What Dog Food is Best for Picky Eaters?

While some dogs will gobble down just about anything they can find, other pets are more selective about what they put in their mouths.

If you’ve been cursed with a picky eater, you might find it impossible to find food your best friend loves. 

an English Bulldog refusing a dog bone treats
An English Bulldog sitting and saying no to treats

Well, don’t fear, we have selected some of the best dog foods for picky eaters to make your life a little bit easier! 

Top 5 Picks for Best Food for Picky Eater Dogs in 2021

  Dog Food for Picky Eaters Our Rating
Best Overall Dog Food for Picky Eaters (All Life stages) Fromm Family Foods Gold Dry Dog Food 

  • Formulated with real duck, lamb and chicken, cheese, whole grains, and veggies
  • Supplied by a family-run business
  • Enhanced with probiotics
4.5
Best Budget Dog Food for Picky Eaters Merrick Grain Free Dog Food 

  • Highly-palatable grain-free recipe
  • Ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Formulated to suit dogs at any life stage.
4
Best Puppy Food for Picky Eaters Nulo Puppy & Adult Freestyle Limited Plus Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

  • High-quality dry dog food with a single protein source in salmon
  • Features a low carb, high protein formula 
  • Formulated without common allergens like chicken, corn, wheat, soy, eggs, peas, and white potato
4
Best Adult Dog Food for Picky Eaters Taste of the Wild High Protein Dry Dog Food 

  • Premium dog food with high-protein sources including water buffalo and venison 
  • Packed with antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies such as blueberries and raspberries 
  • Enriched with probiotics for gut and digestive health
4.5
Best Senior Dog Food for Picky Eaters ORIJEN High-Protein Dry Dog Food 

  • Top-quality dry dog food featuring 85% animal products
  • Liver, organs, and cartilage add to the taste of this dog food 
  • Features a variety of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables 
4.5

Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters (by Life Stage)

Sometimes your fickle eater may decide to eat something, only to decide he doesn’t like it the next day.

There are various reasons why your dog may be picky about his food, but thankfully some unique brands have stepped in to create some delicious dinners that will appeal to even the fussiest of pups.

Keep reading to discover a few of our favorites:

Best Dog Food for Picky Eater Puppies

A Terrier mix laying on a blue mat with croissants
Meet Holly, a Terrier mix asking for another food other than croissants – Image source

Is your puppy like a picky child, pushing his food around his plate and not really eating anything at all? While this is rare, it does happen. Thankfully there is a solution to your particular puppy problem:

1. Nulo Puppy & Adult Freestyle Limited Plus Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Nulo Freestyle Limited+ Puppy & Adult

Rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Salmon Meal, Chickpeas
Type: Wet

High-quality dry dog food with a single protein source in salmon. This allergy-friendly food is available in various-sized bags and is made using only the freshest, natural ingredients.

Features a low carbohydrate, high protein formula for the growing needs of puppies and adults.

Pros:

  • Formulated without common allergens like chicken, corn, wheat, soy, eggs, peas, and white potato
  • Includes GanedenBC30 probiotics to help sensitive stomachs with digestion

Cons:

  • Some dogs simply refused to eat this food

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best Dog Food for Picky Eater Adult Dogs

a Husky looking side ways to avoid its food
Meet Frankie, a Husky judging his owner about his food – Image source

Selecting the best dog food for picky pups isn’t only about choosing the most flavorful, best-tasting dog food.

You also want to ensure your providing your dog with a balanced diet full of healthy ingredients. Here are some of our favorite dog foods that are not only delicious but also extremely nutritious:

2. Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Lamb Recipe (Lamb)

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Wet Dog Food Topper

Rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Lamb Broth, Lamb, Lamb Liver
Type: Wet

A super simple wet dog food recipe that only includes one protein source with grass-fed lamb, one vegetable, in this case, peas, and no additional fillers.

With fewer flavors and ingredients, your dog is less likely to find something they don’t like about this particular food.

This food also doesn’t include any elements that cause food allergies, such as dairy, grains, chicken, and potatoes.

Pros:

  • Packed with plenty of animal-sourced protein for building healthy muscles
  • Comes in a simple tear package to quickly add as a topper or mix into dry kibble

Cons:

  • Some pet owners complained this food smelt bad and was rotten on delivery

CHECK PRICE HERE

3. Royal Canin Digestive Care Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Digestive Care Large Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, brewers rice, brown rice
Type: Dry

Veterinary formulated dog food that has been specifically created for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Packed with prebiotics and dietary fibers, this food supports the digestive health of your pup. Additionally, this food comes in various sizes, so you can pick the one that’s perfect for your breed.

Pros:

  • Supports balanced intestinal flora for optimal stool quality
  • Formulated by nutritionists with supplements to address a dull coat, sensitive skin, tartar formation, joint issues, and digestive issues

Cons:

  • Some dogs got sick on this food

CHECK PRICE HERE

4. Solid Gold Leaping Waters with Cold Water Salmon & Vegetable

Solid Gold Grain Free Dog Food For Sensitive Stomachs

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Salmon, Ocean Fish Meal, Chickpeas
Type: Dry

Dry dog food with salmon and vegetables for picky eaters.

This dog food is created for dogs with sensitive stomachs with a single-source protein and is completely free of grain, gluten, and potato, making it highly digestible.

This holistic dog food comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. 

Pros:

  • Packed with 20 superfoods to provide nutrients and supply your pet with plenty of Omega-6 and three fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Features fiber-rich prebiotics and patented probiotics for optimal digestive and gut health

Cons:

  • Some pet owners said that this food was very overpriced

CHECK PRICE HERE

5. Fromm Family Foods Gold Dry Dog Food

Fromm Family Gold Adult Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Duck, Chicken Meal, Chicken
Type: Dry

Formulated with real duck, lamb and chicken, cheese, whole grains, and veggies, this food is designed to be tasty.

Fromm is a family-run business that prides itself on delivering a healthy, balanced diet, using only the freshest ingredients. For digestive health, this dry dog food has been enhanced with probiotics.

Pros:

  • Has a range of wholesome ingredients, including oatmeal, carrots, lettuce, and brown rice
  • Features a variety of variants to see your dog from puppy through to their senior years

Cons:

  • One pet owner complained their dog had a loose stool on this diet

CHECK PRICE HERE

6. Taste of the Wild High Protein Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal
Type: Dry

Premium dog food with high-protein sources, including water buffalo and venison, and lamb, chicken, beef, and fish meals.

This formula is also packed with antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies such as blueberries and raspberries that work to build a healthy immune system.

It is also made to taste delicious despite being free of any additional flavors or colors.

Pros:

  • Enriched with probiotics for gut and digestive health
  • Doesn’t include any additional additives, corn or grains

Cons:

  • Some pups simply refused to touch this food

CHECK PRICE HERE

7. Wellness 95% Natural Wet Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Wellness Ninety-Five Percent Chicken Food Topper

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Water Sufficient For Processing, Natural Flavor
Type: Wet

Minimal ingredient canned dog food that features a super-simple recipe of all-natural ingredients.

This chicken recipe is designed to be used as a topper or mixer with your dog’s regular kibble to add flavor but can also be served on its own occasionally as a tasty snack. 

Pros:

  • Contains no grains, additivities, or additional ingredients besides chicken
  • Formulated by nutritionists and veterinarians for super picky eaters

Cons:

  • Not fortified with any vitamins and minerals, so cannot work as a sustained full-time diet

CHECK PRICE HERE

8. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free Wet Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Beef & Chicken Grill Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Beef, Chicken, Chicken Broth
Type: Wet

Packed with various nutritious ingredients, including chicken, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, and blueberries, this dry kibble is designed to be easy to digest.

The food is also supplemented with essential vitamins and minerals to provide your dog with a balanced diet.

Pros:

  • Contains no grains or additivities 
  • Includes cold-formed life source bits for building a healthy immune system

Cons:

  • Some pet owners complained the food had yellow fat throughout despite its stated 15% fat content

CHECK PRICE HERE

9. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food 

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Dry

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal
Type: Dry

Delicious dry dog food made with turkey and chicken proteins and plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables such as peas, lentils, broccoli, apples, blueberries, and flaxseed.

Along with a delicious taste, this kibble also offers your pet plenty of vitamins and minerals. This option from Wellness is also enhanced with probiotics which help aid digestion.

Pros:

  • Offers a complete amino acid profile for lean muscle development
  • Free of grain and any artificial additives, colorants, flavors, and preservatives

Cons:

  • A pricey option compared to other dog foods

CHECK PRICE HERE

10. Honest Kitchen Human Grade Organic Grain Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Beef Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food

Rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Dehydrated Beef, Organic Oats, Organic Barley
Type: Dehydrated

Organic dog food designed to boost the health and immune system of picky eaters.

This food is packed with wholesome ingredients like ranch-raised beef, organic oats and barley, and antioxidant fruits and vegetables such as carrots, cranberries, spinach, and apples.

This is a dehydrated food that needs to be mixed with warm water before serving.

Pros:

  • A fiber-rich recipe that aids the digestive system while providing dogs with plenty of water through the rehydration process
  • Low calorie and low-fat formula, which is perfect for adult and senior dogs

Cons:

  • Some pet owners complained that this food does not provide much quantity per serving

CHECK PRICE HERE

11. Merrick Grain Free Dog Food

Merrick Grain Free Wet Dog Food Grammy's Pot Pie

Rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Broth, Potatoes
Type: Wet

Highly palatable canned dog food featuring a grain-free recipe full of tasty ingredients like chicken, peas, carrots, and apples.

Ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs, this food is free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and grains, while providing a single protein source.

This food from Merrick has been formulated to suit dogs at any life stage.

Pros:

  • Can be used as a tasty topper or a nutritious meal on its own
  • Made with natural ingredients

Cons:

  • Some pet owners said there were black specks in the food

CHECK PRICE HERE

12. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Premium Dry Dog Food

Rachael Ray Nutrish Real Chicken & Veggies Recipe Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Dried Peas
Type: Dry

Fiber-rich dry dog food containing 26% protein from farm-raised chicken. Nutrient-rich whole grains such as brown rice and whole corn provide fiber, as do fresh veggies like peas and beet pulp.

This formula is made in the USA and is full of added vitamins and minerals, and probiotics to aid in digestion.

Pros:

  • Formulated without any meat by-product meals, fillers, wheat or wheat gluten, artificial colors, or preservatives
  • Poultry fat provides natural sources of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat

Cons:

  • Some dog owners said this food was very greasy

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best Dog Food for Picky Eater Senior Dogs

A Senior Golden Retriever laying on a dog bed
Meet Ginger, a Senior Golden Retriever waiting with an empty dog bowl – Image source

The last thing you want with a senior dog is a picky eater, as lack of appetite can signal some underlying health concerns. Also, older dogs can quickly deteriorate if their nutritional needs aren’t sufficiently met.

13. ORIJEN High-Protein Dry Dog Food 

ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Flounder
Type: Dry

Top-quality dry dog food featuring 85% animal products, including free-range chicken, turkey, wild-caught herring, flounder, mackerel, and sardines.

Liver, organs, and cartilage add to the taste of this dog food meant to mimic what wild dogs would have once eaten.

The recipe also features various antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables such as spinach, chickpeas, lentils, apple, and pumpkin.

Pros:

  • Free from corn, wheat, soy, and any artificial additives
  • The first five ingredients are fresh or raw protein, while the kibble is also coated with freeze-dried liver for additional flavor

Cons:

  • Some dogs refused to go near this food

CHECK PRICE HERE

Is Your Dog a Picky Eater?

a Golden Retriever looking at a banana
Meet Jax, a Golden Retriever asking for a sweet banana – Image source

Just like humans, individual dogs have specific preferences when it comes to taste and ingredients, and your dog may simply be a little fussier than his friends.

Refusal to eat can also be a behavioral problem, with spoiled dogs holding off if they think they might get some table scraps or tasty treats later.

Anxiety can also stop some dogs from consuming their food.

Refusal to eat could, however, also be a sign that something is more seriously wrong. The first sign of a sick dog is often when one turns from a glutton today to picky tomorrow.

In this case, you will want to get your dog checked up by a vet to rule out any underlying medical conditions. 

Some breeds are also typically pickier than others. Small breed dogs such as King Charles Cavalier, Yorkshire Terrier, Poodle, and Maltese are often much fussier than larger pups.

That said, Greyhounds and Eurasiers can also be incredibly picky eaters.

How do I know my dog is a picky eater?

To test if your dog is a picky eater, feed your dog as you would typically do without trying to get them to eat any leftovers that may remain in the bowl.

Leave these leftovers and encourage your dog to have a particularly active day. Don’t top up your dog’s bowl at lunch or dinner and see if they return to eat the leftovers on their own. 

If they do, they are not fussy, likely just bored with their food, or could not get enough exercise during the day.

If your dog does not eat the leftover food, you could try tempting him with some treats or a tasty topper. 

When to Worry About Your Picky Dog

If your dog is a fussy eater but still maintains a healthy weight and has energy and a shiny coat, then you don’t need to worry.

However, if your pet starts to lose weight, suddenly stops eating altogether, regularly vomits or has diarrhea, or is excessively tired, then this is cause for concern. 

This could mean more than just a fussy pet, and your dog should be taken to the vet immediately.

If, on the other hand, your dog won’t eat its regular meals but is happy to take table scraps or tuck into some human food.

It’s more likely that you have a behavioral problem on your hands and will need to invest in training. 

Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters Buying Guide

a spoiled Doxie rejecting a soaked dog food
Meet Riley, a Dachshund being spoon-fed but refusing it – Image source

Unfortunately, when it comes to picky eaters, there is no one size fits all recommendation going to work.

The best food for your pup is simply one that he is happy to eat regularly, which contains quality ingredients and provides well-rounded nutrition to support your dog’s overall health. 

Dog Nutrition 101: What kind of food does your picky eater dog need?

When looking for the best pet food for your dog, you want to go with a brand that offers a balanced, nutrient-dense diet. Also, try and look for a brand that features the AAFCO labeling.

This stamp means that the food meets the minimum safety and ingredient inclusions dictated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials

It’s important to consider what makes dog food taste good when looking for the perfect food for your pup. Meat is what dogs like to eat.

They get most of their calories from meat, and their ancestors primarily survived on meat-based diets. 

Thus, foods that contain plenty of high-quality meat and look and smell like the real deal will likely have the most significant appeal to picky eaters.

Things to look for when selecting dog food: What should picky eater dogs eat?

Selecting the perfect food for your dog will likely take some trial and error as you test out different recipes, flavors, and textures.

No matter what food you try, look for one that features quality meat or fish as the main ingredient. 

Top-quality animal proteins like real chicken, turkey, duck, lamb, beef, or fish are the best, while natural meat meals can also be a good protein source.

Unidentified meats or by-product meals should be avoided as you never know what is in them, and they could be made up of potentially dangerous ingredients. 

Your dog’s diet should also contain plenty of healthy fats. Fats are a great energy source, help with protein metabolism, and make food look and taste great.

Healthy fats are found in ingredients like fish oil, canola oil, flaxseed, and animal fats like chicken fat.

When selecting the best dog food for your picky eater, try and avoid any formula containing fillers or artificial additives.

While these additives can make food more tasty and appealing, they can also cause a range of allergies. 

Wet, Semi-Moist, or Dry? Which food Is best for your picky eater dog?

If you’re not sure which type of food to feed a picky eater, then try both. You may find your pup has a penchant for dry kibble or prefers wet food.

You might also find that canned food can be served as a tasty topper to dry dog food with individual dogs. In this instance, a little dry kibble can go a long way in making your dog’s daily diet more appetizing.

Most dogs prefer canned or semi-moist foods, but dry kibble can have a host of benefits for you and your pup.

For example, dry kibble is more affordable, has a longer shelf life, and is less messy. Dry kibble can also help maintain good dental health by keeping your dog’s teeth healthy and removing tartar buildup.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

a Rough Collie looking at the side while owner gives a cookie
Meet Vincent, a spoiled Rough Collie refusing a biscuit – Image source

When it comes to dogs with picky eating habits, it can take a lifetime of trial and error to keep your pup happy and healthy. However, a few tips and tricks will make it easier to keep your dog full.

How to Encourage Your Picky Eater Dog to Develop Healthier Eating Habits

There are some ways that you can get a picky eater to develop healthier eating habits. These palate-tempting tricks include limiting the number of treats you give your fussy puppy.

You should also avoid feeding your dog straight from the table. This will encourage your pet to eat at his designated meal times.

Also, you can try giving your dog a limited window in which to eat his food. Place your puppy’s food down for a maximum of thirty minutes.

He will quickly learn that he will have to go hungry until the next meal if he doesn’t eat his food when prepared. 

You should also try and create a calm environment for your dog to eat in. Make sure your dog’s feeding space is free from noise, distractions, and traffic and that they feel safe and secure when eating. 

What can you add to dog food to enhance the taste?

If your dog frequently gets bored with the same food, there are some things you can do to enhance the taste.

This includes sprinkling probiotics formulated for dogs on the food, soaking your dog’s kibble in a low sodium broth, or adding small amounts of cooked chicken, turkey, or beef on top. 

Drizzling something delicious over your dog’s food can significantly enhance the taste.

Basic oil-based products like those made from olives, peanuts, sunflower seeds, or vegetables can help make your dog’s food more tempting.

That said, salmon, flaxseed, and anchovy oil not only provide taste but will also provide your dog with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. 

Warming up your dog’s food slightly can also help bring out the flavors; just be sure not to overdo it. Warm water can also be added to your dog’s food to moisten the food and enhance the flavor.

In some instances, you can also try hand-feeding your dog. While this can be quite laborious, it can do the trick when it comes to getting your dog to eat.

Hand-feeding your dog can also create a bit of fun and bonding around dinner time, as can incorporating your dog’s mealtimes with trick-training sessions.

How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick?

While you may need to try various foods to find one your picky eater is happy with, you’ll want to make any changes to your dog’s diet in a gradual process.

Too many abrupt changes in your dog’s diet can cause an upset stomach. 

Start by switching out a quarter of their old food with new food, slowly adding more new food over a week until the transition is complete.

Can you give homemade food to your picky eater dog?

Homemade diets may not provide your pooch with proper nutrition as it is challenging to get the balance of ingredients right.

Thus it’s best to stick to commercial dog foods that can provide your dog with all the nutrients they need. 

However, you can try adding some human foods onto your dog’s meal as a tasty topper to try and convince him to eat.

Healthy human foods that you could sprinkle on top of your dog’s regular dinner include cheese, shredded carrots, sunflower seeds, and blueberries. 

What should you do if your dog refuses to eat dog food and prefers only human food?

If you keep feeding your dog table scraps, you’ll likely get to a point where he or she simply refuses to eat their kibble, turning their nose up at anything that hasn’t come off your plate.

This can also result in your dog begging every time you sit down to eat. 

This is a difficult problem to rectify once a habit has formed, so you need to be proactive and strong-willed about the issue before it gets out of hand.

Continuing to feed your dog human food can be a dangerous practice and can result in several health problems later down the line. 

If you simply can’t get your dog to eat anything else, you can consider a raw food diet or dog food made from human-grade ingredients.

This is not an affordable option, but proper training may greatly help get your dog to eat from his bowl!

Before Choosing Any Dog food for Your Picky Pet, Talk to Your Veterinarian

an adorable Bolognese looking at a bougee plate
Meet Elmo, a Bolognese served with a cup full of dog food – Image source

Before you introduce any new food to your dog’s diet, be sure to consult with your vet.

Your vet knows your dog’s size, weight, and health issues and will be able to accurately combines excellent taste with value and healthy ingredients for full-body health.

Do you have experience with getting the pickiest of pups to eat? 

Let us know what dog food you found worked for your pup in the comments below, and feel free to provide us with some additional tips and tricks on how to get your finicky eater to gobble up their food!

Further Reading: Some more food options for pups with problems

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