Best Tasting Dog Food for Picky Eaters in 2024

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dog eating licking

So, you’ve got a fussy eater on your hands.

If your dog turns up their nose at everything you serve, dumps their food out of their bowl, or walks away, you may be desperate to get them to eat anything.

But what’s the best tasting dog food for picky eaters? 

My personal choice is The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Dehydrated dog food. 

It’s high in protein and made with human-grade ingredients — so your dog won’t be able to tell the difference between their plate and yours. 

But there are other terrific options for dogs that need a little extra support — including seniors and pups with sensitive tummies

Best Budget Option
Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Beef
Purina Pro Plan High Protein

Real beef as #1 ingredient

Texture with tender shredded bites

Fortified with live probiotics

Best Overall
The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Dehydrated Chicken
The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated

100% human-grade recipe

Suitable for adult dogs and puppies

Natural and made in the USA

Best Premium Option
Zignature Turkey LID Formula
Zignature Turkey Formula LID

Made with farm-raised turkey

Limited ingredient formula

Free of potential canine allergens

Our Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters

10 Best Dog Foods for Picky Eaters Reviewed 

The formulas listed below follow the AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines, so they will nourish even the pickiest eater. 

Best for Adults

The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Dehydrated Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Dehydrated Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Dehydrated Chicken, Organic Barley, Dehydrated Potatoes, Organic Flaxseed, Organic Oats
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 24.5% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 8% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 485 kcal/cup,
  • Key Feature: Human-grade and non-GMO dog food

Even fussy eaters love table scraps. There’s just something about human food that makes them beg and plead.

If your pup doesn’t like their regular kibble and eyes your food instead, give them dog food made with human-grade ingredients. 

The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Dehydrated dog food offers whole foods that provide your pet with some of the best nutrition possible. And all of the ingredients are high-quality, raw, or fresh ingredients that even you could eat. 

This whole grain recipe starts with free-range and farm-raised chicken, which provides plenty of protein and glucosamine for healthy muscles and joints. After that, barley and potatoes are easy-to-digest carbs for sensitive tummies — while bananas add flavor and potassium. 

The Honest Kitchen is made in a human food facility. This means higher quality ingredients and more safety standards. So your dog is truly getting some of the best nutrition possible.

And it’s made without by-products, preservatives, fillers, or GMO ingredients. It’s also free of corn, wheat, and soy. 

If your dog is picky about the consistency of food, they’ll love the texture of The Honest Kitchen when it’s rehydrated. To serve, just add warm water and wait three minutes for a fresh-tasting meal. 

Dog owners love that this food doesn’t contain byproducts, and many say that their pups love the texture. However, some have mentioned that it may cause looser stool in dogs due to being a “wet” type of food. 

Best for Puppies

Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Puppy Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Merrick Backcountry Freeze Dried Raw Puppy
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Turkey Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 30% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 11% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 396 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein puppy food with freeze-dried raw bites for extra vitamins 

The most easy-going puppy can still be a picky eater. But every growing dog needs proper nutrition to support healthy muscle growth, brain development, and joint support.

If you’re having a hard time getting your young dog to eat their food, try Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Puppy. 

This formula entices even the pickiest of puppies because it features a combination of real, freeze-dried raw-coated kibble and freeze-dried raw bites. These offer plenty of flavor and texture, making the dry food easier to eat. 

The recipe starts with real deboned chicken as the first ingredient, offering taurine and chondroitin — two essential vitamins in muscle maintenance and joint health. 

Salmon offers extra protein and omega fatty acids to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat. And salmon oil provides better flavor plus can aid in a healthy digestive system. 

Because this formula is grain-free, it’s also great for pups with sensitive tummies. 

Merrick Backcountry freeze-dried food is cooked in the US in Merrick’s Hereford, TX kitchen. 

Pet parents noted that this food works well with their picky eater, but many also stated that their vets didn’t like this food for their dog since it was grain-free.

While grain-free can work well for many dogs, your dog may need grains to avoid heart problems — so keep in mind that this food doesn’t contain grains.

Best for Seniors

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Senior Canned Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Basics LID Grain Free Turkey Senior Wet
  • First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Broth, Potatoes, Flaxseed, Pea Protein
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 7% Crude Protein, 6% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 488 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: Grain-free and limited ingredient dog food with glucosamine for joint support

While your dog may not have been picky when they were younger, aging can change their taste buds. Many senior dogs can’t chew their kibble as well and may have even lost a bit of their sense of smell and taste — making most foods unappetizing. 

If so, try canned food that’s also made exclusively for seniors. 

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Senior dog food is made using a single animal protein — deboned turkey.

This is great for senior dogs with metabolism and digestive issues while also offering glucosamine for mobility and limber joints. 

Turkey broth is added for moisture and flavor, which can entice even the pickiest eater. And potatoes and pumpkin keep your senior regular and provide essential vitamins like vitamin A for eye health. 

This recipe doesn’t contain chicken, beef, dairy, eggs, grain, or by-product meals. It’s also free of corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, and preservatives. 

Pet moms and dads recommend this food if your dog is gassy or has stinky poops. And they love that it’s made with digestion-friendly ingredients. 

Best for Small Breeds

Tylee’s Human-Grade Beef Recipe Frozen Dog Food

Tylee's Human-Grade Beef Recipe Frozen
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef Heart, Beef, Beef Liver, Broccoli, Zucchini
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 12% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 72% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 171 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein and human-grade fresh dog food

Tylee’s Human-Grade Beef Recipe dog food is perfect for owners who want the benefits of a homemade meal without any of the prep work or hassle. 

Each formula is made with human-grade and fresh ingredients, just like you’d find in your kitchen. And, the food size makes it easy for small breeds to eat. 

The beef recipe starts with USDA beef heart and liver — providing B vitamins for energy and iron for growth and development. 

Fresh sweet potatoesmango, and zucchini offer fiber for easy digestion and a delicious taste. And omega fatty acids from salmon oil and cod liver oil will help your small breed stay flexible and energetic. 

Each ingredient in this formula is minimally processed to retain their natural fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. After formulation, the food is frozen, so all you do is defrost and serve your pup. 

Tylee’s Human-Grade dog food is crafted in the US. Each formula is free of corn, wheat, soy, by-product meals, or artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.  

Pet owners choose this option when their dogs are allergic to beef. And, many choose this as a senior food too, due to the soft food chunks.

Best Fresh Food

Ollie Lamb Dog Food

Ollie Lamb
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Butternut Squash, Lamb Liver, Kale, Rice
  • Guaranted Analysis: (wet matter basis)  10% Crude Protein, 1% Crude Fat, 2% Crude Fiber, 74% Moisture
  • Caloric Content:  1804 kcal/kg
  • Key Feature: High-protein freshly made dog food with human-grade ingredients  
Get 50% OFF your first Ollie order!

If your pup prefers to eat off your plate versus from their own bowl, you may be looking for an option that helps you both.

Luckily, fresh dog food has become a big hit over the last few years amongst dogs and their parents. And Ollie offers a human-grade diet that you can customize for your picky eater. 

This fresh dog food is made with human-grade ingredients that you would find in your fridge. For example, their lamb formula contains real deboned lamb, lamb liverbutternut squash, and kale.

To get started with Ollie, you’ll need to take their quick quiz. They’ll ask questions about your dog’s height, weight, and potential allergies. Once you finish, Ollie will calculate your dog’s protein, fat, and calorie needs for their perfect diet. 

They’ll let you choose from four different recipes — lamb, beef, turkey, and chicken. You can also select a combination of the four to test different flavors. 

Once you’ve made your choice, Ollie will ship the food fresh right to your doorstep every 2 to 4 weeks. And it comes with a feeding guide, scoop, and portioned for easy feeding! 

Dog owners with picky pups love that they can customize this food. They say their picky pups eat it all and are known to even ask for seconds.

Best for Large Breeds

Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces Dry Dog Food

Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Real Beef Freeze Dried
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, White Fish Meal, Herring Meal, Chicken Fat, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 36% Crude Protein, 21% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 9% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 499 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Grain-free and high-protein dog food for large picky eaters

Larger breeds need more protein, fat, and high-quality calories to keep up with their substantial joints and muscles. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe has all of that with a taste that will entice a picky eater. 

The first ingredient is USA-raised beef — a high-quality animal protein that helps build strong and lean muscles.

This formula also has freeze-dried raw beef heart and kidney for extra iron and glucosamine for healthy joints. And, Instinct is a trusted and highly acclaimed source, so you can feel safe feeding your pup their raw kibble. 

Chicken fat and Menhaden fish meal offer higher levels of omegas for healthy skin and a shiny coat. These ingredients add an extra flavor boost for dogs that don’t enjoy dry kibble. 

While this formula is grain-free, it does include peas and pumpkin seeds. These offer natural prebiotic fiber and other vitamins that help with digestive health and keep larger dogs satiated. 

Instinct Raw Boost is also free of potato, corn, wheat, soy, and by-product meals. It doesn’t include any artificial colors or preservatives either.

Dog owners admit that this food works well with their dogs, but they also tend to get bored with it. While this is common amongst picky eaters, you may want to switch out the flavors of this food.

Best Budget Food

Purina Pro Plan Adult Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Beef
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Corn Gluten Meal, Poultry By-Product Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 360 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High protein dry dog food with real beef for dog owners on a budget 

Do you have a picky pooch, but don’t want to waste money and time trying out new foods? Try Purina Pro Plan Adult dry dog food.

It has the perfect blend of wholesome ingredients, probiotics, and flavor for picky pups. And, it offers high-quality ingredients without breaking the bank. 

This recipe starts with real beef added to and mixed with the kibble itself to create a unique texture that picky eaters love. And the beef also has creatine and carnosine to build and maintain lean muscles. 

Rice and dried plain beet pulp contain vitamin A and fiber for eye health and digestion. Beet pulp is also high in natural antioxidants for immune support. 

Beef fat and fish meal provide omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to nourish your dog’s skin and coat. And this formula is also fortified with live probiotics for immune health and digestion support. 

Purina Pro Plan is manufactured in the US by Purina’s own facilities. 

Pet parents love that this food is full of probiotics. Many feed this to their dogs with gut issues (and diseases like diabetes) to help with digestion.

Best Wet Food

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Hearty Beef Stew Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Beef Broth, Vegetable Broth, Beef Liver, Dried Egg Product
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 7% Crude Protein, 3% Crude Fat, 2% Crude Fiber, 82% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 369 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: High-quality and gluten-free wet dog food with real animal proteins 

One of the easiest ways to get your picky dog to eat their meals is to offer wet food. And while there are many options for canned foods, Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free is the best choice for a few reasons. 

For one, it starts with real USA-raised beefBeef liver and beef broth are also added for chondroitin to lubricate joints and maintain muscle mass. 

Carrotsapples, and sweet potatoes are added for easy-to-digest carbohydrates. They also offer vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta-carotene — essential for brain function and immune support. 

Flaxseed oil is added for omega-3s, which can help reduce inflammation and make your dog’s coat shiny. And, dogs love fats, so adding this oil can help tempt picky eaters. 

Whole Earth Farms canned food is cooked in the U.S. with local and national ingredients. It’s made without corn, wheat, or soy. 

Pet owners state that this food is great for picky eaters that also have allergies — many have noticed a positive difference in their dog’s skin. But, some admit that they don’t like that the cans are heavy on the gravy.

Best Premium Food

Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Zignature Turkey LID Formula
  • First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Sunflower Oil
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 32% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 394 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Fiber-rich premium dry dog food with farm-raised turkey 

Some dog owners want to spoil their pups and offer them the best food on the market. If your dog is picky and you think a premium food will coax them into eating, pick Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient dry dog food. 

This grain-free dog food doesn’t include chicken, corn, wheat, soy, or potatoes. Instead, it starts with farm-raised turkey right from the American Midwest. Turkey is an excellent source of protein that’s also low in saturated fat and rich in selenium for metabolism support. 

Wholesome peas and chickpeas provide powerful antioxidants for immune health and are low-glycemic carbohydrates. So, even dogs with digestive issues can enjoy this formula. 

For healthy fats, sunflower oil and flaxseed are included. These also provide B vitamins for energy and vitamin E for coat health. 

This formula has a flat and slightly curved kibble, which helps naturally clean teeth and scrape off plaque. So not only will your picky eater get the nutrition that they need to stay healthy, but the kibble will clean their teeth too.  

Dog parents believe that this food is a great alternative to prescription foods. And, many love that the food doesn’t smell even though it’s full of wholesome (but often stinky!) ingredients. 

Best for Weight Control

Wellness CORE RawRev Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dog Food

Wellness CORE RawRev Grain Free Healthy Weight Freeze Dried Turkey
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Lentils, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 35% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 13% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 367 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Low-calorie and high-protein dog food with freeze-dried turkey

Picky eaters usually need extra fat or additives to eat their food — and these ingredients can add too many extra calories. If your dog isn’t burning off those extra calories, they could pack on weight. 

Instead of adding more to your pup’s dry kibble, try Wellness CORE RawRev Healthy Weight Recipe. This grain-free dry food is high in fiber and low in fat to support a healthy weight. Still, it includes delicious raw turkey liver and heart to support energy levels and soothe skin. 

Deboned turkey and chicken meal offer taurine and glucosamine for muscle maintenance and heart health. Then, salmon oil adds omega fatty acids for joint support and adds extra flavor — minus the additional calories. 

Besides being lower in fat and calories, this formula also includes green tea extract and added probiotics. These aid in digestion, which can help your pup shed those extra pounds. Plus, the green tea extract also provides natural antioxidants for immune support. 

This formula does not contain any fillers, wheat, corn, or soy. While it’s grain-free, it is manufactured in a facility that processes grains. 

Pet owners appreciate that this food fills up their dog and helps them lose weight. But, many admit that there isn’t as much “raw” food as they would prefer. 

Best for Sensitive Stomachs

Canisource Grand Cru Red Meat Dehydrated Dog Food

Canisource Grand Cru Red Meat Dehydrated
  • First 5 Ingredients: Pork, Beef, White Rice, Whole Barley, Rolled Oats
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 8% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 480 calories/cup
  • Key Feature: Raw and human-grade dog food made for sensitive tummies

There are many benefits to feeding your dog a raw diet. Raw food is easier to digest and doesn’t cause inflammation or food sensitivities like dry kibble may. 

Of course, you should be cautious when feeding a raw diet. Commercial brands specialize in making sure their raw food fits the needs of dogs, but remember to follow their instructions and feeding recommendations.  

If your dog has a sensitive stomach or is super picky about what they eat, Canisource Grand Cru Dehydrated dog food is the way to go. 

This formula is human-grade, so even you could eat it (but I don’t suggest it — the meat is raw!). Pork and beef provide plenty of protein and glucosamine for healthy muscles and joints, and eggs offer vitamin D for strong bones. 

Other high-quality ingredients like applescarrots, and oats are added for high fiber content, which can help your dog digest their food better. And they include vitamins like vitamin K and calcium for healthy teeth and heart health. 

This formula doesn’t include any by-products, artificial colors, or flavors. While it is raw, it’s dehydrated to make storage and serving easy. 

Dog parents compare this to a “spicy beef jerky” smell. But, they endorse it as the best option for picky eaters that also have allergies and sensitivities. 

shih tzu eating kibble

Guide to Buying Dog Food for Picky Eaters

Got a picky eater on your hands? Here’s what to keep in mind. 

Why Are Some Dogs Picky Eaters?

There are many reasons why a dog could be a picky eater. Sometimes, it’s because of their breed — some of the most common breeds for picky eaters are Boston Terriers, Greyhounds, Bichon Frises, and even German Shepherds

Other times, your dog’s pickiness may come from an underlying health issue or disease. For example, bloat and allergies may cause stomach pain, along with other disorders — thus making your dog not want to eat. 

If your dog was eating consistently before but no longer wants to, you should rule out sickness with their veterinarian. 

Last but not least, your dog may just be a picky eater because they’re spoiled. If they were fed table food or wet food at a young age, they certainly won’t want to start eating bland dry kibble. 

What to Look For When Buying Dog Food for Picky Eaters?

If you’re trying to get your picky eater to actually eat their food, there are a few ingredients and flavors to look out for. 

First, dogs are descendants of carnivores. So although they can eat grains, fruits, and vegetables, they need real animal proteins to truly thrive. Plus, they enjoy the taste of meat. Popular options include beef, chicken, lamb, fish, and even novel proteins like bison. 

Another way to entice your dog to eat is with animal fat. These also give your dog extra energy, so they’re beneficial to include. Salmon or fish oil, beef fat, chicken fat, and meat meals are all good options for flavor and nutrients. 

Most likely, your dog looks at you while you eat. And that’s usually because your food looks good to them.

Luckily, they can have many of the fruits and vegetables that humans eat, many of which pack both vitamins and tastiness. Apples, carrots, pumpkin, and even spinach are great additions to any of the food your dog eats. 

What’s the Best Way to Find the Right Food for a Picky Eater?

You’ll want to try different formulas, textures, and flavors. Maybe your dog doesn’t like a certain protein or doesn’t like their food too dry. It will take some trial and error, but can be worthwhile when you find the best dog food. 

If you plan on trying out multiple foods, try to buy the smallest bag. That way you can test the food and save money if your dog doesn’t like it. 

How to Encourage Fussy Eaters to Eat?

There are many techniques to try when encouraging your picky dog to eat their food. Here are just a few: 

  • Mix their dry food with a scoop of wet or canned food
  • Don’t free feed (so they don’t get bored!) 
  • Add in healthy inclusions — salmon oil, coconut oil, and cooked fruits and vegetables are great!
  • Limit their treats so they’re hungry when it’s time to eat
  • Add in a dog food topper — like freeze dried or shredded meat 
  • Moisten their food with water or broth 
  • Feed with enthusiasm! When you’re excited, so is your dog 

You can try these options one by one or mix them until you find a winning combination that works for your dog. 

Our Verdict

Picky eating dogs wouldn’t be able to turn down any of the delicious options on this list. 

But my favorite is The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Dehydrated dog food.

It’s shelf-stable, made with real and wholesome ingredients, and has all the vitamins and minerals every dog needs. 

The other options are great for all life stages, especially for growing pups, aging seniors, and picky owners who want the best for their lovable pooch.

No matter what your dog dislikes, they’re bound to love at least one choice from this list. 


How do I know my dog is a picky eater?

If your dog is a picky eater, they will show you by not eating their food.

And, if you’ve found yourself trying multiple dog food brands and formulas, and they still don’t eat, you know you have a picky pup on your hands.

How can I make my dog food more appetizing?

A cost-effective way to make your dog’s food more palatable is to add a bit of warm broth to it. You could also mix it with wet food or slightly warm it up. If you’re still unable to get your dog to eat their dry food, switching to a fresh or canned option may be better. 

How long will a picky dog go without eating?

Most healthy dogs can go up to five days without food, but they shouldn’t. If it’s been longer than a day or two, and you’ve ruled out sickness with your vet, you may need to switch out their food. 

How do I get my picky dog to eat dry food?

Top it with a bit of wet food or a little bit of fat! Coconut oil, salmon oil, and even chicken fat can make even the blandest kibble taste delicious to your dog. Remember not to overdo the fat content to keep your dog at a healthy weight.

How can I improve my dog’s appetite?

First, it’s always best to see a veterinarian if your dog’s appetite has changed. That way, they can rule out disorders and diseases. If you just have a picky dog, try mixing foods and textures or offering a fresh or raw diet. 

Do dogs get bored with one food?

Most dogs can eat the same kibble for years and not get bored. But others are pickier, and you may need to switch up their food from time to time. The easiest way to do this is to find a brand and formula you like and switch between the flavors.

What can I add to dog food to enhance the taste?

The best option is to add a bit of wet food to your dog’s kibble. If that doesn’t work, you can try food toppers. They have ingredients that are supposed to entice your dog to eat their dry dog food, and many dog owners have had success with them. 

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Kim Studdard is a freelance writer for many websites in the pet universe. When she isn't spending time with her family and pets, or saying "Look a dog" everytime she sees one, you'll find her reading a book or traveling the U.S.

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