best dog food for the pickiest eater dog food for the picky eater

Best Dog Food for the Pickiest Eater – 2024 Tested And Tried

Feeding your canine buddy is usually a ritual that enhances the bond between a caring, loving owner and a grateful, hungry servant.

However, when your puppy doesn’t eat with much gusto, it can be a source of frustration and you’ll need to take action. You provide your dog with tasty and highly nutritious food but the lovely pet only sniffs and licks at it. And now it’s time for the next meal, but unfortunately, you realize your dog hasn’t finished the previous food you offered. If this is the case, the chances are high that you are having a finicky dog at your disposal!

We all know that dogs are naturally opportunistic scavengers that should feed on any discarded food available. Simply put, these important pets have evolved to eat nearly every type of food offered to them and therefore, aren’t picky creatures.

It only implies that finicky behavior is learned. And in most cases, it is us, the pet owners, that trains our dogs to be picky. When your canine friend was younger, if you tried offering a variety of food products to determine the best or right fit, then you might have unknowingly encouraged him to hold out for something better. If you ever opened different cans of food, trying to coax him into selecting its best meal, then you trained your dog to be a picky eater.

However, despite dogs having the so-called competitive feeding behavior, modern dogs do boast some innate taste preferences. And as a concerned pet owner, you must take this into account. As far back as the 1970s, studies consistently indicated that dogs exhibited a strong taste preference for sugar and meats.

In this regard, they preferred a diet featuring sugar to one that doesn’t, and they also preferred canned meat to fresh meat, cooked meat to raw ones, and have a strong affinity for semi-moist or canned diets over dry kibble. What’s more, the sense of smell is very critical to your dogs as it determines their food preference.

Our List of Best Dog Food for the Pickiest Eater

best labradoodle foodOllie PetfoodCHECK PRICE
best labradoodle puppy foodBlue Buffalo WildernessCHECK PRICE
Nature’s Variety PrairieCHECK PRICE
Nature’s Variety Instinct RawCHECK PRICE

Your canine nutritionist, as well as your veterinarian, are arguably the best people to speak with when you are looking for the best dog food for your picky dog. Perhaps this is because they know everything about your dog’s medical history hence can help you to select the right food to meet your dog’s nutritional requirements. Depending on your dog’s weight, age, health condition, and daily activity level, your vet can easily recommend appropriate nutrition.

All dogs are different, implying that what one dog prefers as his favorite food may not entice another dog. Regardless, you can still find the most palatable dog food by checking food recipes that feature some of the most commonly liked ingredients by dogs. After this, you can search the Internet to find the foods that are generally believed to be enjoyed by dogs based on customer reviews. You can then pick out your preferred options from that list.

As experts in the industry, we have done some extensive research to bring you the five best foods that you can give to your finicky pet. So, peruse the article and get to know.

🏆 Our Top Pick: Ollie Pet Food

Ollie is a trusted and reputable name in the dog food industry. It is a fresh dog food manufacturer that customizes dog meals using specific data about your dog including age, breed, activity level, and allergy history. Few dog owners would dispute the fact that nothing grabs the attention of a dog than a juicy piece of meat.

I’ve previously written a summary of how Ollie has benefitted my dog, and if you’re interested you could take a quick look here.

Simply put, dogs love meat above anything else. In this regard, picky canines always tend to find foods with plenty of high-quality meat sources of protein to be relatively tastier than those that feature substandard meats.

Ollie offers four distinct food products, including chicken, beef, turkey, and lamb. We have chosen the beef flavor because it ticks all the boxes. Ollie sources its meat from grain-free farms in the US and the beef is corn-fed but humanly treated.

The vegetables are naturally sourced from US farms and recipes usually include white potato, sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, peas, kales, and squash. What’s more, the recipes are enriched with chia seed, sunflower oil, cod liver oil, salt, and fish oil to add essential vitamins and minerals.

What’s more, Ollie’s dog foods are made in small batches and prepared at low temp inside a USDA-controlled structure. Each Ollie pet food batch is lab-tested before being shipped out to ensure there is no contamination. Their products are hand-packed and shipped fresh to help preserve optimal nutrition and flavor.

Bearing in mind that this is a portion of top-notch, human-grade dog food if your canine friend seems to have lost appetite for dog food, Ollie’s hearty beef dog food can be a great option to try. The ingredients include are beef liver, sweet potato, beef heart, beef kidney, spinach, chia seed, sunflower oil, fish oil, iodized salt, blueberries among others.

What we like:

  • Features fresh ingredients and this enhances the chance of your pup accepting it.
  • Boasts high-quality human-grade dog food with neither additives, fillers, nor artificial ingredients.
  • The custom scooper allows you to feed your puppy perfect food options depending on her profile.
  • The small-batch and low-temp cooking ensure no nutritional value is lost.

What we don’t like:

  • It is relatively costly. However, considering all the perks that this dog food brings on board, it’s worth every penny.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein and Grain-free Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24-lb
6,730 Reviews
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24-lb
  • MORE CHICKEN IS COMING: An evolution of your dog’s formula with more chicken than ever, plus wholesome grains
  • PACKED WITH REAL CHICKEN: A recipe made to satisfy your puppy’s natural love for meat, this high protein puppy dog food features real chicken to help encourage strong muscle growth
  • HEALTHY INGREDIENTS: BLUE Wilderness grain free puppy food is made with the ingredients to help promote healthy development including DHA and ARA, important fatty acids found in mother's milk, to help support cognitive development and retinal health
  • ANTIOXIDANT-RICH LIFESOURCE BITS: A precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals carefully selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support immune system health, life stage needs and a healthy oxidative balance
  • A NATURAL DOG FOOD: BLUE dry dog food is made with the finest natural ingredients enhanced with vitamins and minerals; BLUE contains NO chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives

Here is another top-notch dog food you would consider for your finicky pup. It is an all-natural and grain-free kibble that oozes classic flavor that very few picky dogs will resist. It is a recipe specially designed to satisfy your pet’s natural love for meat and features real salmon to help him build and maintain lean muscle mass.

This grain-free adult dog food features healthy carbohydrates such as peas and sweet potatoes to help fuel your dog’s appetite. What’s more, it contains omega 6 and 3 fatty acids to support coat and skin health.

It is also imperative to note that this amazing dog food boasts a precise blend of essential vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins carefully selected by holistic animal nutritious and veterinarians for enhanced immune system health as well as healthy oxidative balance.

Simply put, blue wilderness dry dog food is made with the health and well-being of your picky dog in mind. It is free from poultry by-products or any other artificial flavor or preservative.

What we like:

  • It has a nice and enticing taste of real and fresh meat.
  • Filled with high protein content from natural and high-quality sources.
  • Has Omega 6 and 3 for an extremely healthy coat.
  • LifeSource Bits infused minerals and vitamins.

What we don’t like:

  • This particular picky dog food is somewhat expensive. However, nothing compares to the taste of real meat.

Pro Purina Plan for Sensitive Skin and Stomach

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dog Food Salmon and Rice Formula - 30 lb. Bag
23,343 Reviews
Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dog Food Salmon and Rice Formula - 30 lb. Bag
  • Oat meal is easily digestible and gentle on the digestive system
  • High protein formula, with real salmon as the first ingredient
  • Fortified with guaranteed live probiotics for digestive and immune health
  • Used to be known as FOCUS Sensitive Skin and Stomach Salmon and Rice Formula
  • Sunflower oil rich in omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat

If you love your pup and are willing to spend a few more extra bucks to rejuvenate his appetite, then this top-notch picky dog food should be your ultimate choice. The perfect food for your picky dog should not only fuel his appetite but should also provide his body with all the essential nutrients he needs to thrive.

As we previously mentioned, a low appetite can sometimes stem from stomach-related problems or increased sensitivity to some ingredients. If you suspect that your lovely pet could be suffering from any stomach or sensitivity issue, the Pro Purina mild-tasting dog food can come in handy.

It features salmon as its main ingredient, which is a mild source of protein. It is also equipped with prebiotic fiber that improves digestive health. It has all-natural ingredients and is free from poultry or animal by-products, wheat, soy, corn as well as artificial color, preservatives, and flavor.

Apart from the prebiotic fiber, this dog food for picky eaters also boasts a highly digestible formula that naturally nourishes the beneficial bacteria found in your dog’s digestive system, helping to boost his digestive health.

On the other hand, ingredients such as oatmeal and rice guarantee easily digestible carbohydrate sources for your dog whereas zinc and omega 6 fatty acids nourish his skin to keep his coat remain healthy. Your finicky dog will love the nutrition variety and you’ll appreciate the quality and convenience!

What we like:

  • Ideal for dogs suffering from digestive problems.
  • Enhanced with probiotic fiber for optimal digestion.
  • It has salmon as its first ingredient.
  • Free from additives, fillers, and preservatives.
  • It doesn’t have any animal by-product.

What we don’t like:

  • Besides its fairly costly price tag, some dog owners have raised concerns that the Purina dog food gave their dog soft stools!

Four Fromm Star Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, Game Bird Recipe

Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals Game Bird Dog Food - Premium Dry Dog Food - Turkey Recipe - 12 lb
3,501 Reviews
Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals Game Bird Dog Food - Premium Dry Dog Food - Turkey Recipe - 12 lb
  • Only The Highest Quality Ingredients Available Are Used In Fromm Pet Foods
  • Many Variety'S Available From Puppy To Senior
  • The Best Dog Food Money Can Buy

When it comes to dog food products, Fromm might not be a household name among pet lovers. Regardless, they are equally packed with some of the best ingredients ideal for your finicky pup. Fromm Four sources its protein content from turkey, duck, quail, and pheasant, and this gives it an incredibly unique blend of enticing natural meaty flavors that your dog will find irresistible.

To take its nutritional content to a whole new level, Fromm comes filled with pure flavors of fresh vegetables and fruits, minerals and vitamins, probiotics, essential fatty acids, and fiber. Other notable ingredients include salmon oil, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, apples, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, spinach, and flaxseed among others.

This is highly versatile dog food, and both young and adult picky dogs will find it relatively easy to bite and chew. This is because the crunchy pieces are small enough to serve both of them. Being a grain-free food, the Fromm Four is the ideal diet for sensitive or picky dog breeds. Though its regular use can be quite costly, there aren’t many food options for picky pets than the might Fromm!

What we like:

  • Features all-natural protein sources.
  • It is grain-free.
  • Enriched with fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as other natural sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, fiber, and essential fatty acids.
  • Chicken cartilage enhances joint health.
  • The chicory root minimizes the risk of worms.

What we don’t like:

  • It is quite expensive.
  • It may not be a great choice for dogs suffering from meat allergies.

Prairie Recipe Dry Natural Dog Food by Nature’s Variety

Instinct Be Natural Real Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food, 25 lb. Bag
419 Reviews
Instinct Be Natural Real Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food, 25 lb. Bag
  • LOOKING FOR PRAIRIE BY NATURE'S VARIETY?: Prairie has a new look and is now called Instinct Be Natural - but it's the same great recipe!
  • NATURAL DOG FOOD WITH CAGE FREE CHICKEN: Instinct Be Natural Real Chicken & Brown Rice dry dog food is made with responsibly sourced animal protein as the #1 and #2 ingredients, plus whole grains, fruits & vegetables, and omegas.
  • DRY DOG FOOD WITH NO FILLERS: Be Natural is made with animal protein and wholesome grains - no chicken or poultry by-product meal, corn, wheat, soy, brewer's rice, artificial colors or preservatives - ingredients known to trigger food sensitivities.
  • THE FIRST RAW COATED KIBBLE: Be Natural Dry Dog Food is high protein dog food where every piece of kibble is coated in freeze dried raw for nutrition and taste. Delicious, healthy flavor that small dogs to large dogs crave.
  • POWER OF RAW INGREDIENTS: Our dog food is made with the pure, real nutrition of raw. Raw is natural, made from real meat & wholefood ingredients, protein packed & minimally processed. Made in the USA with the finest ingredients from around the world.

This recipe provides your finicky dog with wholesome nourishment through its simple, natural, and top-quality ingredients. Every prairie recipe starts with real meat, cage-free chicken, hearty whole grains, and real vegetables and fruits to offer a highly balanced, holistic nutrition.

Chicken is a great source of easily-digestible protein and is the main ingredient in this unique recipe. Besides real chicken meat, it also includes chicken fats, turkey meal, barley, oats, prebiotics, whole-grain brown rice as well as natural sources of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and vitamins. Supplemental minerals and vitamins are also added to help attain the nutritional balance that your dog requires.

Thanks to its relatively smaller bites, the Prairie is perfect for puppies. And the availability of other recipes such as salmon, lamb, and beef makes it easy to switch between different flavors without causing either nutritional disruptions or stomach upsets.

What we like:

  • A natural recipe free from fillers, wheat, corn, soy, by-product meal, artificial colors, and preservatives.
  • Enhanced with natural sources of vitamins, antioxidants, essential fatty acids and minerals.
  • It contains both pre-and probiotics.
  • The smaller bites make it a great option for puppies.

What we don’t like:

  • It may not be a good choice for dogs suffering from allergies or food sensitivities because it isn’t grain-free.

Instinct Raw Boost Natural Grain-Free Recipe by Nature’s Variety

Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Dry Dog Food, High Protein Real Chicken Kibble + Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food, 21 lb. Bag
3,563 Reviews
Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Dry Dog Food, High Protein Real Chicken Kibble + Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food, 21 lb. Bag
  • GRAIN FREE DOG FOOD WITH FREEZE DRIED RAW CAGE FREE CHICKEN: Instinct Raw Boost natural dry dog food combines high protein, grain free kibble with all natural bites of freeze dried raw chicken. Cage free chicken is the #1 ingredient.
  • NATURAL DOG FOOD PLUS FREEZE DRIED RAW PIECES: Raw Boost is high protein dog food with probiotics to support healthy digestion and omegas for skin & coat. Made without grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by product meal, artificial colors or preservatives.
  • THE FIRST RAW BOOSTED KIBBLE: Raw Boost mixes high protein, grain free dog food with our freeze dried raw dog food toppers in one bag. Complete & balanced nutrition for all dogs, including small breeds, toy breeds, puppy, senior & healthy weight.
  • POWER OF RAW INGREDIENTS: Our dog food is made with the pure, real nutrition of raw. Raw is natural, made from real meat & whole food ingredients, protein packed & minimally processed. Made in the USA with the finest ingredients from around the world.
  • OUR BEST DOG FOOD BOOSTED WITH RAW: We craft dry & wet dog food from real ingredients. Compare Instinct to Blue Buffalo, Rachel Ray, Hills Science Diet, Purina One, Taste of the Wild, Merrick, Natural Balance, Wellness, Orijen, Royal Canin, Iams & Nutro.

The Instinct Raw is the ultimate feast for puppies. And you may never have to trick your finicky pup anymore if you offer him this recipe because it is not only highly nutritious but appeals to the senses as well. It boasts chunky pieces, is aromatic meaty with smooth gravy, and is extremely delicious.

The raw bits take mealtimes to another level, and will effortlessly get your picky puppy or adult dog eating back again. The key ingredients include chicken, chicken meal, and chicken fat. The raw pieces are made with turkey liver, chicken, turkey liver, freeze-dried raw turkey, and ground chicken bone.

The whole-grain brown rice in this recipe is not only fairly more nutritious but is also much easier to digest, making it a great option for dogs with sensitive stomachs. The white raw bits are peanut-sized, while the dark brown dry kibbles are pea-sized hence both are perfect for your finicky puppy.

What we like:

  • Gluten-free and grain-free.
  • Has added antioxidants and probiotics for enhanced performance.
  • It doesn’t include any artificial fillers, soy, wheat, flavors or preservatives.

What we don’t like:

  • You are likely to be put off by its price tag.

What Should You Do If You Have a Dog That Is the Pickiest Eater?

Having known that dogs have a preference for specific foods, it probably comes as no surprise that your dog often tends to beg for people’s food. But how best can you curb this behavior? While there are several ways that you can use to solve this problem, the best approach is perhaps training. If you have shared with your dog in the past, then you have instilled in his mind that human food is an option.

First and foremost, you need to refrain from the habit of feeding your dog whatever he asks for, as this may result in obesity as well as many other associated health issues. When you get a new puppy, teach him to eat his food, not yours. What’s more, he should feed on his schedule and not when you are dining, and if possible, don’t feed him on your dinner table. Also, you should clear up his food between feeding, preferably after twenty or so minutes regardless of whether he ate the food or not.

As a rule of thumb, you should be very firm about the feeding rules, provided your dog is happy, healthy, and is in good physical condition (weight). Remember, you should always provide your dog with high-quality, and easily digestible diets.

You may also consider sprinkling some tasty foodstuff over your pup’s kibble. However, don’t settle for stuff made from potentially problematic, toxic substances. Oils derived from natural sources such as sunflower seeds, peanuts, olives, and veggies can effectively do the trick. You can also mix the food with some wet as dogs love semi-moist foods.

Dogs also tend to have a preference for slightly warm food, so warm the food to coax your picky pup into eating it. Avoiding free-feeding and allowing your dog to get a bit hungry before offering him the food are also effective ways to bring his lost appetite back.

How Should You Differentiate Picky Eating From an Underlying Medical Condition?

There is a clear difference between a dog who has lost complete interest in eating and one that demands that his food be warmed. And a dog that demands that her water must have some sugar is less likely to be experiencing some health problems as opposed to the one who is simply uninterested in eating.

If your dog begs relentlessly with copious amounts of drool when you are enjoying a nicely grilled meat yet scoffs at the premium dog you dump in his palate, the chances are high that he’s being picky.

A significant number of picky dogs are usually healthy. Of course, those with an underlying health condition will benefit from immediate veterinary intervention. Regardless, it is always a great idea to contact your local vet professional if your dog is having prolonged pickiness.

But, before you can evaluate an effective plan to correct your dog’s picky behavior, it is important to rule out any potential health problems that may be affecting his appetite. Allergies, sore teeth, and stomach issues are just some of the things that might be keeping your canine friend from enjoying his food. If your normally voracious dog has suddenly become picky, a trip to your local vet might be in order.

Below are some common medical problems that can easily result in inappetence in dogs:

  • Dental health issues: Gum diseases, decaying teeth as well as many other dental-related problems can potentially impact your dog’s willingness to feed. You’ll need to act quickly and seek medical attention because mouth pain is arguably the worst. To prevent more dental issues from arising, you can consider feeding your dog a kibble that is tailored toward eliminating plaque and tartar. You can also provide plenty of doggie dental chews to keep your dog’s mouth fresh and functional.
  • Hormonal problems: On most occasions, this occurs in unaltered female dogs, but certain males can also experience hormonally-related anorexia. Thankfully, this type of pickiness usually tends to wax and wane with time.
  • The growth of tumors: Though relatively a highly unlikely possibility, the growth of tumors is also a potential cause of pickiness in your dog. However, when detected early enough, most tumor cases are manageable and treatable. Seek prompt medical attention if your dog is unreasonably picky over a large period.
  • Digestive problems: Dogs will occasionally experience numerous mild to moderate digestion-related difficulties. And in certain instances, these difficulties can affect your dog’s appetite and result in many intestinal issues as well. You will have to seek the assistance of a qualified vet to assess your dog’s health condition.


With potentially endless products out there on the market to choose from, the prospect of finding the best dog food for the pickiest eater that suits your pup’s needs can sometimes prove to be a daunting and intimidating task. This is why we have provided you with an honest and extensive review of some of the best dog foods currently ruling the market.

These dog foods not only boast thoughtful recipes that can satisfy even the fussiest dog’s taste buds but equally guarantee all the essential nutrients your dog needs for optimal overall health. They are also free from any artificial fillers, additives, food colors, and preservatives and this gives you the much-needed peace of mind knowing your dog won’t suffer from any health issue. Though they may seem expensive at first glance, they represent value for your hard-earned cash.

Some of My Favorite Products For Dog Owners

I hope this article has helped you just a bit in everyday life as a dog owner. Being a dog owner for more than 25 years, I’ve tried many different products with varying success, but these products below are some that I can highly recommend to every dog and their owner without hesitation!

These links are affiliate links, so if you do end up using the links, I will earn a commission. But it’s products that I use daily myself, and I have the utmost praise for.

Dog Food: Every dog needs to eat correctly, and finding the best food for your dog can be challenging, as the market is absolutely flooded with products. But since 2015 when the company was founded, I’ve been using Ollie Petfood. With their product being tailor-made to suit every dog’s specific needs, and as my dogs love the product, I’m pretty sure I’ve found a product I will continue to use for many years more. If you use my link you can get 50% off your first order.

Dog Training: If you’ve ever owned a puppy, you know that it requires a lot of training to grow into a well-behaved adult. Brain Training for Dogs has helped me immensely with the mental training part of raising a dog, and it’s something I strongly recommend you consider.

Grooming: If you have a dog in your home, you’re going to need a brush, and for this, I recommend a Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush. For that price, you simply can’t beat this brush for everyday grooming.

If you’re looking for the most up-to-date recommendations, check out my recommended products section that I’ve created to help every dog owner!

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