Updated: June 26th, 2022
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Many owners will never know the trials and tribulations of caring for a dog that’s a picky eater. In fact, you might have the polar opposite problem: a dog that inhales their food before it touches the ground! Dealing with a fussy dog can be frustrating; however, the best dog food for picky eaters can mean the end of your trouble.
While some dogs are born picky, others acquire this trait along the way, which makes things even more frustrating. My pooch started to turn his nose up to food in adulthood, and even the most expensive and highly rated dog foods weren’t good enough to get him interested in eating.
After a lot of trial and error, I’ve found a few foods that can entice even the pickiest of all dogs and help you keep your fussy pooch well fed and healthy!
If you’ve been wondering, How do I get my dog to eat, I’ve got you covered. In this article, I’ll share and review some of the best-tasting dog foods for picky eaters. Keep on reading to find out more.
An Overview Of The Best Dog Food For Picky Eaters
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*The above links lead to current prices and customer reviews on Chewy.
Read on to discover why we chose these particular foods, and for tips and advice on getting your picky eater to enjoy more food.
Top 8 Dog Foods For Picky Eaters: Reviews
NomNomNow is the perfect choice for picky eaters! If your pup gets tired of eating the same thing every day, they are going to love having the option of choosing from four different recipes — Heartland Beef Mash, Chicken Cuisine, Porkalicious Potluck, and the picky eater favorite, Tasty Turkey Fare.
Each recipe is made with human-grade ingredients and an expertly formulated nutrient blend so you know your dog is getting what they need to live a happy and healthy life.
Formulated by a veterinary nutritionist, NomNomNow’s food meets and even exceeds AAFCO standards and is suitable for all life stages. Whether your picky eater is just a pup or a senior, this food was made for them in mind.
You can get individually-portioned meals delivered straight to your door so you never have to worry about measuring, scooping, or running to the store whenever you run out.
Whether you decide to get deliveries weekly, biweekly, or monthly, you can rest assured that NomNomNow has your (and your dog’s) back when it comes to mealtime.
- Ideal for all life stages, from puppies to senior dogs
- Four healthy and delicious recipes to choose from (all made with expertly formulated nutrient blends) – Heartland Beef Mash, Chicken Cuisine, Porkalicious Potluck, and Tasty Turkey Fare
- Individually-portioned meals packs – no measuring or scooping required!
- Delivered based on your preferences – weekly, biweekly, or monthly
- Free consultation with NomNomNow’s nutrition consultant who will help you decide food and portioning based on your dog’s health goals, age, activity, etc.
- Excellent for sensitive stomachs and allergies; selection of grain-free options available
- Expensive to feed as a staple diet
Some dogs are really picky eaters! I’ve covered a few foods that have a great reputation for tempting even the finickiest hound, and now we’ve found something new.
Like other choices that tend to meet the requirements for finicky dogs, Ollie dog food is made with fresh ingredients, and it’s also delivered fresh to your door, kind of like a grocery subscription but for your dog.
All the recipes have fresh meat as their first ingredient, and there are quite a few options to choose from, so you can keep your canine friend interested at mealtime. After all, how would you feel if you had to eat the same exact thing day in and day out?
These recipes are nutritionally balanced, with a blend of vitamins and minerals designed with your dog’s health in mind. Fresh fruits, veggies, legumes, and wholesome extras like fish oil help keep your dog looking and feeling their best, from the tip of their nose to the end of their adorable tail.
- Every dog gets a specific meal plan based on nutritional needs. Meals are made with fresh ingredients sourced in America and Australia.
- Recipes are formulated by veterinarians with an eye toward great health and a good, fresh flavor. Everything is cooked fresh at low temperatures, assuring nutritional integrity.
- Food is delivered fresh, with a special scoop to help you measure exactly the right amount at each meal.
- Tempting tastes convince finicky eaters to dig in. If your dog doesn’t like the food, your first order is refunded.
- There are many grain-free options to choose from.
- Not available without a subscription
- Above-average market cost
This dry dog food by American Journey, formulated with deboned salmon, provides the amount of protein required for your pup’s growth and improved muscle tone.
Its savory flavor stimulates picky eaters’ appetites, making them eat while satisfying their natural desire for meat.
Another key ingredient is the delicious sweet potatoes with high dietary fiber content and essential vitamins for a healthy metabolism.
Safe amounts of chickpeas are present, to make dogs feel fuller and not eat beyond the recommended portion for their size. It also ensures that your dog gets the right amount of energy without becoming overweight.
Although this dry dog food for picky eaters is a grain-free dog food, it provides adequate carbohydrates and fiber to regulate the digestive system.
This dry food contains omega-3 fatty acids like DHA that improve cognitive function while keeping your pup’s coat and skin healthy. The omega-6 content and disease-fighting antioxidants enhance immune function, reducing inflammation that would cause a loss of appetite.
Overall, it is an excellent option for all life stages, so it’s suitable for puppies, adults, and senior dogs.
- Grain-free, with the right amount of carbohydrates for energy
- Omega-3 fatty acids for improved cognitive function and a healthy coat
- Omega-6 content and disease-fighting antioxidants
- High dietary fiber content and essential vitamins for a healthy metabolism
- Savory flavor for improved appetite
- Some dogs might be allergic to the peas.
Hill’s Science Diet’s chicken recipe dry dog food is ideal for adult pups with sensitive skin and stomachs.
The primary ingredient is chicken, the main protein and amino acid source in the diet needed for dogs to thrive. It features brown rice and whole-grain sorghum that is high in oxidants and gluten-free, to promote a healthy digestive system and anti-inflammatory activity.
The Hill’s Science Diet dog food has a savory pork liver flavor that makes it inviting to all canines, including picky eaters. With a formula backed by years of cutting-edge innovation, you get nutrient-packed ingredients in the right amounts for your pet to grow strong.
This recipe also contains the right amount of tocopherols to keep the food fresh for a long time and minimize spoilage, thus keeping the food fresh and appealing for your dog to eat long after you’ve opened the bag.
The cholesterol-free soybean oil content provides the crude fat necessary for a healthy coat and skin. It also contains omega-6 fatty acids contributing to your pup’s calorie intake while improving cell function and the overall immune system.
With green peas that have rich fiber content, good bowel movement is guaranteed.
- Green peas with rich fiber content
- Cholesterol-free soybean oil
- Gluten-free whole grain sorghum for good anti-inflammatory activity
- Omega-6 content and disease-fighting antioxidants
- Tocopherols to keep the food fresh for a long time
- Savory pork and chicken liver flavor for improved appetite
- The grain content may not be suitable for some dogs.
The Wilderness Chicken Recipe dry dog food is another excellent grain-free option from Blue Buffalo. It features deboned chicken as the primary ingredient, with a high protein content that guarantees better muscle tone and healthy growth.
The chicken fat and other sweet-smelling content that enhance appetite for fussy eaters are preserved with mixed tocopherols to keep them fresh for extended periods.
According to a recent article in the Open Veterinary Journal, food rich in chondroitin and glucosamine is a natural alternative for treating osteoarthritis in canines. With the chicken meal providing the correct glucosamine dose, your pup can get pain relief from arthritis and improved joint mobility.
This dry dog food contains vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, with dried tomato pomace rich in antioxidants for enhanced metabolism.
The pea starch content, among other ingredients, provides enough carbohydrates for energy and weight control. It also contains alfalfa nutrient concentrates in the right amount for healthy urinary and skeletal systems.
With a couple of fermentation extracts, you get to maintain the correct bacteria balance in your dog’s gut. This food is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat.
- Grain-free, with no poultry byproducts
- Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for improved cognitive function and a healthy coat
- Dried tomato pomace for healthy oxidative balance
- Fermentation extracts for normal bacteria balance in the gut
- Savory flavor for improved appetite
- Glucosamine for improved joint mobility
- Quite expensive
Formulated to mimic the ancestral diet of dogs, the Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food packs a nutritious punch and a mouthwatering flavor. Made with novel proteins including roasted bison and venison, this pet food will surely tempt even the pickiest of all dogs!
The High Prairie formula features water buffalo as the main ingredient and has an impressive protein count of 32%. Besides making this formula more appealing to fussy eaters, the high protein count will also keep your dog energized throughout the day and support lean and strong muscles.
Being a grain-free dog food for picky eaters, this formula contains sweet potatoes, peas, and potatoes as highly digestible carbohydrates. Furthermore, Taste of the Wild also added dried chicory root for prebiotic support and increased digestibility.
The inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables such as blueberries and raspberries makes this food a hit with picky eaters. If your dog likes the taste of fresh fruits, then you should make plans to transition them gradually to this delicious and nutritious dog food.
The real fruits and vegetables in this formula are supplemented with all essential vitamins and minerals that support overall health and will boost your dog’s immune system. This grain-free recipe also contains omega 3 & 6 fatty acids that support healthy skin and a shiny coat.
- Completely grain- and gluten-free and made without artificial flavors, preservatives, or cheap fillers
- Several novel proteins make this formula highly palatable and enticing to picky eaters
- Contains prebiotics and highly digestible carbs that support good digestion
- Chock full of antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals that support overall health
- Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids support healthy skin and a shiny coat
- The high protein count may cause loose stool and gas in dogs who are used to eating foods with fewer proteins
If your dog turns its nose up to anything you put in their food bowl, the Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food will get your pup’s appetite back on track!
Made with minimally processed, dehydrated human-grade whole ingredients, this formula is an ideal food for picky dogs of all breeds and sizes. Not only does this formula meet the AAFCO recommendations for complete and balanced food, but it contains a higher protein and calorie count, making it an ideal choice for dogs who refuse to eat their regular meals.
This recipe contains a few carefully picked ingredients, and chicken as the main ingredient and only source of protein. Dehydrated barley, potatoes, peas, and organic oats are highly digestible carbs that will keep your dog energized and support good digestion.
As a premium-quality dog food for picky eaters, this formula contains real fruits and vegetables that have valuable vitamins and minerals.
The best thing about this food is that you can serve it as a complete and balanced meal, or use it as a topper to make your dog’s current food more palatable and enticing to eat. To prepare a meal for your pooch, mix this food with warm water, stir it well, and wait for three minutes before serving it to your fussy pooch.
- Made in the USA with minimally processed human-grade ingredients
- Suitable for dogs of all breeds and sizes, including puppies and pregnant dogs
- Higher protein and fat count make it very palatable and enticing to picky eaters
- Can be served as a complete meal or used as a topper to enhance the flavor of kibble
- Easily digestible and chock full of vitamins and minerals that support overall health
- It may be too expensive to feed as primary food, especially for large and giant dog breeds
If you are looking for tasty and nutritious wet dog food for your fussy eater, the Wellness Ninety-Five Percent Chicken is the best canned food for picky eaters. The great thing about this formula is that you can also use it as a mixer or topper for your dog’s regular kibble.
Formulated by nutritionists, this delicious canned food is an all-natural, single-ingredient recipe made from high-quality chicken. There are no meat byproducts, fillers, grains, artificial flavors, or preservatives that can trigger allergies or cause food sensitivities in your pooch.
Since this is basically a limited ingredient wet dog food, you should combine it with dry dog food for picky eaters to ensure that your pooch is eating a complete and balanced meal. Use this chicken-infused wet dog food as an enticing topper or snack, or mix it with your dog’s kibble to enhance its flavor.
While healthy and completely natural, this wet dog food isn’t reinforced with essential vitamins and minerals, so don’t use it as a stand-alone meal. But, when mixed with kibble or other wet food, this formula will transform your picky pooch into a ravenous eater within seconds.
- Completely natural, single-ingredient wet dog food suitable for dogs with food sensitivities
- Best used as a topper or mixed with regular kibble to enhance its flavor and make it more palatable
- Made without grains, preservatives, artificial flavors, or colors
- High in protein and suitable for all breeds and dogs of different sizes
- The can doesn’t have a pull tab, so you have to use a can opener, which may be inconvenient
What To Consider When Choosing Food For Picky Eaters
Regardless of how picky your dog is, the two primary factors that make food delicious are flavor and taste. This theory holds in the human world as well!
Certain flavors and tastes are incredibly irresistible to dogs, and formulas suited to fussy eaters will contain at least a few of these.
Firstly, the best dog food for picky eaters will always be formulas made with high-quality ingredients. We all know that cheap food stuffed with fillers and artificial preservatives tastes bland at best. On the other hand, a responsibly sourced, nutritionally complete, and balanced diet promises to be more delicious and nutritious.
Moist foods are also appealing to the canine palate. It doesn’t necessarily mean that wet or canned food is the way forward, but it’s worth avoiding food that is too dry. Moist kibble will taste and feel more like real meat, whereas dry food will taste like cardboard – yuck!
Dogs love the taste of meat, so it’s well worth choosing a meaty formula for your picky pup. Thankfully, many flavors and recipes are on offer, including chicken, beef, and turkey to more exotic foods like venison, wild-caught salmon, and buffalo.
The best dog foods for fussy eaters will also be either free from or low on corn and other grains. They might bulk out a meal for your dog, but they can cause digestive problems and put your dog off eating in the future. Grains are actually among the top five foods that cause pet allergies, so it is a widespread issue.
Can Picky Eating Indicate A Medical Problem?
If your dog has always been a fussy eater yet shows all the signs of being healthy – an average dog weight and shiny coat – then it would seem there are no underlying ailments.
However, a sudden refusal to eat, or if your dog suddenly starts eating less or starts turning their nose up at their regular kibble, this could be a symptom of a medical condition. Conditions like allergies, dental diseases, and cancer can all cause loss of appetite in dogs.
If you notice a sudden shift in your dog’s eating habits, or they unaccountably drop a few pounds in a short space of time, make sure to take them to the vet at your earliest opportunity for a check-up.
What Is The Difference Between Food For Picky And Regular Eaters?
Specific recipes and flavors that are appealing to your pup make the difference. Whether your dog is the pickiest eater or not, your priority should always be feeding them with the best dog food.
Owners of picky dogs are inclined to learn more about their breed’s eating habits to understand the best way to feed them. This experience is very different for dog owners whose fur babies eat up any and all kinds of food placed before them.
When we have a dog that gulps down anything, we are less likely to invest the time and money in finding the best food.
Having a picky eater makes us more aware of the importance of taste, flavor, and nutrition in our dog’s diet.
The best dog food can even rival your much-treasured table scraps when it comes to flavor!
Should I Make My Own Kibble?
Some owners with picky-eating dogs attempt to make food at home to find something that can boost their appetite at a reduced cost.
While it is likely that even the pickiest of dogs will be tempted by fresh, moist, and succulent homemade kibble, you should know that you could be doing your dog more harm than good.
Homemade dog food certainly delivers on the taste and flavor front, but it is unlikely that it will provide the complete nutrition your dog needs for optimal health.
If you are an expert (or working with one), we would recommend saving time and investing in the best commercial dog foods for picky eaters instead.
FAQs About Food For Picky Dogs
Will A Picky Eater Dog Starve?
It’s unlikely that a dog will starve themselves just because they are a bit picky about the type of food they prefer. However, if your pooch goes 24 hours without eating anything, you should call your vet and take your dog for a check-up. Being picky and not eating all of a sudden can be a symptom of serious illnesses including cancer, so it’s best to rule out any health problems from the start.
What Is The Tastiest Dog Food?
Most picky eaters like the taste of American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Dog Food, Hill’s Science Diet Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food, and The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food.
Depending on your dog’s individual preferences, they might find Nom Nom Now Fresh Dog Food or Ollie Dog Food extremely tasty and more palatable than any type of dry or wet dog food.
What Food Is Irresistible To Dogs?
Human foods like chicken, peanut butter, or cheese are irresistible to most dogs, so much so that most canines won’t be able to refuse a bite even when they are sick. If your dog refuses to eat any type of dog food that you put in their bowl, try offering them a small amount of human food to see how they will react. If your dog shows interest and gobbles down everything that you’ve given them, chances are they no longer find their current food palatable and you should make a switch to another high-quality food.
However, if your dog doesn’t show any interest in the human food that you’ve offered them, try adding a bit more and see how your dog is behaving. If they refuse to eat a tasty piece of chicken, you should call your vet and schedule an appointment to have your dog checked out.
No matter how picky your dog is when it comes to food, they’ll be unlikely to resist the tasty, nutritious, and delicious formulations above. The best dog food for picky eaters is made from high-quality ingredients, has lots of proteins and meat, and real fruits and veggies that enhance the flavor and support a strong immune system.
Remember to introduce some variety into your picky dog’s diet, as they can get tired of eating the same type of food every day and would also love to spice things up once in a while. Cut down on table scraps to keep your dog excited about the food in front of them.