10 Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters
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There are many reasons why your dog might be finicky when it comes to eating. Dogs can be picky if their regular food isn’t satisfying them, and because dogs possess a keen sense of smell, certain types of food may be more appealing to finicky eaters.
The good news is that even though your dog may be a picky eater, there are ways you can encourage him to eat healthy. In this article we will go over the top 10 best dog food for picky eaters.
Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters
1. Open Farm Grass-Fed Beef Rustic Stew Wet Dog Food
2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
3. Crave Grain-Free Adult Dry Food
4. The Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food
5. ROYAL CANIN LARGE DIGESTIVE CARE DRY DOG FOOD
6. Nulo Freestyle Puppy Grain-Free Salmon & Peas Recipe Dry Dog Food
7. Instinct by Nature's Variety Frozen Raw Bites Grain-Free Real Beef Recipe Dog Food
8. The Farmer’s Dog Beef Recipe
9. Merrick Lil' Plates Grain-Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe with Freeze-Dried Raw Bites Dry Dog Food
10. NOM NOM BEEF MASH RECIPE
3,599 kcal/kg, 409 kcal/cup
Why is My Dog a Picky Eater?
There are many different reasons why dogs might be picky eaters. One of the most common reasons is that a dog’s diet is based on their genetics. If you feed your dog the right type of food, he will usually finish it in a short amount of time. If your dog does not clean his bowl within a certain amount of time, it can be an indication that he is a picky eater.
Another sign that your dog may be a picky eater is if he refuses to eat his own food but will eat human table scraps. If there are any changes to your dog’s appetite that last more than 24 hours, don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian for help.
The Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters Reviewed
Open Farm Grass-Fed Beef Rustic Stew Wet Dog Food
- Protein: 8.0% Min
- Fat: 6.0% Min
- Fiber: 2.0% Max
- Moisture: 82.0 Max
- Calories: 1000 kcal/cup
- Wild Pacific salmon as the first ingredient
- Herring and salmon oils for omega fatty acids
- No animal by-products or vaguely named ingredients
- Contains a significant number of plant-based ingredients
- Doesn’t contain the moisture your dog needs
Open Farm’s ingredients are all 100% human-grade and ethically sourced. Open Farm Wild-Caught Salmon & Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food features wild Pacific salmon as the first ingredient, followed by ocean whitefish meal and ocean herring meal. While it may not be a single-source protein recipe, it is rich in species-appropriate animal-based protein and healthy fats.
In addition to being loaded with animal-based protein, this Open Farm formula contains herring oil and salmon oil as natural sources for omega fatty acids, though it’s worth noting that the first source of added fat is plant-based (coconut oil).
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Protein: 34% Min
- Fat: 15% Min
- Fiber: 6% Max
- Moisture: 10% Max
- Calories: 3,599 kcal/kg, 409 kcal/cup
- Uniquely formulated for the protein and energy needs of large breed dogs
- Rich in healthy fats for healthy skin and coat plus energy
- Supplemented with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for nutritional balance
- Kibble pieces are small
- Price on the high side
This enriched with a balanced blend of antioxidant-rich LifeSource Bits, vitamins, and minerals. These are processed at a lower temperature than other ingredients to preserve their effectiveness and avoid degradation. It also contains real meat providing lean protein, fruits, and vegetables to meet the exceptional needs of your growing Huskies.
Moreover, it also contains DHA for the cognitive development of your dog and supports the immune system and general well-being of puppies. Furthermore, it is rich in protein. This formula contains no grain, chicken by-product meals, corn, soy, wheat, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
Crave Grain-Free Adult Dry Food
- Protein: 34% Min
- Fat: 17% Min
- Fiber: 3.5% Max
- Calories: 442 kcal/cup
- Protein-rich, grain-free food
- Cooked and processed in U.S. facilities
- No chicken by-product meal, soy, corn or wheat, artificial flavors, colors/preservatives.
- Strong smelling food
- Small size kibble pieces
Crave dog food is a 34% high-protein diet that was inspired by the diets of dogs' ancestors. Dogs thrive on a high-quality animal protein diet that supports a strong lean body. All Crave recipes are grain-free with quality carbohydrate sources, such as chickpeas, to help provide the energy to run and play.
Feeding your pup a diet inspired by his ancestors means feeding him a diet that's rich in animal proteins and full of flavor. Each Crave formula contains no chicken by-product meal; no corn, wheat or soy protein; no artificial flavors or colors; and no artificial preservatives.
The Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food
- Protein: 24% Min
- Fat: 15% Min
- Fiber: 6.5% Max
- Calories: 446 kcal/cup
- Made with human grade ingredient
- Complete & Balanced nutrition for adult dogs of all breeds
- No preservatives, by-products, fillers, GMO ingredients, corn, wheat or soy
- Price on the high side
- On the watery side
The Honest Kitchen believes human grade, whole foods provide pets the best nutrition possible. This grain free recipe is made with uncompromising quality control standards using real, whole food ingredients, like free range chicken, that are gently dehydrated to maintain nutrients & taste. To meet our 100% human grade standard, we use the same whole food ingredients you’d recognize in your own kitchen, and make this food in a human food facility.
Just add warm water and wait three minutes for a fresher, homemade meal that you and your pets will love! Founded in 2002, Honest Kitchen was the first human grade food for pets, and they believe that real, whole foods provide pets with the best nutrition possible.
ROYAL CANIN LARGE DIGESTIVE CARE DRY DOG FOOD
- Protein: 26% Min
- Fat: 16% Min
- Fiber: 3.8% Max
- Moisture: 10% Max
- Do not need a prescription
- Formulated for large dogs 15 months and up
- Optimal blend of proteins, prebiotics, & dietary fibers
- Contains Pea fiber
- Kibble pieces are very large
Royal Canin Large Digestive Care Dry Dog Food is formulated for large dogs with sensitive digestive. No prescription is necessary for this food. This formula is one of Royal Canin’s foods for dogs with special needs. It is made for dogs that weigh between 56 and 100 pounds.
This diet is specially formulated with a blend of prebiotics and fibers to support healthy digestion. These prebiotics and a special blend of fibers promote a balanced intestinal flora and optimal stool quality. In fact, 97% of large dogs fed Digestive Care had optimal stool quality, a clear sign of positive digestion health.
Nulo Freestyle Puppy Grain-Free Salmon & Peas Recipe Dry Dog Food
- Protein: 30% Min
- Fat: 17% Min
- Fiber: 4% Max
- Calories: 428 kcal/cup
- A grain-free puppy formula free of chicken or egg proteins
- Contains 80% animal-based proteins and DHA from real salmon that growing puppies need
- Wholesome vegetables and fruits to support optimal immune health
- Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids will give your pup brilliant skin and coat
- Doesn't agree with some puppies
- Contains flavoring
This food was created by nutritionists, vets and food formulators who know that cats and dogs are carnivores who thrive on meat. These protein-rich diets have proteins from animal sources as the first 3-4 ingredients. Low-carb and low-glycemic ingredients provide stable energy levels, while the proprietary GanedenBC30 probiotic aids digestive and immune health. Plus, they’re made without pea protein, white potatoes, corn, tapioca, wheat or soy.
This recipe is made with animal-based proteins for muscle, low carbs for a healthy weight, and probiotics for immune support are just a few of the ways each recipe provides your pet with a healthy start at every meal.
Instinct by Nature's Variety Frozen Raw Bites Grain-Free Real Beef Recipe Dog Food
- Protein: 13% Min
- Fat: 8% Min
- Fiber: 2% Max
- Calories: 182 kcal/cup
- Minimally processed, never cooked
- Promote lean muscles, healthy teeth and gums
- Protein-packed recipe with natural beef, non-GMO vegetables & fruits
- No grains or fillers
- Strong smelling
- Doesn't freeze well
- Defrosting can be messy
Instinct Raw frozen recipes deliver raw meat, fruits, vegetables and the wholesome ingredients your pet needs, all in a complete and balanced meal. It’s how pet food should be made—with real ingredients you can recognize. Raw foods retain more of the natural flavors, valuable antioxidants, amino acids, and vitamins and minerals your pet needs to stay healthy and thrive. Plus, they’re naturally more bioavailable, so the body gets more nutrients it can actually use.
Instinct gives you a variety of ways to incorporate raw into your pet’s diet. Their raw recipes are crafted in their own kitchens in Lincoln, Nebraska, to ensure the highest standards in quality and food safety according to SQF standards.
The Farmer’s Dog Beef Recipe
- Protein: 11.0% Min
- Fat: 8.0% Min
- Fiber: 1.7% Max
- Moisture: 66% Max
- Meals are pre-portioned
- Food is tested on humans
- You can mix and match all recipes
- Flexible subscription options
- Price on the high side as compared to other fresh dog foods
- Only 3 flavors to choose from
- Packaging is not easy to open
All of The Farmer’s Dog meals are made fresh in USDA certified kitchens and comply with AAFCO standards. Meals are formulated by board-certified veterinary nutritionists to include proteins like turkey, beef, and pork, vegetables like carrots, kale, cauliflower, and other starches and grains. These items are cooked at low temperatures to ensure they do not lose their nutritional values.
After providing your dog’s age, breed, size, activity level, and health issues ( if any) and then they will recommend the 14 day meal plan designed for your dog. The Farmers Dog currently offers three different recipes that include protein sources of beef, chicken, and turkey. The Farmer’s Dog will send your next order out when you have between 2 and 9 days left on your current food.
Merrick Lil' Plates Grain-Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe with Freeze-Dried Raw Bites Dry Dog Food
- Protein: 38% Min
- Fat: 17% Min
- Fiber: 3.5% Max
- Calories: 412 kcal/cup
- Protein-rich and high in fat to support the faster metabolism of small breeds
- Plenty of healthy fats for energy and healthy skin and coat
- Smaller kibble size for small breed dogs to eat more easily
- Somewhat expensive compared to other brands
- High protein content may not be good for dogs with kidney problems
Small breed dogs have very fast metabolisms which means that they burn through calories more quickly than larger breeds. A high-protein and high-fat recipe like this Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Small Breed Recipe is a great choice because it provides for these needs while also being made with high-quality ingredients.
This formula is made with both fresh chicken and chicken meal to ensure high levels of protein with healthy fats like chicken fat and flaxseed oil for essential fatty acids. It also contains chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption and probiotics for digestion. Plus, it is made in a smaller kibble size for your small-breed dog’s small mouth.
NOM NOM BEEF MASH RECIPE
- Protein: 8% Min
- Fat: 4% Min
- Fiber: 1% Max
- Moisture: 77% Max
- Calories: (kcal/kg) 1239
- Very easy to order
- Smells and looks like real food
- Pre-portioned servings
- Veterinary nutritionist ensures meals are nutritionally balanced
- It is on the pricey side
- Must be refrigerated
- Packets can be difficult to open
Nom Nom’s meals are made with restaurant-quality ingredients, no artificial preservatives or fillers and portions are optimized to provide your dog with the ideal balance for his age, weight, activity level, breed, as well as any known health issues.
Your Nom Nom subscription will be determined ultimately by the size of your dog, which is all calculated when you create your dog’s profile. Nom Nom provides meal choices which include beef, turkey, chicken, and pork recipes. They also offer a variety pack to allow your dog to choose his favorite.
What Kind of Food Should You Feed Picky Eaters?
A variety of flavors and textures might be best to feed your dog, depending on what works for him. If your dog isn’t eating his dog food, there are ways to make it more appetizing by adding different flavors or adding small amounts of cooked chicken, beef, or low sodium broth.
Even though vegetable oils and other plant-based ingredients can be healthier for your dog, most foods contain a fairly high amount of crude fat. This makes food taste great to dogs and helps maintain weight. Look for animal-based fats when choosing your pup’s food and he’ll appreciate the added flavor more than anything else.
Some dogs like the taste and texture of wet food, so you could try a canned alternative to his dry kibble. Wet foods usually have a higher meat content proportionally too, which can make them more palatable. Your dog may also enjoy mixed wet food in with their dry kibble.
Compared to high calorie foods, lower calorie diets will be tastier for you and your dog. This is because your dog needs to consume less kcal to reach his daily requirement. To find a diet with more kcal, compare the kcal/kg or kcal/cup on the ingredient list.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing the best dog food for a picky pup, as each breed and dog size has different dietary needs. Start by looking at a recipe tailored specifically for your dog, whether it’s a small breed or a large one and then choosing a quality food made with whole meat or meat meal proteins.
Of course, there are many kinds of dog food to try giving your dog and it may take some trial and error to find the right one.