Picky eater dog foods are a gift for pet owners who are struggling to feed their pups. In contrast, most puppies will munch on almost anything that comes close to being edible. On the other hand, some canines might look as if they have an aversion to food no matter what you do.
Finding the right food with the right taste and nourishment for your dogs seems like a hit or a miss. So, we researched the best dog foods for picky eaters. In this list, you’ll find the best dog foods that are nutritious, delicious, and, most importantly, loved by dogs.
What Increases the Palatability of Commercial Dog Foods?
Palatability is the most crucial factor when it comes to formulating dog foods. It is the characteristic that constitutes aroma, taste, and texture. Besides digestibility, the flavor is also the primary measure pet owners use in choosing the best tasting dog food.
Dog food formulas contain raw materials and ingredients, including Palatants. It improves the taste, smell, and texture of the dog food. Wet foods are naturally more palatable because of moisture, which is why dry foods require more Palatants.
Why Do Dogs Become Picky Eaters?
There are many reasons why dogs become fussy eaters, and some of it may be familiar to you, such as:
- You are feeding them too many treats or table scraps
- They don’t like a specific ingredient in the food
- Their diet lacks food variation
- It may be a warning of a medical issue
Whatever the case is, your doggie may just be holding back because they want tastier dog food. So, what is a palatant? It can come from a vegetable or a meat source such as proteins, antimicrobials, antioxidants, phosphates, and other compounds. Furthermore, it originates from vegetable sources, including soybeans, corn, and potatoes. Meanwhile, animal sources consisting of fish, chicken, and pork are more common.
How Do You Get a Picky Dog to Eat Dog Food?
Does your dog suddenly refuse to eat, or have been a fussy eater from the get-go? One thing is for sure. You can get to the source of the problem by visiting the vet. We also have three tips to help you encourage your dog to develop a healthy eating habit.
Create a Feeding Plan
From the start, everyone in the household must agree on a feeding plan and stick to it. When one member of the family gives the treats while the other offers scraps, it confuses the dog. You must be consistent and follow your dog’s diet strictly. If you want to feed them leftovers, opt to mix healthy options with the kibble.
Don't Dole Out Table Scraps
Feeding your dog from the table encourages begging and also derails its diet. It can cause various health problems like diarrhea and pancreatitis. People’s food is much palatable; however, it is much less healthy than dry or canned dog food.
Follow Strict Meal Schedule
Pups require to be fed two to three times a day or as advised by your vet. You can then steadily give more servings while providing meals less frequently, and one to two times, as they grow old. Additionally, you must make sure to provide equal portions and add some varieties.
What Flavors Do Dogs Like?
Dogs only have sixteen percent of a human’s taste buds, but they have a better sense of smell. And, this is why when something smells delicious to them, they’ll most probably eat it. Dogs can have different preferences with food, but when it comes to flavor, dogs love the following types.
Meat and Animal Proteins
Naturally, pups enjoy eating animal meat. Look for the best dog foods for picky eaters that contain chicken, turkey, salmon, lamb, or beef. These protein sources are not only good for their health but also smell and taste good.
Healthy Amount of Animal Fats
For dogs, animal fat makes any dog food taste better. And it is an essential part of their diet, as well. However, you must consult with your vet to determine the safe amount of fat they can consume for each meal.
Sweet Fruits and Greens
Like us humans, dogs also enjoy an occasional sweet treat. The sweetness of fruits and vegetables improves the flavor of their food. From time to time, pups also love snacking on greens like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, spinach, and sweet fruits. Just be careful that the flavors provided are not dangerous at all.
Unsalted Broth, Gravy, or Stew
You might have observed that pups prefer wet over dry food. If that is the case for your picky eater, try adding broth, gravy, or stew to their kibble. The moisture and additional meaty flavor from the broth make the food more savory.
15 Best Dog Foods for Picky Eaters
Your dog may be a picky eater for some reason, but it doesn’t have to be challenging to feed them. To make your search a lot less problematic, read through our list and reviews of dog foods for picky eaters.
1. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Picky eaters don’t like the smell and taste of grain. And that is why your dog will surely love this dry dog food from Purina. The recipe for this product contains more meat and other natural ingredients. Its formula is tasty, nutritious, and good for digestion.
The reason that it is the best tasting dry dog food for picky eaters is because it has real beef. Moreover, it is gluten-free and grain-free, which means it is a no corn, wheat, soy, or poultry by-product meal. Finally, there are no artificial colors, preservatives, or flavorings added to this food.
If you can’t still convince your dog to try dry food, try mixing this product with their favorite wet food. It will serve as a welcome protein boost that is both delicious and healthy. Make sure to help your pup transition to the dry food by gradually decreasing previous food choices.
2. Wellness Core Dry Dog Food
Pups naturally gravitate around poultry meat, like chicken and turkey, because of its taste and scent. If your dog loves turkey, they’ll certainly like this dry dog food. It uses a protein-rich formula, which includes deboned turkey and chicken. Protein is highly beneficial for your canine friend’s muscle development and tissue repair, among others.
Wellness specially designed this dry dog food to be entirely grain-free, good for digestion, and high in protein. Plus, it has Omega-3 fatty acids from salmon-oil and flaxseed. It is excellent for a dog’s skin, coat, and brain and eye development. Lastly, fruits and vegetables make sure your dog receives a well-balanced diet fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.
This dog food from Wellness Core is indeed very palatable to dogs, even picky eaters. They may be inclined to eat more than their usual portions. You must be careful only to serve the right amount of food to avoid overeating.
3. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Dry Dog Food
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Most picky eaters are looking for variety in their food. Consequently, giving your dog a different type of meat that is more savory might make them interested in eating. Dogs are natural prey, and like any animals in their category, they love eating meat. Taste of the Wild offers a unique formula that includes proteins from buffalo and bison.
This grain-free dog food also contains peas, sweet potatoes, fruits, and vegetables. They also ensured that their products are better for digestion by adding prebiotics originating from dried chicory root. It provides balanced nutrition with the taste and aroma that all dogs would love.
The only downside to a high-protein dog food like this product is the probability of obesity or other weight problems. A protein-rich diet is best for highly-active or working dogs. Physical activity and exercise help the dog keep off the excess weight and energy they get from their food.
4. Merrick Grain-Free Formula
Made from 70% protein, Merrick’s dog formula makes it hard to resist even for the fussiest eaters. This dog food has deboned chicken as the main ingredient, so you know you are getting more meat. Other elements used for this dog food include natural sources for fiber, vitamins, and minerals to guarantee a balanced diet.
Merrick enriches their dog food with omega fatty acids, among other essential nutrients. It is beneficial in promoting a good coat and healthy skin. Meanwhile, glucosamine and chondroitin support function for both hip and joint. The company ensures that all ingredients they source from trusted farmers are free of corn, soy, wheat, and gluten.
A minor setback that a few pet owners might have experienced with this food is that their dogs became gassy. However, it is a regular occurrence after switching your dog’s diet from grain to grain-free food. An excellent tip for you is to help your dog transition to a new diet slowly.
5. Diamond Naturals Adult Dog Food
Adult dogs may suddenly become a picky eater for some reason. But the problem is, they are in the time of their lives where they need more excellent nutrition to support their daily needs. And this is why this adult dog food by Diamond Naturals is the best purchase you’ll ever make. They designed their formula to support the developmental and general health of your adult dogs.
Diamond Natural’s recipe consists of meat proteins from beef and fish and made savory with fruits and vegetables. Moreover, it has minerals and fatty acids that are excellent in promoting a shiny coat and healthy skin. And, most importantly, it is grain-free!
The palatability of dog food can significantly change depending on its freshness. Similar to this brand, you need to make sure to keep it in an air-tight container to maintain its freshness. Your picky eater may suddenly refuse to eat its food because it had gone stale.
6. Purina ONE Smartblend Formula
Give your pup all the protein and nutrients they need with this dry dog formula from Purina. It has just the right amount of animal-based protein to support a healthy lifestyle and satisfy your dog’s meat cravings. Your picky eater would enjoy the taste of chicken and sweet potato.
Purina offers you an all-natural dog food with no fillers added. Real-meat ensures your pup immediately recognizes the delicious scent of chicken with every serving. Moreover, the ingredients contain all vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to keep your pet healthy and strong.
When you are feeding your dog dry food exclusively, make sure that you provide more water. Increasing the amount or topping off your puppy’s water bowl more frequently will help prevent dehydration. It is necessary as dry dog food has no moisture compared to wet food.
7. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
Your dog will find it tough to resist this dry food from Blue Buffalo. It is a combination of three of the tastiest ingredients for dogs: meat, sweet veggies and fruits, and healthy fats. Most picky eaters are always looking for delicious food to satisfy their cravings. This formula is both nutritious and tastes incredible.
It has all the essential nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. No matter their age and size, dogs develop strong and healthy muscles, bones, teeth, skin, coats, and immune systems.
Be sure to follow the portion size strictly depending on your dog size and age. Dog foods high in protein can cause various problems ranging from mild to severe. Help your dog develop a healthy food habit by being consistent with your serving sizes and schedule.
8. CANIDAE Premium Dog Food
Give your pup the best protein-enriched dry food containing multiple animal meat sources. Your dog would surely fall in love with the taste of chicken, lamb, turkey, and fish, all in one meal. Canidae uses a vet-approved recipe that is nutritious and delightful. Your pup will no longer look or crave for more delicious food.
This premium dog food offers an all-in-one meal with all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients dogs need. You can use this dog food for all life stages. It also contains no corn, wheat, soy, and chicken by-product meal. Most importantly, it is high-quality and suits any dog breeds.
Not all dogs have the same response when switching diets. You can expect a change with their stool and other issues. Additionally, you can improve this by extending their transition from seven to ten days. Finally, a gradual increase can help their small tummies adjust and get used to their new food.
9. Cesar Wet Dog Food
Get this best tasting wet dog food for your pet that is also perfect for busy owners. Want to make meals easier for you and your picky eater? Cesar offers these individually packed, ready to eat healthy and nutritious meals. Additionally, mealtimes are just a snap with its easy to peel sealed containers.
If your fussy eater wants its variety, then your dog gets to choose between six different dog food flavors. All meals are well-balanced and contain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that make up a complete diet. Moreover, the wet food stays fresh and delicious longer because of its easy to use smart packaging.
It is no question that dogs love wet foods; however, switching from a dry to wet diet is more complicated. A slow three-week transition into moist food does not guarantee that your dog will get quickly used to it. Take the company’s advice, which is decreasing the wet food portion if your pup experiences diarrhea.
10. Blue Buffalo Home Style Recipe
Does your dog prefer eating your food? Blue Buffalo has a great solution to help your dog to eat the proper, nutritious meal. Table scraps do not have the right amounts of nutrition that your dog needs to grow strong and healthy. This wet food from Blue Buffalo has a unique formula for dogs with the taste of a home-cooked meal.
Let your adorable pooch enjoy the taste of chicken dinner without sacrificing their health. This recipe includes the goodness of garden vegetables and brown rice that dogs love. Plus, it contains real chunks of chicken enhanced with vitamins and minerals. It is very safe and tummy-friendly because it does not have corn, soy, wheat, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
When you compare this wet food with other brands, you may find that it contains more fat. It will help stabilize your dog’s diet if you take good care of giving the correct portion. Not all fats are unhealthy, but if your dog has a restrictive diet, you have to be more careful.
11. Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food
Besides aroma and taste, some dogs prefer the texture, and more so with picky eaters. You know your dog loves the taste of meat or something sweet and savory. But did you also know they appreciate a well-crafted dog food with excellent texture? It makes every meal more exciting and delicious for your dog to enjoy.
This high in protein dry dog food differs from any of its kind because of its improved texture. Purina mixed the crunchiness of kibble with tender chicken morsels into one dry dog food. It satisfies your dog’s cravings for savory flavor, stimulating texture, and high nutritional value.
However, it would be great if you always remembered to encourage your dogs to drink more water to keep hydrated. Your pet is not getting the same amounts of moisture they get from their wet food. In a nutshell, fill their water bowl more frequently so that they get enough hydration.
12. Purina ONE Smartblend Canned Food
With the taste of real beef and salmon, this dog food is one of the best. It is a high-protein diet best for dogs with an active lifestyle. This wet food gives your dog every nutrition they need to support the development of strong muscles and a robust immune system.
What’s more, it is grain-free and has no poultry by-products. Plus, it promotes excellent digestion and absorption of nutrients. This product also contains glucosamine, which is good for strengthening your dog’s joints. They are happy, satisfied, and getting all the essential daily dietary requirements in just one dog food.
Although it lists beef and salmon as its primary protein source, those are not the only ingredients. You must also be aware that this dog food also includes chicken. However, if your dog is sensitive or allergic to chicken, this product won’t fit your needs.
13. Pedigree Chopped Ground Dinner
Who doesn’t love the tang and smell of bacon? Your pup can now enjoy the delicious taste of filet mignon mixed with bacon in one nutritious meal. This meaty wet food contains chicken, beef, and bacon meat. The multiple protein sources give this dog food the best flavors that even picky eaters will enjoy.
Moreso, its hearty chopped texture makes it the best dog food toppers for picky eaters. It gives kibbles added soft texture and flavor that dogs crave. Plus, the recipe provides holistic essential dietary requirements that enhance absorption and encourages healthy digestion.
It would seem like serving your dog exclusive wet food one after another will make their stools softer or watery. Combining this canned food with kibble appears to be the best solution to prevent diarrhea. Just don’t forget to get the portions right for your dog’s size.
14. Hill's Science Diet Sensitive Stomach Dog Food
Adult dogs tend to develop more sensitive tummies. Most of the time, it is the reason why your dog unexpectedly becomes a picky eater. The problem is, they need a complete and balanced diet to support their overall health. Hill’s Science offers the best solution to get your picky eater to be interested in food again.
This flavorful wet dog food features chicken and vegetable flavors that your dog would love. Furthermore, it contains Omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E to nurture their skin and coat. Its formula is best for dogs with sensitive stomachs and skin. Finally, it uses a blend of antioxidants and other vitamins to help strengthen their immune system.
Compared to other wet dog food, this product contains less moisture. So, it is advisable to give your dog more water to ensure your dog is getting enough hydration. Plus, water helps improve your dog’s digestion.
15. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Wet Dog Food
Picky eaters love having variety with their food. Besides that, they also enjoy flavorful and meaty wet food. Fortunately, Purina provides pet owners grain-free canned food packs to give your dog more food choices. Your adult dog can now enjoy the taste of chicken or beef for dinner.
Dogs find its scent and flavor enticing because it contains real beef or chicken meat. Moreso, it is completely gluten-free. Healthy vegetables increase the food’s nutritional value and benefits.
If your dog experiences frequent bowel movement or soft stools, you should decrease the amount of wet food in their diet. It usually happens when there is a drastic change in your dog’s meals. Alternatively, you can firm their stools by adding dry kibble in their food.
Dog foods for picky eaters help make sure your pup is in great shape while enjoying their tasty meal. While there are various underlying causes of why your dog may refuse to eat, there are many solutions to it. Eventually, what matters most is that they get all the nutrition they need to grow strong and healthy. Why spoil them with unhealthy treats when you can give them the best dog foods for picky eaters? We trust that this list helped you find the best tasting dog food that your pet will genuinely enjoy eating once more when they try out these meals!