5 Best Dog Food for Dogs That Are Picky Eaters

Finding a dog food for picky eaters can be frustrating. Some dogs just turn their nose at every food served to them. Oftentimes, wet food, fresh food, and raw food are more appealing to picky pups, but every dog is different. Some picky eaters will be stubborn no matter what you try. So, what should you serve your dog to help them eat more consistently?

Why Are Some Dogs So Picky?

Oftentimes, picky dogs just don’t like their food. There’s not much you can do besides mix up their flavors once in a while. However, picky dogs aren’t always trying to be difficult. In fact, many stubborn pups might be avoiding food for medical reasons without you even realizing it. Here are some reasons as to why dogs won’t eat their food.

Illness Symptoms

If your dog recently became pickier than usual, they could be suffering from an underlying illness. Illnesses and diseases might make your dog not want to eat, much like it would for humans. There are numerous illnesses that could cause a decreased appetite, so you should consult your vet if you’re concerned.

Dental Diseases

Dental disease causes extreme pain in your dog’s mouth. Because of this, they might avoid chewing if possible, which means eating will be less interesting to them. Make sure you brush your dog’s teeth regularly and get occasional dental cleanings at the vet to keep your dog’s teeth as healthy as possible.

Recent Vet Visits

If your dog recently got shots at the vet, they might have some minor side effects at first. Some dogs prefer not to eat right after they had vaccinations. These actions likely won’t last more than a day or two.

Stress

Dogs commonly don’t eat when they’re in stressful situations. If they’re in an unfamiliar area or around unfamiliar humans and dogs, they might avoid eating because they feel uncomfortable. When you take your dog new places, try to bring something that smells like home and try to keep their routines similar. This can help them feel a bit less worried.

If your vet doesn’t find any health concerns with your dog, then they might just be picky. Some dogs don’t enjoy mealtime as much as others, so you’ll need to find a food that interests them more.

Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters

Every dog will enjoy different flavors, but it’s so hard to choose a food considering how many options are out there. So, we’ve selecting five dog food products that are generally great for picky eaters. We’ve analyzed each one based on features, pros, and cons.

#1 – Orijen High-Protein Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Orijen dog food is known for its high protein percentages and biologically appropriate diets. This means that it has plenty of tasty, beneficial ingredients for your dog with no unnecessary filler ingredients. This is the Original formula, but the brand has multiple other flavors, including Six Fish and Regional Red. Each formula comes in three different sizes, usually 4.5-pound, 13-pound, and 25-pound bags.

This formula is packed with quality protein ingredients. The first 15 ingredients come from animals, including chicken, turkey, eggs, and fish. If you’re only counting meat though, then only the first two ingredients are animal meat. With so many different sources of protein, your dog will likely be more interested in the flavor. In total, the food contains 38% protein and 18% fat, both of which are much higher than other dry dog food brands. All the meat is free-run, cage-free, or wild-caught. Therefore, this brand is one of the closest foods to your dog’s ancestral diet.

Pros:

  • The first 15 ingredients come from animals.
  • It’s high in protein.
  • It has multiple animal proteins for picky eaters.
  • It closely mimics your dog’s ancestral diet.
  • It’s free of cheap filler ingredients.
  • It comes in three sizes.
  • The brand comes with multiple flavors.

Cons:

  • It’s expensive.
  • It’s not a good choice for dogs with protein allergies.
  • Your dog could get sick without a proper transition.

#2 – Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Chicken & Veggies Recipe

Rachael Ray Nutrish creates their food with simple, natural ingredients. This particular formula is a chicken flavor with lots of wholesome vegetables too. It can be purchased in four different sizes, ranging from 6 pounds to 40 pounds, all of which are more affordable than similar brands. This brand has a lot of different flavors and types of food to choose from, so even if your dog gets sick of this flavor, you can always have them try some of the other options to mix it up.

While this food is tasty for many dogs, it doesn’t provide nearly as much meat as Orijen does. It has a total of 26% protein and 14% fat, which is only a little above average. It lists chicken and chicken meal as the first two ingredients. Chicken meal is a meat concentrate that contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken. However, those two animal proteins are followed by many controversial filler ingredients. So, it’s great for dogs with certain meat allergies since chicken is the only animal protein, but the other ingredients could have an effect on sensitive dogs. Luckily, it does have omega fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coats though.

Pros:

  • It comes in three sizes.
  • It’s affordable.
  • The brand has a wide variety to choose from.
  • It lists animal protein as the first two ingredients.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.

Cons:

  • It has multiple controversial ingredients.
  • It might not be good for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
  • The food could arrive damaged.

#3 – The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Beef Dehydrated Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen’s food is different than your dog’s typically diet. Instead of kibble, it’s a dehydrated raw food option. Therefore, it only has the ingredients that your dog needs in their diet, meaning no cheap filler ingredients. All you have to do is mix the food with warm water before serving it to your dog. It can be purchased in a 2-pound, 4-pound, or 10-pound box. All options are more expensive than kibble, but that’s because the quality of the food is higher. Better quality food is usually tastier for dogs too.

This is a beef recipe, and dehydrated beef is the first ingredient listed. The food contains a total of 22.5% protein and 8.5% fat, both of which are about average for dog food. It’s a low-calorie and low-fat diet to help your dog maintain a healthy weight. It avoids by-products, preservatives, and GMO ingredients to ensure that your dog doesn’t have any reactions to it. This brand also comes in different flavors, such as chicken or turkey, just in case your dog wants to try something different from time to time.

Pros:

  • It’s a dehydrated dog food.
  • It avoids filler ingredients.
  • The brand has multiple flavors.
  • It comes in three sizes.
  • It’s designed to help your dog maintain a healthy weight.

Cons:

  • It’s expensive.
  • It takes longer to prepare.
  • The quality could vary.

#4 – Blue Buffalo Wilderness Beef & Chicken Grain-Free Canned Food

This is a wet food option, which is usually the better dog food for picky eaters. Wet food is often tastier and contains less filler ingredients. This particular option is a chicken and beef flavor, but Blue Buffalo has plenty of other recipes for both wet and dry food. This option has 10% protein and 9% fat, which might not sound like much, but when you consider how much moisture is in the food, it actually ends up being more than dry food. The first four ingredients are animals products, making it extra tasty for your pup.

This food comes in a case of 12 12.5-ounce cans. It doesn’t have any grain, gluten, meat by-products, corn, wheat, or soy. Therefore, it’s great even for dogs with allergies. It’s designed to promote an active lifestyle with healthy muscle growth. It also has plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables to add to the taste and health aspects. If you don’t want to serve your dog only wet food, you can try mixing it with their dry food for added flavor.

Pros:

  • It’s a canned food.
  • The brand has a lot of variety.
  • It lists animal products as the first four ingredients.
  • It’s good for dogs with allergies.
  • It promotes healthy muscle growth.

Cons:

  • The brand has had a lot of recalls.
  • The cans could arrive damaged.
  • Dogs could get sick from it if not transitioned properly.

#5 – Nulo Freestyle Salmon & Peas Grain-Free Adult Dry Food

Nulo is great dog food for picky eaters because it’s often packed with a variety of tasty protein sources. This is the salmon recipe, but it also contains turkey and other fish as animal proteins. In fact, the first three ingredients listed are animal proteins. In total, this food contains 30% protein and 16% fat, which are higher than most similar brands. It can be purchased in a 4.5-pound, 11-pound, or 24-pound bag.

This is a grain-free dog food to cater to dogs with lots of allergies and sensitivities. It also uses healthy amino acids to promote lean muscles and probiotics to aid digestion. It’s also packed with plenty of beneficial fruits and vegetables to keep your dog’s immune system in great shape. If your dog is not a fan of salmon, this brand is still great because it has a wide variety of flavors and diets to choose from. Most of the other flavors have just as much protein and variety as this one.

Pros:

  • It lists animal protein as the first three ingredients.
  • The brand has lots of variety.
  • It’s high in protein.
  • It comes in three sizes.
  • It promotes healthy digestion.
  • It promotes healthy immune systems.
  • It promotes lean muscles.

Cons:

  • It’s a little expensive.
  • The pieces might be too small for large dogs.
  • It might not be good for dogs with protein allergies.

Tips for Keeping Mealtime Interesting

If the vet has confirmed that your dog is just extra picky, then you need to find ways to keep meals interesting for them. A great way to do this is to switch their food up once in a while. If your dog is eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, then they should be able to switch between foods without getting sick. However, if they’ve been eating a cheap kibble brand, then you might need to give them a slower transition in between food. An easy way to switch flavors is to use a brand that has a lot of variety. That way, you can switch to a different flavor of the same brand, making the transition easier for your pup.

You can also try adding things to your dog’s food now and then. Try mixing in wet food, adding a healthy topper, or putting beneficial fruits and vegetables on top. All of these can help boost your pup’s health while also making their food tastier. Remember that the food needs to be just as healthy as it is tasty.

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