Yorkies are a pint-sized dog breed that's perfect for any family. They're fun and active, but their small stature requires a proper diet to keep them healthy.
Smaller dog breeds require less food intake than larger breeds, so it's imperative that they eat high-quality foods that provide them with all of the nutrition they need.
Generally, Yorkies don't need a lot of food. Most weight less than 10 pounds and have a tiny stomach. When looking at how much to feed a Yorkie, it's important to consider their caloric intake because
different brands of food have varying calorie numbers.
The specific amount of calories needed depends entirely on the dog's age and activity level.
Average adult Yorkies need around 150 calories per day. This is a healthy amount for adults that are moderately active. Senior dogs tend to be less active and more relaxed. This allows them to take in only 120 calories a day.
Active dogs require much more calories to ensure that they stay a consistent weight. On the upper end of the scale, these dogs should be receiving approximately 200 calories a day. This also applies to larger Yorkies.
5 of the Best Dog Foods for Yorkies
1. Blue Buffalo Small Breed Chicken & Rice
Blue Buffalo is one of the top dog food brands available, and with good reason. As the name implies, the most prominent ingredients are chicken and rice.
The chicken comes entirely from the muscle, so there's no worry about byproducts. There's also absolutely no soy or corn, which is ideal for avoiding upset stomachs. The kibble is rich with blueberries and cranberries, which are superb antioxidants.
There's also some flaxseed as a source of Omega-3 and Omega-6. It's a high-quality food that's tasty for Yorkies while keeping them in top-notch health.
2. Taste of the Wild High Dry Hi-Prairie Formula
While not made specifically for smaller dog breeds, Taste of the Wild Dry dog food is an impressive option for Yorkies. The main protein source is bison and venison.
These proteins are a great alternative to standard chicken and beef and are generally enjoyed by any dog. The manufacturer also uses high-quality carbohydrates in the form of chicory root, sweet potatoes, and rice
As a bonus, the dry food includes fish oil. Fish oil is a great source of healthy fat to keep a Yorkie's coat nice and shiny. Taste of the Wild is also quite affordable, making it a great option all around.
3. Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato & Chicken
L.I.D stands for limited ingredient diets, so owners can rest assured that their beloved Yorkie is only getting the essentials. It's easy to figure out exactly what's in the food, which is a rare commodity among dog food brands.
The source of protein doesn't have any byproducts. Instead, it contains chicken and chicken meal. Carbohydrates make up the bulk of formula to keep costs low.
However, it uses healthy sweet potato rather than corn or soy. What makes it great for Yorkies is the shape. It's designed to clean teeth, so it's perfect for avoiding common dental problems.
4. Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food For Small Breeds
This dog food is designed specifically for smaller breeds like Yorkies. It contains a very high percentage of protein in the formula.
It's comprised of 28 percent protein from three different sources. These three proteins vary from formula to formula, but they stick to high-quality options like fish and turkey.
In terms of carbohydrates, it mostly uses sweet potato. It also has flaxseed oil as a good source of fat. While it does have some artificial ingredients, the main ingredients are all healthy choices.
5. Wellness CORE Small Breed
Also from Wellness is their CORE line of dry dog food made for small breeds. It's grain-free and contains no animal byproducts.
It's similar in formula to the previous options but contains a few differences that make it appealing for Yorkies. It has an even higher protein content and a number of ingredients that benefit long haired breeds.
This includes salmon oil to improve taste and fur appearance. It also has Glucosamine and Chondroitin. These supplementary ingredients help with bone and joint health, which is always a good thing to consider for any dog breed
How to Feed a Yorkie
Due to their small stomachs, Yorkies can't handle large amounts of food at one time. Overeating is a huge problem among the breed. It results in upset stomachs and regurgitation.
It'll also lead to excessive weight gain that can be detrimental to the dog's health. It's the owner's responsibility to manage when they eat and how much.
Frequent meals also help avoid empty stomachs. Owners should never feed their Yorkie a single meal during the day. Once their stomachs are empty, acidic bile will build up and cause pain. Not only that but the dog's blood sugar levels will drop as well.
The amount of recommended calories for the dog should be split up into 2-4 meals depending on how much food they need.
If the dog's active and requires more calories, it's a good idea to split it up into 4 smaller meals. This gives the dog enough time to digest their previous meal and make room for the next.
Puppies Need More
Puppies are a unique exception to the rule. They require double the number of calories as an adult. They are growing and need all of the nutrients they can get to ensure that they grow up healthy and happy.
It's not uncommon for puppies to eat as much as 400 calories in the beginning. This will eventually decrease to 200 calories.
In the first few weeks of being born, they will feed entirely from their mother. However, at 4 to 8 weeks of age, it's important to make food available at all times.
They'll be weaning off their mother slowly until they can eat dog food all on their own. Also known as free feeding, this method requires a constant supply in close proximity.
At 3 months, it's time to create a healthy eating schedule. Failing to do so will only lead to training issues in the future. A routine will help them in terms of behavior and help establish proper growth into adulthood.
At this stage, separating their caloric intake into 4 small meals is ideal. They'll be used to free feeding, so frequent meals will help with the transition.
Wet Dog Food vs. Dry Dog Food
Most dog food brands offer a wet variation and dry kibble. In most cases, choosing the appropriate option is merely a matter of preference. However, Yorkies have special needs that need to be addressed.
In the puppy years, wet dog food is a great option. As puppies wean off their mother's milk, they don't have the necessary tools to bite through tough kibble. Wet food that doesn't contain any large lumps will help them get used to the feeling of chewing while ensuring that they can get the food down.
After that, it's important to keep Yorkies on a dry food diet. The breed is notorious for developing dental issues. Their small mouths often result in crowded teeth.
Wet food will only get stuck in between the small gaps and lead to infection. The tough texture of dry food will scrape the teeth and remove any buildup.
Wet food is great on occasion or as a supplement to the dry food. However, it should be noted that wet food contains a high water content. They'll be receiving fewer nutrients with additional volume.
Keys to a Balanced Diet
With Yorkies receiving only a small portion of food every day, it's vital that what they eat is packed with nutrients. A balanced diet will keep them healthy throughout their lives.
To stay balanced, they need the right amount of proteins, fats, minerals, carbs, and of course water.
Protein is found in the muscles of animals. While some brands do use animal byproducts to achieve a level of protein in their foods, these proteins are very processed and don't achieve the same results.
They also come from questionable sources, so it's a good idea to go with natural raw meat. Dogs require amino acids, which they can't produce alone. Proteins contain 10 amino acids that provide dogs with some much-needed energy.
At the very least, Yorkies should have a food that is comprised of at least 18 percent proteins. However, the higher the protein amount the better. Up to 40 percent protein is ideal. It allows dogs to achieve optimal health and muscle growth.
It's especially important to give puppies large amounts of protein to make sure that they grow efficiently. The best ingredients to look for include:
Not all fat is bad. In fact, fats are an important part of a dog's health. On a cellular level, fats carry crucial vitamins throughout the body. Fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6 can do wonders to a dog's appearance.
They help maintain a shiny and healthy coat. Fats also help provide additional energy while preventing a number of health issues. Of course, too much fat can be a problem, so it's important to regulate their fat intake to around 20 percent of their diet.
In most cases, dog food has an adequate amount of fat for any dog. On the lower end of the spectrum, dog food manufacturers supply at least 10 percent.
High-end brands use more, as fat makes the food more appealing to dogs. It enhances the flavor so that they always enjoy eating. Yorkies should eat foods that have:
- Natural animal fat
- Seed oils
- Fish oil
Vitamins and Minerals
Just like humans, Yorkies need their diets to contain a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables. They contain a slew of essential vitamins and minerals that help achieve superior overall health. They strengthen the immune system and allow the body to function normally without any problems.
There's not a single food that contains all of the essential vitamins and minerals, so it's important to have a dog food with a wide range of natural ingredients.
While most dog food brands design their formula with this in mind, it's always a good idea to supplement the food with extra fruits and vegetables if needed.
Carbohydrates are used for muscle growth and energy. However, they're not required for dogs to maintain great health. Proteins are used in place of carbohydrates. With that being said, almost all dog food brands incorporate carbohydrates.
Yorkies should stick to high-quality grains. Low-quality options like corn and soy can lead to stomach problems. High-quality grains for Yorkies include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Brown rice
It goes without saying that Yorkies require water. It's an essential part of life and helps with overall health. Water carries nutrients throughout the body and helps with digestion, so an ample supply of water is a must-have.
Yorkies should drink between 5 and 10 ounces of water per day depending on their weight. The water should be fresh and clean. Owners need to change out their supply regularly to prevent bacterial growth from standing water.
Things That Should Be Avoided
Yorkies need to be supplied with food that contains high-quality ingredients. Any animal byproducts, processed proteins, and low-quality grains should be avoided at all costs. Superfluous additives should also be avoided, as they don't provide any real benefit and are known to cause allergies in Yorkies. These include:
- Artificial preservatives
- Artificial flavoring
- Extra salt
Common Health Problems
There are a few common health concerns that plague the Yorkie breed. Some of them are a result of genetics and old age. However, others can be a direct result of the food they eat.
Upset stomachs are far too common among the breed due to their sensitivity. This can lead to diarrhea and pain.
Stomach problems usually arise due to a change in food and ingredients. Low-quality carbohydrates are also a common cause.
Hypoglycemia is when blood sugar drops to a low level. It can lead to significant issues and noticeably low energy levels. Because they are picky eaters, this is very common among Yorkies. It usually occurs when the dog goes too long without eating. To avoid this, it's important to feed them something they enjoy frequently throughout the day.