The Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters ( Top 10 Picks in 2021)

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall for Picky Eaters: Rachel Ray Dry Dog Food
“Finding a REAL and tasty food that your picky eater pooch will love can be quite tricky, but this one is something he will surely love. It contains minimally processed ingredients which retain their nutritional value as well as their flavor that even the fussiest eaters can’t say no to.”

Best Value for Money: Diamond Naturals Meat & Grain Recipe
“A perfect blend of nutrition, flavor, and affordability is what you’ll find in this recipe from Diamond Naturals. It is an extremely affordable and delicious dog food packed with Omega fatty acids, quality fat & protein, and added supplements.”

Best Flavour Range: Stella & Chewy’s Raw Dinner Patties
“Your pooch can have more flavors to choose from with these dinner patties from Stella & Chewy. It comes in a variety of flavors so your dog can switch between chicken, lamb, beef, turkey and more – all while making sure they’re getting the nutrients they need.”

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When your pup is refusing their food, it’s not just tough for them but for you as dog owners, too. It’s not like you can ask them what they’re currently craving for. So you’re left to figure out what food they’ll enjoy. And it’s not just about the flavors, too. You also need to consider the nutritional value that their food offers.

We’ve done an in-depth analysis of the best dog food for picky eaters based on flavor, range, nutritional value, and most importantly, the dog owner’s feedback on how their dogs responded to each product.

Product Name
Premium Option
Rank
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Rachael Ray Nutrish Dish Premium Natural Dry Dog Food, Beef & Brown Rice Recipe with Veggies, Fruit & Chicken, 23 Pounds
Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Adult Dog, Beef and Rice Formula, 40 Pound Bag (074198608331)
Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Dandy Lamb Dinner Patties Dog Food, 25 oz. Bag
Rating
Our Rating 91 / 100
Our Rating 90 / 100
Our Rating 89 / 100
Pro 1
Suitable for all life stages and sizes, including large dogs
Contains high levels of Omega fatty acids and glucosamine & chondroitin
Organic fruits and veggies and high-quality meat sources
Pro 2
Contains wholesome gluten-free grains for extra texture
Extremely affordable and incredibly high quality
Raw nutrition provides more flavour and texture for picky eaters
Premium Option
Rank
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Rachael Ray Nutrish Dish Premium Natural Dry Dog Food, Beef & Brown Rice Recipe with Veggies, Fruit & Chicken, 23 Pounds
Rating
Our Rating 91 / 100
Pro 1
Suitable for all life stages and sizes, including large dogs
Pro 2
Contains wholesome gluten-free grains for extra texture
Custom Button
Best Value for Money
Rank
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Adult Dog, Beef and Rice Formula, 40 Pound Bag (074198608331)
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Contains high levels of Omega fatty acids and glucosamine & chondroitin
Pro 2
Extremely affordable and incredibly high quality
Custom Button
Best Flavor Variety
Rank
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Dandy Lamb Dinner Patties Dog Food, 25 oz. Bag
Rating
Our Rating 89 / 100
Pro 1
Organic fruits and veggies and high-quality meat sources
Pro 2
Raw nutrition provides more flavour and texture for picky eaters
Custom Button
Sources researched
19
Sources researched
Customer reviews
20,000
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
17
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested

Best Tasting Dog Food for Picky Eaters

Here are 10 of our highly recommended foods for picky eater dogs:

1. Rachel Ray Dry Dog Food

Best Overall for Picky Eaters: Contains real meat and veggies for a natural taste and texture

Rachael Ray Nutrish Dish Premium Natural Dry Dog Food, Beef & Brown Rice Recipe with Veggies, Fruit & Chicken, 23 Pounds
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Overall Rating87%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Source & Flavour85%
Added Extras85%
Texture & Kibble Size90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Kibble and real dog food mix for a well-rounded meal 
  • No artificial additives (flavours, colours, preservatives) 
  • Contains wholesome gluten-free grains for extra texture 
  • Suitable for all life stages and sizes, including large dogs 

CONS

  • No poultry-free option 
  • Doesn’t contain glucosamine or DHA

Rachel Ray Dry Dog Food is filled with whole ingredients that’s basically a mix of meat pieces and bits of real veggies. It’s a well-rounded and healthy meal that’s easy on your pup’s tummy. It offers a holistic diet that’s suitable for dogs of all life stages and sizes. There are no artificial or synthetic substances here – only good, wholesome, real dog food ingredients that your dog will enjoy. 

Yummy Chunks of Real Food Goodness 

The real, non-processed ingredients retain their flavor and the yummy chunks of fruits and vegetables is not just something that your dog will surely love – it should keep them properly nourished as well.

2. Diamond Naturals Meat & Grain Recipe

Best Value For Money: Superfood ingredients add flavor as well as health benefits for an affordable price

Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Adult Dog, Beef and Rice Formula, 40 Pound Bag (074198608331)
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Overall Rating91%
Ingredient Quality95%
Protein Source & Flavour80%
Added Extras90%
Texture & Kibble Size86%
Affordability95%

PROS

  • Extremely affordable and yet incredibly high quality 
  • Moderate fat and protein levels, suitable for most dogs 
  • Contains high levels of Omega fatty acids and glucosamine & chondroitin 
  • Contains superfood ingredients for extra antioxidants and health benefits  

CONS

  • Doesn’t contain real meat, just meat meal (the title of the food is somewhat deceiving) 

Diamond Naturals Real Meat & Grain Recipe has a mix of beef meal, poultry products, and superfood fruits and veggies, with no artificial colours or flavours, making this a yummy, healthy, and super affordable food choice for your beloved pooch. 

It has a fantastically high amount of Omega fatty acids and joint-strengthening supplements that are typically found only in dog foods at a higher price point.

High-Quality Ingredients For Less Cash 

This food’s main ingredient is beef meal which is a concentrated protein source. It contains gluten-free grains that add taste and texture, not to mention nutritious supplements for your fluff. They’ve also added a good amount of superfood fruits and veggies which significantly increase the nutritional value of this kibble by adding high quality carbohydrates and fiber.

3. Stella & Chewy’s Raw Dinner Patties

Best Flavor Range: Wide variety of flavors with ideal nourishment for active dogs

Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Dandy Lamb Dinner Patties Dog Food, 25 oz. Bag
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Overall Rating89%
Ingredient Quality95%
Protein Source & Flavour95%
Added Extras75%
Texture & Kibble Size95%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Organic fruits and veggies and high-quality meat sources 
  • Raw nutrition provides more flavour and texture for picky eaters 
  • A wide variety of flavours, including some specifically for puppies 
  • Minimal processing ensures the nutrition and taste is preserved 

CONS

  • Somewhat pricey 
  • No added supplements 

Stella & Chewy’s Raw Dinner Patties are tasty, textured, healthy, nutrient-dense dog food that’s available in many flavors your picky pup can’t refuse. It’s a minimally processed food that ensures the premium ingredients retain their nutritional value and delicious flavor, making it an easy favorite for most dogs.

Raw Food In a Variety Of Flavors 

This is real, raw feeding at its best – minimally processed dog food, loaded with wholesome foods, and naturally preserved by freeze-drying. The protein and fat content are higher than the average dog food. 

4. Instinct Raw Boost Senior Dry Dog Food

Best For Fussy Seniors: Raw meat bits added for flavor

Instinct Raw Boost Senior Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature's Variety, 21 lb. Bag
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Overall Rating90%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Source & Flavour90%
Added Extras95%
Texture & Kibble Size95%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Contains the full array of supplements and vitamins to benefit a senior dog 
  • A texture-rich mixture of kibble and raw meat bits 
  • Contains L-carnitine, which supports a healthy and fast metabolism 
  • Minimally processed dog food to keep nutrients locked in 

CONS

  • Somewhat pricey 
  • Could be slightly high in protein and fats for less active seniors 
  • May not be best for pups who react badly to chicken 

Seniors need specific nutrients in order to support their aging body and the Instinct Raw Boost Senior Dry Dog Food is a holistic diet that provides a variety of flavor options for a picky senior dog. It contains high-protein kibble sprinkled with bits of raw, freeze-dried meat for a little taste and texture thrill. 

Benefits Of Raw 

Having delicious, minimally processed bits of raw meat throughout gives little bursts of different taste in between the crunchy kibble. They are minimally processed which allows them to retain most of their natural nutrition and flavor. 

5. Solid Gold Mighty Dry Dog Food

Best For Small Breeds: Small kibble made from real vegetables and meat

Solid Gold Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog Food; Mighty Mini Grain-Free With Real Lamb; 4Lb
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Overall Rating90%
Ingredient Quality95%
Protein Source & Flavour90%
Added Extras85%
Texture & Kibble Size95%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Has a great flavour variety
  • High in protein and higher than usual in fat, which is great for small breeds 
  • Filled with superfood ingredients and benefits 
  • Small-sized kibble for easy eating 

CONS

  • No glucosamine, which many small breeds need 

Solid Gold Mighty Dry Dog Food is formulated for small breed dogs who want more variety in the food they eat. It’s a well-balanced diet that gives them optimum fat content for quick-access energy. It has superfoods filled with antioxidants & vitamins for improved immune function as well as high-quality protein for muscle development – all packed into a tiny kibble perfect for little jaws. 

Easy for Digestion

This particular recipe uses grass-fed lamb as its main ingredient which is generally easy to digest, especially for small and toy breed dogs. The added fiber-rich and antioxidant-rich ingredients like sweet potatoes and cranberries aid in digestion.

6. Acana Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Best Limited Ingredient: Range of limited ingredient recipes to reduce allergies

ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, Lamb & Apple, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free
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Overall Rating90%
Ingredient Quality95%
Protein Source & Flavour90%
Added Extras85%
Texture & Kibble Size85%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Fewer ingredients per recipe, so picky eaters don’t need to worry about tummy problems 
  • Multiple flavours available, which will suit every pup’s taste 
  • Contain all the necessary extras, from Omega fatty acids to joint supplements 
  • No artificial flavourings 

CONS

  • Slightly pricey, but that’s not uncommon for a limited ingredient dog food 

Acana Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food is specifically intended for dogs with food sensitivities who also tend to be picky with their food. The limited ingredient formulation removes the risk of having problem ingredients in your dog’s meal while they switch from one tasty recipe to another.

Excellent Flavor Range

This dog food is available in a variety of delicious and healthy flavor combinations like Beef & Pumpkin, Duck & Pear, Lamb & Apple, Pork & Squash, or Turkey & Greens. No matter which flavor your picky eater dog chooses, you can rest assured that it’s safe from any problem ingredients and packed with the essential nutrients he needs.

7. Wellness Core Wet Dog Food

Best Kibble Topper: Tasty tuna flavor with added moisture to keep your dog well-hydrated

Wellness CORE Simply Shreds Natural Grain Free Wet Dog Food Mixer or Topper, Tuna, Beef & Carrots, 2.8-Ounce Pouch (Pack of 12)
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Overall Rating92.5%
Ingredient Quality95%
Protein Source & Flavour95%
Texture & Kibble Size95%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Only 5 high-quality, all-natural ingredients 
  • Adds a nice dash of moisture to your pup’s diet 
  • Shredded tuna and beef are great taste and texture for picky dogs 
  • Low in calories, which makes this the perfect addition to a meal 

CONS

  • The pouch is not resealable, so be careful to store it properly if you have open ones 
  • Not made in the US, but in Thailand (which may be a deal-breaker for some customers) 

Sometimes, all your dog needs is a tasty topper to add more flavor to their food, and there’s no better option than the Wellness Core Wet Dog Food. This kibble topper is made of nicely textured, delicious-tasting tuna and beef, with some soft, yummy veggies that aren’t just added for extra flavor but for additional nutrients as well. 

Low Calorie, Flavoursome Kibble Topper 

This food contains 48 calories per serving, which means it can easily fit into any dog’s daily calorie requirement. It doubles up as a snack, too, so it’s quite versatile as much as it is tasty and healthy. 

8. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Dog Food

Best for Big Dogs: Wholesome real foods with natural flavor

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Duck 24-lb
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Overall Rating87%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Source & Flavour90%
Added Extras85%
Texture & Kibble Size85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • High in protein and with a moderate amount of fat, great for large breeds 
  • Contain glucosamine & chondroitin for joint support 
  • Best tasting dog foods with three different flavors to choose from 
  • Vitamins & Omega fatty acids boost the immune system 

CONS

  • Not suitable for dogs who have a chicken sensitivity as all recipes contain chicken meal 

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Dog Food contains just the right amount of nutrients for an active large breed dog who tends to be picky with his food. There are three different recipes available with consistent nutritional value, so you can easily switch between flavors without without worrying if your dog is getting all the nutrients he needs.

Superb Nutritional Value for Large Dogs

There’s high protein count in this food at 34% which is the recommended amount for maintaining strong muscles. There’s also a good amount of Omega fatty acids and joint-strengthening glucosamine in this mix. The LifeSource Bits also add a slightly different texture while increasing the vitamins and minerals content intended for improved immune system function. 

9. Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Food

Best Taste & Texture Combo: Tasty, soft ingredients packed with essential nutrients

The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Organic Grain Turkey Dog Food 10 lb - Keen
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Overall Rating86%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Source & Flavour85%
Added Extras75%
Texture & Kibble Size95%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Great texture for pups who may not enjoy crunching kibble 
  • Made with organic, dehydrated ingredients to lock nutrition in 
  • Contains flavourful ingredients such as honey and garlic (that double up as antibiotics) 
  • A 10lb box makes 40lb of dog food, making this fairly affordable 

CONS

  • Lower in protein than most 
  • Contains no added supplements, so if your dog needs something (eg. glucosamine) you will need to add it separately 

Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Food eliminates the crunchy hardness of kibble with its smooth, easy-on-the-mouth food texture, without compromising its delicious flavor. This food went through dehydration process which keeps it fresh for longer while retaining its nutritional value. 

Nutritious & Delicious 

The Honest Kitchen has formulated human-grade dog food that’s packed with important nutrients from premium quality ingredients. It’s extremely safe and tasty that even humans can eat it.

10. Merrick Dry Puppy Food

Best For Fussy Puppies: High-quality, all natural ingredients that eliminate the need for artificial flavoring

Merrick 35324 Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food Puppy Recipe - 12.0 Lb Bag
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Overall Rating84%
Ingredient Quality85%
Protein Source & Flavour85%
Added Extras80%
Texture & Kibble Size85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Packed with superfood ingredients 
  • Great protein and fat content for most puppies 
  • Contains DHA and glucosamine & chondroitin 
  • Good calcium/phosphorus ratio for optimal growth

CONS

  • No flavour variety 
  • Not suitable for puppies who react badly to chicken 

This dog food from Merrick is loaded with antioxidant-rich superfood ingredients, gluten-free healthy grains, and high-quality protein sources. It also contains DHA, joint-fortifying glucosamine, Omega fatty acids, calcium, and phosphorus – all crucial nutrients for a growing puppy.

Specifically Formulated for Puppies 

This dry dog food is smaller in size to cater for little jaws. It’s also easier to chew which is awesome for puppies with developing teeth and gums. The Healthy Grains variety from Merrick include a blend of easy-to-digest grains that are also excellent sources of high quality fiber.


How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters

  • Ingredient Quality

    It’s important to look for a dog food that use real, high-quality animal protein sources in its formulation. These sources can either be real meat or meat meal, healthy carbohydrates for slow-burning energy, gluten-free grains (if there are grains at all), fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals for ease of digestion, and of course a lack of any artificial or synthetic ingredients. High quality dog foods use natural flavors instead of an artificial flavouring agent.
  • Protein Source & Flavour

    The protein source in your pup’s food will not only contribute to its flavor profile, its main purpose is to support your pup’s muscle development and promote healthy production of hormones and healthy enzymes in the body.

    Animal protein provide a more concentrated amino acids source and therefore make an ideal main ingredient in your dog’s food. For picky dogs who also tend to react badly with some ingredients, sticking to a dog food that contains just one or two meat sources is highly recommended.
  • Added Nutrients

    While the taste may be the thing that gets your pup to happily chew on the kibble, the best dog food should provide a holistic diet for your dog. Different breeds have different needs. Many dog food options contain additional supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, high Omega fatty acid levels for a healthy coat and skin, L-carnitine for some extra help regulating energy levels, and DHA and EPA for improved brain function. 
  • Texture & Size of Kibble

    Sometimes the texture and kibble size or shape can contribute to your pup’s disinterest in the food they’re eating. They might be reluctant to chew their pellets because the kibbles are too big for them and hurt their mouth. That said, it’s worth considering to mix up foods with different texture and consistency so you can identify which one your dog prefers.
  • Affordability

    Finding the right dog food flavor that your little pooch will absolutely enjoy while making sure that he gets the nourishment he needs can be quite challenging. It’s basically a trial and error process. And it can be quite expensive. Imagine buying dog foods with different flavors until you find something he likes – that’s something that isn’t easy on the budget.

    And that’s what we’re here to help you with. The foods in this list are examined and evaluated based on criteria that considers flavor profile, nutritional value, and affordability. It’s not easy finding the right balance between all three factors, but we want to make your life easier. If you’re on a tight budget, our recommended Best Value for Money dog food is exactly what you’re looking for.

Feeding Tips & Tricks for Fussy Eaters 

Having a picky eater pup can make life as dog parent a bit challenging! Thankfully, there are a few more tips and tricks you can try to get your dog to eat. 

Top It with Delicious Treats 

You don’t need to go out and buy a whole separate dog food if that’s an issue for you. Why waste a whole bag when you can add a delicious kibble topper to make it more appealing to your dog? 

Adding kibble toppers is a clever way to improve the taste of your dog’s meal. Usually, these will contain some kind of raw meat or fresh ingredient that adds some texture as well as an interesting flavor profile to your dog’s food. Fresh or raw ingredients are usually minimally processed, retaining their natural flavor. 

Hand Feed Your Pet 

Try hand-feeding your dog once and see how he or she responds. You’ll most likely need to spend a good 15 to 20 minutes doing this, so be patient. If you really don’t have the time to do this often, you may need to consider changing their dog food until you find something they can pick up, chew, and enjoy. 

Stop Feeding Your Pup Human Food

Your dog shouldn’t be eating human food! It’s tempting to feed them tidbits off your own plates, but this can actually result to them either having a bad reaction to the food or getting used to human food they refuse to eat dog food entirely, which can have adverse effects to their health.

Follow A Strict Feeding Schedule 

If your dog knows when they’re eating, and that they aren’t getting dog food again until tomorrow morning, they may be more inclined to eat when it’s in front of them. 

Most adult dogs have two meals a day. If you maintain a strict schedule and don’t feed in between (unless you have a treat schedule too), your dog may stop being too picky. 


Questions & Answers

What could be causing my dog to be picky about their dog food? 

The usual reason why dogs refuse their food is simply because they’re grown tired of eating the same meal everyday. If you feed your pooch tidbits off your plate and they’re quite satisfied with it, it might be a sign that you need to switch up their food and add some more flavor or texture into what they’re eating. 

Apart from the taste, the dog food your pet is eating could be upsetting their tummy. Just because they aren’t pooping weirdly it doesn’t mean their stomach isn’t feeling discomfort. This could cause them to be reluctant to eat as they are already anticipating the feeling they know comes after a meal. 

What can I do to help prevent picky eating? 

Switching their food is the easiest way to go. Choose a dog food with a wide range of flavors. They usually have the same nutritional value across the flavor range so whichever flavor your dog picks, you can rest assured that they’re still properly nourished.

Apart from that, it’s a great idea to stop feeding your pet bits and pieces off your own plate. If you’re giving your dog bits of soft, marinated steak off your table and then expecting them to eat rough, dry dog food later, you’re not helping the problem! 

Are certain breeds more predisposed to being picky eaters? 

Anyone who has ever met a Labrador knows that they’ll eat whatever they can get their teeth on. Some dogs are incredibly food motivated, but there are those that are the opposite. Tiny pups like Yorkshire Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, and the Maltese are known to be picky eaters and are prone to sensitive stomachs. 

When does picky eating become a problem?

If you feel your pet is a selective eater but their coat is sleek and shiny, they’re active and have plenty of energy, and they have a cheerful disposition, then it’s likely that they are getting more than enough dog food to support their energy levels and health.

It’s important to pay attention to your pet and their health and notice any changes, both in their physical condition and their personality. If their picky eating habits come with other signs and symptoms, then there could be something more to their fussiness and giving them dog food for picky eaters won’t help at all unless you figure out the root cause of their fusiness.