I let my dog pick her food and here’s what happened.

I sat down with entrepreneur Courtney Ballew to find out why should I let my dog pick her food.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
Pet picked caption

I’m obsessed with my dog, Lizzy. She’s my better half, and I would do literally anything for her. Well, pretty close to just about anything. Unfortunately, no matter how much I shower her with love, kisses, and treats, she won’t eat her food. Ever.

Over the past nine months or so, my Lizzy has been serving me sad eyes and a puppy guilt trip every time I feed her. I’ve bought four bags of dog food, and she hasn’t liked any of them. Now, to clarify, I’m not buying the cheap stuff. I always go for the well-known brands and names of quality food, but she hasn’t been happy with any of them she barely touches anything I serve.

Now, she gets excited every time she hears the food being poured into the bowl. Why? Because I let her pick her food.

What is Pet Picked?

I recently received a box from Pet Picked. Pet Picked is pet food sampling program that lets your dog pick their food. You choose from one of their curated packs that include anywhere from 15 to 50 samples of different types of dog food—from gluten-free to sensitive stomach to generic. In 5-7 business days, a box full of pre portioned samples comes to your door. The samples are labeled with the brand name and a photo of the package of the food that you would find in the store.

The #PetPickedChallenge

Once you receive your box of samples, you conduct the #PetPickedChallenge.

Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Distribute each sample into a separate bowl and lay them down on the floor.

Step 2: Let your pup sniff, sample, and choose the food they like.

Step 3: You and your pup enjoy delicious new foods!

I picked the sample pack that’s called, “Top 25 Brands of 2018”. The box was only $20 and includes 25 samples of the top-selling dog food brands of the year. When I got my box, there were ¼ cup samples of foods from brands like Iams, BLUE, Taste of the Wild, Rachael Ray, and more. I placed them each in a dish, as instructed, and put them on the floor.

Tip: If you’re like me and you got 25 samples, relying on your memory for what food is in which bowl can be a bit of a challenge. I taped each of the sample labels to the bowl before starting so I didn’t get them all mixed up.

Now, the fun part! I let Lizzy into the kitchen where I had the samples laid out and let her sniff to her heart’s content. I laid out four at a time so I didn’t overwhelm her. Pet Picked instructed only to allow your pet sniff rather than taste all of the foods to avoid stomach aches. After a few rounds, I had a solid lineup of Lizzy-approved foods.

Lizzy sniffed around, poked, and licked a few of the samples. She stayed with her nose deep in some bowls longer than others, but for some, she didn’t even stop to give it a second of her attention. No matter what, Lizzy always came back to one. The second I turned my head away, she dove right in and gobbled it up. I guess we have a winner!

Why I decided to put my dog in

For months, I’ve just walked down the pet food aisle and picked the bag of food that looked the healthiest or any that I had seen featured in a commercial. But, that’s not fair to my dog. She only gets to eat one type of food, and my guess could cause her unhappiness.

I love that Pet Picked gives my dog the ability to pick her own food. It gives me total peace of mind that she loves the food and that she’s enjoying it every day.

Even for pets that aren’t as picky as my little Lizzy, Pet Picked helped me feel confident that I am feeding my dog quality and delicious foods that she actually loves. Finding out what food Lizzy likes to eat was the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

Now what?

If you have no idea where to start, I would suggest getting one of their ‘Top Brand’ bundles. These bundles range from the Top 50 to Top 15 brands so you can try just about every major food on the market. If you know your dog has food allergies, they also offer gluten-free, sensitive stomach, and even grain-free sample packs as well.

If you want to try the #PetPickedChallenge with your pup, visit They have tons of different sample bundles that can help you narrow down the significant offering of pet food out there so your dog can find the one they like the best. 

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


“5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO of Heed Foods,” With Rei Kawano

by Carly Martinetti

Why having a dog makes me a nicer person

by Beth A Feldman

Christian Kjaer & Amanda Howland: “Do what is right, not what is easy nor what is popular”

by Ben Ari

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.