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5 Best Tasting Dog Foods For Picky Eaters

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best tasting dog food for picky eaters.
We’ve compared quality of ingredients, nutritional information, and value for money
to give you our top recommendations below.

Breed Advisor only recommends products that we’ve tested, or significantly researched . This page contains affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, may earn a small commission for the site. Find out more here.

What is the Best Tasting Dog Food for Picky Eaters?

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Vet’s Advice

Some dogs can be a bit fussy or picky with their food. This can make life tricky when trying to ensure that they are receiving a healthy diet and eating enough. For some reason, fussy eating is seen commonly in small breed dogs in particular. It is important not to give in and feed treats or table scraps as this will encourage the behavior and lead to an unbalanced diet. Instead, get them checked out by a veterinarian to make sure there are no underlying health issues and then focus on transitioning them over to a good quality complete diet. Here’s what to look for when choosing food for a picky eater.

Look for diets that contain animal fats

Healthy fats from chicken or fish oils can make a diet tastier. Dogs often prefer the flavor of these over vegetable oils or other plant derived ingredients, so look for animal-based fats when choosing your dog’s food. Most foods contain a crude fat content of somewhere between 8 and 18%.

Consider a wet food

Some dogs prefer the taste and texture of wet food, so you could try a canned alternative to their dry kibble. Wet foods usually contain a higher meat content proportionally too which can help with palatability. Some dogs enjoy wet food mixed in with their kibble.

Consider a more calorie-dense food

Not only are high calorie foods tastier, but your dog will need to eat less to get their daily calories, which can be handy for picky dogs that look a bit skinny. Compare the kcal/kg or kcal/cup on the back of the packet to find a diet with more calories.

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Compare Our Recommended Dog Foods

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that’s most important to you.

  • Top 5 Ingredients
  • Type
  • Lifestage
  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Cost
  • Our score

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Picky Eater Dog Food Reviews

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Salmon
    2. Ocean Fish Meal
    3. Sweet Potatoes
    4. Potatoes
    5. Peas

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 360 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 25%
  • Fat: 15%
  • Fiber: 3%

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food has been rated one of the best tasting dog foods for picky eaters that is available on the market today. This diet bases its formula on salmon and ocean fish meal to provide a powerhouse punch of flavor and nutrition. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream is rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to provide vital energy to sustain dogs that enjoy an active lifestyle.

This diet is grain-free, taking its carbohydrates from flavorful fruits and vegetables with a high antioxidant profile such as tomatoes, blueberries, and raspberries. Chelated minerals have been added to this diet to ensure proper absorption of key nutrients.

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream is free from grain, corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Pros

  • Dogs that struggled with recurring itchiness found relief from their problem when fed a regular diet of taste of the Wild Pacific Stream. Over time, their skin completely healed and remained very healthy.
  • Because this diet is based on highly flavorful fish proteins, dogs find it very tasty. Even the most reluctant eaters look forward to their every mealtime.
  • Dogs with poor stool quality experienced normal bowel movements and a return to the proper stool consistency when fed a regular diet of this food.
  • The coat quality of dogs fed Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream was beautiful. Their fur was lustrous, thick, soft, and shiny.
  • The cost of this food is very reasonable. Owners are pleased that this diet provides them with excellent nutrition for their dogs and is available for an affordable price.

Cons

  • Some dogs are uninterested in the taste of this food and hesitate to consume it. Another Taste of the Wild offering may be a better option for them.
  • A few owners felt the cost of this diet was too high for them to afford to feed their dogs on a regular basis.
  • Several owners indicated that they would prefer to feed their dogs a grain-inclusive food.
  • A few owners indicated that this diet left a strong aftertaste in their dogs’ mouths, and their breath smelled heavily of fish.
  • Lentils, peas, and potatoes all play important roles in this diet. These ingredients are the subject of controversy today and are not considered to be the ideal choice for carbohydrates for dogs.

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The Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Dehydrated Chicken
    2. Organic Flaxseed
    3. Dehydrated Potatoes
    4. Dehydrated Sweet Potatoes
    5. Dried Apples

  • Type: Dehydrated food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 446 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 24%
  • Fat: 15%
  • Fiber: 6.5%

The Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food meets all of the high points dogs need from their diet to thrive. A diet based on a single protein source, whole chicken is the main ingredient in this food, a meat of exceptional nutritional quality.

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free includes antioxidant and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables in its formulation. These ingredients encourage good digestion and the development of strong immunity to fight disease.

This diet, rated among the best tasting dog foods for picky eaters, contains no corn, wheat, soy, or added sugars.

Pros

  • Dogs consistently fed The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free saw great improvements in their energy levels and were more playful.
  • The stool quality of dogs previously suffering with gastrointestinal distress returned to normal with a change to this diet.
  • Even the pickiest of eaters love this diet. It is chock full of flavor.
  • Dogs that exhibited both itchy skin and tear staining found relief when fed a regular diet of The Honest Kitchen Grain-free.
  • Owners noted that this diet’s aroma is quite pleasing. They felt its fragrance similar to meals they would prepare for themselves to eat. This gave them confidence that the diet was of excellent nutritional quality.

Cons

  • A few owners remarked that this diet was too cost prohibitive for them to feed their dogs on a regular basis.
  • Several owners disliked that this diet is grain-free. The Honest Kitchen now offers several formulations that include whole grains in their recipes. One of these options may be a better fit for those dogs.
  • A few owners expressed that both the smell and the texture of this food was off putting to them.
  • Some dogs became disinterested in this food after being fed it for a period of time. A switch to one of The Honest Kitchen’s other flavors will help keep these dogs interested in their meals.
  • A couple of people noted that this diet has recently seen a dramatic price increase. As a result, they had to consider other options for their dogs’ meals.

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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Salmon
    2. Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine)
    3. Peas
    4. Pea Protein
    5. Menhaden Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids)

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 415 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 34%
  • Fat: 15%
  • Fiber: 6%

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a high quality diet that prioritizes both flavor and nutrition in its formulation. The basis of this diet is whole salmon, a meat that is rich in taste to whet the appetite of even the pickiest dogs. Salmon is also rich in many vital amino acids to support coat and skin health and provide dogs with the fuel they need to enjoy an active lifestyle.

The antioxidant profile of this diet has been enriched through the addition of LifeSource Bits. This provides an excellent boost for the development of a healthy immune system to fight disease.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness, one of the best tasting dog foods for picky eaters, contains no by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

Pros

  • Dogs regularly fed Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free had excellent coat quality. Owners are pleased to report their fur is shiny, soft, healthy, and thick.
  • This diet is based on salmon, a meat that is highly flavorful and easy for dogs to digest well. Dogs love the taste of this food and eagerly lap up every morsel in their bowls.
  • Dogs that struggled with gastrointestinal distress found relief from their symptoms when fed this diet on an ongoing basis. Their stool quality returned to normal, and their stomach troubles disappeared entirely.
  • The size of the kibble pieces in this diet are ideal for most dogs. They have been specifically designed to be large enough to prevent a choking hazard.
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness contains no grains in its recipe, making it the ideal choice for dogs with food-related allergies.

Cons

  • A few owners felt this diet had a very strong smell that they found quite unpleasant.
  • Some owners indicated this diet was rather expensive.
  • The LifeSource Bits found in this diet are disliked by a number of dogs. Many dogs pick them out of their food and refuse to eat it.
  • A few dogs were disinterested in this food and ate it only reluctantly. Blue Buffalo Wilderness has many other formulations with different protein bases that might be a better option for these dogs.
  • A couple of people noted that the kibble pieces included in this diet were very soft and spongy. Their dogs did not enjoy the texture of these morsels. In addition to this, many owners indicated they would prefer to feed a kibble that has a crunchy outer coating, believing this type of food assists with maintaining good oral hygiene.

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Crave High Protein Chicken Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Split Peas
    4. Lentils
    5. Pork Meal

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 449 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 34%
  • Fat: 17%
  • Fiber: 4%

One of the best tasting dog foods for picky eaters, Crave High Protein Chicken Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food offers families looking for excellent nutrition the nutrients and value they are looking for in a diet for their finicky dog.

The primary ingredient in Crave Adult Grain-Free is chicken, a high quality meat that contains a vast serving of amino acids to support a healthy body. This formulation contains no grains and is also free from by-products, soy, corn, wheat, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, making it easy to digest and a good choice for dogs with skin or stomach sensitivities.

Pros

  • This food is available in several different flavors, allowing owners to offer their dogs lots of variety in their diet without difficult transitions or any loss of nutritional quality.
  • This diet is highly flavorful, encouraging even the pickiest eaters to consume their meals with hearty gusto.
  • This diet is available at an excellent price point. Owners love that they can offer their dogs exceptional quality nutrition for a very reasonable cost.
  • Dogs suffering from allergies found complete relief from their symptoms when fed this diet on an ongoing basis.
  • Dogs with loose stool saw a return to normal stool consistency when fed a regular diet of Crave High Adult Grain-Free.

Cons

  • This diet is quite high in protein. As a result, some dogs experienced mild gastrointestinal distress during the transition from the old food to this new diet. This will alleviate in time.
  • Some dogs exhibited foul smelling breath when fed this diet regularly. This may be a result of the proteins contained in the formulation or may be the result of a sensitivity to one of this diet’s ingredients.
  • Some owners expressed they would prefer to feed their dogs a food that includes whole grains in its recipe.
  • This diet contains split peas, lentils, and pea starch, all ingredients of questionable nutritional quality and that may have an effect on fertility and rapidly elevated blood sugar levels in dogs.
  • No supplements are included in this diet to assist with optimal joint function in dogs.

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Rachael Ray Nutrish Real Chicken & Veggies Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Soybean Meal
    4. Grain Sorghum
    5. Dried Peas

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 340 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 25%
  • Fat: 14%
  • Fiber: 4%

Rachael Ray Nutrish Real Chicken & Veggies Recipe offers families the value and nutrition they are looking for in the best tasting dog food for picky eaters. Chicken is the first ingredient in this diet. This high quality meat is supported through the addition of fiber-rich vegetables to aid in digestion and pique the flavor profile of the food.

Rachael Ray Nutrish contains no poultry by-product meal, fillers, wheat or wheat gluten, artificial colors, or preservatives. Prebiotics are included organically through the addition of brown rice and beet pulp.

Chicken fat increases the omega 3 and 6 fatty acid content to ensure good skin and coat health. The one main drawback to this food is its inclusion of several foods of low nutritional value including corn and soybean meal.

Pros

  • Most dogs love the taste of this food. Even the most reluctant eaters consume their meals with hearty gusto.
  • This diet is available in several different flavors, allowing owners the opportunity to provide variety to their dogs to keep them from becoming bored with their daily diet.
  • Dogs that struggled with poor coat quality saw great improvements when fed a steady diet of Rachael Ray Nutrish.
  • The stool quality of dogs fed this food on an ongoing basis was excellent.
  • Owners are very pleased with the price of this food, feeling it gives them great nutrition and good value for their dog food dollar.

Cons

  • Some dogs dislike the taste of this food and will not eat it. Another Rachael Ray Nutrish formula may be better for those dogs.
  • A few owners noted they found this kibble to be quite oily.
  • The kibble pieces in this diet are large and quite hard. Some dogs found it difficult to break them down well.
  • This diet contains soybean meal, dried peas, whole corn, and corn protein concentrate. Some of these ingredients are common allergens for many dogs, making this diet unsuitable for dogs with allergies.
  • There are no added supplements in this diet to support ideal joint health in dogs.

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How to Choose the Best Tasting Dog Food for Picky Eaters

Though most dogs will happily eat anything they find along their travels in a day, some dogs are picky eaters and finding a food that meets their exacting standards can be a difficult task. The most important thing owners must take into account when dealing with a finicky eater is the circumstances surrounding their dog’s lack of interest in food. If this is a sudden phenomenon, it may be there is an underlying medical condition that is affecting the dog’s desire to eat.

Sometimes, dogs learn quickly that if they refuse the food that is offered to them their anxious owners will offer them something they like much better later in the day to get them to eat. This is a learned behavior, and in essence, is the dog taking control of the situation and training the owner to feed it food it finds preferable.

Many owners become very stressed when their dogs will not eat their food. However, dogs are very practical creatures, and thus, will not allow themselves to starve. Often, solving the problem of pickiness is simply a matter of waiting the dog out. When the dog is hungry enough, the dog WILL eat.

However, if there is a medical problem that is contributing to a lack of appetite, it will be very important to get to the bottom of the issue. When a dog suddenly refuses to eat, it is an excellent idea to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian for a wellness exam.

Typically, dogs that simply want something different from what they are being offered at mealtime will beg for food when their owners enjoy their meal. This is all the evidence an owner needs to determine that their dog is simply picky and not actually sick.

However, if a dog that normally has a hardy appetite suddenly loses complete interest in even the most appealing foods such as steak, chicken, or pork chops, it is safe to note that the dog may be ill and require veterinary care.

Among the medical problems which can affect a dog’s appetite are:

  • Hormonal cycles (both boys and girls may experience a lack of appetite during this period)
  • Digestive discomfort
  • Dental issues
  • Tumors

For dogs with no health conditions affecting appetite, it may be a good solution to switch diets to something with a better flavor profile. The best tasting dog foods for picky eaters often focus on extremely flavorful proteins with pungent fragrances to help whet the dog’s appetite and encourage eating.

Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for the Best Tasting Foods for Picky Dogs

In dogs with poor appetite, keeping the calorie count correct in the best tasting foods for picky eaters is very important. Prolonged lack of eating can lead to undesirable weight loss.

To ensure the dog gets adequate daily nutrition, it is critical to determine the correct portion size each meal should be. The bag of food will have a list of suggested serving sizes which can be used as a baseline measurement. This can be increased or decreased with the dog’s weight serving as a helpful guide.

With dogs that are known to be picky eaters, it is not a good idea to use their appetite as a measurement to ascertain portion size as they may not consume sufficient calories for optimal health.

Adult dogs require a high quality diet that contains a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat while puppies do best on a food comprised of 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat.

Dietary Requirements for the Best Tasting Dog Foods for Picky Eaters

For dogs that display a pickiness when it comes to food, it is critical that the diet selected for the dog be high in both nutrition and flavor. One of the ingredients that dogs find most attractive in a meal is meat. Whole proteins that are highly fragrant are preferable, but meat meals are also an excellent alternative.

By-products and plant-based proteins are less desirable ingredients from both a human and canine standpoint. These foods tend to be comprised of lesser quality and also are not as appealing to dogs with poor appetites. They are best avoided.

Since healthy fats provide a powerful punch of taste, their inclusion in a food will also help to attract the attention of dogs that can be finicky. The best tasting dog foods for picky eaters focus on fats from animal origins such as chicken fat or oily fish. These items support coat and skin health and also increase the flavor of the diet as a whole.

No diet is complete without some carbohydrates. Many dogs love fruits and vegetables, preferring them to whole grains. Carbohydrates can come from any of these families with the most flavorful ingredients that are easy to digest preferred.

As with humans, dogs benefit from natural ingredients in their food. Artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives are the junk food of the dog world and may draw a dog to its bowl for a bite or two, but in general, foods containing these items lack staying power, leaving dogs looking for something better.

Natural flavors are always preferable to anything artificial.

Since some dogs may refuse their meals due to gastrointestinal distress, the addition of a probiotic or digestive enzymes can be a great help. Ample amounts of dietary fiber can also assist with regulating digestive processes that may be causing the dog discomfort.

Though not something that assists with developing appetite, glucosamine and chondroitin are supplements which aid greatly in promoting strong joint and hip function.

Things to Look for in the Best Tasting Dog Food for Picky Eaters

Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in the best tasting dog food for picky eaters:

  • Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list (in non-veterinary diets)
  • Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
  • Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
  • Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
  • Contains healthy amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support coat and skin health

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