Dog Food Options for Picky Eaters

I have two greyhounds, a 9 year old girl and a 6 year old boy. The girl has always been a somewhat disinterested eater (not unusual for greyhounds). The boy has always been an enthusiastic eater.

Right now, we are feeding them kibble. Because the girl periodically gets tired of her food, we change it up when that happens. Currently, the boy is eating Science Diet sensitive stomach and the girl is eating Wellness Core RawRev, which is kibble mixed with freeze dried raw food. Oftentimes, I give them both a little of each.

The boy sometimes struggles with an upset stomach first thing in the morning. It happens maybe once a quarter, so not a big deal. I give him pepcid when it happens and it always resolves quickly.

They have both recently gone on a hunger strike. Part of that I know is my fault, as I have been giving them Milkbones in the morning when they don’t eat their kibble, so they have something in their stomachs (I believe an empty stomach/too much acid is what causes the periodic tummy trouble).

I bought some ProPlan salmon sensitive stomach food, hoping maybe that would pique their interest, but no dice. So now I am wondering if I should go back to making their food (I have done this for other dogs) or if there’s some kind of topper I can easily use to make the food more appealing.

Any ideas or suggestions? I’m open to most anything, with my only real limitation being $$$. All these fresh dog food options sound wonderful, but with two big dogs they are really pricey.

Any thoughts on the Dr. Pitcairn book? And especially the 4th (current) edition? Is it all vegan or are there still meat-based meals in it?

I’d really consider an entire course of Pepcid. Or perhaps something stronger, like a PPI. Perhaps they internalize stress enough that they need a consistent, maintenance dose, but treat first, find a new food that doesn’t have built in aversion and see how they do.

Imo, inappetence is an indication of a medical problem. We’re way too willing to dismiss refusing to eat as “oh he’s just picky.” It’s often gastric ulcers or just an acidy stomach. Sometimes something else like a low grade or building pancreatitis, or a tooth issue. You know this eventually leads to an “upset stomach” (puking?) that’s made better with pepcid, so start there. Those incidents aren’t solitary, unique events, they’re the end result of the chronic issue that’s causing refusal of food.

Playing food roulette without treating the root cause just leads to more aversion. Just like how I can’t drink tequila after that one horrible night in college, they remember that they felt awful after eating something, and refuse it, even if they feel okay. Treat the cause, then find a new food. Going forward, treat again at the first sign of refusal.

My pickiest foster loved kibble with homemade stock, little bit of rice and peas.

I’m no help on picky dry food cause I have a beagle, but Fromms has been my go-to.

Until I adopted 5 month old Sadie I had never had a " picky eater". I tried so many things and it would work for a week or 2 then suddenly she would sniff it and walk away.

Through trial and error I found that feeding her once per day( evening) and adding a small amount of cooked chicken ( with a little juice) over her kibble was the magic combination for her.

It worked so well that when I got Nellie I started the same regimen for her except she eats twice a day.

It is not expensive . I buy chicken leg quarters in a 10 pound bag ( $6 at Walmart mart) and spilt one between the 3 meals.


I had to do something similar for my late dog who would occasionally go on a hunger strike. I used ultra-cheap high-fat hamburger though, as it was the juice/fat she was really after.

Ground Pork and Hamburger worked for a while but it has been the Chicken that has been consistent for 2 1/2 plus years now. Nothing worse than a dog who won’t eat!

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Thanks all.

Normally, I’m all about getting to the bottom of an issue, but I had a previous greyhound who had the same issue. The upset stomach doesn’t lead to puking or diarrhea. It causes what we call “gurgle-y tummy” and with pepcid, it goes away. We explored it very thoroughly with this greyhound, including ultrasounds, etc. and the conclusion was that sometimes she didn’t have enough food in her stomach to soak up the acid, and on these occasions, she needed a little extra help. Having spent $$$ to diagnose not much with our pervious girl, and it presents identically with our boy, AND I’ve discussed current dog with my vet and she agrees it’s not anything of concern, I feel confident it’s not related.

Plus, our current girl has a cast iron stomach and she’s the pickier of the two. So I think it’s just that - pickiness.

I’ve been topping their food with canned food and that sometimes helps. I think I need to up the ante and add some home-cooked stuff on top. I can’t do too much fat because I do want to be careful of pancreatitis, but they need food!

Thankfully, my girl is very good at self-regulating her weight. She will sometimes get a little trimmer, but she never looks skinny. And my boy has eventually been giving in and eating, so it’s not a huge worry. I just like them to eat two meals a day and I worry when they go 24 hours between meals.

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The breeder where I get my dogs feels the same way you do. Her dogs periodically refuse feed, she plays feed roulette. Says they’re picky.

I have her dogs. They eat anything in front of them. If they ever say no, I immediately treat them medically (often with pepcid, sometimes there’s a different issue.) They resume eating, and have no aversion. I never play food roulette.

It’s the same DNA. It’s the same breed. Even the same kibble, sometimes–I told her what I feed, she said they ate it for a week or two before stopping.

Greyhounds are a breed that often internalizes stress, no? It’s not a surprise to me that they’d need stomach support. Or that they’re “picky” because of that need. If you had a horse with these symptoms, would you be so willing to dismiss it? I think our small pets have far more GI issues like this than we recognize.

Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry about this? To just have them eat what they’re fed? There’s no harm in treating. Pepcid is available, and inexpensive.


I have 2 greys also. My female has a history of low appetite and some unholy looking byproducts. For a while we had her on Blue Buffalo Blissful Belly, but she got disinterested in that after about 1.5 years.
Around the same time I had a mutt puppy transitioning to adult food and a newer grey transitioning off his bulk-up regimen, who seemingly has an iron stomach and endless appetite, so I asked our vet what they could both eat to simplify. She (also a grey owner) recommended Purina One, and so it was.
By coincidence DH switched up the B^4 with the Purina, and female grey delighted. We have since begun transitioning her to the Purina as well (still have some B^4 to get through) and she has the best appetite and stool she has ever had.
So, my pitch to say, sometimes simpler is better!

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Wow, I have never even thought about dogs possibly getting ulcers. Not sure why. Our GSD has always been weird about his food. Long daily walks have improved his appetite, but he still refuses a meal on occasion. GSDs are known for internalizing stress.

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Pepcid is a great tool to have in your box!

“The famotidine dosage most often recommended for the treatment of dogs is 0.25 to 0.5 mg/lb administered twice daily.”

There’s a dose chart and more discussion at that link, too.

For my 75# dog, I give her one 20 mg tablet twice daily. I usually taper off, by going to one tablet a day, before discontinuing.

(It’s also great for those “picky” cats. 2.5 mg once or twice daily, depending on the problem.)

Give it a try! :grin: Keep in mind that aversion can still impact how well they eat even after treatment, so if you’ve been playing food roulette, you may have to find something different, so they don’t have any association with feeling poorly. But going forward should be a lot easier, as long as you nip any further inappetence in the butt when it pops up. A single course of treatment might not be curative for the rest of the life of the dog, especially if they tend internalize, but it should be a lot easier to manage once they’re feeling better.

I hope it helps!

I had a dog who was always “picky” and I spent 4 years switching foods adding toppers etc. Never had diarrhea never threw up ever. I had a vet who finally listened to me and we dove into diagnostics. She had low level pancreatitis to the point that her pancreas and intestine on ultrasound were thickened. Switched to a very low fat food and she’s been inhaling every meal for 6 years now. I’d always push to try to find a reason. Now if she gets a little “picky” it usually means she was fed a treat or got something with higher fat and we do use pepcid or other meds to calm her tummy down then she’s back to normal. Each dog is different even though you chased the rabbit hole with your other greyhound these ones might be different.


Owner of a picky, food sensitive dog here. (limited diet).

I make my old man dog bone broth. I use either the crock pot or instapot. I get the beef bones from the local Asian market where they are cheaper. I will pick up 3-5 pounds worth.

I toss in carrots and celery with the bones and cook with about 6 cups of water. (I am not sure the carrots and celery offer anything after being cooked for so long). Pull the bones out and then stick blend the carrots and celery. (no salt, pepper, spices necessary)

You can use the bones over and over again depending on the size until they start to fall a part and you will know when that happens. I freeze them in between broth making.

I keep a jar in the fridge to use within a week and will freeze the rest in cubes for ease of use and thawing when needed.

I also like to have goat’s milk on hand. I get a quart or so and freeze them in silicone models ready to use.

My old man is 75lbs so couple of cubes a day are good for him.

I will also freeze pumpkin cubes.

How long do you treat for? The article suggests 1-2 weeks. I’m willing to give this a try.

Which PurinaOne do you feed? They have lots of different varieties.

Purina ONE SmartBlend Chicken & Rice Formula Adult Dry Dog Food

For such a long standing, chronic, issue, I’d do a month. A week or two is how I approach acute problems, like when my young dog recently ate some rawhide, puking it all up later. I just finished up a short course for her.

Taper carefully, and if symptoms return, go back to treatment dose, and consider adding a PPI.

Hope it helps!

To avoid the morning gurgly tummy my dogs got a treat right before bedtime. I’ve got one had acute pancreatitis twice around a year old. He’s been on a low fat, low fiber kibble since then, with no reoccurrences.