I am a bit of a foodie, and I am always seeking out the best recipes to make the tastiest food to keep me and the family happy. But my pups are also part of the family, and I want them to be enjoying a tasty meal every time they eat.
Finding the best tasting dog foods for my pooches can be challenging, since I can’t taste it myself, and they can’t tell me directly what they like and what they don’t.
However, whether they turn their nose up at it or gobble it down, plus reviews from other dog parents, have given me a pretty good idea of what to put in my dogs bowls.
Below I have shared a list of my seven tastiest dog food that are also highly nutritious for your pooch. I have included wet, dry, grain-free, and organic options, so basically something for every dog.
I’ll also share why it is important to feed your dog tasty food that they love, what to consider when choosing a food, and how to go about changing your dog’s food.
Spoiler alert, when it comes to wet food, in our household our pooches love Instinct By Nature’s Variety line of canned dog food. It uses lots of high-quality meats and delicious fats that my dogs just can’t get enough of.
When I’m giving them dry kibble, I feed them Taste of the Wild, which also has the added bonus of using novel proteins, or Wellness CORE, which is another high protein, high fat recipe, and also comes in a variety with freeze dried raw meat, which my pooches go crazy for.
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7 Best Tasty Dog Foods
1. Instinct By Nature's Variety Original Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe Natural Wet Canned Dog Food
My dogs love the smell of a rich, meaty wet dog food. I personally am not a fan of the smell of wet dog food, but my dogs gobble up Instinct by Nature’s Variety’s wet dog food so fast that it does not have a chance to linger.
This line of dog food is packed with delicious meat and healthy fats that dogs love.
Only named meats are used as well, so it is full of high-quality meats, rather than meals, which are both less tasty and less nutritious for your dog.
In this particular recipe, cage-free chicken, turkey, and chicken liver make up 95 percent of the recipe, so it basically only contains things that your dog loves.
The recipe is also grain-free and contains a variety of fruits and vegetables that I would like to see more on my own plate, including carrots, artichokes, cranberries, pumpkin, tomatoes, blueberries and broccoli.
Finally, the whole thing is enriched with a quality vitamin pack to ensure that your dog is not missing out on any of the essentials that they need.
Unsurprisingly, considering the high-quality meat content, this canned dog food is pretty expensive, but I am willing to spend a little bit more because my dogs just love this dish. Be aware that it is pretty high in calories, so portion control is a must.While every dog is different, mine love the line of canned dog food. They have a strong meaty smell, but this never lingers around the house for long as my dogs clean their plates.
For dry kibble, I feed them or , both of which prioritize quality meat and fats. Wellness Core also comes in a variety with , which is both a great healthy additive, and makes the kibble extra interesting and tasty.
Most dogs love a rich, meaty wet food, and will love this food by Instinct by Nature’s Variety, which is also packed full of the nutrition that they need.
Other flavor(s) available:
2. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Hearty Beef Stew Natural Grain-Free Wet Dog Food
Rachael Ray makes another wet dog food rich in delicious meat and healthy fats, but which is a bit more affordable for filling your dog’s bowl daily.
This stew is full of delicious and healthy protein gained from beef, chicken, eggs, and peas, all thickened into a texture that will appeal to most dogs with potatoes, ground tapioca, and guargum.
It is then enriched with the mixture of vitamins and minerals, so your dog is getting all the nutrition that they need while enjoying a food that they love.
It would have been nice to see more fresh fruits and vegetables included in the recipe, but like with my kids, this is more about what I want than what my dogs love.
This line comes in a wide range of flavors, so it is easy to mix up your dog’s diet and get them eating different things. However, it is worth noting that there is a fair bit of chicken in every recipe.
This is not a problem per se, but if you are trying to avoid your dog developing an allergy to chicken by feeding them alternative meat sources, then this food is not a good choice on a regular basis.
Rachael Ray’s line of canned dog food manages to be rich in high-quality meat that dogs love but still come with an affordable price-tag, meaning you can feed your dog what they love daily without breaking the bank.
Other flavors available:
3. Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
While my dogs love wet food, it is too high in calories to feed them this all the time, and I also can’t leave it out for them to graze when I’m not at home.
Consequently, a tasty dry dog food which they love and which is also super healthy, is another essential on my shopping list.
I initially wanted to try this product because it uses novel proteins, and it is a good idea to mix up your dog’s diet and not feed them the same meats (chicken and beef mostly) at every meal.
This particular recipe starts with bison as its primary ingredient, which it combines with lamb meal and chicken meal to create a kibble that is high in protein and healthy fats, and smells and tastes great, so my dogs love it!
As a note, when it comes to wet food, I don’t like to see meal used as an ingredient. With wet foods, I am looking for ingredients that I would be happy to have on my own plate.
With dry foods, I am more flexible, as they need to be made differently to get their biscuit texture and longer life. This recipe does contain more meal than I would usually like to see, but I can’t argue with how much my dogs love it.
The recipe also contains a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to provide the vitamins and minerals they need, including sweet potato, peas, tomato, chicory root, blueberries, and raspberries.
Again, these are all ingredients I wish I was eating more of myself, and the recipe is also topped up wit a nutrient pack of essential vitamins and minerals.
All Taste of the Wild recipes are proudly made in the USA, with ingredients predominantly sourced from within the country.
There is also a wide range of recipes available, which allows me to vary my dog’s diet. The only downside with this meal is that it is a bit on the expensive side but far from the most expensive food on this list.
My dogs not only love the flavor of Taste of the Wild, but it is also a highly trusted brand, so I can feel confident that I am giving my dog something that is good for them, with no hidden nasties.
Other flavors available:
4. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Receipe Dry Dog Food
Wellness CORE makes another line of dry dog foods that my pooches just gobble up, as it smells and tastes so good with its high meat protein and healthy fat content.
This particular recipe starts with deboned turkey as its first ingredient and a great source of lean protein. It then adds turkey meal, chicken meal, chicken fat, and chicken liver to add the delicious fatty meat that my dogs love.
While this recipe does contain a little bit more meal than I like to see, it is good to see added fat and organ meat, as these are essential to the healthy diet of any dog.
The recipe uses potato as its main carbohydrate, and then includes a variety of fruits and vegetables as natural sources of vitamins and minerals including peas, tomatoes, spinach, apples, blueberries, and kale.
The resulting recipe is pretty high in calories, so portion control is essential.
The kibble is coated with probiotics to support digestive health, as well as enriched with a variety of essential vitamins and minerals.
This just gives more bang for your buck, though be aware this this recipe is expensive, so it will set you back a few.
If you don’t mind spending a little more on your dog, then they will love this dry kibble from Wellness CORE, which will also provide their essential nutritional needs.
Other flavors available:
5. Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Pork, Beef & Lamb Recipe Dry Dog Food
If you are looking for an affordable tasty kibble to please your pooch, then Whole Earth Farms offers a great choice.
When I first picked up this recipe I was a bit worried to see pork meal as the first ingredient, but there isn’t really anything wrong with feeding your dog meal.
Meal is made during the slaughtering process and is generally a mix of muscle meat, organ meat, and skin. While this might sound gross, it is actually not bad for your dog, as these are things that they would naturally eat in the wild.
The problem with meal is that dogs need more muscle meat than other meat sources, and with meal, you don’t really have any way to control the balance. This recipe off-sets this by topping up its pork meal with pork, beef, and lamb muscle meat, ensuring a healthy balance.
The result is a recipe that is high in meat-based protein and high in healthy fats that my dogs just can’t get enough of. The meat is thickened with potatoes, peas, and sweet potatoes. There isn’t much else included in terms of fruits and vegetables, but the nutrients that they would get from those sources are delivered via a vitamin pack.
While the Pork recipe is my dogs’ favorite, Whole Earth Farms offers a range of recipes that dogs will love.
While this recipe may not be as good of quality as the other foods on this list, it is affordable and does the job, making it a good option if you are looking to feed your dog naturally on a budget.
Other available flavors:
6. Castor & Pollux Natural UltraMix Grain-Free Red Meat Recipe With Raw Bites Dry Dog Food
When my pups are stuck on dry food, I like to look out for kibbles enriched with freeze-dried meat. It is super healthy for them, and they love the taste.
Starting with beef as its first ingredient, this recipe manages to be very high in protein thanks to the addition of pork meal, lamb meal, and salmon meal, as well as pork fat, lamb liver, and beef liver.
While this is great, especially for dogs that need a lot of energy, what sets this recipe apart is that it contains pieces of raw meat that has been freeze-dried for longevity.
There is a strong argument for feeding dogs raw meat. It is what they would eat naturally in the wild, and meat loses much of its nutritional value when cooked.
While it would be great to put fresh cuts of meat in our dog’s bowl every day, it would also be expensive.
By adding freeze-dried meat to this recipe, Castor & Pollux offers an easy way to introduce some raw food into your dog’s diet. It does mean that this kibble is more expensive than other options on the market.
While the freeze-dried meat doesn’t smell like much to me, with their superior sense of smell, my dogs get excited when I open a packet of this.
If you want to try including some raw meat in your dog’s diet, then this kibble from Castor & Pollux is a fuss-free way to do it, and you will probably find yourself with clean bowls.
Other available flavors:
7. Wellness CORE RawRev Gain-Free Original Recipe With Freeze-Dried Turkey Dry Dog Food
Another raw food solution and another great recipe from Wellness CORE that your dog will gobble up!
I’ve already talked about the benefits of raw meat and how much my dogs love it, and this is another recipe that lets you give your dog raw meat with no fuss, in a recipe that they will love.
This food from Wellness CORE starts with the same excellent dry kibble recipe, that we have already recommended above, and then adds pieces of freeze-dried meat. Your dogs will love both the smell and flavor of these added pieces.
Overall, the recipe is high in protein and healthy fats, which dogs love and is also part of a healthy diet.
This dog food is pretty expensive, so while we would all love to be feeding our dog this recipe on a daily basis, it is not always feasible. It is also high in calories, so despite how much they love it, make sure not to overfeed on this recipe.
For a tasty bowl of kibble with a healthy and delicious dose of raw meat, Wellness CORE have come up with a recipe that dogs will love.
Other flavors available:
What To Look For In A Tasty Dog Food
While every dog’s palette is different, there are a few things that most dogs love, and will combine to make a recipe that they want to eat.
First and foremost, dogs love meat. While dogs are omnivores, unlike cats, and as most of us have seen, will eat anything, meat is the most important part of their diet.
They should be getting most of their calories from meat. Your dog’s nose and taste buds know this as well, which is why they find the smell and taste of meat irresistible.
While we have heard for many years about the evils of fat and the importance of investing in lean meat, the same does not hold true for our dogs.
Just like us, your dog loves the smell and taste of fat, and they should also be getting about about a quarter of their calories from fats.
While you certainly don’t want to overdo it, you should be more concerned about the calorie levels of dishes than the high fat content.
Dogs are very efficient at processing fats and 90 to 95 percent of the fats that they eat get metabolized.
Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables not only act as a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, dogs often love the flavor.
A few brussel sprouts or some broccoli can turn an otherwise boring dinner into something that your dog will crave (if only it were that easy with children!).
Foods To Avoid
There are foods that your dog loves, and there are also foods that can put them right off their dinner. Sometimes this is the flavor; a lot of dogs can’t stand citrus or bitter apple, which is why they are in so few dog foods.
But sometimes it can be something that has upset their stomach. They have learned to associate the smell of that food with not feeling so great later, and so may turn their nose up at it. For example:
- Food that is excessively salty is both bad for your dog, as it can cause sodium poisoning as well as excessive urination and thirst, and is also just unpalatable to many dogs.
- Excessive amounts of onion and garlic can lead to vomiting and breathlessness, as well as putting your dog off their meal (not to mention the bad breath).
- Dogs often develop allergies to the foods that they eat the most, such as chicken and beef. This can leave them with a sore stomach and put them off the smell of their food. Monitor their bathroom habits to see if a developing allergy might be the reason they have gone off their favorite dish.
Many dog owners prefer to avoid grains and gluten in their dog’s diet, as they are known culprits of digestive issues among humans.
However, very few dogs have issues digesting grains, and they can also be quite fond of them, though nowhere near as fond as they are of some hearty meat protein.
In general, it is no problem to feed your dog a dish with grains, and they will probably enjoy it.
Just makes sure the grain is not the first ingredient. The first ingredient in a dog food recipe should always be meat, with grains used to add texture and flavor.
Why Is Your Dog A Picky Eater
While some dogs will eat anything and everything with gusto, some dogs are just naturally picky eaters. Small dogs tend to be pickier than larger ones.
This is because they have smaller appetites, so they can afford to be choosy, whereas large dogs that are hungry all the time may just eat anything.
It is not uncommon for a dog to “go off” a food that they have been eating a lot for no apparent reason. Often when you change their food, their appetite returns and it just remains one of those mysterious things.
However, when dogs display a sudden change in appetite, this can also be an indicator of a serious medical condition.
A change in eating habits usually means that it is time for a trip to the vet. It may be that they are suffering from hormonal issues, difficult digestion, or dental problems, all of which can be treated and mitigated through the right choice of food.
Sadly, change in appetite can also be a sign of more serious medical issues, such as tumors. This is why it is always important to monitor your dog’s eating habits and discuss them with your vet as part of regular check ups.
If your vet gives you the all clear, and it seems that your dog is just being quite choosy, as well as changing their diet to a food that they should love, there are a number of things that you can do to boost their appetite:
- Increase their exercise levels so that they feel hungrier.
- Avoid giving them human foods or treats, as these treats may be putting them off their normal food bowl, which is the one full of the nutrition that they need.
- Check that you are not overfeeding them. Often out of love, we put a little bit of extra food in our dog’s bowl. However, giving them a little extra at breakfast might mean that they aren’t that hungry when dinner comes around. Check with your vet about your dog’s actual calorie needs and make sure to only give them as much food as they need at each meal.
- Put your dog on a feeding schedule, taking uneaten food away rather than leaving it out for them to graze. This will teach your dog that meals happen at certain times, and they will eat their fill when food is provided, rather than assuming they can come back for more later.
How To Change Your Dog’s Food
While changing your dog’s food can be a great way to deal with picky eaters, don’t expect that you can just put out a bowl of the new food that you have selected and that your dog will gobble it up.
Dogs can be creatures of habit, and they may turn their nose up at something that is unfamiliar. Moreover, the change in food can mess with their digestive system, and can leave you with some pretty unpleasant clean up tasks as they become accustomed to the new food.
The key when changing your dog’s food is to transition slowly, mixing their old and new food together, starting with 75 percent of their old food and 25 percent of their new food.
You should then gradually increase the amount of new food that you give them over the course of about four weeks, until their bowl only contains the new food. Make sure to mix the food thoroughly, and don’t give your dog the opportunity to just eat the old food or just eat the new food.
If your dog is showing a particular aversion to their new food, it is worth trying a different one. Every dog is different, and what one dog finds irresistible can be unappetizing to another.
If this doesn’t work, try feeding your dog their new food by hand. They trust you, and they are also probably accustomed to receiving treats from the hand, so they will be more likely to give the new food a try.
There are many reasons why dogs may turn up their noses at the food in their bowl. Once your have determined with your vet that this is not down to any particular medical condition, it may be just that your dog is being picky!
When this happens, one of the best things that you can do is transition them onto extra-tasty foods they won’t be able to resist. This generally means foods that are high in quality meat-based proteins and rich in healthy meat fats.
While every dog is different, mine love the Instinct By Nature’s Variety line of canned dog food. They have a strong meaty smell, but this never lingers around the house for long as my dogs clean their plates.
Wellness Core also comes in a variety with freeze dried raw meat, which is both a great healthy additive, and makes the kibble extra interesting and tasty.
So what about you guys?
Does your dog have a favorite dog food?
What does your dog think is the best tasty dog food?
Tell us your dog's choice in the comment section below.
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