The tiny Yorkshire Terrier has a BIG personality and is bold, brave and spirited with enough attitude to scrap with dogs ten times their size. Contrary, Yorkies love comfort, can easily adapt to surroundings, and are well accustomed to being pampered, cuddled, and spoiled. Yorkshire Terriers burn an incredible amount of energy due to their super fast metabolism. Their tiny stomach and habit of being very picky with food makes them somewhat difficult to feed. Many frustrated Yorkie owners will attest, feeding these little dogs can be quite a chore.
Some Yorkies will go non stop, spending days running about and never seem to sit still. Others, if raised as your fashion accessory, will happily reside on your lap, on your shoulder, or in your purse for a day at the mall. While small breed dogs like the Yorkie typically burn three times the daily calories as a large breed, activity level of your Yorkie will affect their nutritional requirements and amount fed daily significantly.
Feeding Yorkshire Terriers
People new to Yorkies, or those not familiar with the breed are often unaware that feeding Yorkshire Terriers requires a high calorie, high protein diet. And, because Yorkies can be picky, some folks may end up inadvertently undernourishing their dog. Not in the frequency of meals or amount fed, but by settling with a less nutritious kibble formula that lacks quality ingredients just because their Yorkie eats it!
Bad news is this food is probably sprayed down with used frialator grease or contains added flavoring agents to make it palletable. These ingredients, plus others, should be avoided because theyre nutritionally inappropriate for feeding Yorkshire Terriors. If you visit our Feeding Dry Dog Food section, we'll walk you through the good and bad ingredients in kibble dog foods and show you what to look out for.
Conversely, if you've ever seen an obese Yorkie, they're probably over fed with a carbohydrate loaded poor quality food that cannot be converted into energy. This is why the best food for Yorkshire Terriors is of high quality, high calorie and high protein from meat, fed in numerous small meals throughout the day. Your task will be to tweak a feeding schedule and amount by watching your Yorkie to maintain healthy body weight and steady energy.
TIP: A Yorkshire Terrier that is moderately active will require about 200 calories per day to maintain health, energy and weight. While that lap dog Yorkie we spoke about can probably thrive on 100 Cal per day. Check out the Recommended Kibble Brands we've assembled for feeding Yorkshire Terriers here. Alternatively, Raw Feeding is awesome for Yorkies and helps prevent dental issues this breed is notorious for!
In addition to calories, Yorkies require a diet with high protein levels. For adult Yorkshire Terriers, protein levels of 35% should be right on par and when feeding Yorkie puppies, 35% protein is also a good target to help their tiny muscles grow.
Choosing Your Yorkie's Food
When sourcing a dog food for your Yorkshire Terrier, consider these qualities as they can really make or break the formula.
- Look for a Kibble Dog Food with a real meat source as the first ingredient and try to avoid byproducts. The first ingredient is the major source of protein and the more quality meat the better.
- Real meats like fish, chicken, beef, lamb, venison and bison are examples yet I've seen brands including more exotic meats such as kangaroo, duck and rabbit, all good!
- Organ meats are also great to see on an ingredients panel. Raw Feeders often include organ meet as part of a raw diet but you may be hard pressed to find them in a bag of kibble. If you do, great!
- Foods containing quality carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes or brown rice are OK for Yorkies but grain free kibble is even better. Check out the Recommended Kibble Brands we've assembled on this page.
- Quality essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 & Omega 6 will assist with skin and coat health, as well as, maintain physiological body function, cell membrane structure and cell function.
- Small kibble size is also important for feeding Yorkshire Terriers as they have extremely tiny mouths.
Caveat: Yorkshire Terriers are picky with dog food and may leave you scrambling to find a diet that entices a zealous appetite. Yorkies can be sensitive to certain ingredients and protein sources, some just nudge their food away for whatever reason. One of the challenges you'll face with feeding Yorkshire Terriers is finding a food he or she likes that is nutritionally appropriate, and agrees with their digestive system.
Feeding Yorkie Puppies
This sweet little Yorkshire Terrier puppy is only 4 weeks old.
While weaning off mother's milk from four to seven weeks of age, Yorkie puppies should have free access to kibble so they can pick at it. By week 8, they should have naturally transitioned to kibble and no longer be receiving mother's milk. This is usually a natural progression and requires minimal intervention on our behalf.
From week 7 or 8 onward, begin feeding yorkie puppies a high quality kibble of about 35% protein and 25% fat content. We love grain free kibble formulas for feeding Yorshire Terriers.
Always provide access to fresh drinking water for both Yorkie puppies and adult dogs. Yorkie puppies can be difficult to housebreak, especially during wet or cold locations so leaving free access to water compounds the difficulty. However, water is an important part of feeding Yorkshire Terriers as it not only hydrates, it helps your dog's body by flushing toxins and stabilizing body temperature. Getting back to housebreaking.. If you live in a frigid climate, consider doggy door access to an outdoor bathroom area or perhaps, a doggy litterbox.
Dietary Health Concerns & Additional Tips
Yorkies, like many other small breed dogs are prone to dental issues. Feeding Yorkshire Terriers a quality dry kibble food and brushing their teeth a few times per week is a great habit to get into. Raw fed dogs have a "leg up" and should have fewer dental issues. This holds true for Yorkies but dental problems seem to be linked to this breed so avoid feeding canned or soft foods if at all possible.
While not a substitute for dental brushing and cleanings, the texture of dry kibble or raw meaty bones will help prevent the build up of tartar which can lead to gum disease.
Don't miss our Kibble Section if you're looking for Yorkshire Terrier dog food and our Feeding Small Breeds hub for tips on nutrition for other small dog breeds.
Yorkies are prone to hypoglycemia as young puppies. To help assure blood sugar issues do not hamper your little friend, feeding Yorkshire Terriers the quality foods recommended here at FMDB is suggested. In addition, it's important to feed small portions of food multiple times per day. Following these feeding guidelines will assure your Yorkie maintains healthy weight and receives the energy source needed to fuel their fast-paced metabolism.
Additional Yorkshire Terrier Feeding Info
All the best to you and your Yorkie! For help choosing kibble dog food for your Yorkshire Terrier plus more info about raw feeding, visit our Homepage for quick banner access to the major sections of our website!