Even the most well-behaved dog can be downright stubborn when it comes to their food. Picky eaters can cause their owner’s mighty headaches when they refuse to eat the food placed in front of them. Worse, a contrary canine has no problem initiating a hunger strike until conditions improve.
If you have been in this position, you know how stressful the entire situation can be. Not to mention the considerable amount of money you spend trying to find your picky pooch a food they will enjoy.
Finding a formula that will be tempting is only half the battle. Just as you have to find a way to get a toddler to eat their vegetables, you also need to make sure your dog is getting the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in their diet.
To help relieve your stress, we have found the ten best tasty meals for picky eaters. In the article below, we have reviewed each one for flavor, ingredients, nutrients, and much more. We will also share tips on how to get your fussy pet more interested in eating.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2021:
|Best Overall||Taste of the Wild Grain-Free||
|Best Value||Rachael Ray Nutrish||
|Premium Choice||Instinct Raw Boost||
|Blue Buffalo Wilderness||
|Purina Pro Plan Savor||
The 10 Best Tasting Dog Foods for Picky Eaters:
1. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
Our first pick is the Taste of The Wild Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. Available in 5, 15, or 28-pound bags, this dry dog food is a balanced, all-natural diet for your dog. The Pacific Stream recipe is not only delicious but packed with vitamins and minerals to support your pup’s overall well-being. It is grain-free, made with real smoked salmon, and high in healthy protein.
The Taste of The Wild food contains peas and sweet potatoes, plus other real fruits and vegetables. It’s easy to digest with plenty of antioxidants, prebiotics, vitamins, and chelated minerals for max absorption into your pup’s system. This is a great formula for any dogs with sensitive stomachs, as well.
Made in the USA, you will not find any grains, corn, wheat, fillers, or artificial ingredients in this food. It is made without eggs in case your pup has any food allergies to this ingredient. Your dog will love this delicious recipe, and it is our favorite choice for picky eaters.
2. Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food – Best Value
If you need more affordable food, we recommend trying the Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food. Not only is this a food guaranteed to tempt even the pickiest eaters, but it is also an all-natural and well-balanced diet. Available in either 6, 14, 28, or 40-pound bags, the chicken and vegetable recipe is made with farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient.
This formula contains wholesome fiber from brown rice and beet pulp. You will also find prebiotics, vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids. What you will not find is poultry by-product meals, fillers, wheat, wheat gluten, artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors. It is prepared in USA-based facilities and is a great meal choice for all breeds and ages.
The Rachael Ray Dog food is easy to digest, and a great source of protein. The only downside that we noticed is this formula contains soy products. If your dog has any sensitivities to this ingredient, it may not be the right choice for you. Other than that, it is the best tasting dog food for picky eaters for the money.
The Instinct Raw Boost Dry Dog Food Is another great option for a picky eater. Available in a tasty duck recipe, this meal features freeze-dried bits of real meat. It comes in a 41-pound bag and is made with cage-free duck. This is also a grain-free formula; however, it is designed for small breeds only.
This duck recipe is high in protein with balanced fiber and fat so your small pup can maintain a healthy weight. The meal also has calcium and phosphorus for healthy bones and teeth, plus glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health. There are no grains, potatoes, corn, wheat, soy, or by-product meals in the rest recipe. What’s more, you will also not find any artificial colors or preservatives.
The Instinct Raw Food is made in the USA. Beyond what has already been mentioned, there is also a variety of vitamins and minerals to support your dog’s overall well-being. Additionally, this is an easy to digest all-natural meal. Besides being made for small breeds only, the only other drawback is that this food is more expensive than others.
4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dry Dog Food
If your pet is a fan of salmon, the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dry Dog Food is a good option to try out. Made without any grains, this is a formula that is great for dogs of all breeds, ages, and sizes. You can pick this food up in 4.5, 11, 20, or 24-pound bags.
Blue Buffalo makes their meals without any poultry by-product meals, fillers, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial flavors or preservatives. This is a high protein diet with balanced calories and carbohydrates to maintain optimal energy levels and weight. What’s more, this brand uses its patented LifeSource bits. The small bits added to the food contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to support your dog’s immune system, life stage, and overall well-being.
Besides those healthy benefits, this formula also has omegas for healthy skin and coat, plus glucosamine to support joint health. This is a natural and holistic formula that will tempt even the pickiest eaters. Keep in mind, however, that this meal is harder to digest for some pets. Also, the recipe is high in pea protein which is not only a filler, but it also boosts the protein level in the formula.
5. Purina Pro Plan Savor Dry Dog Food
The Purina Pro Plan Savor Dry Dog Food Is a great choice if your picky eater has shown interest in beef and rice recipes in the past. Made with real beef as the first ingredient, this formula has a great protein to fat ratio to keep your pup slim and in shape. Not only that, but this food has tender shredded morsels twisted in with their standard kibble to add more texture and flavor to the meal.
Available in 6, 18, 35, or 47-pound bags, Purina Pro contains probiotics, prebiotics, vitamin A, linoleic acid, and omega-6 fatty acids to promote your pet’s immune system, digestive health, and overall well-being. That being said, you should note that this is a formula better suited for larger breeds.
This recipe is easy to digest and made in USA facilities. It is an all-natural formula with no artificial ingredients added. On the other hand, you will find both poultry by-product meals and soy products in the formula. Not only that, but you will also find garlic. Although garlic is low on the list of ingredients, many dogs can have allergic reactions to this ingredient, so caution is advised.
6. Crave Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Crave Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a high protein meal that comes in a salmon and ocean fish recipe. It is grain-free, and it is made without any chicken by-product meal, soy, wheat, or artificial ingredients. It is cooked and processed in the USA, plus it is a tasty food that will tempt even the most jaded pup palette.
The Crave dry dog food is available in 4, 12, or 22-pound bags. It is important to note that this food is better suited for adult dogs and not recommended for puppies. What’s more, this formula Is higher in fat than other options. On the other hand, it is packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that promote your dog’s well-being including their energy levels, immune system, skin, and fur health.
Another important note about this formula is it can be hard to digest for some pets. This is especially true if you are transitioning your dog from another brand. Also, the kibble in the Crave brand is harder to chew, and not recommended for dogs with sensitive teeth.
7. Blue Buffalo Basics Ingredient Canned Dog Food
The Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Canned Dog Food is a wet meal that comes in 12.5-ounce cans that are available in a 12-pack case. This is a LID formula that is great for dogs who have any food allergies or sensitivities. You will not find any chicken, beef, dairy, or eggs in the recipe. What’s more, this is also a grain free meal with no by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial flavors or preservatives.
Something to note about this formula, however, is that it is designed to be a gentle digestive food. On the other hand, if you are transitioning your pet from other food (specifically a dry food) you may notice a little trouble. For that same reason, this is not a food we would recommend for puppies.
Like many canned dog foods, the Blue Buffalo Basics has lower protein and fiber levels. What’s more, the formula contains fillers such as pea protein. You will also find carrageenan, which is another filler that has no nutritional value for your pet, plus it can be hard to digest. Beyond that, you will find healthy carbohydrates and omega fatty acids along with vitamins and minerals to support your dog’s overall health.
8. Bil-Jac Picky No More Dry Dog Food
Our next pick is the Bil-Jac Picky No More Dry Dog Food. This is a chicken liver recipe that is designed with small breeds in mind. It comes in either a 6 or 15-pound bag, and it features the brand’s Nutri-Lock low-temperature vacuum drying procedure which rids the food of moisture yet retains the nutrients.
Bil-Jac Is made in the USA with no fillers, gluten meals, wheat, soy, or sprayed on rendered fat or protein concentrate. Be aware, however, that this food has harder kibble, so we do not suggest it for dogs with sensitive teeth. Not only that, but you will find that the recipe contains chicken by-product meals and cornmeal fillers.
Something else you should note about this food is it contains BHA. This is an unhealthy ingredient that has been linked to serious illnesses in canines, so caution is advised. Finally, it is important to know that some dogs simply do not like the taste of chicken liver. In fact, many dogs do not like this particular recipe.
9. Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food
In our number nine spot, we have the Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food. This is a turkey and sweet potato recipe that comes in 4.5, 11, or 24- pound bags. It is grain-free and advertised to be 85% animal-based protein. What’s more, you will find probiotics, vitamin B, omega-3 and omega-6, calcium, and low glycemic ingredients within this formula.
This food is recommended for larger breeds and is not as tasty as some of our other picks. It is higher in fat, plus it can be more difficult to digest. Also, although it is noted that there are no chicken or eggs within the formula, we have found chicken fat as one of the ingredients. If your dog has any sensitivities to poultry products, this may not be the best choice.
Nulo is made in the USA. That being said, it contains fillers such as pea fiber, which can also raise the protein levels.
10. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Our final pick is the Purina Beyond Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. As the name suggests, this is a grain-free formula that is protein-rich with no grains, by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial ingredients. It is available in a beef and egg recipe that comes in either a 3 or 13-pound bag.
The Purina food is made with North American raised beef. This all-natural formula is suited to adult dogs over two years. There are two different formulas as of right now. The old and the new. The old formula is higher in salt, while both contain a lot of fillers such as pea protein, starch, and fiber. What’s more, both formulas are also high in fat and calories, and it is hard to digest.
The most notable downside to this option is the flavor, however. Most picky eaters are not tempted by the beef and egg recipe for whatever reason. Although it has some vitamins and minerals, it is also the least nutritious option on our review list. Overall, this is our least favorite dog food for a picky pooch.
A picky eater can be hard to deal with. Spending the time, money, and energy on trying out different recipes can take its toll. This is especially true if you have not been able to find a flavor that your pup enjoys. With that being said, there are so many different options available that you are likely to find something that your pet likes eventually.
When trying to find something your dog will chow down on, there are a few tips you can use to help stimulate their appetite:
- Switch It Up: If your pet has always been partial to one flavor, switching to another brand may not always work. That being said, switching the flavor completely is also not always the answer. Try staying within the same protein family. For example, if your pet typically likes chicken, try going with turkey instead. If they are a fan of beef, try bison. The same can be said for the secondary ingredients such as sweet potatoes, grains, and other fruits and veggies.
- Change the Formula: Sometimes, your dog may still be into their favorite flavor but not into the formula. Try switching from dry to canned food. You can also give raw or freeze-dried food a chance. Also, try mixing the different formulas together to not only tempt their palette but also make transitioning easier on their stomach.
- Treats: Dog treats are typically made with different ingredients than regular dog food. They can contain more sugar and other bits that are tasty, but not necessarily nutritious. To get your dog eating their daily meals, try cutting back on the treats.
- Add a Topper: If you are set with your dog’s normal food, and you do not wish to deviate from it, try adding a topper to their meal. Toppers are fairly new to the pet food aisle, yet they can have a lot of benefits. They come in many different forms including broths, stews, and even freeze-dried meats that you can add to your dog’s hum-drum meal.
- Wait: There is something to be said for the fact that a dog will eat when they are hungry. Unless your dog has an illness or stomach upset, they will start eating before they starve. If your pup typically likes the type of food that you give them, giving them a little bit of time to eat can often do the trick.
We hope that you have enjoyed the above reviews, and it has given you some information to help tempt your picky eater. We know how difficult it can be to find a nutritious and healthy dog food, but when you add in a pet that is reluctant to eat, it can add even more stress.
In our opinion, the Taste of The Wild Grain-Free Dry Food is the best available option. Not only does it have a great taste that will tantalize your pet’s palette, but it is also filled with vitamins and nutrients. If you want something a little bit more affordable, however, try the Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food. This is also a delicious option that has many benefits for your dog.
Written by Shannon MacDevine
Featured image credit: Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Chicken & Veggies Recipe Dry Dog Food, Chewy
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2021:
- The 10 Best Tasting Dog Foods for Picky Eaters:
- 1. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
- 2. Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food – Best Value
- 3. Instinct Raw Boost Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice
- 4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dry Dog Food
- 5. Purina Pro Plan Savor Dry Dog Food
- 6. Crave Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- 7. Blue Buffalo Basics Ingredient Canned Dog Food
- 8. Bil-Jac Picky No More Dry Dog Food
- 9. Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food
- 10. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Buyer’s Guide