Taste Test: Do Dogs Really Enjoy Their Dry Food?

Manufacturers strive to make dog food as tasty as possible because repeat sales depend on the dogs appreciating it. However, it is simple to pamper dogs with high-fat treats or table food, causing them to reject their dog food. 

Most dogs genuinely like dry dog foods. However, trying new foods to see what the dog likes might result in picky eating. They’ll eat something for a few days, then stop because they want to try something new. Because of this, many dog owners assume dogs don’t like dry food. 

Dogs sometimes stop eating dry food because they expect something different every time you set their bowl down. Luckily, you can solve this problem with a few tricks.

dog next to dry food looking up

Do Dogs Prefer Wet Food Over Dry Food?

Some dogs thrive on wet food, while others thrive on dry food. Some dogs have delicate stomachs, while others can eat nearly anything and be OK. Therefore, wet food can be a reasonable option if the dog likes it.

There are usually no differences in wet versus dry dog foods.

There are plenty of good wet food products out there, and you should research and learn about dog nutrition before setting down on something.

What Flavors Do Dogs Enjoy?

Dogs primarily rely on their keen sense of smell to judge their food, so if your furry friend has his snout deep in the bowl, that’s a winner. If they just give it a brief sniff and turn away, perhaps it’s time to try another flavor.

Vanilla mint, peanut butter, meat, bacon, and cheese are dogs’ five most favored flavors. They also like kibble, since it’s tasty to them. According to studies, most canines prefer beef and pork to chicken and lamb. In addition, they prefer warm, moist foods to cold, dry foods.

What Foods Do Dogs Dislike?

Most dogs dislike the taste and odor of oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. Mustard oil, vinegar, and cayenne peppers are a few more dogs especially dislike.

Even though your dog may appear as if they don’t like their dry food by pushing it out of the bowl, there may be other explanations for this behavior.

Can Dogs Survive on Dry Food Only?

In general, there is nothing wrong with feeding your dog only dry food. The only problem might be the quality, but if the food is of high quality, your pet friend will thrive on it. Just be sure to take it easy on the milk bones and other treats.

Dry dog foods are created to be the sole food source for your dog, so you don’t need to supplement it with anything else to be nutritionally balanced. But even though dry food is nutritionally balanced, adding fun variety will enhance meal and snack times.

We occasionally mix up to three different types of kibble together, and it has worked well for them so far. However, a question that often arises is about adding water to the kibble. Moistening dry dog food can enhance its taste and make it more palatable for some picky eaters. It can also assist senior dogs or those with dental issues.

But, be cautious: suddenly changing the consistency of their food can occasionally lead to digestive issues, like diarrhea. It’s always recommended to introduce any change gradually and monitor your dog for any signs of discomfort.

Do Dogs Like Mixed Wet and Dry Food?

Dogs enjoy eating wet and dry food, so you may want to mix and rotate the foods regularly. This is actually good for the dog, although dry food is often good enough.

You can combine dry dog food with sweet potatoes, bone broth, wet dog food, Greek yogurt, veggies, fruit, yogurt, peanut butter, canned mackerel, and most of your food.

And speaking of preferences, many wonder if dogs truly relish their food. Just like humans, dogs have preferences. They might wag their tail more enthusiastically for wet food one day and then crave the crunch of dry kibble the next. What’s important is ensuring they receive a balanced diet that caters to their health needs. Observing your dog’s eating habits, coupled with regular vet check-ups, will ensure they not only enjoy their food but also benefit from it nutritionally.

Eating varied foods enriches the dog’s diet, and I find it quite bonding to dine together and share my meal with my buddies.

The bottom line is that, despite several widespread and contradicting notions that one is better, there is often no health advantage either way. A balance approach to dog food is usually the best.

How to Make Your Picky Dog Eat Dry Food?

In general, a dog will ultimately eat, and they won’t choose to wait to death while waiting for canned food. So the question remains, how do we get them to eat?

Include a puzzle toy in the meal to make it more interactive. Dogs get bored by food, so doing anything to make it enjoyable might get them to eat. You can also hide food around the house to make them look for it.

Then, you can use a “topper” to sprinkle on the dry meal to boost its nutritional value. Toppers are a cheap method to spice things up for a picky eater, so you don’t have to buy as many different types of food or switch them out as frequently.

Add warm water to dry food. Dogs like it when you warm the meaty fats in dry foods because it brings out the scent that dogs find appealing. Additionally, it helps with digestion.

Rotate the foods. We try a couple of tastes from the same brand/line. I also enjoy using toppers, which may be as basic as a teaspoon of yogurt or as complicated as raw food.

Move to a higher quality dry food. Some dogs will happily eat it even when it’s dry. I’m referring to the price difference in the $20 to $50 area, so it’s nothing spectacular.

Add salmon oil. The 32 oz bottle costs roughly $30 and lasts about five months. It makes the dogs’ food taste better, their coat softens, and they stop itching if they have hot spots, and it’s inexpensive.

Home cooking is another option that is typically less expensive. Dogs may dislike dry food, whereas wet food may cause diarrhea and raw irritation. So homemade cuisine could be an option.

Try this to wean your dog off canned food. Stick with no treats, mix the appropriate cheap wet food with dry food, don’t increase walks, perform your usual stroll and ensure they aren’t obtaining food elsewhere, and wait.

Make sure you’re not worried about putting the bowl down and hope they’ll eat. Just know they will and that you’re doing your best to wean your dog off canned food. Here’s a good resource from AKC on how to switch and transition dog foods.

What Dry Dog Food is the Best?

The currently recommended diet to feed is any kibble that adheres to WSAVA criteria. Among these brands are Purina, Royal Canin, Hill’s Science Diet, Eukanuba, and Iams.

These products are generally recommended also because of a link discovered between Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), a kind of heart disease, and specific dog meals.

Purina Pro Plan is the most recommended among dog owners and nutritionists. Try the Purina pro plan for sensitive skin and stomach if your dog has stomach problems. However, it may be best to talk to a vet.

One unique tip when considering dog food is to look at the environment. Just like humans, dogs can get bored with the same setting. Occasionally changing the spot where you place their food bowl can pique their interest. This doesn’t mean a drastic change, just a little shift, maybe from one room corner to another or by the window where they can gaze outside. Such minor changes can enhance their eating experience, making them more curious and engaged during mealtime.


When it comes to dry dog food, it’s clear that our furry friends have their unique preferences, just like us. While taste plays a role, remember that their sense of smell greatly influences their choices. Trust your observations and instincts as a pet owner, and remember, variety can sometimes be the key to a happy pup.

Found these insights helpful? Dive deeper into dog nutrition with our other articles, and share this post with fellow pet owners to spread the knowledge!


Is dry dog food tasty to humans?

Dry dog food is typically not as tasty to humans. Some dry dog foods taste like human dry food without salt but smell funny, while others smell good but taste terrible. So the answer is dry dog food is usually not as tasty to humans. However, there are some foods that are equivalent to dry dog food.

Should you add water to dry dog food?

Mixing kibble with water can make it more palatable for some dogs, especially those that don’t hydrate sufficiently. However, it’s crucial to ensure the consistency is suitable for the dog and to monitor for any digestive issues.

Do dogs have taste buds?

Dogs possess approximately 1,700 taste buds, mainly located on the tip of their tongue. In contrast, humans have around 9,000. Despite this difference, dogs primarily rely on their keen sense of smell to assess their food.

How can you determine if your dog prefers wet or dry food?

Observing your dog’s eating habits is key. If they eagerly consume wet food and are indifferent or slow to eat dry kibble, they might have a preference for wet food. Conversely, if they enjoy crunching on dry food, it could be their favorite.

What are the potential health risks of frequently changing a dog’s diet?

Switching a dog’s diet abruptly can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea or upset stomach. It’s advisable to introduce new foods gradually, blending them with the old diet to allow the dog’s digestive system to adjust.

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