What’s The Best Tasting Dog Food For Picky Eaters?


If you have a picky or fussy eater on your hands, then you’re not alone. In fact, picky eating can be a surprisingly common problem for many dogs, and it’s an issue that can be caused by a variety of reasons.

Smaller breed dogs, in particular, seem to be prone toward fussy eating (and they also have smaller appetites), but there’s no denying that it can occur with most dog breeds, big or small. Furthermore, some dogs may not enjoy the food enough to trigger their appetite, so having better tasting dog food could help.

Is My Dog A Picky Eater?

The first thing you’ll need to determine is whether your dog is actually a picker eater or whether there’s another underlying cause.

Many dogs of the smaller variety have very small appetites, so it isn’t unusual for them to leave food behind or seem uninspired by their dinner, especially if they haven’t been very active. So if your dog is at a healthy weight, has a shiny coat, and is generally alert and happy, then it’s usually not an issue you’ll need to worry about too much.

Of course, if your dog has always been somewhat picky with their meals, then you’ll have less reason for concern, too. However, if your dog is losing weight and still not eating, then the issue will be something to pay closer attention to.

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Is There A Medical Problem?

Changes in your dog’s eating habits can be a telltale sign that there’s something wrong with their health, so it’s wise to consult a veterinarian if you suspect this is the case.

The key thing to look for here will be any change in their eating habits, so if your pooch usually tucks into their dinner with gusto but has recently lost all interest, then it’s wise to visit the vet for a checkup.

A common reason for a dog to stop eating can be tooth pain, and this will be one of the things your vet will examine. Of course, this can also affect a puppy in the teething phase as well.

But once your dog has received the all-clear from the vet, there’s a range of things you can do when it comes to feeding a fussy or picky eater, so let’s take a closer look.

Advice For Encouraging A Fussy Eater

  • One of the biggest culprits behind fussy eating is simply “overfeeding“, particularly for small dogs.  Most caring dog owners want only the best for their dogs, and it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of giving too many treats between meals, along with the occasional table scraps your dog may be accustomed to receiving. Just as you’d expect, this can have a big impact on your dog’s hunger and satiety, so if they’re used to enjoying your tasty steak table scraps, a bowl of kibble might not seem quite as appealing!
  • The solution to this will be to cut down on the table scraps and treats and aim to keep your dog on a feeding schedule that’s appropriate for their age, breed, and size. Additionally, you may need to talk with the family to ensure everybody is on the same page (and to make sure nobody is feeding them sneaky treats on the side!)
  • If your dog isn’t interested in their food (and you’ve ruled out any health issues) then you may want to take a closer look at the kind of food you’re offering your dog. In most cases, your dog will love high-quality meat-based foods, so examine the nutritional labels of your dog’s food to ensure it’s giving them the quality nutrition they need. In general, you’ll want to see whole protein sources such as chicken, lamb, beef, or turkey (meat “meal” is okay too). Importantly, you’ll want to stay away from any food that has low-grade fillers and additives.
  • It can also be useful to serve some wet dog food with their kibble because the added moisture will make the food more aromatic and appealing. It’s worth noting that your dog greatly depends on their sense of smell to experience the world, so making their dinner more aromatic can help to encourage them to eat. For example, you can use a range or food toppers, pet food enhancers, or wet food to increase the appeal of their food (all of which we’ll be covering shortly). Another useful thing to do is warm up their food in the microwave, especially if your dog is often excited about table scraps and the warm meals you’re usually eating.
  • Many dogs will be more encouraged to eat if you feed them by hand, and while this can be time-consuming, it can be a successful strategy in the short term if you really need a picky eater to eat. It can also be useful to gradually transition from your hand to your dog’s bowl when you employ this technique.
  • Furthermore, it may be useful to consider a limited ingredient dog food formula, particularly if your dog has a dislike of certain additives or ingredients.
  • It can be a good idea to take their dinner away if they aren’t hungry, rather than leaving the food available at all times. Putting your dog’s dinner down for them on a specific schedule can also help to develop a better feeding routine.
  • Finally, making sure your dog is getting enough physical activity can be very important, and you’ll often find that a long walk or an extended play session will go a long way toward increasing your dog’s appetite.

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Best Dry Food For Picky Eaters

If you suspect your dog is becoming a picky eater due to their current brand of food, then it’s well worth taking a look at a few “premium” brands that feature better quality ingredients.

While this can be more expensive than the average kibble, there’s no denying that it can be more appetizing and healthier for your dog in the long run. With this in mind, here are a few top-quality dry food options to try.

# 1 – Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Dog Food

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When you’re dealing with a picky eater, it makes sense to focus on ‘real’ ingredients whenever possible, and the real meaty chunks used in this high-protein blend can help to encourage a picky eater to eat. It also tastes great for many dogs.

The blend comes with three different meat options, either chicken, duck, or salmon, and it’s also grain-free. Additionally, it comes with the exclusive ‘LifeSource Bits’ which the Blue Buffalo brand is known for, and this further improves the blend by added extra vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your dog may need.

Overall, this formula is a popular and well-reviewed option that could be worth a try if your dog isn’t tempted by their usual dry kibble.

# 2 – Fromm Gold Dry Dog Food

Here’s a fantastic option that’s made by Fromm, and while it’s a somewhat costlier option, there’s no denying that it features one of the best premium blends you’re likely to find.

It comes in a variety of different versions which range from adult, large breed, puppy, senior, and weight management, so there’s something for every dog here.

The ingredients are all of the highest quality, with the standard version relying on fresh duck, chicken, lamb, whole eggs and cheese to provide a nice selection of delicious protein sources that are sure to appeal to any dog regardless of how picky they are.

The kibble is also nice and small, so your dog won’t have any trouble when it comes to dinner time, and you’ll find that most breeds will quickly take to the formula in no time at all.

# 3 – Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food

The Taste of the Wild formula is perhaps one of the most popular premium options available, and it certainly gives you a top formula at a very reasonable price.

It relies entirely on a grain-free formulation that still offers you complex carbs in the form of sweet potatoes and peas, which help to ensure the blend is very easy for your dog to digest.

Additionally, it uses real roasted meat that offers great taste and flavor to keep any dog interested.

Of course, the blend benefits further from the inclusion of added vegetables and fruits to give your dog a balanced diet that’s complete with all the key vitamins and minerals they need to stay in top shape.

# 4 – Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

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The Wellness CORE Original formula is another top-rated dog food that most dogs will enjoy, and it’s worth noting that it comes in both standard, puppy, weight management, and large breed formulas, making your life easy if you’re shopping for a dog who needs a slightly different blend to account for their size, age, or breed.

It uses turkey and chicken as the primary protein sources (although there’s an alternative fish-based option available), and it contains plenty of high-quality meat along with real vegetables to cover all your bases and give you a dog food blend that they’ll enjoy.

The product is made exclusively in the USA for further peace of mind and it’s also backed by the Wellness Guarantee.

Importantly, the blend doesn’t use any low-grade additives, nor will you find any meat by-products, soy, corn, wheat, or anything artificial, so it’s generally a healthy option that won’t put off a picky eater.

# 5 – BLUE Freedom Dry Dog Food

Finally, the Blue Buffalo Freedom formula is a choice that will appeal to many dogs, and it uses a proven and time-tested formula that contains only the best quality ingredients.

There’s no use of any low-grade fillers and additives, which means you won’t find any artificial colorings or flavorings, nor will you see any grain, wheat, soy, or meat by-product meals.

Of course, this means that you’re left with a top-quality blend that features all of the key nutrition your dog requires, along with a tasty chicken formulation that will appeal to most breeds.

Alternatively, you could choose the beef or lamb recipe, both of which provide the same high-quality blend that you’d expect from such a well-respected dog food brands.

# 6 – Orijen Original Dry Dog Food

The Orijen dry dog food formula is well-known for providing top-quality ingredients, and it uses a range or “biologically appropriate” ingredients to approximate what your dog would eat naturally.

Ultimately, this means that it contains a range of poultry, fish, eggs, and other high-protein ingredients, as well as many vegetables that help to support a balanced diet and provide the essential minerals and vitamins your dog needs.

Most owners find that their dog quickly becomes accustomed to this blend, and it’s a great option to try if you suspect your picky eater isn’t impressed by their current brand of dog food.

In fact, some owners find that mixing these kibbles with some warm water will quickly make their dog tuck in and enjoy the flavor and overall nutrition that’s on offer.

# 7 – Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

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Here’s a “healthy weight” formula from Merrick that does away with any low-quality ingredients or filler and instead provides your dog with a broad range of healthy nutrition that’s sure to appeal.

Of course, this means that the formula doesn’t come with any grain, soy, gluten, wheat, corn, or any other ingredient that can upset a sensitive dog’s digestion system. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin that’ll support your dog’s joints and hips, too.

Importantly, the blend relies on real deboned beef as the main ingredient, which ensures that it offers plenty of taste and flavor to interest a picky eater.

# 8 – Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Dog Food

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The Nature’s Variety brand makes this formula in a wide range of flavors, which include chicken, beef, lamb, duck, venison, and many more, so there’s plenty of choices available if your dog has a love for a certain protein source.

Importantly, the blend includes freeze-dried raw pieces which are very appetizing for your dog and help to improve the taste. It’s generally a high-protein formula that’s free of grain, and there’s plenty of quality nutrition packed into it.

It comes with some healthy probiotics which can aid digestion and there’s added omega 3 and 6 fatty acids included which help to maintain the shine of your dog’s coat.

Furthermore, there’s no low-grade additives or fillers in this product, so you won’t find any soy, wheat, corn, gluten, or anything else that’s likely to put off a fussy eater.

# 9 – The Honest Kitchen Organic Whole Grain Dog Food

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This “human grade” food from The Honest Kitchen is an option that provides exceptional quality thanks to the premium ingredients.

You can choose from either range raised beef, free-range chicken, or cage-free turkey, and the formula uses dehydrated ingredients to ensure maximum nutrition and flavor for your dog to enjoy.

There’s no preservatives or low-grade filler added to the product, and all you’ll need to do to prepare it will be to add a little warm water and you’ll soon have a wonderful smelling, flavor-packed meal for your dog that’s sure to trigger their appetite.

You can rest assured that most dogs will take to the food very quickly and it provides a complete and balanced meal that’ll keep your dog happy and healthy.

# 10 – Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry Dog Food

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You may be surprised to see this Rachael Ray formula in our line-up, but it scores positive reviews from most dog owners while giving your dog a tasty formula that they’re sure to be intrigued by.

It comes in several flavors which include beef, salmon, chicken, and turkey. and you’ll see that it uses natural, protein-focused ingredients without relying on the use of grain or cheap fillers.

Furthermore, there’s no artificial colorings, flavorings, or preservatives used in this blend either, so it generally offers a high level of quality nutrition without anything to detract from what it can offer.

The Best Dog Food Toppers

If you’re looking for a simple dog food topper to add to your dog’s kibble, then there are certainly many great options available.

Of course, this can also be a good alternative to adding wet food to your dog’s diet every day, as the toppers are designed to be very tasty and full of aroma, so they’ll quickly encourage any fussy eater to eat their kibble. Now, let’s explore a few of the best dog food topper options.

# 1 – Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Meal Mixer

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This dried meal mixer and topper is a popular choice for anyone who’s looking to jazz up their dog’s dinner time, and it certainly goes a long way towards making your dog’s kibble more interesting.

The formula includes freeze-dried raw poultry that adds great appeal and aroma, along with ground bones and organs along with fruits and vegetables that are very nutrient-rich and beneficial for your dog to eat.

Using the topper is very easy and simple, so a quick scoop is all that’s needed to make your dog’s kibble more entertaining, and many owners find that it gives their dog a whole new level of enthusiasm when it comes to dinner time.

# 2 – Wellness CORE Simply Shreds Food Topper

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Here’s a wet food mixer or topper from the Wellness CORE product line, and it’s available in a few different flavors including chicken, beef & carrots, chicken, chicken liver & broccoli, tuna, beef & carrots, and finally chicken, salmon & pumpkin.

Of course, each of these blends is designed to be highly appealing and nutritious for your dog, and there’s no grain or low-grade fillers used in any of these pouches, nor will you find any artificial flavorings, colorings, preservatives, or meat by-products.

It’s also incredibly simple to serve these toppers over your dog’s kibble, and you can use them quickly to enhance any picky dog’s dinner.

# 3 – BLUE Wilderness Trail Toppers Wild Cuts

This Wild Cuts Trail Topper product from Blue Wilderness is another worthy choice if you’re looking for a top-quality topper, and it uses real beef to add a great deal of flavor and aroma to any meal you’re serving your dog.

There’s no use of grain in the formula, nor will you find any wheat, soy, corn, or artificial colorings and preservatives.

Most importantly, the use of real meat chunks in a dog-friendly gravy will quickly pique the interest of virtually any dog, regardless of how picky or fussy they may have been in the past.

Overall, this is a highly flavorsome product that most dogs go crazy for, so it’s certainly worth a try if your dog tends to turn their nose up at their own food.

# 4 – Nature’s Variety Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Boost Mixers

The Nature’s Variety Instinct brand is well-known for its exceptional quality and this mixer or topper product is unlikely to let you down.

It comes in four different flavor choices, either chicken, lamb, turkey, or beef, and each option relies on minimally processed ingredients to give your dog a quality source of nutrition that also offers lots of taste and aroma.

Just as you’d expect, there are no low-quality ingredients or fillers used, and you won’t find any grain, corn, wheat, soy, or meat by-products that would detract from the formula. It’s also made exclusively in the United States to ensure the ingredients and general processing remain of the highest quality.

# 5 – The Honest Kitchen Proper Toppers

The Honest Kitchen food topper features top-quality ingredients throughout, which also happen to be of “human grade” quality, and the use of either beef, turkey, fish, or chicken ensures that it’s a very tasty topper for your dog to enjoy.

The ingredients are dehydrated to seal in the nutrition and flavor, and this also means that it contains a very high level of real meat proteins without needing artificial additives and preservatives to keep it fresh.

The formula is made entirely in the United States in a human-grade food processing facility to ensure the utmost in quality.

# 6 – Meat Mates Natural Premium Dog Food Topper

This meat booster product from Meat Mates is another useful solution for increasing the meat content of your dog’s food, and as such, it’s sure to increase its appeal to a picky eater.

The product consists of a single animal protein that’s been freeze-dried, so you can rest assured that the quality is very high. Furthermore, there’s no use of preservatives and it’s GMO-free.

There are two flavor choices available to you, either lamb or beef, and it also comes in several different package sizes to suit your needs. Importantly, the flavor is very appealing to most dogs thanks to the quality meat ingredients that are sustainably sourced from New Zealand. Most buyer reviews are very happy with the product and say that their dogs took to the food topper very quickly indeed.

The Best Food Enhancers

If you don’t want to switch your dog’s brand of food entirely then you may want to turn your attention to a few of the dog food enhancers on the market. In general, these products are designed to increase the overall appeal of your dog’s food, and they certainly have a very positive effect on most picky eaters.

Of course, the best pet food enhancers also focus on quality ingredients and flavorings, rather than using anything that could be detrimental to your dog’s health. Here are a few dog food enhancers that are rated highly and work well for most dogs.

# 1 – TruDog Boost Me: Mighty Meaty Beef Booster

This all-natural dog food enhancer from TruDog adds some appealing aroma and nutritious protein that will certainly increase your dog’s excitement for dinner time.

The topper will add a meaty taste to your dog’s kibble, and it simply requires a light sprinkling to get the job done.

When it comes to the ingredients, the product relies on a variety of beef such as tripe, lung, ground beef bone, liver, heart, kidney, blood, and fat, all of which are very nutritious for your pooch. Additionally, it uses herring oil as a natural source of vitamin D, too.

Just as important, the food doesn’t use any wheat, corn, grain, sugar, meat by-products, or added salt,  so there’s nothing that could upset your dog’s overall health.

# 2 – Basics FLAVORS Human Grade Dog Food Topper

Here’s a highly affordable but nonetheless effective dog food topper that comes in several flavors including chicken, peanut butter, red meat, and white cheddar, and it’s worth picking the option that you think will most appeal to your pooch.

Using the product is very easy and straightforward, so all you’ll need to do is add a little water to make a broth then pour it over your dog’s kibble.

It’s worth noting that the ingredients in the product are classed as “human grade”, so you can rest assured that there are no hidden nasties that’ll upset your dog’s digestion or general health. Additionally, there’s no use of grain-based products and the main ingredients are simply beef and beef bone broth.

The buyer reviews are mostly very positive, and it scores top feedback from most customers on Amazon.

Best Wet Foods For Picky Eaters

If your dog is usually accustomed to only eating kibble as their main meal, then adding some tasty wet food to the mix can be very useful for motivating them to be less picky.

Wet dog food comes with added moisture that most dogs will greatly enjoy, and it’s also easy to mix it up with your dog’s kibble so they get the best of both worlds. In this section, you’ll find a selection of top-rated wet dog food formulas that won’t disappoint.

# 1 – Merrick Classic Grammy’s Pot Pie Wet Dog Food

The Merrick Classic canned dog food comes in a wide range of different flavors and recipes, with this particular version being the Grammy’s Pot Pie, which features deboned chicken as the primary ingredient.

Just as you’d expect from a quality brand, this formula relies on only the best ingredients, and it doesn’t come with any unwanted artificial colorings, flavorings, or preservatives. It’s also exclusively made in the United States for further peace of mind.

It’s worth noting that this canned food can function as a complete meal, but it’s equally suitable as a meal topper for kibble, and it certainly has a tasty selection of flavors and aromas to keep your dog interested even if they’re a fussy eater.

# 2 – Wellness 95% Chicken Canned Dog Food

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The Wellness 95% natural wet food is another cost-effective yet highly tasty option for any fussy eater and the quality is certainly superb.

It comes in a range of alternative flavors such as beef, lamb, salmon, turkey, or chicken, and there’s even a variety pack if you want to mix things up a bit for your dog.

Importantly, the food promises to be 95% protein, and there’s no use of grain, fillers, artificial preservatives, or meat by-products, so you can rest assured that you’ll be getting only the best quality for your dog.

Of course, the primary protein is the main ingredient to notice, but it also contains enough water for sufficient processing along with a few natural preservatives.

# 3 – BLUE Wilderness High Protein Wet Dog Food

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Blue Buffalo are a popular and well-loved dog food brand that tends to earn great reviews from most buyers, and their high protein wet dog food is no exception.

It comes with high-quality ingredients throughout, so you won’t find any corn, wheat, soy, or meat by-products,  but it does come with high levels of beef and chicken that will be very appealing to any dog, especially if they’ve been picky recently. You’ll also find plenty of key vitamins and minerals that add a nutritional punch to your dog’s mealtimes.

Furthermore, there is a wide selection of different versions available, so if your dog prefers salmon, turkey, or other combinations of protein then these options are worth a closer look.

The buyer reviews are just as positive as you’d expect for a Blue Buffalo product, and this formula scores a respectable average rating on Amazon and other review sites.

# 4 – BLUE Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Wet Dog Food

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If you’re looking for a somewhat limited ingredient wet dog food, then this formula from the Blue Buffalo Basics line is a great option to consider.

It comes in a broad range of recipe choices which include turkey, salmon, duck, and lamb, as well as a large breed and a senior version.

Primarily, the blend features a single animal protein source as the main ingredient and this is paired with potatoes for a simple and easy-to-digest protein source that’s unlikely to upset your dog.

There’s also no use of grain, soy, wheat, corn, dairy, or eggs, so if your dog is allergic to any of these ingredients then you’ll find this formula is a great choice that’ll appeal to your dog if they tend to be fussy with their eating.

Best Limited Ingredient Food For Picky Eaters

If your dog is allergic or sensitive to particular ingredients that are commonly found in dog foods, then trying them out with a limited ingredient formula could be a smart idea.

In fact, some dogs may simply not like certain ingredients and turn their nose up at any food that contains the veggies they don’t like, for example. In these situations, trying a limited ingredient product can be useful, so here’s a selection of top-rated formulas that meet these requirements.

# 1 – Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient Dog Food

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The Wellness Simple blend is an excellent limited ingredient formula that uses a selection of simple, high-quality ingredients to give your dog a tasty meal without causing any stomach sensitivity.

You can choose from salmon, duck, lamb, and turkey as the primary protein source, which is matched with either oatmeal or potatoes, and they’re both gentle and easy-to-digest for your dog so they’re unlikely to cause an issue in this regard.

Just as important is the fact that there’s no low-grade fillers or additives, which can often cause sensitivity for some dogs or at least dissuade them from eating if they’re a fussy or picky eater. You’ll also see that it contains a variety of probiotics and prebiotics which further aid your dog’s digestion.

# 2 – Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

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The Natural Balance Limited Ingredient formula is a best-selling blend within the limited category, and it’s certainly well-regarded by many owners who are caring for sensitive or allergic dogs.

It’s entirely grain-free in its composition and it also does away with any artificial colorings, flavorings, or preservatives while still providing a tasty blend that uses ingredients your dog is likely to enjoy.

The main ingredients feature sweet potato and fish, and these are gentle ingredients that are generally unlikely to trigger any sensitivity for most dogs. Of course, there’s also plenty of vitamins and minerals, along with rich levels of potassium and fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat.

# 3 – BLUE Basics Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

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The Blue Buffalo basics line is another great choice for any dog owner who needs a limited ingredient formula, and it comes in a range of great flavors such as duck, salmon, and lamb which is paired with potatoes for easy digestibility.

You’ll find plenty of key nutrition is still packed into the formula, so there’s all of the necessary omega 3 and omega 6, along with pea fiber and pumpkin to support healthy digestion. Importantly, there’s no use of grain or gluten, both of which can upset some dogs.

Of course, this blend also comes with Blue Buffalo’s exclusive “LifeSource Bits” which contain a whole host of vitamins and minerals that are vital to keeping your dog in healthy shape.

Need the best dog food for a picky eater? If so, this guide shows the best options available and gives several useful tips for encouraging a fussy dog to eat.