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Best dog food for picky eaters

Best dog food for picky eaters

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Best dog food for picky eaters

Dogs don't only get bored of certain flavors, they also get bored of the way they're being fed. If you haven't already, try swapping out the food bowl for a plate or other flat surface.

Dog food for picky eaters

As a dog owner, you want to make sure your pup is taking in the vital nutrients it needs to thrive. This gets complicated, however, when your furry friend seems to turn up their nose at everything you put in front of them. If you currently have or have ever had picky dogs, you know the painstaking, time-consuming efforts it takes to get them to eat a complete meal. You and your pup deserve to have an effortless and enjoyable mealtime, so to help out, we’ve compiled this list of the best dog foods for picky eaters.

What to consider when choosing dog food for a picky eater

While taste is obviously a huge factor in determining the right food for a picky dog, it’s important to consider your pup's life stage, breed size, diet and type of food when determining what to feed them.

Life Stage

Puppy: Puppies are very active and need to consume more calories than adult dogs. They also need to consume more protein, fat, calcium and phosphorus.  

Senior: Senior dogs typically require fewer calories, so their foods should be lower in caloric density and protein and higher in fiber, omega-3s and antioxidants.

Breed Size

Small: Dogs under 22 pounds may need more calorie-dense formulas than larger dogs, as they have smaller stomachs.

Large/giant: Dogs over 60 pounds may need formulas that are developed to support joints and bone health.


Organic: While typically more expensive, organic dog foods are made without artificial colors and flavors.

Human-grade: Human-grade dog food is food that is safe for human consumption.

Vegetarian/vegan: Vegetarian and vegan dog food is typically made with chickpeas, peas or beans as a source of protein.

Low-fat/low-protein/grain-free: These diets should only be followed at the recommendation of a veterinarian.

Type of Food

Dry: Dry dog food is the most common type of dog food and is typically formulated with a combination of protein, fruits and/or vegetables, and grains.

Wet: When combined with dry dog food, wet dog food offers some textural variety that may incentivize your pup to eat more.

Fresh/homemade: If you choose to put your dog on a diet of fresh or homemade food, the American Kennel Club recommends using trusted sources, like, for vet-approved recipes to make sure your meals are properly balanced and consist of safe ingredients. You can also use a vet-formulated meal service like The Farmer’s Dog.

Raw: Some dog owners choose to feed their dogs the kind of food their ancestors ate for years: raw food. Most raw dog foods are available in either frozen and freeze-dried form.

Dehydrated: Dehydrated dog foods are minimally processed and are heated to kill bacteria.

Dog food cost

According to the AKC, the average cost of dog food per year is around $120-$900.

Best dry dog food for picky eaters

Best of the best

Stella and Chewy’s Cage-Free Chicken Raw Coated Kibble: available at Amazon

Our take: A tasty, nutrient-rich dry dog food made in the USA.

What we like: Baked with freeze-dried raw chicken, organic fruits and vegetables and omega fatty acids, this is minimally processed and easily digestible.

What we dislike: More expensive than some of its competitors.

Best bang for your buck

IAMS Proactive Health Adult Minichunks: available at Amazon, Chewy and PetSmart

Our take: A popular, flavorsome dry dog food that contains antioxidants, fibers and prebiotics.

What we like: It's made with farm-raised chicken, omega-6 fatty acids and essential nutrients.

What we dislike: It may take a few tries to find the right flavor for your dog.

Best wet food for picky dogs

Best of the best 

Wellness CORE Natural Wet Grain-Free Canned Dog Food: available at Amazon, Chewy and PetSmart

Our take: A delicious, canned wet dog food made with fillers or artificial ingredients.

What we like: High in premium protein and nutritional supplements.

What we dislike: This needs to be opened with a can opener, and some dislike the way the product texture seems to have changed over the years.

Best bang for your buck

Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Canned Dog Food: available at Chewy

Our take: A vet-approved, appealing, canned wet dog food made from wholesome ingredients.

What we like: Slow-cooked in the U.S. and loaded with fatty acids and vitamin E, most picky eaters seem to enjoy the flavor and texture.

What we dislike: Some report shipment issues, damage or dents.

Best frozen or freeze-dried food for picky dogs

Best of the best

Tylee's Human-Grade Beef Recipe Frozen Dog Food: available at Chewy

Our take: A tasty, beef-based frozen dog food that comes fully cooked.

What we like: This food is minimally processed and formulated with human-grade meat and vegetables.

What we dislike: Some larger chunks may be harder to digest.

Best bang for your buck

Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals Real Beef Recipe Dog Food, available at Amazon, Chewy and PetSmart

Our take: A delicious, beef-based frozen dog food with freeze-dried raw ingredients.

What we like: This food's 85% protein, 15% non-GMO fruit and vegetable formula is free of artificial ingredients and is U.S.-made.

What we dislike: Some report an unpleasant smell.  

Best dog food mixers for picky eaters

Best of the best 

Stella and Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Meal Mixers: available at Amazon and Chewy

Our take: A delicious, well-loved, freeze-dried meal mixer made in the U.S.

What we like: Formulated with 95% cage-free, hormone-free chicken, as well as organic fruits and veggies and probiotics, it's free from artificial preservatives and colorings.

What we dislike: More expensive than some of its competitors.

Best bang for your buck

Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Mixers: available at Amazon, Chewy and PetSmart

Our take: An appetizing freeze-dried meal mixer to make your dog's food more appealing.

What we like: Made in the U.S, these mixers are formulated with cage-free chicken and non-GMO fruits and vegetables. They also contain fiber and live probiotics that aid digestion, and are made without artificial color and flavors.

What we dislike: Some say dogs lose interest in these over time.

Sydney Poe is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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