Like most dog owners, you want to ensure that your pup gets the best nutrition. But what if your dog is a picky eater? It can be tough to find a food they will love, which is also good for them. This blog post will discuss some of the best dog foods for picky eaters. We’ll also provide tips on how to get your dog to start eating their food again!
How to Know if Your Dog is a Picky Eater
Does your dog refuse to eat when you put its food dish in front of it?
Do they eat a few kibbles and then push the rest around the bowl?
Or worse yet, do they refuse to eat their own food and then sit and stare at you with sad, pleading eyes until you give them something from your plate?
If you answered yes, you’ve got a picky eater on your hands.
Dogs that won’t eat their food can get sick. It is not good for them to not eat. If they don’t like their food, you can try different kinds of food until they find one they like. But do not give them human food because that is not good for them.
If your dog is a picky eater, don’t panic. There may be a good reason for it. Dogs can become picky eaters for different reasons. You can help your dog by doing different things and feeding them special dog food designed for fussy eaters.
Reasons Behind Picky Eating
The first step to figuring out why your dog is a picky eater is to ensure that there isn’t a health issue causing them to not want to eat.
There are many reasons why a dog might lose its appetite. Some potential causes could be painful gums or teeth, stomach aches, digestive problems, or general discomfort.
Your dog may have become allergic to something in his food. The food might be spoiled or rotten, so he doesn’t want to eat it.
Sometimes, dogs being picky eaters is the fault of the dog owner.
Do you or other family members give your dog too many treats or tidbits from your plates at mealtimes?
Is your dog eating food from the bowls of other pets in your home when you’re not looking?
Any of the above could cause your four-legged friend to lose his appetite for his regular food.
Do you make sure your dog gets enough exercise? Dogs that don’t get much exercise tend to eat less because they don’t need to. They may also become bored and depressed, not wanting to eat.
Ingredients to Avoid for Picky Eaters
One of the main reasons that dogs do not want to eat is because of food allergies.
Some dog foods contain ingredients that can trigger allergies in dogs with sensitive digestive systems. So it is important to know what is in the food you are giving your pup.
So, as a responsible dog owner, which ingredients should you avoid when choosing healthy food for your dog?
These are the five most common and harmful things to avoid:
Many manufactured dog foods are designed to be stored for a long time. This is why chemical preservatives are often added. They help the food stay fresh for a longer period.
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA), Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), Propylene Glycol, and Ethoxyquin are some of the most common preservatives.
Ethoyquin is used as a pesticide and in the making of rubber. It has been linked to liver disease in animals.
BHA and BHT are both known to cause cancer. They are also difficult for dogs to digest, which can cause food intolerance and allergies.
Likewise, Propylene Glycol can cause problems with digestion and, in severe cases, damage the nervous system.
Not all grains are good for dogs. Some, like corn, wheat, and oats, contain gluten. Gluten is hard for dogs to digest.
Some dog foods contain a lot of gluten grains. This can be hard for their digestive system and also cause them to have allergies.
Some good alternatives to grains in dog food include healthy and easily digestible veggies and legumes such as sweet potato, green peas, and lentils. Whole grains like brown rice can also give your puppy the carbohydrates he needs for energy without the risk of associated health problems.
Artificial Flavors and Colorings
Many people know that artificial flavors and colorings are bad for humans. But did you know that they can also be harmful to our pets?
Some colors, like Red #40, yellow #5, and Blue #2, are still used in pet foods even though they have been banned from being used in human food. These colorings have been flagged as possible carcinogens that could cause dogs cancer.
Chemicals in artificial ingredients and flavors can be harmful to your dog’s health.
Not all protein is good for dogs. Dogs need a high-quality protein diet.
Suppose the food you feed your dog does not contain pure meat protein. In that case, it is likely made from a source of animal by-products created during the manufacturing process.
These proteins contain many things we wouldn’t normally eat, like many unhealthy animal fats, skin, internal organs, feathers, hoofs, ears, eyes, etc.
These ingredients are not healthy for pets, and they have trouble digesting them.
You get what you pay for, and this is especially true for dog food. Cheap dog food is often made cheaply, which means the manufacturer has to cut corners to make a profit.
Dog food is often filled with things that have little to no nutritional value to make it seem like you’re getting more for your money. But what are these fillers?
Cereal by-products, soybean hulls, oat hulls, peanut hulls, corn starch, corn bran, citrus pulp, straw, and feathers can be recycled.
These fillers mostly don’t form a natural part of a dog’s diet, and their digestive systems must work extra hard to try and digest them.
Eating foods that are high in sugar can lead to many problems. This includes digestive problems such as bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, and gas. It also causes the build-up of harmful toxins and chemicals in the body. This can increase the risk of developing cancer or other diseases.
How to Encourage a Picky Eater
If your dog is a fussy eater, there are many things you can do to encourage them to eat.
There are numerous methods for encouraging your dog to eat. Having a regular mealtime routine, setting his bowl down for a limited time, and adding healthy toppings like carrots or bananas can help. You should also stop giving him treats and table scraps during the day.
But you can also change the food you choose to give, which can make a big difference.
Dogs will always prefer foods that have fresh, meaty flavors.
Feed your cat dry food with high-quality animal protein as the main ingredient. This can be a lump of less common meat such as venison or wild salmon. You can also try feeding your cat good quality wet food.
If your dog has a sensitive stomach, you should switch to a food that is easy to digest.
Many brands make this type of dog diet. These diets have a high protein content, often chicken, turkey, or lamb. They also usually have limited ingredients, which is good for the digestive system.
Some dog foods include probiotics that are good for dogs’ digestion and high-quality fiber vegetables and legumes. If your dog has allergies, a hypoallergenic diet is best. To find the right diet for your pet, discuss which ingredients your pet is allergic to with your veterinarian.
Hypoallergenic dog foods usually have healthier and more nutritious ingredients than regular dog food. They don’t have any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Remember that you should gradually change your dog’s diet to avoid stomach upsets and help him get used to the new food.
Start by adding a small amount of the new food to the old food. Try using a ratio of 20% new food to 80% old food. Over the next 7 to 10 days, gradually increase the amount of new food until it replaces the old food.
The Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters
1. Purina Pro Plan with Probiotics
Purina Pro Plan is a dog food specially formulated to address several common problems our dogs face. Their Savor Shredded Beef and Rice Formula is also targeted at picky eaters. Purina Pro Plan contains beef, the first ingredient on the list. The shredded bits provide more texture, which is something any picky eater will love.
This food might be a good choice if your dog has digestive problems. Rice is easy for the dog to digest and is the main source of carbohydrates in this food. The Purina Pro Plan dog food also has a probiotic strain to help the dog’s digestive system.
- Comes at a very affordable price point
- Has a taste and texture dogs love
- High protein formula with real beef
- Fortified with guaranteed live probiotics to support digestive and immune health
- The by-products and fat used in the formula are not clearly outlined
- Contains chicken by-product
2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Toppers Natural Wet Dog Food
Blue Buffalo is proud to use only real meat in a rich gravy as the primary ingredient in their healthy and holistic Wilderness Trail Toppers Wild Cuts wet dog food.
This wheat, gluten, and grain-free diet are meant to be used as a supplement to your dog’s regular food. It will ensure your dog gets all the nutrients he needs for a healthy life.
This all-natural pet food is perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs and allergies. It has no chemical preservatives, animal by-products, colorings, or flavors.
- Dogs love the taste
- Available in a choice of 4 flavors
- Provides natural, healthy nutrition for your dog
- Free from chemicals
- Free from possible allergens
- Rich in high-quality protein
- Fortified with essential vitamins
- Easily digestible
- Not a complete food in itself and must be combined with dog kibble.
3. K9 Natural Freeze-Dried Dog Food
You can use this delicious freeze-dried raw dog food as a way to give your dog more nutrients or as a complete diet.
The K9 Natural recipe comprises 90% fresh meat mixed with organs and bone. This recipe is designed to be as close as possible to the diet that dogs would eat in the wild.
This food contains a lot of high-quality protein. It is mixed with egg and fish proteins, fruit, vegetables, vitamins, minerals, and essential oils to provide your pet with healthy food.
This recipe is perfect for dogs with allergies. It is hypoallergenic and free from grains, artificial additives, wheat, gluten, animal by-products, dairy, and unnecessary fillers.
- Totally natural raw diet
- High-quality ingredients
- Suitable for dogs with allergies and digestive issues
- It can be mixed with dog kibble
- Promotes healthy coat and skin
- Comes in a resealable pack
- Free from harmful artificial ingredients
- Made using sustainably sourced ingredients
- Food may have a strong odor
- Less convenient as it needs to be reconstituted with water
4. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Dog Food Recipe
The team at Ziwi Peak uses an air-drying technique to ensure that their dog food is safe and has all the nutritional value of natural ingredients. This process kills any bacteria and keeps the food healthy.
Your dog can benefit from the mix of healthy human-grade free-range meat, bones, organs, shellfish, mineral-packed vegetables, and added vitamins in this premium pet food.
Ziwi Peak air-dried dog food is perfect for dogs with allergies, sensitive stomachs, and other health issues. It has no hormones, artificial ingredients, additives, chemical preservatives, or allergens (wheat, grains, and corn).
- Available in a wide range of 6 different flavors
- Appealing and tasty
- A limited number of ingredients
- High in protein
- Easy to digest
- Very high quality
- Sustainably sourced ingredients
- Food can be hard to chew for dogs with smaller mouths or dental problems
- It May cause loose stools in some cases if not introduced slowly
5. Diamond Naturals Real Meat Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food
Diamond Naturals Real Meat Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food For Adults provides complete, holistic nutrition for your pet. It is bursting with superfoods such as leafy greens, blueberries, and chia seeds. The meat protein is the main ingredient and includes beneficial probiotic bacteria.
This dry dog food is excellent for pups with sensitive stomachs. It is also free from artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors. In addition, it does not have corn, wheat, or other fillers. This food is also a good choice for dogs that have food allergies.
- Enhanced with fruit and vegetable superfoods and probiotics
- Grain-free formula
- Good for skin and coat
- Suitable for dogs with allergies or issues with digestive function
- Represents good quality for the price
- Most dogs love the flavor
- Appropriate for all breed types
- Lamb meal is the primary ingredient rather than better quality lamb meat.
6. The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Limited Ingredient Dog Food
The dog food produced by The Honest Kitchen is made in the United States and is human-grade. The ingredients are only the best, and the factories meet rigorous standards.
The ingredients in this food are meant to be safe for your dog and will help them if they have food allergies or intolerance. The food is made with high-quality meat, proteins, vegetables, and added minerals and vitamins to ensure your dog gets all the necessary nutrients.
You can make your dog a tasty and nutritious meal by mixing the desired quantity of food with warm water. Stir it and leave it for a few minutes.
- Ideal for dogs with allergies or delicate stomachs
- Made with human-grade ingredients
- Choice of 5 great flavors
- Contains limited, organic, non-GMO ingredients
- Minimally processed
- Great for skin, bone, and coat condition
- Dogs love the taste
- Very reputable brand
- Does not have a long shelf life as there are no preservatives
7. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Wet Dog Food
Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Wet Dog Food is a great option if your dog is a picky eater. It contains real meat, nutritious veggies, and important vitamins and minerals to promote good health.
This food does not have wheat, no fillers, no corn, and nothing with gluten. It also has no chemical flavors, preservatives, or animal by-products.
This dog food is grain-free and good for dogs with allergies or digestive tract problems. It comes in eight different flavors, so your dog is sure to find his favorite.
- Reliable product
- High-quality protein content
- Plenty of fiber to aid digestion
- Affordable compared to other natural wet dog food brands
- Very appetizing
- For every purchase, a donation is made to a dog charity
- Free from additives and grains
- Some recipes contain artificial colors
- Some ingredients may be of lesser quality
8. Instinct All Natural Dog Food Topper
Instinct Raw Boost Mixers is a grain-free food with functional ingredients. It allows you to add raw food to your dog’s bowl. The main ingredient is chicken. The food also includes other whole foods that are good for digestive health, including farm-raised chicken, pumpkin, sweet potato, chicory root, apple cider vinegar, and probiotics.
This natural dog food topper is made without grain, sweet potatoes, corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, and preservatives. It is protein-packed and has few ingredients.
These raw foods have never been cooked. This means the ingredients and their nutrients are preserved. This dog food topper provides your dog with a balanced and complete meal.
- Supports gut and immune health
- Grain-free, soy-free, and wheat-free
- Made with only raw, whole-food ingredients
- Moisture is removed while nutrition is locked in
- Ingredients are never cooked
- Good for all breed sizes
- Higher in price than other food options
- Small package size for the price
9. Bil-Jac Picky No More Medium Breed Dog Food
Bil-Jac Picky No More is a good food to consider if you have a medium-sized breed dog. It has fresh chicken as the first ingredient. This will make your dog happy and also help with picky eating.
Pick No More dog food provides your dog with complete and balanced nutrition. This food includes naturally-sourced Omega fatty acids, which will help nourish your pup’s coat. No fillers, gluten meals, wheat, soy, or sprayed on rendered fat or protein concentrate.
- Chicken is the first ingredient
- Contains no fillers, gluten, wheat, or soy
- Proudly made in the USA
- Proprietary nutria-lock low temperature and vacuum drying process extracts moisture, leaving the natural fats and nutritional value of the meat intact
- Complete and balanced nutrition
- Irresistible, lip-smacking flavor
- A harder kibble option
- Chicken liver isn’t always a flavor favorite
- Contains chicken by-product meal
What Is the Best Homemade Dog Food Recipe for a Picky Eater?
If you have a dog that is a picky eater and you have tried many different types of dog food without any success, you may want to consider making your own dog food.
You can use ingredients to make your dog food at home, including chicken, mackerel, brown rice, cottage cheese, canned pumpkin, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, and ground flaxseed.
Although homemade dog recipes can be healthy, we recommend discussing them with your vet before feeding them to your pet.
What Can You add to Dog Food to Enhance the Taste?
If you want to make your dog food taste better and encourage them to eat it, you can do a few things. Add digestive enzymes, raw or lightly steamed vegetables, raw or lightly cooked meat or eggs, oils for essential fatty acids, or raw, meaty poultry. Most importantly, consider what your dog needs nutritionally and ensure the food is balanced and complete.
What Ingredients Are Most Enticing to Picky Dogs?
Some dogs love the taste of bitter vegetables like brussels sprouts, spinach, and broccoli. These vegetables have a strong flavor that some dogs like. If you have a dog that is picky when it comes to food, you can mix different foods, use chicken broth as a flavoring, and give them fewer treats.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Food For Picky Eaters
What Can I Feed My Dog Who Won’t Eat Dog Food?
Some yogurt is good for dogs’ digestion. If your dog isn’t lactose-intolerant, try giving them yogurt with active bacteria. You can also mix it with their food to make them want to eat it again.
Will Picky Dogs Starve?
No matter how picky your dog may be, he will not starve himself to death. Unless your dog is on a diet, losing weight is likely a medical issue that needs addressing. Any change or addition to your dog’s diet should be discussed with your vet before proceeding!
Why Won’t My Dog Eat His Food but Will Eat Treats?
Pets with nasal disease, like an infection or cancer, may be unable to smell their food. They might not eat or only eat treats. Pets with lung diseases may have a hard time breathing, which makes it difficult for them to eat.
What Can I Add to Dog Food to Make Them Eat It?
You can make your dog’s dry food tastier by adding a tablespoon of low-sodium broth to it just before you feed your dog. You can also try sprinkling herbs over your dog’s dry food to give it more flavor, like oregano, rosemary, and peppermint.
Why Does My Dog Not Like Dry Food Anymore?
Another common reason why dogs might not eat their food is that they have dental problems. This can be caused by eating crunchy kibble and damaging their teeth. If a dog has bad or broken teeth, it can be painful to chew, so they might avoid their food altogether.
What Are the Symptoms of Food Sensitivities in Dogs?
Dogs with food sensitivities can have several symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, skin problems like itchiness, poor coat, and chronic ear or foot infections.
Will a Picky Dog Eventually Eat?
It is unlikely that a picky eater would refuse all meals. Eventually, it would become hungry enough to try to find food elsewhere. If no other food is available, the animal would eventually eat what it was given.
Is Fresh Food for Dogs Better?
Dogs often prefer the taste of fresh meals to dry dog food. This is because the ingredients are minimally processed and healthier for dogs. As a result, many dogs see health improvements when they switch to eating freshly prepared dog food.