Best foods for dogs that are picky eaters

Trying to get a dog that won’t eat is like banging your head against a solid brick wall. I know that if you’re reading this post, then you’ve already the most common ways of fixing this problem.

It’s frustrating and exhausting at the same time, but you know youve got to keep plowing on for your beloved dog. Today I’m going to share a few ways that you can encourage your dog to eat more, and provide you with a list of foods that work great with dogs that are having trouble with eating.


Before we get started, why not make a list at the best foods right here.

5 best dog foods for picky eaters

Now let’s get into the 10 top tips that will help you to finally identify and then fix your dogs eating problems. Make sure to read till then as I got an interesting solution near the bottom of this post.

1. When Should You Start To Worry

Well if your pup has just missed breakfast for the first time then there is, of course, nothing to worry about. If however, you have noticed an ongoing eater disorder then it is clear that there is something unusual in your doggies eating habit.

A few ways to firstly know if there is something wrong I to monitor your dog’s behavior. A great guideline to go from is to see if they eat or miss breakfast and then check if they also miss dinner.

If both are missed then this is a clear indication that something is wrong and you may need to make a rapid trip to the vets. Before making a final decision on whether you go to the vets or not. It is good to check if one more meal is missed. Ideally, this should be breakfast again the following morning. As there could have been just a time of where your pup was not feeling to well to eat the night before.

Just Like Us Humans, Dogs Can Change Over Time TOO!

Before we jump to any conclusions, it is as FIRST very important t remember that this phenomenon could only be a temporary behavior. From 12 week old pups to fully grown adults dogs, there are many changes in the body over time that can cause your dog to change interest in what they like to eat.

A common way of identifying this problem is to simply change the food and see if that helps. As time goes on your dog will change his or her personal preference. It can come as a SHOCK when they decide that they have had enough of eating cheap food whilst you feast on a Sunday roast dinner.

You will need to look into whether you have recently changed their food or if they have recently tasted a new food that they may well and truly prefer.

How to find the right dog food

A quick way of fixing this problem is to change the food that the back to the food they were eating before if the problem started with new food. You can also try a whole new food and see how your four-legged friend responds to it.

You must also identify whether you or anyone else in the household has been feeding them a lot of human food. By feeding your pup a lot of human food it can cause them to become a custom to the taste and therefore resulting in them wanting to eat your food as opposed to their own.

2. Has There Been A Change In Environment?

Even the slightest change in routine can cause a dramatic effect or your pup’s eating habits. One cause is the fact that you could have changed the route that you usually walk the dog. Now whilst this may seem minor to you

But it can be a stressful time for your pup. They may be under the impression that something is going to change drastically or the fact that it already has. Moving house is one of the most common causes of this type of stress found in dogs and although it can be great for us it for sure can be stress and anxiety for your pup.

Take Their Belongings Along In The First Trip!

A great way of reducing the impact on your dog in such an event would be to carry as many items as possible along with them to the new location. This will allow them to make sense of what is happening and will also provide comfort that everything is going to work out ok.

Dogs are just like babies and if they feel lost it can cause them to act out in many unusual ways.

3. Can food affect your dog’s behavior?

Yes, it is a fact that your dog’s food can affect the behavioral response to a certain situation based on what they have eaten. Some foods cause them to feel happy and comforted whereas others an provide a short burst of energy for the morning of the day.

A common problem I found with my puppy Bella was that she would become very aggressive around feeding time if I were to go anywhere near her food.

If this was to happen with you in your household then it is important that you show your dominance in the situation to remind them of who the alpha actually is.

How Much Do You Feed Them? As This Can Surprisingly Behaviour Effect

A common mistake in young dogs in particular. Is the fact that when they hyperactive in behavior when really they are just fuelled by their food. This is why it imperative that you are also providing your god the correct portions for their size and weight when you are feeding.

On the contrary, you can also notice a positive change in your dog’s diet when making a simple change in foods every so often. It is important to test what they like and how they respond to it in order for you to educate yourself on your specific pet.

Just like you know your own body it is just as well important for you to also know theirs just as well.

Here Is A Feeding Chart That You Can Use As A Template

When I first had Bella, she kept running around like crazy even when I told her to sit or stay. And on a regular occurrence, I would have friends and family tell me how “hyper” she was.

The craziest part about it was the fact that the whole behavioral energy was coming to form the food that we were feeding her. So I made sure that it was noted here as it is one of the easiest things that us parents can overlook.

4. Encouraging your picky eater to develop healthier eating habits

When you notice your part not eating you may have to come up with a healthy meal plan. Just Like Us humans when we’re out getting fit and training it’s better to keep them on a good lean diet to encourage good healthy eating throughout the day.

It’s really important to remember that everyone has to be on the same page in the house. So that means you the wife, the husband, the sister, the brother & everyone has to maintain the same feeding habit.

That means if  Mum gives Bella food off the plate and doesn’t play by the rules, then everything goes down the drain.

Everybody Must Work Together…

So it is really important that everyone encourages the same healthy diet plan. A great way to start implementing this is to stop feeding your pup from the table. By feeding your pup our food on a regular basis, it is encouraging them to taste a higher level of flavor. Which in return will cause them to think of dog food as dry and bitter to taste? 

So it’s really kind of important that you keep this separate. Two other negative factors of feeding your dog from the table are, 1 they can get diarrhea. And it can also cause negative behavior, resulting in them begging for food.

Start A Schedule…

It is important that you also stick to a schedule. This is for your dog to get used to the same feeding times each day. It is recommended to feed around 2 to 3 times a day, but this can depend on the size and the breed of your dog.

So it is important to speak to the vet before you carry out this process. To ensure that you’re providing the right size portions, it is important to use a measuring cup each time that you put out the food. You can refer to the chart above in the previous step if you are looking for a guideline on what amount of food is suitable for your dog.

But what if you started out on the wrong foot? 

Well in this scenario it is highly recommended that you gradually make changes over a period of time in your puppy’s eating habits. Just like humans, dogs are capable of adjusting their eating and adapting to new habits and situations.

But like with anything great in life, it will take time.

Timing Is Everything

So this means that you must have a specific time for giving your dog treats. And from my personal experience with Bella, I would recommend that you keep it to around 3 to 4 treats per week.

A great way to encourage the family in playing ball is to put the treats in a separate container so they can identify when one has been given.

Storage Bins For Food

“It’s one thing if you give your dog a treat for Great behavior. But it’s another thing if you just gave it to them whilst reading a magazine in the kitchen, all just because they look cute.”

5. Have you checked your dog’s teeth lately?

Dental problems can often be as easily overlooked by pet owners.  This is because dogs usually can’t express the pain they are going through or the discomfort in a manner that will draw your attention every time.

A great way to diagnose any of the following problems is to simply just take a look inside your dog’s mouth whenever you notice reducing eating. Swollen or bleeding gums could be the cause of a much more serious problem. Resulting in an expensive trip to the vets.

You could Be Shocked At You Find

All pains and things such as gingivitis can really cause real discomfort for your dog when eating. So is important to really stay on top of making sure that their gums and Teeth is as clean as it possibly can be.

Broken teeth and loose teeth can cause a lot of pain during feeding. Each and every bike can be so much pain causing them not to eat their food.

So great Indication for you to know whether this is the problem. Is when you notice that, they are not eating their food. As well as also not chewing on their chew toys.

Examine the body

Bad performing of full body examination, it will further explain to you on what level of problem you are dealing with. It will give you a better understanding as to whether your pup is just misbehaving and being picky or there is something more serious at hand. If you do notice anything unusual in their body then this would result in another expensive trip to the vet.

My Friend Had The Same Problem As You

Lucky for me I have never experienced anything along these lines with Bella. Whilst I’ve had her, it is never been the case where I’ve noticed anything to do with her teeth or gums at the problem. But I can say that I have had a friend who had a small jack Russell that seemed to keep getting bleeding on the gums.

If you do notice anything along those lines, then it is important that you identify it correctly. then, immediately contact your vet to try and book a professional examination.  

6. Are you sure you know what you’re doing?

Quite often it is found, that the problem is not actually with the dog, but it is more time with the parent of the dog.

Who Is Really Causing This?

So it’s all good and great saying has your dog been trying, but have you been trained in the grand scheme of things.  Because a lot of parents have not actually been trained or don’t have sufficient training to actually take care of their dog. It’s really important that you always educating yourself and trying to take your knowledge to the next level. So you can ensure that you’re taking the best care of your puppy.

I am Guilty Of This Too…

Now I have to hold my hands up here and simply admit that I’m guilty of this.  When I first got Bella, it was almost like we would sit at the table for dinner together.

My dog will only eat when I was eating, as I was always feeding her and giving her nibbly bits to chew on at dinner time.  My husband would always tell me not to, but it seemed like I was accustomed to sharing my food with her when I was eating.

It wasn’t until we made a trip to the vets that I was finally told that this was playing a part in her eating problems.

Embarrassing Moment With Him

The look of embarrassment if you would have seen my face, ha. And as you may have earlier read, it wasn’t just me.

It was also my mum who come out of my daughter and anyone else, who kind of feel sorry for Bella when she was at the table.  But we all knew that we needed to make a dramatic change, as it was causing more damage than good.

And I know I know, it’s almost like you feel guilty when you’re eating and they’re not. That’s exactly how I felt, all the time. One thing I can say from my personal experience is that you can’t fall into the trap of giving them things they want.

Just because they give you the cute little look with their puppy eyes. It’s exactly as if you have a child, you can’t give them sweets every time they look at you with a cute look.

Be Strict On Yourself Too

Although you know that they love it, it is important for you to identify, that it will not be beneficial to give them bad food at regular intervals.

So it’s kind of like putting a plate of chips out in front of your child, as well as a plate of Brussel sprouts. It’s almost predictable on what plate of food they will choose if you were to give them the option.

But you know in your head, what is more beneficial, and what will help them to grow a bit and strong into healthy adults.

You cannot think any different when it comes to your pet. It is important for you to treat the situation exactly the same as you would for your child.

How long has this been going on?

A lot of the time I’ll find another parent is like myself. That is simply just kind of scared or worried.  That the dog is not really eating when the problem has been ongoing for a regular long period of time.

If your dog is a picky eater, then they are probably going to be a picky eater for Life. Some big dogs can just hoof downloads of food.

Whilst other smaller dogs might take time to eat their food and not even finish it at all. It is important for you as a parent to identify whether this is something that has been happening on a regular basis.  

Or if it is something that has just started recently out of the blue.

Take A Real Look

This is why it’s really important for you to take a look at all of the other variables when you notice that your dog is not eating as much as you think they should be.

This is quite important when going into the vets because you need to pass on all the relevant correct and accurate information when taking a visit.

The best dog foods older dogs that are picky

Sometimes, it can also be worth taking a look at how old your dog is.  As some dogs that are getting on in age can take a bit longer to get down their food.

I know for me personally as I’ve been getting older I tend to watch what I eat. And if your dog is anything like me then they would be doing the same too.

Do you know Everything You Need To Be Knowing?

Whatever it may be, it is important to take a look within yourself as well as your dog.  As it may be you that is causing the problem, and not the actual dog.

So always be very vigilant, and always stay on top of checking on whether their eating habits it’s just something that kind of popped up recently or an ongoing problem.

Or something that has been there for quite some time.


7. Consider Changing What You Feed Your Dog

It may be hard to believe but dogs are very similar to humans, so it is important to identify what types of food they like. Now as for my dog personally, I can say that she prefers humans through the post to her dog food.

If you do decide to go down that route, then there are a few healthy natural human foods that you can safely feed your dog. Below I have listed a few bullet points, of the foods that you may potentially want to feed them:

  • Carrots
  • peanut butter
  • Cooked eggs
  • Salmon
  • Blackberries
  • Corn
  • Green Peas
  • Oatmeal
  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Blackberries
  • Chicken
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Coconut
  • Pork
  • Mango
  • Turkey
  • Rice
  • Beef
  • Bananas

The list can go on forever. Some foods can be ok for your dog to eat. But it is important to identify what can be good, or what can be harmful.

A lot of different foods that are good for humans can be as bad as deadly to your pet. Even when something is deemed to be good for your dog. Then it is your job to always have a rule of thumb is only feeding your dog in moderation.

Keep in mind that dogs have different interests in food. so while you might feed one and they love it you could experience a very adverse effect in feeding another.


Nevertheless, it can be great feeding your dog a treat every so once in a while. But just make sure that it’s compliant with what dogs can eat.

As it can be dangerous with giving them some human foods such as chocolate for example which as earlier mentioned can be as bad as deadly.

If you’re looking for any type of dog food that can be quite similar to this or used as a treat. Then you can go check out my review on the BarkBox subscription.  

As they make great healthy food for your pup.

Read More: >> Top foods for medium to large breeds

8. Does Your Dog Suffer From Anorexia?

Whether you’re a new owner or a seasoned enthusiast. Then an expensive trip to the vet’s, and a dire diagnosis could put you in fear of the problem in front of you.

What am I actually talking about hair, is your dog having anorexia? This face can be quite reasonable if your dog has lost its appetite. Loss of appetite can come with many symptoms and potential problems.

So they could well be, a bigger problem on your shoulders when it comes to your dog turning his nose up at food.

Health problems to be aware of

If you’re like most dog owners, then one of the ways you will first try to diagnose the problem is by doing a Google search. Ironically why you’re reading this blog.

Appetite loss in Dogs is usually called anorexia. Partial anorexic and sometimes referred to eating small amounts of food, but still can be very very harmful.

In some cases, the owner can be led to the wrong reasons why this problem is occurring. Which can then cause confusion in how serious the matter is. Resulting in your dog at further risk.

This is something you definitely want to avoid as a pet owner. And it is important to understand the different types of anorexia that can develop in dogs.

I would recommend Consulting with a professional vet if you do suspect anorexia in your pet.

A Few Reasons

Here are a few reasons why your dog could be experiencing such problems.

  • Nausea
  • Dental problems
  • Drug reaction
  • Environment
  • The pain of some sort

Appetite loss is one of the causes that could potentially indicate further problems such as cancer ranging all the way through two kidney failure.

What To Do If You Suspect This Problem

The best thing you can do if you suspect such problems is to simply contact the earliest convenient vet. Also, attempt to monitor anything else that may be unusual in your dog.

Environmental changes that can cause anorexia

If you really take a deep thought back to the last time that you were stressed, then surely you can remember that you didn’t have an appetite.

Well, it is exactly the same for dogs when they’re in stress periods. It’s common for a dog to react in loss of appetite to a situation when an environment is dramatically changed.

One of the ways of easily identifying this is just simply looking back at the previous few weeks. Or the last time you can actually remember your dog eating very normally.

The cause of the problem can be a simple as even if you have a dog petter that comes around the house to take care of him or her when your out.

The more serious situations, which can be caused by moving house or traveling abroad.

Let’s Wrap It Up!

To wrap this up. It is important that if you suspect your dog has to have any form of anorexia. Then you’ll immediately take action and contact your vet at the earliest point possible. 

Don’t leave it long, as the best way to cure this problem is the early diagnosis.

9 Make It Fun!

A great way to encourage a dog to eat is to make it fun and entertaining around dinnertime lunchtime and breakfast.


By implementing fun activities as simple as asking your dog to do a trick before eating. It can make it fun and entertain as well as a good routine and eating habits for your pup.

You can also check out things like food dispensing toys which can be quite great and fun for your dog to eat with. Dogs love a bit of variation in the type of way that you feed them at dinner time.

Here’s a link to go check out the EXACT food dispenser I currently use from Amazon.

As Mentioned…

Even as that earlier mentioned you could simply just had a few bits of our human food into their food to Spice it up for them.  This can really get things going in the flavors blowing full stop but do be sure to do your homework and research on what is suitable to do so.

As you could potentially cause more harm than good by doing this. Here a quick video with a few basic tips on how you could make dinner time more enjoyable for your pup.

The Bottom Line 

The bottom line is, if your dog is not eating properly then you need to rule out any health problems first. So it’s good to make those text at first and then lead on to things such as changing foods.

Just be sure to have a good vault of knowledge at all times. As well as continually learn and develop your skills into taking the best care of your dog.

Read Also: >> How to take care of Golden Retrievers

10. Have you checked out other products?

Like with anything in life it is highly recommended, that you check out other products. I personally noticed that so many people go out and buy one thing and because it works for some time they assume that it will work forever.

Ss for humans, you would know that we always constantly change in regards to our taste bad and the foods that we like from time to time.

Which is why we might make a trip to the Indian restaurant on a Friday night. So it’s really important to give your dog a variety of foods if they become very bored and custom to foods they don’t like.

If you noticed that there is a sudden change in the way that they eating their food and they just refused to eat it. Then it is worth just trying to see if they would eat something else.


I hope you enjoyed this blog post and if you did then be sure to share it on your social media and get the message out there. Hopefully, you should now know all about dog food for picky eaters now after reading this post.

There are many other dog owners experiencing the same problems and if you can make a difference then it can make a difference in our community.

For now, thank you for reading and stay golden!

Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Dig Doggy. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! Rachael also loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Dig Doggy. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! Rachael also loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

About Dig Doggy

DigDoggy® is a free resource for dog owners, with everything from expert product reviews to trusted pet care advice.

All of our reviews and recommendations are based on unbiased research by our editorial team. Read more about us.

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