10 Best Tasting Dog Food For Picky Eaters (2020)

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

Last Update:

Imagine having to eat your least favourite food for every meal, every day. Chances are you’re going to be miserable at every mealtime and after a while you may prefer to go hungry instead. 

The same is true for pups! 

If your pup has been picking at their food and you’ve ruled out the most common explanations, it simply be that they dislike the taste of their food. 

We’ve personally tested these kibbles … Just kidding. We’ve done an in-depth analysis of the best tasting dog food for picky eaters, and although we’re focusing on taste here, health is always the most important thing. We’ve made sure they’re not only tasty, but good for your pooch too. 

Product Name
Best Overall For Most Dogs
Rank
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Adult Dog, Beef and Rice Formula, 40 Pound Bag (074198608331)
Instinct Raw Boost Senior Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature's Variety, 21 lb. Bag
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
Contains high levels of Omega fatty acids and glucosamine & chondroitin
Contains the full array of supplements and vitamins to benefit a senior dog
Organic fruits and veggies and high-quality meat sources
Pro 2
Contains superfood ingredients for extra antioxidants and health benefits
Contains L-carnitine, which supports a healthy and fast metabolism
Raw nutrition provides more flavour and texture for picky eaters
Best Overall For Most Dogs
Rank
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Adult Dog, Beef and Rice Formula, 40 Pound Bag (074198608331)
Rating
Our Rating 91 / 100
Pro 1
Contains high levels of Omega fatty acids and glucosamine & chondroitin
Pro 2
Contains superfood ingredients for extra antioxidants and health benefits
Custom Button
Best For Seniors
Rank
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Instinct Raw Boost Senior Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature's Variety, 21 lb. Bag
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Contains the full array of supplements and vitamins to benefit a senior dog
Pro 2
Contains L-carnitine, which supports a healthy and fast metabolism
Custom Button
Best Flavour Variations
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

10 Best Tasting Dog Food For Picky Eaters

Diamond Naturals Real Meat & Grain Recipe

Best Value For Money

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) 

This food from Diamond Naturals has all of the taste for half of the price. Not only is it a tasty option due to the mix of beef meal, egg product, and superfood fruits and veggies, but there are no artificial colours or flavours either, making this yummy, healthy, and super affordable. 

In addition to the amazing price tag, you’ll find superb levels of Omegas and joint-strengthening supplements in this kibble, equivalent to that of the higher-priced foods. 

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High-Quality Ingredients For Less Cash 

Beef meal is first on the list, which is a concentrated protein that is flavourful and high in protein. It does contain some gluten-free grains, but these also add to taste and texture and are perfectly healthy and nutritious for your fluff. Unlike most lower-priced, though, they don’t stop at the grains – they’ve added a bunch of superfood fruits and veggies which up the nutritional value of this kibble by quite a bit.

Instinct Raw Boost Senior Recipe

Best For Fussy Seniors

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 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 certain nutrients in order to live their best life, but they also need something that’s going to taste great and not put them off. This food does both of those things quite well. It contains high-protein kibble sprinkled with bits of raw, freeze-dried chicken for a little taste and texture thrill. 

Not only will it make your older guy or girl’s taste buds happy, it will provide them a dose of Omegas, probiotics, DHA, L-carnitine, and glucosamine and chondroitin to keep them as strong and healthy as possible. 

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Benefits Of Raw 

In terms of taste, having delicious, minimally processed bits of raw meat throughout gives little bursts of different taste in between the crunchy kibble. They are minimally processed, meaning they retain most of their natural nutrition and flavour. 

Of course, in terms of nutrition, this means that your pup is getting all goodness and no artificial junk. It may be in small doses, but it’s perfect for an extra boost without having to transition your older pup over to a whole new diet if you’re keen on the benefits of raw.

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Patties

Best Flavour Variety

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 

It’s great to find a product that ticks so many boxes for picky eaters – it’s tasty, textured, healthy, nutrient-dense, and comes in many flavours so your fussy pup won’t get bored. The fact that these dinner patties are minimally processed also ensures that they retain most of their nutritional value while still being flavourful and easy on the teeth and mouth.

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Raw Food In a Variety Of Flavours 

This is true blue raw feeding at its best – minimally processed, loaded with wholesome foods, and naturally preserved by freeze-drying. The protein and fat counts are far higher than average, and although it doesn’t state on the guaranteed analysis list, the ingredients suggest that the Omega fatty acid levels are high too. 

You (or your pooch) will be able to choose between beef, chicken, lamb, red meat, duck, rabbit, turkey, pork, venison & lamb, and they even have beef & salmon and chicken & salmon for puppies. 

No Additions – Including Supplements 

There are no added hormones, antibiotics, or artificial agreements. You also won’t find grains or gluten in these patties. 

The one thing that may not suit all dogs is that there are no added supplements such as DHA and EPA, L-carnitine, or glucosamine. If your dog needs any supplements, you’ll need to buy them separately.

Solid Gold Mighty Mini Small & Toy Breed

Best For Small Breeds

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 which helps for picky eaters 
  • 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 

Small breeds are generally high-energy little things and are also accepted to be more picky than their large breed counterparts. This food will satisfy their craving for something delicious, while providing them a super fat count for quick-access energy, superfoods filled with antioxidants and vitamins, and high-quality protein packed into a tiny kibble perfect for little jaws. 

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Nutritious & Delicious 

The mix of ingredients here include plenty of colourful, vitamin-packed superfoods, which adds a lot to the flavour. These also contribute a whole lot to the health of the immune system, which is what we’re really after in a dog food, even for picky eaters. 

The nutrient values are super for the little breeds (30% protein and 18% fat), and the only thing that may be seen as a downer is that there is no glucosamine in this food. Many small breeds need a dose of it to prevent joint dysplasia, so you will need to look at supplementing separately.

Acana Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Food

Best Limited Ingredient

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 food 

For dogs who need to be on a limited ingredient food, part of being a picky eater may be that they react badly to certain ingredients. This range of kibble from Acana will tickle your picky eater’s taste buds while providing them a host of healthy stuff – there is nothing missing from this kibble. 

The great thing is that if your pooch doesn’t enjoy the taste of one flavour, they have a bunch more to choose from, all as healthy as the other, making this a super option for pups on a restricted diet. 

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Great Taste Choice 

There is no way your pooch can get bored with the flavour range here. They can try Beef & Pumpkin, Duck & Pear, Lamb & Apple, Pork & Squash, or Turkey & Greens. No matter which one they like, though, it will be loaded with taste-rich, wholesome ingredients and you can rest assured there’s nothing artificial in any of them. 

Each flavour is based on your pup’s original canine diet, so it should appeal to their wild side and be a taste they naturally love. 

Packed With Great Stuff 

Each flavour contains a moderate to high amount of fat (31%), a high fat count (17%), and fantastic levels of glucosamine & chondroitin, Omegas, and DHA and EPA. This makes them pretty much perfect for dogs of all ages and sizes. 

Wellness Core Simply Shreds Tuna, Beef & Carrots

Best Kibble Topper

Wellness Core Simply Shreds Natural Grain Free Wet Dog Food Mixer Or Topper, Tuna, Beef & Carrots, 2.8-Ounce Pouch (12-Pack)
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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 dogs who are picky about their food simply need a little tasty topper to encourage them to eat. Picky eaters will forget to be fussy when this kibble topper is in their bowl – it’s made of nicely textured, delicious-tasting tuna and beef, with some soft, yummy veggies thrown in there for good, healthy measure. 

The biggest bonus of using this kibble topper is that it’s super low in calories, which means you don’t need a calorie-dense wet food to entice your pooch to eat. It’s also quite moisture-rich, which should coat your fluff’s kibble and have them cleaning out their bowl. 

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Low Calorie, Flavoursome Kibble Topper 

There are only 48 calories per serving of this topper, which means it can fit easily into any dog’s daily calorie goal. It doubles up as a snack, too, so it’s versatile as well as tasty and healthy. 

Tuna is also a more unusual flavour, which has a fairly strong smell and should be quite irresistible to your pup. Although the guaranteed analysis list doesn’t show it,  it also packs quite an Omega punch, so your pooch’s coat should look super sleek after eating this for a while. 

Extra Moisture 

There have been reports of this food being quite watery, which is not a problem at all – it’s kind of like a super-yummy gravy for your pup. If you are topping your dog’s kibble with this stuff, it will coat the kibble nicely and make it far more appealing to a fussy eater. 

While this is helpful to get your dog eating without a problem, it also gives a really nice little moisture-boost, which is always a good thing to keep your pooch hydrated. 

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best for Big Dogs

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, 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 
  • Three different-tasting recipes 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 

This kibble contains just the right amount of nutrition for an active large breed dog who happens to be picky about his food. The ingredients provide a great mix of wholesome real foods that provide a natural flavour – there are no artificial ingredients here at all. 

Three different recipes means that it’s extra easy to appease a pup with a picky appetite, without having to keep chopping and changing brands. Whatever flavour you’re feeding your large breed pooch, they’ll be getting all the nutrients they need while actually enjoying the taste of their kibble.

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Tasty, Textured, & Healthy Flavours 

Your pup can take their pick of chicken, duck, or salmon. It’s worth knowing that all recipes contain chicken meal, which will add to the tastiness but may upset some pups’ tummies. 

The quality of ingredients here contributes to the taste. These recipes are inspired by your pup’s ancestral way of eating, so the flavours are natural and all taken from the actual ingredients – nothing artificial. 

The addition of LifeSource Bits also add a slightly different texture and a different sized kibble, as well as adding a splash of extra vitamins and minerals for immune health. 

Nutritional Values 

Although there are a few different formulas, they all have the same nutritional content. 15% fat is a good, fairly moderate number for an active large breed, providing enough energy to see them through their days without any going to waste or leading to weight gain. 

Carbs like sweet potatoes and carrots not only give sustained energy, but also provide colour and natural flavour, as well as contributing to the texture of the food. 

34% protein is great to keep muscles strong. The protein also provides a good bit of the taste in these foods, and it comes from premium sources. You’ll also find Omega fatty acids and joint-strengthening glucosamine in this mix.

Rachel Ray Nutrish Dish Super Premium Dry Dog Food

Premium Option

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 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

When it comes to a combo of taste and health, you can trust an animal-loving foodie to get it right. As stated on the packaging, this food is filled with whole ingredients that you can actually see, which says a lot about its quality. The mix of kibble, meat pieces, and bits of real veggies make for an exciting, taste-filled meal for your pet. 

It’s well-rounded and healthy, and should go easy on your pup’s digestive system. It’s also suitable for dogs of all life stages and sizes. You won’t find anything artificial or synthetic here – only good, wholesome, real food ingredients that you can see and believe. 

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Needs Separate Supplementation 

This review is mostly about taste, and this food has it. The real, non-processed ingredients hold their flavour beautifully and make this anything but a boring meal for your pooch. 

It’s also a little about health, though, and although this is filled to the brim with health-promoting ingredients, it’s a little short on the extras. You’ll find a good calcium/phosphorus ratio, nice Omegas, and vitamin A and E, but if your pup needs DHA, EPA, L-carnitine, or glucosamine, you’ll have to find some to feed your fluff separately.

Honest Kitchen Human-Grade Dehydrated Organic Whole-Grain Turkey

Best Taste & Texture Combo

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 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 

Pups who are fussy eaters because of the texture of their food will love this offering from Honest Kitchen. It eliminates the crunchy hardness of kibble and instead gives a smooth, easy-on-the-mouth food texture, without sacrificing any of the taste and goodness. Not only will it feel and taste good, it’s also loaded with nutrition.

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Dehydration Process 

Many of the ingredients that go into this food are dehydrated, which is a gentle process that helps preserve the food. It serves the dual purpose of keeping them fresh for longer, and retaining most of the nutritional value, so your pup gets a fresh, nutrient-dense meal whenever they eat. 

It also requires rehydration before your fluff eats, which adds a bit of extra water to your pup’s daily intake, which is never a bad thing. 

Nutritious & Delicious 

The Honest Kitchen has various recipes, some with grains, some without, and with different protein sources. All of them, however, are considered human-grade, and if that doesn’t tell you the quality of this food, nothing will. 

It’s slightly high calorie and lower in protein and fat than most (22% and 15% for the turkey recipe we’ve linked to), and also doesn’t contain any supplemental vitamins or fatty acids. It’s a real baseline recipe that you can feed your dog knowing that they’ll be getting their proteins, fruits, and veggies, and you can add whatever else they may need on top of that.

Merrick Dry Puppy Food

Best For Fussy Puppies

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food - 12 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 

Even though puppies don’t have the most refined palate yet, some of them can be just as picky as adults when it comes to what goes into their little mouths. 

This puppy-specific food from Merrick has a great taste and texture due to the presence of antioxidant-rich superfood ingredients, gluten-free healthy grains, and high-quality protein sources. As well as the tastiness of this kibble, it’s got all a growing puppy might need – DHA, joint-fortifying glucosamine, high Omega levels, and a great calcium/phosphorus ratio. 

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Well-Rounded Food For Growing Puppies 

The ingredient list is top quality, although it only comes in one flavour, so if your puppy doesn’t like chicken you will need to find something else. Brown rice, oatmeal, barley and quinoa are super quality grains that aid in digestion and add to the taste and texture when your pooch chews on these pellets. 

The superfood fruits and veggies add vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and give a nice immune system boost, in addition to bringing a whole lot of great taste themselves. 

The kibble is smaller in size to cater for little jaws, and it’s got all the stuff a growing puppy needs to develop into a healthy, happy adult. DHA helps the brain and eyes to develop properly, glucosamine and chondroitin build strong joints from puppyhood, and the calcium/phosphorus ratio ensures that your little one will grow at the right pace.


Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation

Criteria 1 – Ingredient Quality

No matter what we’re analysing in a food, the quality of the ingredients that go into it is the number one most important factor. 

What we’re talking about here is the use of real, high-quality animal protein sources that are either 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. 

We’ll be checking out the actual flavouring of the food, to make certain it’s natural and isn’t caused by an artificial flavouring agent. No matter how much of a picky eater your dog is, finding a nicely flavoured food should definitely not come at the expense of their health, so this criterion is at the top of our list. 

Criteria 2 – Protein Source & Flavour

The protein source in your pup’s food will not only contribute quite a bit to the flavour and taste, it will also contribute quite a lot to your pup’s muscle mass and general health and wellbeing. 

As we stated above, the main protein source should be an animal protein, as they’re not only packed with far more amino acids than plant proteins, they’re also naturally more strongly flavoured. We’ve also tried to stick to foods that contain just one or two meat sources – while more sources are not a problem at all, if you have too many different proteins making up the food, flavour can become a bit of a tricky thing. Just one or two sources makes it quite a bit easier to stick to that “chicken” or “salmon” taste without having to add extras into the food to enhance it.

Included in this criteria is the protein count number – although we’re focusing mainly on taste here, it’s still essential that your pup gets the necessary nutrients to keep them strong and healthy. 

Criteria 3 – Added Extras

While the taste may be the thing that gets your pup to happily chew on the kibble, the food needs to provide more than simply a nice flavour. 

Different breeds have different needs, as do different ages and life stages. Many foods out there contain extra additions that are helpful for certain types of dogs. In fact, many of these additions are things that your pup shouldn’t go without, so we’ve made sure the dog foods we’ve reviewed on this list contain all the good stuff. 

These include things 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 puppies and seniors. 

While most foods that tailor to certain breeds or ages do contain these, there are still those that don’t, but they should not be sacrificed for taste! 

Criteria 4 – Texture & Size of Kibble

Sometimes the texture and kibble size or shape can contribute to your pup’s disinterest in that particular kibble. Dogs have far more sensitive senses than we do, so it may be that the taste is all right for them but the texture of a specific kibble might not work for them. In the same vein, your pooch might be reluctant to chew their pellets because the kibbles are too big for them and hurt their mouth. 

We’ve added this criteria as it’s worth considering in addition to simply the taste of a food, and it can make a big difference in terms of your dog’s happiness with the food they’re eating. 

You’ll find foods of a few different textures on this list, so there’s something for everyone here. We’ve also had a bit of a word about kibble size, who it’s best for, and if there are any potential issues to look out for.

Criteria 5 – Affordability

Pups and their parents are a team. They make our lives better, and we look after them and make sure they have all they need. That means that it’s up to us to choose a food that will be good for them and improve their health. 

For some of us, this is a pressure decision because there are a whole lot of high-priced dog foods out there. Of course, these are great quality foods, but just a brief look around is enough to make us worry about if we’re going to be afford something healthy and high-quality for our dogs

That’s what this criteria is for – to show that it’s totally possible to find super quality food out there for decent prices. We’re all about making pup and human happy, and this one is more for the benefit of the humans, but in turn, a happier pet parent makes for a happier pet. 

You’ll find info about the affordability of each food in the pros and cons, and again – there’s something for everyone here, so no matter where you are most comfortable on the price spectrum, you’ll find something of premium quality right there. 


Questions & Answers

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

Dogs can be so similar to humans in some ways, and their reasons for being picky eaters is one of those ways. Some of these reasons can be more serious than others, and some can be quite simple. 

Most pet parents don’t realise that their pup could simply be bored with his food, or not enjoy the taste of it. Remember, pooches eat the same old stuff every day, twice or more a day – it really isn’t hard to understand that they may be a little bored with it! They also don’t really get a say about flavours or textures – we choose what they eat. 

Seeing as they can’t tell us that they aren’t enjoying it, they’re stuck with it, but their displeasure  may show itself in the form of them being very picky about their food. If you feed your pooch tidbits off your plate and they’re quite happy to scoff those but they’re less happy with their kibble, that’s a sign that they probably aren’t enjoying their own food very much. 

Apart from the taste, the 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. 

More serious things that could be contributing include food allergies or intolerances, medical conditions, dental issues or injuries to the mouth. It’s important that you observe your pup to figure out what the issue is. 

Other things that are less serious but still could be contributing are if your pup’s routine has changed, or if there’s recently been a big change such as a move. Changes in your dog’s environment or routine can upset their eating habits for a little while, but they’ll get back on track as they get more comfy with the changes. 

What can I do to help prevent picky eating? 

One of the easiest things to do if your pooch is reluctant to eat their food is to change their kibble. Choose a different flavour and texture, while making sure that the quality is high. This could be the key to fixing this problem, as it may remove any ingredients that your pet could be allergic to and make it easier on their tummy, or simply give them a new exciting flavour. 

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 kibble later, you’re not helping the problem! 

That’s not to say you shouldn’t give your pup treats. But it’s a good idea to stick to pet treats and avoid giving your pup human food as little snacks. Also, if you can, stick to certain times of day or occasions to give treats. For example, when you arrive home from work, give your  pooch a treat, or when you leave for work in the morning. When training, give a treat when your pet gets something right. Apart from that, don’t just dish them out liberally.

Sticking to a routine with mealtimes as well as treats helps your pet to start getting a feel for when they’re getting food, and not anticipate too many snacky nuggets in between that could disrupt their regular eating schedule.

Are certain breeds more predisposed to being picky eaters? 

While there are often external causes for your pup being choosy about their food, sometimes it comes as part and parcel of being a certain breed. 

Anybody 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 and the Maltese are known to be fussy eaters and are prone to sensitive stomachs. 

Every single dog is different, though, so don’t assume that your pooch is going to be picky (or not) just because they’re a certain breed. It’s worth doing your research on the breed,

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 food to support their energy levels and health.

If, however, your pooch is looking listless, is suffering from dry fur and skin, itching and unexplained licking, has low energy levels and seems depressed (all in addition to being a fussy eater), then there could be a problem.

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. 

What sort of health conditions could contribute to my pup being a picky eater? 

One of the most common things that can cause pups to go off their food is dental problems. They may not seem apparent to us humans, but having a sore mouth can be a huge deterrent when it comes to eating. If your pet’s breath is bad, this could be something that they’re suffering from. It could be gum disease or it could be tooth decay, but either way, a trip to the vet is a good idea to help relieve the pain and fix the problem.

Digestive problems could also be the culprit. Food allergies or intolerances can put your pup off eating, because they’re anticipating the feeling that comes later. It’s worth doing some experimenting to figure out if there are certain ingredients that your dog is sensitive to. Once you have an idea of what they react badly to, it’s relatively easy to avoid these ingredients. 

To narrow down the list of medical conditions that could contribute to a loss of appetite or a change in appetite would be quite a feat. In general, pain or discomfort is a big cause of fussy eating, and that could really come from anything. Only a visit to the vet can really determine any possible health conditions that could be causing this in your pooch. 

What should I be looking for in the best tasting dog food for picky eaters?

The base of all great dog foods should be high-quality, wholesome, real-food ingredients. Just this alone can go a very long way towards keeping your fluff healthy, fit, and happy. 

If you are aware of certain ingredients that your dog doesn’t enjoy or reacts badly to, you should definitely be looking for a food that doesn’t contain those ingredients. Don’t be fooled by the flavour on the front of the packaging – “beef” doesn’t necessarily mean the absence of chicken, for example. You’ll need to check out the ingredient list to be sure it doesn’t contain the suspect ingredient.

What you’ll look for also depends on your dog. Certain breeds are prone to joint problems and need a dose of glucosamine and chondroitin. Others have long, lustrous coats and would benefit from a really nice level of Omega fatty acids. Puppies need DHA and EPA for optimal growth and development. 

The less the food is processed, the better. There should also be no artificial stuff in there, so you’ll be looking for natural preservatives, flavourants, and colouring. By-products are also something you’ll want to stay away from. 

Will switching to a raw diet help reduce my dog’s fussiness about food? 

In some cases, this could make a difference, but it’s not an automatic fix. Raw food isn’t processed as kibble is, so the risk of having artificial stuff in there is low. 

If you would like to give it a try, here’s a handy guide to getting started. You will need to remember that food allergies don’t just go away with raw food – if your dog has  an allergy to beef, you’ll need to avoid it even when raw feeding. 

Raw food may also be more naturally flavoursome that kibble, so if your pooch is simply fussy about taste, it could help. The texture is also completely different to kibble, so if that’s a problem for your pet when it comes to eating pellets, a raw diet could entice them to eat. 

You will need to experiment, though, and still keep an eye on your pup’s eating habits even if you do switch them over.