10 Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters [2022]

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Just like humans, yes, you’ve heard the title right – dogs can be picky eaters as well. This can be a problem if you are faced with a dog that has to keep good nutrition for their sickness, and they won’t eat their food. Here are some ideas when it comes to the best dog food for picky eaters.

dog food for picky eaters

Eating the right food for dogs is just as important as it is with humans. With the balance of the right amounts and portions of food, they can stay healthy against diseases.

Hence, you may be interested in choosing the best dog food for picky eaters, which we will suggest to you in this article.

  1. CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food
  2. Hill's Science Diet Wet Dog Food
  3. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food
  4. Beef Dog Food Toppers By Beg & Barker
  5. Instinct Grain-Free Dog Food Topper
  6. Sojos Complete Natural Grain-Free Dog Food
  7. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dog Food
  8. Weruva Limited-Ingredient Natural Dry Dog Food with Grass-fed Lamb
  9. OC Raw Freeze Dried Rabbit & Produce Sliders
  10. Fromm Gold Coast Grain Free Weight Management

human trying to feed a dog

Things to consider in dog food for picky eaters

Before choosing the best dog food for picky eaters, you might want to know about the following facts first to help you decide for yourself:

Why are some dogs picky eaters?

There are a couple of possible causes that are medically proven to change your dog’s appetite and could make them picky eaters. Some of them are the following:

They may have trouble with their digestive system.

Dogs who have problems with their digestive health, such as irregular pooping, could have problems with their appetite. Just the same when humans don’t feel too well when they’ve just had LBM or lower bowel movement, or even diarrhea, dogs may feel the same. You can ask your vet to help you out as to which foods are safer for them in this case (which they will not be picky about).

Your dog may have hormonal issues.

Just like when women are on their period (usually, there are times they feel too bloated to eat anything), dogs, too, could have hormonal problems that can cause them to be picky in terms of eating and appetite. Don’t worry though – most hormonal-caused appetite issues for dogs are temporary and don’t really last too long.

Dogs with dental problems could more likely be picky eaters.

Like with humans, if dogs don’t have good teeth, they may not be able to chew food properly, and hence, may start to lose appetite. This is why you may need to check with your vet if your dog has some teeth problems that may cause them to lose interest in food. In most cases, dogs with gum pain that is caused by decaying teeth and various other dental issues for canines may be the source of their suffering.

If your dog has tumors, they may be picky, too.

While this is not always the case, if your dog has been diagnosed with a tumor, or if you suspect that your dog has one, he or she may possibly lose interest in food, since something is wrong within their system. In the same way, if all other reasons that we have mentioned above are ruled out, you may consider consulting your vet if the dog’s behavior on eating is not really changing no matter what you do.

How do I choose the best dog food for picky eaters?

To choose the most ideal dog food that your dog may love if he or she starts to get finicky overeating, you may consider any of these criteria to help you out:

Pick more meats in dog food for picky eaters

Since dogs are usually meat-lovers due to their ancestry with wolves, dogs will mostly love anything that is meat-based. This is where most dogs get their energy due to calories and protein content.

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Dogs, contrary to popular belief, are actually omnivorous due to their evolution as domesticated pets, unlike the wolves who are carnivorous. While it is okay to include some fruits and veggies into their diet for immunity against sickness and also for their coat health, you may want to boost more on their meat side because they may eat best with meat.

But don’t forget to mix in some veggies and fruits

Because dogs, as we said, are now omnivorous, they may also feast on fruits and veggies occasionally. You can throw in some bitter veggies like broccoli and spinach and they will be actually easier to feed than most kids.

The biggest benefit of feeding your dog some greens is like with humans – providing them with ample amounts of vitamins and minerals for their eye health, their coat shine, their immune system, and much more. Antioxidants may also be present in some fruits and veggies, which also helps their immune system and overall health.

No artificial flavorings

Many dog food nowadays that are commercially sold are getting rid of those artificial flavors to ensure that your dog. If your dog gets only naturally-cooked chicken or other meal that has been prepared without preservatives, they will be less likely picky eaters in the future.

There are many essential proteins that are present when there are no artificial flavorings. Plus, anything that is not authentic may harm your dog’s health in the long run, since they can be full of sugars that may not be helpful to their health.

Fat content in dog food for picky eaters

Dogs, as mostly meat-eaters, will most likely eat anything that has fat. This is because fat tastes good not only to humans but also to dogs. Fats can also be in the form of oils so it is good to give your dog some of them, especially if your vet recommends it. Just make sure your dog doesn’t eat too much fat.

Your vet’s recommendation

If you are unsure about your dog’s eating problem, you can consult your vet. Some dogs may work better with certain food types ad your vet can help you assess the situation by recommending them ideal food types that are specific to their age and breed and will still keep them healthy without losing their appetite.

human feeding a dog a puppy treat

How do I help my dog improve their eating habits to prevent picky eating?

In some cases, it’s not just the food that your dog may have a problem with – sometimes, it can depend on their situation in being fed. Here are some (hopefully) helpful tips to make your dog improve their eating habits when they become picky eaters:

Feed them only dog food

This may sound ridiculous to some pet owners, especially those who in a country where dog food is expensive and pet keeping altogether is kind of an economic challenge, but dog experts always say that it is always best to feed them only with dog food and not with table scraps.

The reason for this is that giving them human food from the table will most likely make them develop the habit of always begging towards you. This is why there are places in the world with stray pets and such places don’t encourage guests to feed them (since they are fed special food of their own).

Did you know that most dog breeds may be prone to diarrhea if you give them mixed food from table scraps? While table scraps work with lower breed dogs, such as the stray ones that live in places near poverty lines, if you feed a dog with a higher breed, they may be more sensitive and therefore, table scraps may not be ideal for them.

Keep a schedule and make it work

Overfeeding and underfeeding are some of the problems that can lead to your dog being a picky eater. Not only does feeding too much cause obesity, but it can also cause some behavioral problems to your dog, one of which could be being a picky eater. Make sure you stick to a schedule when feeding your dog, especially if they are still puppies or at a young age.

Ensure proper and equal food portions

Dogs who get the right amount of food portions not only get healthier but also become less likely picky eaters, since they are not accustomed to only a certain type of food. For instance, some dogs who always eat a lot of meat may not like veggies and fruits if you don’t introduce them earlier.

Inform all family members (or new owners) of the dog’s diet plan

If you have different family members or if you are letting your dog get adopted by new owners, you should consider informing them first of the dog’s eating habits and the diet plan that they need to work on to ensure your dog doesn’t end up becoming a picky eater.

Top 10 Dog Food for Picky Eaters

Here are some of our picks for the best dog food for picky eaters that your dog may like:

1. CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food

crave grain free high protein adult dry dog food beef chicken 1Awaken your picky eater’s taste buds by choosing a mouthwatering recipe like this one from CRAVE. So, why do we find this recipe unique?

First, this recipe utilizes high-quality meat protein and 100 % natural ingredients that mimic your dog’s ancestral diet.

Lamb provides proteins and a meaty flavor that your picky eater will find irresistible. Additionally, this formula has no artificial flavors or preservatives that can adversely affect your dog.

This best dry dog food for picky eaters comes in various packages. You can choose to get the 4, 12, or 22 pounds bag sizes.

Consequently, this recipe has no grains. So that your dog with food allergies can devour this recipe with no aftermath of getting bloated or diarrhea.

Pea is the primary carbohydrate source in this dry food, easy to digest, and gentle on your dog’s tummy.

Pros

  • With a high protein content
  • No grains in this recipe
  • This recipe features no added preservatives or flavors

Cons

  • This dog food for picky eaters is expensive
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2. Hill's Science Diet Wet Dog Food

hills science diet wet dog food chicken barley 13 oz cans 12 packThe best canned dog foods for picky eaters with sensitive stomachs should have natural and digestible ingredients. And one such recipe is this canned food from Hill’s Science.

This recipe suitable for your picky eater comes in various flavors— i.e., chicken, salmon, turkey. Moreover, you can choose a pack size with multiple flavors.

The first ingredient in this canned dog food for picky eaters is animal protein, which provides proteins that build your dog’s muscle. Moreover, the meaty flavor will draw your picky eater back to the bowl.

Other than the animal proteins, this best-canned dog food for picky eaters contains other nutritious ingredients like carrot, potato, and green beans.

These superfoods will nourish your picky eating dog without causing any stomach upsets.

Another eye-catching feature of this canned wet dog food is the included natural fibers. These fibers ensure your picky eating dog has regular bowel movements. Additionally, fiber ensures your dog has well-formed poop, easy to pick up.

What else are you waiting for? Get this chicken broth for your picky eater, and watch your puppy’s appetite arise.

Pros

  • Made with natural ingredients
  • This dog food for picky eaters contains no grains
  • Has omega 6 fatty acids for healthy skin

Cons

  • Not for puppies or pregnant dogs
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3. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food

blue buffalo life protection formula natural adult small breed dry dog food 1Tantalize your small dog’s taste buds by getting this life protection formula from Blue Buffalo. As one of the best tasting dry dog foods for picky eaters, this recipe has 100% natural ingredients that give this kibble an irresistible flavor.

With two flavors, you can either get the chicken or lamb recipe. Besides its tail-wagging taste, this recipe has a high protein content that nourishes your dog’s muscles.

Whole grains oatmeal, barley, brown rice are complex carbohydrates sources that keep your pet moving. Besides that, this recipe has wholesome fruits and vegetables, providing essential nutrients to your small dog.

As one of the best tasting dog foods for picky eaters, this recipe has no chicken by-products, corn, or wheat that can be a burden to digest.

Another minute but key detail about this recipe is the kibble size. This kibble is small-sized, enough for your picky dog to pick up and chew.

Lastly, the omega fatty acids from fish oil will promote your dog’s skin and coat health.

Pros

  • This recipe has a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Human grade dog food
  • This dog food for picky eaters has real meat as the first ingredient

Cons

  • This recipe is not suitable for dogs sensitive to grains.
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4. Beef Dog Food Toppers By Beg & Barker

beef dog food toppers by beg barkerIs your dog still putting his nose up for that best dry dog food for picky eaters that you bought? Then it’s time you consider getting a dog food topper to enhance the taste. The beef dog food topper will be a great option that will help improve the flavor of that kibble your dog has refused to eat.

What’s key here is that this dog food topper for picky eaters has no artificial flavors or preservatives that can trigger hyperacidity on your dog.

Instead, this food topper has 100 % beef flavor, adding life and taste to your dog’s kibble.

This food topper has simple ingredients, and it’s well compatible with any dog food. You can easily mix it with hypoallergenic dog food, sensitive stomach dog food, or L.I.D dog food.

Noteworthy, this recipe is air-dried during preparation, ensuring all nutrients that your dog needs are locked in. These nutrients are crucial in your dog’s overall well-being.

Made in the U.S.A., you will be at ease knowing that your dog is consuming the best food topper for picky eaters with healthy sourced ingredients.

Pros

  • The first ingredient is beef.
  • You can mix this food topper with any dry dog food
  • Slow air-dried to lock in nutrients

Cons

  • Not available in other flavors
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5. Instinct Grain-Free Dog Food Topper

instinct grain free dog food topper healthy cravings with gravy natural wet dog food topper 1Instinct Grain-Free Dog Food Topper is one of the best tasting dog food for picky eaters who prefer nothing but the best.

A key highlight of this dog food is that it comes in various flavors that we know your dog will love.

Per your dog’s taste buds, you can get the farm-raised chicken, beef, or salmon recipe. You can also choose a pack that has a variety of flavors.

Besides that, this recipe has the finest of ingredients, all sourced from the U.S.A. All these key ingredients will promote your dog’s health without triggering food allergies.

What is unique about this dog food brand is that it ensures all their recipes mimic your dog’s ancestral diet.

The first ingredient you will find here is an animal protein that will nourish your pet’s muscles.

Lastly, the pouches are easy to open, making serving quicker and easier than canned food.

Noteworthy, you can use this wet food as a food mixer, treat, or as a complete meal.

Pros

  • Food comes in a variety of flavors
  • No grains in this recipe
  • This dog food for picky eaters comes in easy to open pouches

Cons

  • Expensive
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6. Sojos Complete Natural Grain-Free Dog Food

sojos complete beef recipe adult grain free freeze dried raw dog foodFor dogs who like a chicken meal without potatoes and without fillers, this one may be an ideal choice for them.

It may be a “just-add-water” formulation but it is made only with natural dog food ingredients using chicken without gluten and grain, especially if your vet advised on that.

Each pack contains 7 lbs. of natural dog food and if you just want a basic chicken meal, this could be a great option for picky eaters. The bag’s contents are also freeze-dried so you can keep them for a long time yet they don’t have preservatives.

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7. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dog Food

stella chewys freeze dried raw dinner pattiesAlso organic as a chicken meal, this one can be ideal for picky eaters as well. It is gluten-free and grain-free and is easy to serve by just scooping, mixing, and then serving. Each bag can make up to 8 scoops with its 18-ounce content.

It does not have any fillers or preservatives so it may be great for dogs who are advised to only eat nutritious and natural food. As a bonus, the bag also comes with a collapsible pet bowl.

There are also other flavors to try for this Meal Mixers product, such as duck and goose, lamb, turkey, beef, and salmon, so that may be ideal if your vet recommended other meat sources other than chicken.

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8. Weruva Limited-Ingredient Natural Dry Dog Food with Grass-fed Lamb

weruva dry dog foodDogs who have sensitive tummies or have digestive problems yet are picky eaters may like this one. It is a lamb dinner with lentils in a 4-lb. bag and is only made with natural ingredients other than lamb, such as salmon oil, which can be good for your dog’s coat health.

It is also developed well for digestive problems since it has pumpkin and seaweed which is known to help with tummy upsets for most dogs. The dog food for picky eaters is free from most grain, corn, and soy, and has a lot of protein from the animal source.

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9.  OC Raw Freeze Dried Rabbit & Produce Sliders

oc raw freeze dried rabbit produce sliders 14ozIf your dog is a big fan of doggie sliders, this one is an organic choice that is made with 90% rabbit and 10% produce. It is freeze-dried so it does not have preservatives and it is also gluten-free and grain-free.

Each pack contains 14 ounces and can be easily fed to dogs like biscuits. There is also a feeding guide at the back of the label to make sure your dog gets the right amount of sliders per day.

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10. Fromm Gold Coast Grain Free Weight Management

fromm gold coast grain free weight management 4lbAs a 4-lb. pack of dog food, this may be ideal for dogs who are picky eaters and have problems keeping up a good weight.

It is a mix of whitefish and salmon so it can be a nice source of protein for dogs. It also comes with L-carnitine so it may be good news for dogs who are overweight or have trouble keeping their weight in the normal range.

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What to Give Dogs Who Are Picky Eaters?

What’s the best dog food for picky eaters who cannot eat anything? Worry less. You will be amazed to know the solutions are more straightforward than you thought.

First, before looking at what to feed your dog, it’s important you first seek help from a vet. Before introducing a new food, a vet will try to unearth why your dog has just lost appetite.

If nothing serious, then you can turn into any of the below tips that will drive your puppy back to the food bowl.

  • Warm food is the best –Most pet parents will give their dogs cold food and wonder why they don’t eat. The solution to that is making your dog’s food warm by either adding warm water or warming it inside a microwave.
  • Try taste enhancers

A dog food topper will be a great taste enhancer in that kibble that your dog has refused to consume.

If commercial food toppers are expensive, you can try homemade dog food toppers for picky eaters.

  • Raw food – perhaps your dog is fed up with commercial dog food hence the decline in appetite. Raw food consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, and raw meat has a strong aroma your picky eater will find irresistible.

Dog food for picky eaters FAQ

What Do You Do If Your Dogs Won’t Eat Dog Food?

Like humans, your dog may refuse to eat particular food he previously ate without trouble. And this may be stressful to us pet parents. In this case, what to do if your dog’s appetite keeps diminishing—and he won’t eat even that high-quality dog food for picky eaters you bought?

Before tweaking your dog’s diet or doing anything else, consult a veterinary.  A vet will analyze what’s causing your dog to refuse dog food.

If nothing much serious, some changes here and there will be fundamental in awakening your dog’s appetite.

dog eating

Add Bone Broth to Your Dog’s Food

Bone broth will help add taste and flavor to your dog’s kibble. Moreover, bone broth contains essential nutrients beneficial for your dog’s overall body health.

Don’t Give Your Dog Treats

Perhaps your dog won’t eat food since he’s accustomed to eating treats – that should stop. Although yummy, treats may lack the beneficial nutrients your furry friend needs.

Let Your Dog Feed In a Secluded Area

The main cause of a drop in appetite maybe because he’s been eating food in a noisy place. You will often find puppies become distracted when they are eating. You can reverse this by letting your dog eat its food in a secluded area with fewer distractions.

Do Dogs Get Fed Up With The Same Food?

Unlike humans, dogs are less likely to become fed up with their food. So why this? Compared to us humans, dogs have fewer taste buds— thus, your dog may not have much desire to want a new flavor as we humans do.

With that, a complete overhaul of your dog’s routine diet may not be the answer if he has stopped eating.

One of the ways you can make mealtime excitable for your dog is by diversifying his menu. For example, you can enhance the taste of your dog’s regular food by adding homemade dog food toppers for picky eaters.

Instead of changing your dog’s diet, you can change a specific ingredient. For example, you can let your dog eat a turkey meal one week and another meal the following week.

Food puzzles can be of help too. Food puzzles can make eating fun for your dog. Moreover, they ensure your dog chews and digests food slowly.

Will A Picky Dog Starve Itself?

A picky dog is less likely to starve itself. At maximum, a picky eater may go 3-5 days without consuming anything. Some who have plenty of water may go up to 7 days without eating anything.

By the end of this duration, your dog’s survival instincts will kick in, and he will consume anything edible to him. Large dog breeds can go longer without food than smaller breeds.

Another thing to note, dogs are less likely to starve themselves unless they are diseased. More often, this is physiological rather than conscious.

When your dog has a digestion issue, its body may shut down till everything straightens up.

Why is my dog starving itself? However, it still looks healthy?

A healthy dog is less likely to starve itself. In your thoughts, you would think your dog is starving itself. However, it may probably be getting food from other sources. Your dog could be scavenging or getting plenty of treats when you are away.

Having such a dog, all you need to do is seal all those channels helping your dog get extra food. For example, people around you should stop feeding it when you are away. Moreover, you can seal all trash bins, preventing your dog from scavenging.

dog chewing treats

Should I Take My Dog’s Food Away If He Doesn’t Eat It?

A picky dog can be a nuisance to live with- anytime you give it food, all it does is putting its nose up. So, should you take away that food it’s refusing to eat?

Yes, if your dog seems disinterested in the food it previously ate, then you can take it away. First, present it with food and give it 20 minutes to eat it.  Give it time, and don’t try to interrupt. Also, everyone around should be on the same page with you.

If your dog is hesitant to eat its food, you can pick its food bowl.

Do the same at the next mealtime. However, ensure you use fresh food. Give your dog some time, and if it seems disinterested, take the bowl again.

After 24 hours without food, your dog will start feeling hungry, and he will have no otherwise but consume what’s he’s presented with.

The key thing, ensure your dog is on a consistent diet. Avoid changing your dog’s food randomly since your dog can develop an upset stomach.

Ensure you feed your dog on a consistent ratio of food daily. Additionally, keep track of how much food it consumes daily. There should be no deviations.

Follow all this, and you won’t have a picky eater in the house.

Key highlight: Worth noting, before doing all this, first analyze what is causing your dog to refuse the food it previously ate. Is the food rotten? Is your dog sick? Or perhaps your dog is just being a cunning boy!

Now you know what dog food for picky eaters to get

To wrap it up, our chosen top pick is the Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dog Food as the best dog food for picky eaters because of the variety in terms of meat variety or flavor, the positive comments by most dogs with picky eaters, the organic and gluten-free (as well as grain-free) nature of the food, and the good packaging.

The Sojos Complete Natural Grain-Free Dog Food is also a good runner-up since it may be ideal for those who want a quick way of feeding their dog who is picky due to the hassle-free preparation of the dog food and its chicken meal content without preservatives.

All the other top picks were okay, but these two stood out due to their good amount of ingredients, which may be ideal for dogs who are picky eaters.

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