpdesk.com/dogs/dogs-terrified-when-lamb-being-barbequed-129471.html
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100428192856AAFmrQv
    http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-257945.html
    http://www.dogster.com/forums/Behavior_and_training/thread/382511
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2012 #2
    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    Conjecture
    Maybe the dog isn't afraid of the cooked lamb. Maybe the dog is afraid of the spices that are often used with cooked lamb.
    I can't imagine a carnivore being repelled by cooked lamb. Lamb is very fatty. Fat is something every carnivore loves. However, lamb is seldom cooked alone.
    Lamb is very fatty. Fatty meats take on spices very well. Lamb is often used in Middle East dishes that include onions, peppers, etc. Maybe the spices irritate the dog's sensitive nose.
    In one of your links, there was a family that had several dogs. One of the dogs was adapted from an animal shelter, and the other dogs were raised with the family all their lives. Only the dog that was raised in an animal shelter was afraid of the lamb.
    Maybe the dogs that were raised with the family got used to the spices used with meat. They may have started out irritated by the smell of spices, but got used to it. The dog from the shelter never had a chance to get used to spices.
    These people should offer the dog from the shelter some lamb chops without any flavoring. No onions, nothing. I will bet the dog will gobble it right up.
     
  4. Aug 11, 2012 #3

    phinds

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    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    Uh ... you would NOT want to get between my wife's 135lb Great Pyrenees and a lamb chop. YOU would be the one exhibiting fear, not him. :smile:

    EDIT: we don't cook them with spices, so that may be one difference.
     
  5. Aug 11, 2012 #4

    turbo

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    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    I don't like the smell of lamb-chops being fried or the smell of leg of lamb being roasted. Maybe I'm part dog. :confused:
     
  6. Aug 11, 2012 #5

    Pythagorean

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    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    Possibly... but I'd think if that were the case, it would have a chance of showing up in other meats or not showing up in dog treat lamb. I'm willing to bet it's a compound unique to lamb meat.
     
  7. Aug 11, 2012 #6

    Evo

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    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    Lamb is a very common ingredient in most high end dog foods. Dogs love lamb, so it could very well be strong spices that the dog is objecting to. I personally have never known a dog to dislike lamb.
     
  8. Aug 11, 2012 #7

    turbo

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    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    Duke loves premium lamb and rice foods. Never tried him on fresh-cooked lamb, though.
     
  9. Aug 11, 2012 #8

    Pythagorean

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    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    Here's something someone dug up from one of the linked threads above. I know lamb is used in some dog foods. Not sure if particular processing techniques destroy relevant components or if it is, in fact, just spices.

    But you'd think the complaint might show up with the spice in other situations, not just with lamb. Either way, still a mystery to me. As turbo mentioned.. there is a particularly unpleasant odor in lamb, possibly the one mentioned below:

    Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
    Volume 69, Issue 4, pages 403–413, December 1995
     
  10. Aug 11, 2012 #9

    Evo

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    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    Now days, lamb is much, much milder than the lamb/mutton of even when that article was written. New Zealand spring lamb is very mild now. The lamb and mutton before used to have a very gamey smell, which is why so many spices were used to try to mask the taste/flavor. But lamb has always been a favorite of wolves, so you'd think dogs would love it, but maybe raw more than cooked? Cooking does change things. But when your dog snacks in the cat box, he's not going to turn his nose up at lamb.
     
  11. Aug 14, 2012 #10
    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    the other day after reading the thread, i gave up some of the left over lamb racks to my dog and he didnt seem to mind.
     
  12. Aug 14, 2012 #11

    Pythagorean

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    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    It doesn't happen to all dogs; Not sure if all the people reporting it have similar breeds of dog or not. It's probably similar to non-conditioned human food aversions that relate to a particular human's biochemistry.

    There was a good post about this here in the biology forum (about human diet preferences based on genetics). Can't find it though.
     
  13. Aug 15, 2012 #12
    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    As a control, you can offer your dog the same type of lamb dressed up in spices.This way, we can tell if your dog has an aversion to spices.
    You could even offer him two dishes at the same time at opposite sides of the room. Just lamb on one side, and lamb with onions on the other. If he has free choice, then it wouldn't be cruel.
    I'll bet he runs up to the bowl without spice. If not, then I am wrong. I'll be glad to have the onion spiced lamb.
     
  14. Aug 15, 2012 #13

    marcusl

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    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    Maybe for some dogs it's the same as some humans' reaction to the smell of cooking Brussel sprouts--they just can't stand it!
     
  15. Aug 16, 2012 #14

    Evo

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    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    Be careful about feeding onions to dogs and especially cats. Onions are on the "caution" list of what not to feed your pets.

    http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/people-foods.aspx [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  16. Aug 16, 2012 #15
    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    I am sorry that I suggested an experiment with onions. However, Evo’s link may be providing the real answer to the question.
    Looks like some spices are poisonous to dogs. Onions, garlic and chives can cause gastrointestinal irritation.
    Suppose the dogs in question had lamb chops flavored with both onions and garlic. Suppose they got really, really sick but survived.
    That would be a real good reason to be afraid of spiced lamb. The dog sniffs that spice and runs the other way.
    I still think it is the spices, not the lamb meat itself.


    Here is what Evo’s link says concerning onion-like spices.
    http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/people-foods.aspx [Broken]
    “Onions, Garlic, Chives
    These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies. An occasional low dose, such as what might be found in pet foods or treats, likely will not cause a problem, but we recommend that you do NOT give your pets large quantities of these foods.”

    Here is what Evo’s link says about salt. Maybe the dog remembers what happens after eating a salted piece of lamb meat.
    “Salt
    Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. In other words, keep those salty chips to yourself!”

    Warning to other's. Don't let the animal learn the hard way. Don't trust it to make the right decision. Don't offer these spices to a dog or cat!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  17. Aug 16, 2012 #16

    Pythagorean

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    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    The video in my OP shows a processed lamb dog treat. I wonder if onion and salt were added to the lamb treat by the manufacturers? I wonder if the product got recalled then?
     
  18. Aug 17, 2012 #17
    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    You didn't watch the entire video. It wasn't the lamb and it wasn't the spice. It was the waxed floor.
    The text to the video claims the doberman was afraid of the slippery floor, not the treat. The lamb treat was placed in the middle of the waxed floor. The doberman couldn't step on the waxed floor, although a smaller dog did so.
    Later in the video, another lamb treat was placed at the edge of the waxed floor near the doberman. The doberman ate it right away.
    There is some variation between dog individuals. Since this is a Physics Forum, I present a conjecture. Small dogs may navigate better than large dogs on waxed floors.
    The weight of the dog may be distributed evenly on the dogs paws. However, the large dog has more area on its paws then the small dog.
    I am not sure precisely how the scaling laws work for static friction of different surfaces. However, my intuition says that a large dog will not be able to stop as well as a small dog.
    The large dog also risks more damage from falling than the small dog. There, the cube-square laws apply. If the doberman trips, it could be hurt a little worse than if the small dog trips.
    So the doberman has a justified fear of the waxed floor, which the small dog does not. It has nothing to do with the treat. Both dogs ate the treat, when offered to them under safe conditions.
    So it has nothing to do with the treat itself. It was the floor beneath the treat.
     
  19. Aug 17, 2012 #18

    Pythagorean

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    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    Uhm... no, it's not a doberman (it's a lab) and there's no mention of a wax floor. The dog goes on the couch later in the video and is still afraid of the treat.

    I think you watched a different video... if you watch the specific video it's pretty obviously the dog treat. It's a direct relationship with the distance of the treat to the dog's nose. He gets away, relaxes a bit, then the owner brings it closer again and it freaks out, barks, swipes at the treat, etc.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  20. Aug 17, 2012 #19

    Pythagorean

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    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    If you just google dog scared cooked lamb and actually take the time to sift through all the google results, you will literally find like a 100 reports (granted, they're anecdotal).

    It helps if you put dog ~afraid ~cooked lamb as I have below so that it uses any words similar to afraid or cooked (some people say roasted or scared).

    https://www.google.com/search?q=dog...cp.r_qf.&fp=f48835924c66f7ad&biw=1228&bih=582

    If you google dogs afraid onion or dogs afraid of chocolate, you get nada. Dogs aren't afraid of those things, even though they're poison to them. And lamb isn't poisonous to them, so I don't think it's an intelligent call on the dog's part, just some random biochemical response to something in lamb.
     
  21. Aug 29, 2012 #20
    Re: Why are dog afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

    ??

    A sheepdog my dad had would cower/act anxious if lamb was being cook.

    clearly cooking / processing is the difference between your "dogs love lamb" and the experience of many people. What does the dog eating lamb have to do with the emotional response of the dog to the lamb being cooked? I am afraid of cows..., dislike the smell of the raw meat & while it's cooking, but love to eat beef.

    At least you identified the fact it would be related to scents, but are any of the "possible" spices you suggest as a cause used exclusively for lamb?

    Lamb has a very unique taste to it, perhaps similar to dog. perhaps it relates to breeding of herding dogs. But too few seem to have this response, so I'd think it's an "error" / irrational behavior on the dogs part.
     
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