Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters: Irresistibly Tasty Chow

Are you at your wit’s end trying to get your dog to eat his food? It can get frustrating trying to figure out why your dog won’t eat, especially if there’s nothing medically wrong with him.

Generally, all animals have individual tastes. What one dog likes, the other will find unappetizing or boring. A picky dog will have a very refined taste of what it wants, and it is quite a task trying to figure out what that is.

One thing we can recommend is spicing up your dog’s food. If your dog has been snacking on tasty treats or been on one particular formula for some time, it is quite likely that the dog is bored of that taste.

Switching up the diet with a different kibble or adding a topper may help reignite his appetite and get him excited to eat. We’ve scoured the market for the best dog foods for picky eaters that we can recommend.

These tasty formulas are made to encourage fussy eaters to eat and also support their health with solid nutrition. And to help you develop healthy eating habits for your dog, we have some helpful tips to guide you with that.

Our top choice is Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Dehydrated Dog Food, a favorite for many pet parents, that you can use as a tasty topper over regular kibble or as a wholesome meal. This dehydrated formula features partially cooked ingredients, which enhance the taste and aroma of the recipe to encourage picky dogs to eat.

The Best Dog Food For Picky Eaters Are…

ProductDetails
1. Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Dehydrated Dog Food

  • Turkey, beef, or chicken with whole-grain recipes
  • Dehydrated human-grade dog food
  • Minimally processed organic ingredients
  • Low protein, low fat, and high-calorie formula
  • No by-products, fillers or preservatives
  • Naturally preserved by the dehydration process
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2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Canned Food

  • High Protein formula enhanced with vitamins and minerals
  • Real meat proteins as the first ingredient
  • Includes complex carbs and healthy fats
  • A gluten-free and grain-free formula
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3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

  • High protein and high-calorie formula
  • Includes chicken as the first ingredient
  • A precise blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
  • Grain-free with no wheat, corn, or soy
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4. Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Grain-Free Adventure Variety Pack Wet Dog Food

  • 2 High-quality proteins as the first ingredient
  • Grain-free and gluten-free without preservatives or fillers
  • Added minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants
  • Suitable for puppies and adult dogs
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5. Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain-Free Recipe

  • High-quality meat as the first ingredient
  • High protein kibble with freeze-dried raw meat pieces
  • Calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth
  • Includes glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
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6. Royal Canin Large Digestive Care Dry Dog Food

  • Formulated for adult, large breeds with sensitive tummies
  • Includes prebiotics, dietary fiber, and digestible proteins
  • High-quality protein as the first ingredient
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7. Wellness Ninety-Five Percent Canned Dog Food Topper

  • Contains 95% premium meat protein from chicken, beef, or turkey
  • Formulated for pets with food sensitivities
  • High protein, grain-free, and gluten-free formula
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8. Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe

  • High protein, grain-free formula
  • Low glycemic carbs and advanced probiotics
  • Omega fatty acids for added health benefits
  • Wholesome fruits and veggies support the immune system
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9. Instinct Frozen Raw Bites Grain-Free Dog Food

  • Excellent quality raw dog food
  • Raw bites that are minimally processed
  • Natural, wholesome ingredients
  • Animal protein as the first ingredient
  • Nutrient packed bites enhanced with vitamins and minerals
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1. Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Dehydrated Dog Food — Best Tasting Dog Food for Picky Eaters

This whole grain dehydrated dog food is the best dry dog food for your picky eater. Dehydrated food uses a slow cooking process to dehydrate the food to preserve its nutrients. This method uses low heat so that the food is partially uncooked and full of flavors that your dog will love. 

The whole grain formulas give you a choice of beef, turkey, and chicken recipes to choose from. They are processed in a human food facility that ensures the quality and safety of the ingredients used.

The meals are highly digestible and full of nutrition as if you’re feeding him raw food, which makes it more palatable than regular kibbles.

The formula has a low protein and fat content but with a higher calorie content that helps to improve your pup’s weight if he’s lost some. The recipe uses organic whole grains and vegetables for carbs and fiber, which are diced for easy digestion.

Specs

  • Turkey, beef, or chicken with whole-grain recipes
  • Dehydrated human-grade dog food
  • Minimally processed organic ingredients
  • Low protein, low fat, and high-calorie formula
  • No by-products, fillers or preservatives
  • Naturally preserved by the dehydration process

Pros

  • Minimal processing maintains nutrients and flavors
  • Highly digestible and palatable for picky eaters
  • Made with human-grade ingredients
  • Highly concentrated and compact formula
  • Versatile and easy to prepare

Cons

  • It’s expensive

This dehydrated formula is dense, so it provides more fresh food when prepared with warm water. It also makes an excellent stand-alone meal or as a topper to entice your pup to eat the kibble.

Overall Rating – 4.3/5

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2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Canned Food — Best Canned Dog Food for Picky Eaters

This canned food offers a variety of delectable recipes that all feature high-quality meats, fruits and veggies, and enhanced with minerals and vitamins. Each recipe features 2 meat proteins from either beef, chicken, duck, and salmon for healthy muscle growth and energy.

The recipes include potatoes and flaxseed for complex carbs and healthy fats. Flaxseed is especially important because it has high levels of Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids that help to keep the pup’s skin and coat healthy.

It also provides linolenic acid, an essential Omega-6 fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties which help with boosting the immune system.

These formulas are made with highly digestible ingredients that ensure proper digestion. It is also a very palatable pate style wet food that you can use as a topper, a treat, or as a complete meal for your picky eater.

Specs

  • High Protein formula enhanced with vitamins and minerals
  • Real meat proteins as the first ingredient
  • Includes complex carbs and healthy fats
  • A gluten-free and grain-free formula

Pros

  • High quality and digestible proteins
  • Real meats provide flavor and texture
  • A thick formula that is filling and delicious
  • Great aromas to entice picky eaters

Cons

  • Includes controversial fillers such as carrageenan

Pate style formulas have the ingredients ground down into almost a paste which helps senior dogs or dogs with bad teeth eat comfortably. This formula is moist with a great aroma that you can use as a topper to help your picky fur baby eat his food.

Overall Rating – 4.5/5

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3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

This all-natural recipe includes real chicken to give your fussy eater a healthy meal. It is a high protein formula that also contains nutritious chicken meal and menhaden fish meal, which provides essential omega acids for excellent health.

This dry food formula is also great for pups with grain allergies, which can also contribute to the dog being disinterested in his food. The high-quality animal proteins are easily digestible to ensure that the dog absorbs all the protein he needs for strong muscles and healthy bones.

The formula includes the Blue Buffalo’s exclusive LifeSource Bits, which are precisely blended antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins from ingredients such as blueberries, spinach, pumpkin, and apples.

This nutritionally rich formula will support the immune system and diet requirements of your pup as he enjoys a great tasting meal.

Specs

  • High protein and high-calorie formula
  • Includes chicken as the first ingredient
  • A precise blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
  • Grain-free with no wheat, corn, or soy

Pros

  • A great tasting formula for finicky dogs
  • No grain formula for sensitive tummies
  • Nutritious diet improves overall health and weight
  • Highly digestible and helps regular bowel movements

Cons

  • Lifesource bits are hard for some dogs to eat

Made with high-quality ingredients, this formula is a nutritional and completely balanced meal that helps picky eaters stay healthy.

Overall Rating – 4.7/5

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4. Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Grain-Free Adventure Variety Pack Wet Dog Food

This grain-free variety pack comes with real meat as the first ingredient. You get a variety of choices from beef, chicken, lamb, and duck to pick from to provide high-quality protein for the pup. Wet dog food has a high water content in the form of a stew or gravy with real meat chunks that can be enticing for finicky dogs.

They are generally also more aromatic that you can use as a topper over their kibble to help them eat. This nine pack package comes with different flavors so that you’re able to serve a different flavor each time to keep mealtimes interesting.

Each meal is packed with nutrients from 2 easily digestible proteins and healthy fats from sunflower oil. It is enhanced with chelated minerals to improve the absorption of nutrients as well as vitamins and antioxidants for general health.

Specs

  • High-quality proteins as the first ingredient
  • Grain-free and gluten-free without preservatives or fillers
  • Added minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants
  • Suitable for puppies and adult dogs

Pros

  • Made with real meat and full of flavor
  • Delicious gravy for high palatability
  • Highly digestible for maximum nutrient absorption
  • Grain-free and gluten-free to reduce digestive problems
  • Aromatic flavors to improve appetite

Cons

  • Food servings are too little for some dogs

The Grain-Free Variety Pack contains nutritious recipes that help picky dogs to eat and stay healthy. They are great flavors made with real meat in a delicious gravy that will entice any dog to eat.

Overall Rating – 4.3/5

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5. Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain-Free Recipe

These grain-free recipes feature real duck, turkey, salmon, or chicken infused with freeze-dried raw pieces of meat that will entice even the pickiest eaters. Raw food has immense benefits when incorporated into your dog’s ordinary diet.

The raw pieces are easy to digest and the absorption of nutrients is much more effective to benefit your fur baby’s overall health. The food is also tastier which will encourage him to eat. This formula is one of the most popular raw infused recipes in the market that balances nutrition and ensures that it is safe for your pup to eat.

Freeze-dried meat added to dry kibble adds flavor and texture to the food which helps to keep the food interesting for your dog. The recipe is formulated with the perfect balance of high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and calories to promote overall health.

It is enriched with calcium and phosphorus for strong bones as well as glucosamine and chondroitin for joint management.

Specs

  • High-quality meat as the first ingredient
  • High protein kibble with freeze-dried raw meat pieces
  • Calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth
  • Includes glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health

Pros

  • Freeze-dried raw meat adds flavor and texture
  • Uses favorite animal meats as the primary ingredient
  • Promotes healthy digestion and bowel movement
  • It provides a nutritionally balanced meal

Cons

  • Some issues with the consistent quality of the food

This formula comes in different size packages for your convenience. It uses popular meat choices as the first ingredient which ensures that most dogs will love this formula whichever recipe you choose.

Overall Rating – 4.6/5

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6. Royal Canin Large Digestive Care Dry Dog Food

You may find that your dog doesn’t like his food much because it gives him an upset stomach. There are many causes for this, such as medical reasons or allergies towards some ingredients in the formula.

In this case, you should try to put your pup on a special diet such as the Digestive Care to help to improve digestion and absorption of nutrients that the formula provides.

It is made with chicken by-product meal, a highly digestible protein that is also nutrient-rich as well as being a natural source of glucosamine. The formula includes prebiotics from dried beet pulp and dietary fibers from brown rice to promote healthy digestion and stools.

It contains corn gluten meal which is a highly digestible carb that also provides essential Omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants. Brewers rice is also included to provide lots of energy as well as proteins and minerals, though it is mostly known as an inferior quality ingredient because of its low nutritional value.

Finally, we have chicken fat which is not only a healthy source of fat, it also improves the taste and consistency of the food to encourage the dog to eat it.

Specs

  • Formulated for adult, large breeds with sensitive tummies
  • Includes prebiotics, dietary fiber, and digestible proteins
  • High-quality protein as the first ingredient

Pros

  • Can be mixed with wet food to improve palatability
  • Highly digestible which also reduces flatulence and constipation
  • Great tasting formula to encourage picky dogs to eat
  • The high fiber content helps dogs with anal gland issues

Cons

  • High fiber content may increase flatulence in some dogs

This formula is available for other breeds as well and it is also highly recommended by many vets for sensitive dogs. It also helps dogs with other issues such as constipation and anal gland disease.

Overall Rating – 4.8/5

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7. Wellness Ninety-Five Percent Canned Dog Food Topper

This grain-free wet dog food will make a great topper to your pup’s kibble. It contains only five ingredients with meat being the most prominent ingredient. You can get it in chicken, turkey, or beef flavors and it is sure to add flavor, taste, and texture to entice your picky eater.

Each can is filled with natural and digestible meat protein with cassia gum and carrageenan included as additives to retain the moisture of the food. The formulas are delicious with a wonderful aroma that is appetizing. The extra meat adds flavor to ordinary kibble or you can give it as a treat.

It is a great option to try out because your dog may just be bored with his food. This can be true if you’re stuck on the same formula because of food allergies. Using a highly palatable topper helps to keep the food interesting with different flavors.

Specs

  • Contains 95% premium meat protein from chicken, beef, or turkey
  • Formulated for pets with food sensitivities
  • High protein, grain-free, and gluten-free formula

Pros

  • Makes a great topper to ordinary dry food
  • Pate style topper makes a great snack for dogs with bad teeth
  • Appetizing aroma and taste for picky dogs
  • Adds texture to their food that your pups will love

Cons

  • Some dogs just prefer chunks to pate food
  • Made as a protein topper only

This formula provides a great topper to ordinary kibble which helps picky eaters enjoy their food more. It is nutritionally one-dimensional so you cannot substitute it for a meal.

Overall Rating – 4.7/5

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8. Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe

This high protein recipe is another excellent dry dog food option that you can try. It is one of the best-tasting kibbles in the market, based on reviews and just by looking at the ingredients. It promises 85% premium animal proteins that give it a great tasting meat flavor that your fussy eaters will crave for.

More protein adds amino acids that help in developing your pup’s muscle structure. Other highly digestible premium protein sources include turkey meal and salmon meal to provide a filling and nutritious meal. The formula is grain-free but includes low glycemic carbs such as sweet potatoes and chickpeas.

These carbohydrates provide slow-burning energy for your pup and also helps to regulate their blood sugar level. It also includes patented Bc30 probiotic fiber that helps with proper digestion of food and absorption of nutrients by the pup’s body.

Specs

  • High protein, grain-free formula
  • Low glycemic carbs and advanced probiotics
  • Omega fatty acids for added health benefits
  • Wholesome fruits and veggies support the immune system

Pros

  • Easily digestible ingredients support good digestion
  • Complex carbs provide longer-lasting energy
  • High protein content improves palatability
  • Filling and nutritious meal for picky dogs
  • Available also in wet canned dog food

Cons

  • Sweet potatoes may give some dogs gas

This Nulo formula tastes great and is nutritious for picky dogs. High protein formulas are usually better tasting because the meat flavors are more aromatic which is appetizing for most dogs.

Overall Rating – 4.7/5

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9. Instinct Frozen Raw Bites Grain-Free Dog Food

This is a completely raw diet that you opt for if you think that your dog is completely bored with his regular food. Raw diets are suitable for fussy dogs because they are minimally processed, so the taste, flavors, and nutrients are left all intact.

The Instinct Frozen Raw formulas come in beef, cage-free chicken, and grass-fed lamb recipes. The food is uncooked and is kept fresh through cold pressure processing that leaves the taste and nutrients intact.

It includes 85% meat and organs that are easily digestible and can help with improving the dental health of your little one as well as supporting strong muscles.

The 15% left includes tasty fruits and vegetables to deliver the nutrition that they need for their health. The formulas do not include fillers or grains but it does include complex carbs that provide energy and dietary fiber.

Raw food diets offer many positive benefits over regular dog food, such as better digestion and less shedding. Commercially prepared raw diets such as this one are safer to feed your pup with because the nutrition is balanced and contamination by pathogens is taken care of.

Specs

  • Excellent quality raw dog food
  • Raw bites that are minimally processed
  • Natural, wholesome ingredients
  • Animal protein as the first ingredient
  • Nutrient packed bites enhanced with vitamins and minerals

Pros

  • High-quality raw bites with minimal processing
  • A clean diet that supports a long and healthy life
  • Great for extremely fussy and sensitive dogs
  • Can be served as a whole meal, topper, or treats
  • Delicious and nutritious raw recipes to choose from

Cons

  • It’s expensive
  • Spoils quickly if left out to thaw before mealtime

The Instinct Raw is an excellent and healthy diet for extreme picky pups. The raw diet is packed with nutrients. The best part is that the formula has minimal processing so it doesn’t include additives and preservatives to keep it fresh.

Overall Rating – 4.3/5

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Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters Buying Guide

dog eating kibble dry dog food on the floor

While most dogs are healthy and enthusiastic eaters, there those few pups who just don’t get excited at mealtime. There are a few reasons that can explain this lack of interest such as underlying health issues.

The best place to start before you think of changing your dog’s diet is to consult your vet to get your dog checked out. Let’s look at some other reasons why your dog won’t eat his food.

Poor Eating Habits

Your dog’s breed and size may also contribute to how well he eats. Toy breeds such as the Maltese and Poodle are known to be very finicky with their food. Some large breeds can also be picky depending on their feeding habits.

Feeding table scraps and tasty treats in between meals is the most significant contributor to unhealthy eating habits in dogs. These tasty treats keep your dog full during the day and cause him to lose interest in his dry kibble at mealtimes.

It is essential to arrest this behavior quickly because your dog needs nutritionally balanced food to stay healthy and to live long. The best way to guide him back to healthy eating is not to feed him scraps and treats but to allow him to eat his kibble when hungry.

You could also enhance his kibble with toppers such as Wellness Ninety-Five Percent Canned Dog Food Topper to improve the taste.

Health Issues

Most picky dogs are healthy, and you can tell this just by looking at the dog. If he is energetic and has a healthy weight, he is probably just bored with his food.

However, if you notice a complete loss of interest in food, including snacks, followed by weight loss, fatigue, and general stomach upsets, then you should take him to the vet as quickly as possible to have them checked out.

Digestive problems are one of the most common health issues that can make your dog get picky with his food. Gas and flatulence caused by poor digestion will cause discomfort and pain and will reduce the desire to eat.

Switching him to a highly digestible diet with a low fiber such as Royal Canin Large Digestive Care Dry Dog Food will help him digest his food properly.

Dental Issues

Bad teeth and diseased gums are some of the dental problems that can cause your pooch to stay away from his food. Getting your vet to help fix his dental issues will help him to eat better.

You could also help by getting him easy to eat meals such as Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Canned Food. This soft and moist pate has a great flavor that will encourage your dog to eat.

Tips to Encourage Picky Dogs to Eat

As we’ve already seen, dogs generally have individual tastes. So, while one formula works for some dogs successfully, it may cause digestive issues on another dog.

Therefore, there is no one solution for all dogs, but we recommend you try some of these tricks to help you figure out what works with your pet:

Have a Regular Schedule

Have regular mealtimes that your dog can stick with. This scheduling helps the dog to instinctively anticipate mealtimes and build up his appetite.

As you feed him, ensure that you consistently give him the proper portions according to the breed and size so that he’s not hungry in-between meals.

Keep the Meals Interesting

You can keep meals interesting by occasionally trying different flavors of the kibble you’re giving him. Alternatively, you can try adding a topper, usually a wet canned food of the same formula to improve the taste and quality of the food.

Wet food has a high content of meat with no fillers and additives which keeps it tasty with an enticing aroma. Another idea is to try a raw infused diet or a purely raw diet.

Keep in mind that commercially prepared raw diets are safer and more nutritionally balanced than if you tried preparing it yourself.

Raw diets have minimal processing which preserves the aroma and nutrients that dogs love. Dog food with a higher content of fat will also taste better than a low-fat diet.

Healthy fats such as chicken fat are nutritious and provide essential fatty acids that the dog needs. Plant oils such as sunflower and flaxseed oils are not as tasty as animal fats.

Fruits and vegetables add flavor to dog food which appeals to picky dogs. Dogs eat vegetables such as Brussel sprouts and spinach. Fruits and veggies also provide healthy vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.

Natural ingredients are the best and formulas that don’t include fillers and preservatives will be more successful with fussy eaters than poor quality ingredients.

Conclusion

Finally, be observant about your dog’s general behavior. His lack of appetite could be caused by anxiety or stress and changing where you feed him may help. If you suspect separation anxiety, try spending extra time with him to help him with the anxiety.

Fussy eating can be managed properly so that your dog stays healthy. Understanding what your dog likes will help you find the best dog food for them.

Our research found that minimally cooked formulas were more successful in getting dogs to eat their meals more than ordinary dog foods.

Our top choice Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Dehydrated Dog Food is one such formula that is dehydrated and minimally processed to give your pup the flavor and nutrition that he’ll crave for, meal after meal.

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