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Health & Nutrition

How to Find Dog Food for Picky Eaters

February 15, 2023 - 19 minute read by The Team at Dr. Harvey's

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Best Dog Food For Picky Dogs [Choosing A Healthier Route]

Having a picky eater can be stressful for pet parents. Because your dog can’t tell you what they want, it takes time to figure out what foods appeal to them.

Luckily for you, Dr. Harvey’s makes good dog food for picky dogs because we know what dogs want. Keep reading to learn why dogs can become picky eaters, why whole foods are ideal for picky dogs, and the best dog food for picky dogs.

Why Is My Dog a Picky Eater?

There are many reasons a dog is a picky eater. We’ve listed some of the most common reasons below.

Medical Problems

First, make an appointment with your vet to ensure there’s nothing medically wrong with your pup that’s causing a sudden lack of appetite. They could have some slight subtle imbalances, allergies, dental problems, hidden pain, or another medical condition.

Once you have an internal snapshot through blood and urine check, you can then focus on trying to solve the issue through the best combination of food and nutrition.

If medical issues are ruled out, we can also try to problem solve through food variations.

Bored of Food

Do you like eating the same meal over and over again? Probably not. The same goes for dogs. If they’ve been having the same flavors every day and aren’t eating now, they might be trying to tell you they want something new.

Consider adding water/broth to meals for more flavors and textures. You can also change up their meal completely—but make sure to change their diet slowly. Over the course of a week, introduce the new food that your dog loves while slowly phasing out the old food.


A dog lying on a wood floor

Anxiety can give your companion an upset stomach, making it difficult for them to eat. Anxiety could come from environmental changes, thunderstorms, or even separation.

At mealtime, try staying in the room with the food and treating your companion like usual. This can help ease their anxiety. You can also try moving their food into a different room to see if that makes a difference.

Just Not Hungry

Sometimes your dog is just not hungry. Not every dog is food-motivated, and smaller breeds tend to get full easier. As long as your dog is at a healthy weight with no ribs or spine showing, try offering their meal a little later in the day.

What Is the Best Dog Food for Picky Dogs?

Is there a magic type of food that’s irresistible to picky dogs? Yes and no. With picky dogs, it’s really up to the individual dog. But, whole food seems to be good dog food for picky dogs.

Why Is Whole Food the Best Food for Picky Dogs?

Dogs are clever creatures. They choose whole, real foods over denatured kibble because they sense that real food is better—and better for them. They instinctively know that real meat and vegetables are healthy and will keep them healthy. Even the most selective eaters love real food, making whole food the easiest and best food for their picky dogs.

Whole food ingredients smell and taste better than kibble. Kibble gets cooked at high temperatures, which eliminates the nutrient content and much of its natural smell and taste. There are also no chemicals or preservatives in all Dr. Harvey’s whole-food meals.

Another reason has to do with smell. It’s no secret that dogs love to sniff things. Having food that’s full of different aromas will make your buddy more interested in the meal.

Finally, using whole food ingredients also provides varied textures while eating. Some ingredients can be crunchy, while others are soft…or chewy! Different textures help prevent dogs from being bored while eating.

What Is Easy Dog Food for Picky Dogs?

A dog holding a bunch of carrots in its mouth

So, is there a pre-made dog food for picky dogs a pet parent can buy that will actually work? Yes!

Dr. Harvey’s has a variety of food mixes that feature dehydrated whole food ingredients. All a pet parent has to do is add hot liquid, high-quality protein, and oil to Dr. Harvey’s base mixes and they’re ready to go. Our complete foods only require water to allow them to rehydrate. If your dog is a picky eater, we suggest adding low-sodium chicken or beef bone broth for extra flavor.

Why is this the best food for picky dogs? The key is the delicious whole food dehydrated ingredients, which provide optimal nutrition and a taste that even the pickiest eater will love! Dehydration is a method of preserving foods that removes moisture without removing nutrients.

The Best Dog Food for Picky Dogs

Here are some of our most popular dog foods for picky dogs:

Canine Health

We call Canine Health our miracle food, because not only does it help with a variety of health conditions like kidney disease, digestive problems, and allergies, but it also tastes good! Picky eaters love our holistic blend of six organic grains and nine dehydrated veggies.

What about pet parents? They love it because Canine Health is easy to make—just add hot water, meat, and oil and it’s done!

Here’s what a fellow pet parent had to say about Canine Health:

“Beesly has never been a very good eater. He’s 3 years old and I have struggled with his eating habits and worried a lot about his health and nutritional status. I’ve had many vet checks and there is nothing wrong with him, he just doesn’t like most dog foods and never eats the same food twice.

I was expecting him to get tired of eating this and lose the excitement that he had on night one, but every single night for a week he chowed down like I’d never seen before. So I’m a believer now. It’s so crazy to see a dog who could not have cared less about meal time now sitting there at 6 pm letting me know he’s ready for his food.”— Meryl Englert and Beesly


Our Miracle Dog Food

This 100% whole food ingredients formula has been trusted by thousands of pet parents to improve overall well-being.

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See the difference in your dog!

Generous Sample Size

Enough for several meals.

Raw Vibrance

Featuring 24 whole food ingredients, this mix will be irresistible to even the pickiest of eaters. It’s easy to make. All you have to do is add hot water, a protein source, and some oil—best of all, this convenience doesn’t sacrifice making a healthy, well-balanced meal.

Here’s what a fellow pet parent has to say about Raw Vibrance:

“Our five dogs and I absolutely love Raw Vibrance. Dr. Harvey’s has, once again, outdone themselves with another superior pre-mix. Each exceptional ingredient Dr. Harvey’s chose for Raw Vibrance plays a specific role for my dogs’ mental and physical health. After high-quality proteins and oils are mixed in, I consider it a healthy and complete meal.” – Dr. Julia Roach, DVM

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Take the Guesswork out of Raw Diets

Raw Vibrance makes it easy and safe to prepare a Raw Diet in a matter of minutes, right in your own kitchen. No Guesswork, hassle or mess.

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See the difference in your dog!

Generous Sample Size

Enough for several meals.


A woman and a child preparing food

Our Veg-To-Bowl food mix is grain-free and made without chemicals, preservatives, or dye. It features whole food ingredients that dogs love, like sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, and many more. Plus vitamins and minerals make your dog healthier than ever!

To make a complete meal, simply add a source of high-quality protein, along with oil and hot water. Veg-To-Bowl helps with weight management and allergies, and eases symptoms of kidney disease. And dogs love the taste—even the pickiest eater will love Veg-to-Bowl.

Here’s what a fellow pet parent had to say:

“Dr. Harvey’s Veg-to Bowl is the food that has saved my darling, 5-pound Shih Tzu named Cutie Pie. She didn’t like anything I fed her. I tried everything the vet recommended and everything else I could find in pet stores. I spent hundreds of dollars. I could barely get her to sniff it let alone eat it.

Then I found Dr. Harvey’s Veg-to-Bowl. I started cooking her meats and mixing them with this vegetable pre-mix. To my astonishment, she loved everything I gave her from Dr. Harvey’s. Her health, congestion, and breathing has continued to improve along with her skin, hair, and energy. Dr. Harvey’s saved her life!” –Sandy Smith

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See the difference in your dog!

Veg-to-Bowl is a grain-free dog food pre-mix made with nine different vegetables that when mixed with protein and oil makes a complete all-natural dog food for companion dogs.

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Try Before You Buy

See the difference in your dog!

Generous Sample Size

Enough for several meals.

Veg-To-Bowl Fine Ground

Our Veg-To-Bowl Fine Ground mix is the same delicious mix as standard Veg-To-Bowl, but ground into smaller pieces. This is good dog food for picky eaters who are small or toy dogs and older dogs that need softer food.

Here’s what another dog lover said about his mix:

“Our dog Murphy was rescued in December. We figured he would be “thrilled” with premium dog food and freshly cooked chicken spread across the top. He was very picky and only ate the chicken, so we switched to another premium dog food. And then switched again a third time. This went on for 3 months…. he walked up to his food, sniffed, and walked away.

I saw an ad for Dr. Harvey’s and reading the positive reviews prompted me to order the free sample and it arrived in a few days. I fixed the food according to the directions and held my breath. My cute Shih Tzu walked up to the food, sniffed it, looked at me, then sniffed it again….and then began eating! He actually ate the whole bowl of veggies and chicken. Licked the bowl clean!” –Marilyn McGrath

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Try Veg-to-Bowl Fine Ground Free!

Veg-To-Bowl uses only granulated ingredients making it a great choice for all dogs, but it is especially good for picky eaters.

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Enough for several meals.


Paradigm is a specially made premix for creating custom, low-carb meals for dogs. It has six different low-glycemic vegetables that dogs love (and that prevent glucose level spikes). Like our other mixes, all you have to do is add a protein source, oil, and hot water and you’re done.

It works with a ketogenic diet and helps with a variety of health problems. There are no preservatives, dyes, or chemicals—it’s all healthy minerals and vitamins.

Here is what yet another pet parent had to say:

“I wish you knew the 10-year struggle I’ve went through to feed this Chihuahua. Recently, my diabetic dog suffered a stroke and could not recover properly. Her veterinarian said her food would play a huge role in her recovery, but I literally almost cried trying to find something she would eat which also met her dietary needs (which is a very small selection of prepared products). It got to where she was becoming malnourished so for a while it was scary! Finding food that she will eat or CAN eat has been difficult, to say the least.

So needless to say, it makes me deliriously happy to tell you she BEGS for this. Thank you so much for the initial sample and for probably saving my dog’s life.” –Lori

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A Green Superfood Pre-Mix

Our specially-blended “green food” pre-mix makes an ideal base for a nutritionally complete low-carb diet

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See the difference in your dog!

Generous Sample Size

Enough for several meals.

Garden Veggies Whole-Grain Complete

Garden Veggies Whole-Grain is one of our newest and easiest-to-make food mixes! It has freeze-dried meat, seven different veggies, three fruits, and two different organic grains to create a variety of vivid flavors. To make a full meal, you just need to add hot water. That’s it!

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The easier way to feed fresh

Our complete and balanced “just add water recipe” has real meat as the first ingredient, plus a wholesome blend of superfoods, vegetables and fruits.

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See the difference in your dog!

Generous Sample Size

Enough for several meals.

Garden Veggies Grain-Free Complete

Garden Veggies Grain-Free uses the same formula as the whole-grain version (there’s freeze-dried meat, seven vegetables, and three fruits for flavor). The only difference is that it doesn’t have any grains, so dogs with grain-free diets don’t miss out on this delicious meal.

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Try it for Free!

Dr. Harvey’s Grain-Free Garden Veggies is gently dehydrated and freeze-dried to retain every delicious nutrient.

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See the difference in your dog!

Generous Sample Size

Enough for several meals.

Should I Give My Dog Food from the Table?

Sometimes dog parents get desperate when their best friend refuses to eat and turns to table scraps. You should absolutely not give your dog food from your table.

While whole food meals use human ingredients, they are prepared with dogs in mind. Your meals are not. Besides the excess salt and fat, if you start to feed them your scraps, your dog is going to develop a taste for them—and only them.

This will make your picky eater problem worse.

How Should I Feed My Picky Dog?

Sometimes it’s not just what you feed your dog that causes picky eating habits—Sometimes it’s how you feed your dog that needs to be examined. If you’re still struggling with a picky eater, then try our suggested feeding methods.

1. Create a Feeding Schedule

Do you let your dog eat throughout the day or feed them whenever they give you hungry eyes? That could be part of the problem.

Dogs actually like schedules and routines. By having food available around the clock, you’re allowing them to be pickier. If you create a feeding schedule, you’re telling your dog that this is the time to eat. It may take a few days for your dog to adjust to this new habit, but eventually your dog will start eating more at mealtimes.

It will almost seem like they can tell time!

2. Taking Food Away

This feeding method is going to require some tough love. After 15 or 20 minutes of not eating, you need to remove the food they didn’t eat and not give them any until the next mealtime. Avoid engaging with your dog while waiting for them to eat, because you want to convey the message that this time is meant for eating.

Don’t worry—This won’t hurt your dog (though they may give you the begging eyes). No healthy dog will deliberately starve themselves to prove a point.

The idea is to show that if they don’t eat now, they’ll have to wait before eating again. If your dog refuses to eat again at the next meal, stay patient. After a day of not eating, they’ll definitely be hungry enough to eat what you feed them.

Keep in mind that this is not meant to be a punishment. You’re merely teaching your dog that actions have consequences.

3. Have a Designated Space for Eating

Sometimes, without meaning to, we fail to create proper eating spaces for our furry friends. A place with high traffic, such as a kitchen, could be distracting or even stressful for a dog.

Try finding a new, quieter place for your dog to eat. This could be your bedroom or even the bathroom (weird, we know, but it’s nice and quiet).

4. Make Mealtime Fun

Maybe being served makes eating a little too easy—after all, dogs are descendants of predators! They like to earn their meals. So instead of just putting dinner in a bowl, make it fun with a toy, a puzzle game, or by moving the food around the house. There are plenty of food-dispensing toys that will make eating much more interesting for your companion.

What Treats Should I Give My Dog?

A woman sitting on a couch with a dog on her lap

Now that we covered the best food for picky dogs, what about treats for picky dogs? Should you give them treats or focus only on meals?

The answer is complicated.

Most picky eaters will hold out for treats if they don’t like their meals. This isn’t the best option, as treats aren’t nutritionally balanced.

But treats don’t have to be completely banned, either. If your dog is eating meals regularly, there’s nothing wrong with giving them the occasional treat.

Just make sure the treat is for training or rewarding purposes and that it’s healthy, such as a carrot or celery stick. Or try Dr. Harvey’s line of treats.

Try Dr. Harvey’s Best Tasting Dog Food for Picky Eaters

Because Dr. Harvey’s understands the struggle of finding good dog food for picky eaters, we offer free trial samples. Not only are they delicious, but they’re full of healthy vitamins and nutrients that improve a dog’s overall health and appearance.

If you’re trying to find the right dog food for your picky dog, give our food mixes a try. If you would like to know more about our mixes, we have a team of nutritionists who will be happy to answer any and all questions you have.