Having a dog that’s a picky eater is no joke. Company after company promises to deliver food your dog will devour, and the result always seems to be a full bag of dog food your pup won’t touch. Not only is this frustrating, but it can lead to you losing a lot of money too!
That’s why we decided to track down the ten best dog foods for picky eaters and review them for you here. That way, you can put a plate of highly nutritious food that your dog will love in front of your pup and put these frustrations behind you once and for all!
A Glance at Our Winners in 2023
|Best Overall||Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food||
||Click to Save 50%|
|Best Value||Blue Buffalo Life Protection||
|Tylee's Human-Grade Chicken||
|Best for Puppies||Orijen Puppy Grain-Free||
|CANIDAE Grain-Free Red Meat||
The 11 Best Dog Foods for Picky Eaters
1. Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food Subscription Service – Best Overall
|Type:||Fresh Dog Food|
|Primary Protein:||Beef, chicken, pork, turkey|
|Crude Protein:||8% min|
We love them to bits, but we can all agree that picky eaters are notoriously difficult to shop for. Our best overall dog food for picky eaters, Nom Nom, counteracts this by offering free samples of its meals and a 2-week free trial. This enables you to try the meals with no payment required and ensure that they match your dog’s finicky tastebuds before committing to the service.
All four recipes — beef mash, chicken cuisine, pork potluck, and turkey fare — use fresh, natural ingredients to waken your dog’s appetite. Veterinary nutritionists formulate the meals to ensure that they’re healthy and balanced, so they can help keep your canine best friend in tip-top shape. Pre-portioned, the meals are delivered to your door and can be set to automatically rotate between flavors to avoid boring your fussy canine.
Nom Nom is a subscription-based service. Its meals are only available through its website, and benefiting from its automated delivery system requires you to sign up.
2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula – Best Value
|Size:||3, 6, 15, 24, or 30 pounds|
If you’re on a tighter budget but have a picky eater, you don’t need to settle for subpar dog food. With Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula, you can get the best of both worlds — a highly nutritious food that your dog will eat.
Even better, there are multiple size options to choose from so you can try them before you purchase the cheaper per-pound bulk options. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula gives your pup all the nutrients they need to thrive, and you don’t have to break the bank for it.
While there are limited flavor options for such high-quality food at this price, it’s not hard to see why it’s our best dog food for picky eaters for the money.
3. Tylee’s Human-Grade Chicken Recipe
|Size:||1.8 or 6 pounds|
Sometimes you have a pup that simply won’t eat anything but the best of the best. If that sounds like your dog, then Tylee’s Human-Grade Chicken Recipe might be just what they need. This dog food is far from cheap, but it’s so similar to the food that comes off your table that your pup should have no problem eating it.
And while we highlighted the chicken recipe here, there are multiple flavor options to mix things up, and this is easily the most delicious dog food option on our list. Still, it’s also by far the most expensive option, and it doesn’t last nearly as long as the other foods on our list.
In addition to that, you need to keep it in the freezer, which means you’re losing freezer space to dog food too. It’s an insanely high-quality food that your pup will love, but it’s also likely your picky pup will never want another type of food after they try Tylee’s Human-Grade food.
4. Orijen Puppy Grain-Free Puppy Food – Best for Puppies
|Size:||4.5, 13, or 25 pounds|
|Primary Protein:||Chicken, Turkey, and Fish|
Puppies can be picky eaters too, and as such, it’s important to have puppy food that even the pickiest of puppies will love. Orijen Puppy Grain-Free Puppy Food is that choice. It’s an extremely high-quality dog food packed with tons of nutrients that will help your puppy grow and thrive.
Highlighting this fact is the 38 percent crude protein in each serving. It’s a more expensive option for sure, but it’s everything you can ask for in puppy food. But while we’d love to say that your pup will eat it for sure, the truth is that it still is dry dog food, and because of that it has a slightly blended flavor.
Still, it’s more delicious than most puppy foods, so it’s worth trying if you have a picky puppy on your hands!
5. CANIDAE Grain-Free Pure Red Meat Formula Dog Food
|Type:||Freeze-Dried/Raw Dry Dog Food|
|Primary Protein:||Lamb, Pork, and Goat|
If you’re looking for a great dog food for picky eaters, then you can check out CANIDAE Grain-Free Pure Ancestral Red Meat Formula. It’s a unique red meat dog food blend that your pup is sure to love. Each bite has tons of flavor and nutrients.
CANIDAE uses the highest-quality ingredients in their formula, and that’s something your pup can taste, and it improves their overall health. CANIDAE gives them all the nutrients they need to thrive, and the only real drawback is the price.
It’s a slightly more expensive option per pound but compared to the truly premium options, it’s a steal. It’s the best overall option out there, which means it’s one of the better bangs for your buck too.
6. Weruva No Ruff Days Variety Pack
|Size:||14-ounce case of 12|
|Primary Protein:||Chicken and Beef|
|Crude Protein:||8.56 to 11.49%|
|Fiber:||0.5 to 1%|
Most of the time when you have a picky eater, all you need to do is put high-quality wet food in front of them to get them to eat. That’s exactly what you get with Weruva No Ruff Days Variety Pack. It uses an allergy-friendly formula with tons of protein, and since it’s a variety pack, you can mix up the meals to keep your dog happy.
Still, it is a bit more expensive per meal, which is why we recommend trying this food as a topper to entice your dog to eat before switching to entirely. While there are plenty of nutrients for your dog to thrive in this food alone, it’s certainly going to jack up the price for you some.
In addition, it doesn’t last as long as traditional dry foods, so you’ll find yourself ordering it more often — leading to you spending even more money.
7. American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe
|Size:||4, 12, or 24 pounds|
|Primary Protein:||Salmon and chicken|
Just because you have a picky eater doesn’t mean that you need to automatically ditch the dry food options. American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe proves that you can get a dry food that’s packed with flavor that your dog will love.
It features a formula that’s great for pups with food sensitivities, and the higher protein percentage gives your dog plenty of energy to play and exercise. Still, it is dry dog food, so don’t expect it to have as much flavor as fresh food, wet food, or even freeze-dried options.
Still, just because your dog hasn’t liked dry dog food in the past doesn’t mean they won’t like this. American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe is a cut above, and your dog can tell the difference.
8. Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Dry Dog Food
|Size:||4, 10, or 20 pounds|
If you’re looking for dry dog food with an extra punch of flavor for your pup, consider Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Dry Dog Food. It features freeze-dried ingredients that retain the flavor throughout the process, which means it’s more enjoyable for your dog to eat.
Not only does it taste good, but there are tons of Omega 3s and other nutrients for your pup. Add in the higher crude protein percentage, and it’s not hard to see how this food made our list. Still, while it’s a great choice, it fell toward the bottom of our list for a reason.
First, it’s a bit more expensive per pound. Second, it has a lower protein percentage than many other dog foods. That means your dog won’t feel full as fast, and it can be a little harder on its digestive tract. It’s a great choice, but it’s not the best of the best.
9. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dog Food
|Size:||5, 14, or 28 pounds|
|Primary Protein:||Water buffalo, lamb, and chicken|
Sometimes all you need to do to get your dog to eat is to mix things up a bit. And with Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dog Food, you’re certainly mixing up the palette. The top ingredient in this dog food is water buffalo, which means it’s likely to taste different than anything your dog has ever had before.
Not only is it a unique protein source for your dog to try, but it also has tons of protein, and surprisingly it’s available for an outstanding price. Still, it is a blander kibble compared to freeze-dried or fresh foods, and because of this, we couldn’t put it any higher on the list.
10. Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Salmon Recipe
|Size:||3.5, 12, and 25 pounds|
While Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Salmon Recipe might not be the largest dog food manufacturer out there, but that doesn’t mean they’re not an excellent choice for your dog. It uses a recipe that’s great for dogs with sensitive stomachs, and it uses probiotics that boost their digestive tract health in the long term too.
Go! only uses high-quality ingredients in their formula, and it provides all the nutrients your pup needs to thrive. Still, it fell to the bottom of our list for a reason, and that reason for Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Salmon Recipe fell for two reasons.
First, it’s a blander recipe, even compared to other dry dog foods. Second, it has less crude protein than most dry foods on our list. It’s still enough for your pup to thrive, but we wish it was just a smidge higher.
11. Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend
|Size:||6, 18, 35, and 47 pounds|
Purina might be the largest brand on our list, but there’s a reason they’re at the bottom. First, compared to other dry dog foods on our list, their Adult Shredded Blend has a slightly bland flavor. Not only that, but it has a lower fiber percentage which means your pup will need to eat more to feel full.
Still, while it’s not as great as some of our top choices, it’s not a bad option. The most notable perk is that it comes in different size options, and it’s the only choice with a 47-pound bag! Each portion has tons of nutrients for your pup, and there are plenty of high-quality ingredients for your dog to enjoy.
Finally, it’s available for an affordable price per pound of food, which means you won’t need to break the bank to feed your dog. But while there’s plenty to love, there are certainly better choices higher up on our list.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting The Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters
If you still have questions about finding the right dog food for your pup, you’re not alone. And just because you found the perfect dog food for your pup doesn’t mean you’re done yet. That’s why we came up with this comprehensive buyer’s guide to walk you through everything you need to know to get the perfect dog food and switch your pup to it in no time!
Transitioning Your Dog to a New Food
While it can be tempting to simply switch your dog from its existing diet straight to its new food, the truth is that this isn’t the best idea for multiple reasons. First, it’s more likely that your dog will refuse to eat their new food if you switch them all at once.
Second, even if they do start to scarf it down, by suddenly switching to a new food you’re increasing the chances they’ll experience some digestive stress. That’s why it’s essential to switch your pup to their new food slowly. Below we’ve included a chart you should follow when switching your dog’s diet.
|Time||New Food||Old Food|
Tips for Getting Picky Dogs To Eat Their Food
Dealing with picky eaters is frustrating. It’s even more frustrating when those picky eaters have paws and cute eyes. That’s why we highlighted a few tips below to help get your dog to eat.
Mix the Food
Dogs seem to like wet food and food toppings more than regular dry kibble, but the problem is these foods are typically far more expensive! But sometimes all you need to do to get your pup to eat their kibble is mix it with other foods.
Wet foods are a great option as they’re easy to mix up, but you can also use different toppings or even water to get your dog to eat. Just ensure you mix it up right before feeding it to them, so it doesn’t have time to sit out. Also, remember to remove the uneaten food before it has time to spoil.
Add Some Chicken Broth
While you can try this same trick with water, the pickiest eaters out there only respond to something with a little more flavor. Chicken broth is a low-cost and highly effective way to mix your pup’s dry kibble and get them to eat it.
However, keep in mind that chicken broth isn’t always the healthiest alternative, so try to limit the amount you use while mixing it. You can also water the chicken broth down a bit to get that extra burst of flavor throughout the entire food without adding too much sodium and other negative ingredients to their diet.
Stop Giving Them Treats
Sometimes your pup isn’t eating their dinner because they’re holding out for something better later. If you’re having issues with your dog eating their dinner, we highly recommend cutting out their treats and other snacks until they start regularly eating their dinner.
Hunger is a natural way to get your dog to eat, so you need to let them get hungry before feeding them their dinner. Eventually, with the right food and enough hunger, they’ll start to chow down on their dinner. And once they don’t expect tons of treats every night, you can start to filter them back into their diet, and they should still keep eating.
Switch to the Right Food!
You don’t want to eat low-quality filler foods every day, right? Well, neither does your dog. Sometimes all you need to do to get a picky eater to eat their food is to give them a high-quality meal. Any of the options on our list should do the trick, so don’t overthink this one. Get them something good to eat, and they should start chowing down!
If you’re still debating about which food is best for your dog after reading through the buyer’s guide and the reviews, stop overthinking it. There’s a reason Nom Nom Now is our top choice, as it’s been a favorite for picky eaters for years.
Of course, if you’re on a tighter budget, you can switch to Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula as it’s a top-notch dog food at a great price. What’s important is that you get top-notch food on order sooner rather than later, that way you can put these picky eating woes behind you once and for all!
Featured Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock