Yorkshire Terriers, otherwise known as Yorkies, are one of the most popular small dog breeds in the world. Despite their size, they boast an incredibly bold and feisty personality, which can be even more amplified by an owner with a similar disposition.
However, despite their courage and loud bark, Yorkies can be sensitive and have individual health concerns. If you are the proud owner of a Yorkie and are searching for the best dog food for your pet’s dietary needs, then you’re in the right place.
This article is designed to serve as a guide on how to choose the right food for your pooch and what ingredients you need to be mindful of before adding a brand into your shopping cart.
Overview of the Top Products
ROYAL CANIN BREED HEALTH NUTRITION Yorkshire Terrier Adult dry dog food, 10-Pound
ROYAL CANIN BREED HEALTH NUTRITION Yorkshire Terrier Puppy dry dog food, 2.5-Pound
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Yorkshire Terrier Loaf In Sauce Dog Food (Pack of 4/1), 3 oz
EUKANUBA Breed Specific Adult Yorkshire Terrier Dog Food 3 Pounds
Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Small Breed Recipe, 12-Pound, Salmon
Purina Beneful IncrediBites With Real Beef Adult Dry Dog Food - 15.5 lb. Bag
NUTRO Grain Free Small Breed Adult Farm-Raised Chicken, Lentils and Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food 4 Pounds
Wellness CORE RawRev Natural Grain Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food, Original Turkey & Chicken with Freeze Dried Turkey, 4-Pound Bag
NUTRO ULTRA Small Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food 4 Pounds
IAMS ProActive Health Minichunks Dry Dog Food for All Dogs – Chicken, 30 Pound Bag
This Royal Canin dog food is specially formulated for Yorkies. You have probably noticed that your dog has somewhat of a weak jaw – this food is easily chewable and small enough for a tiny Yorkie to pick it up.
As an owner of this breed, you are certainly familiar with how finicky they tend to be about their food. This brand has a rich aroma and tastes great, so you won’t have to worry whether they’ll turn their heads away from the plate.
- Helps Yorkies age healthily
- Reduces plaque residue on their teeth
- Provides nutrients for their thick and long fur
- Some owners report reactions like diarrhea in their dogs
- May cause allergies
- Some dogs might not like it
If Yorkies are picky about their food when they grow up, you should be as picky while they are young, since this is the most important period for their development.
This dog food contains important elements for supporting puppies’ sensitive health as well as prebiotics and antioxidants to help their intestinal system develop adequately.
Owners are also satisfied with how easy it is for them to pick up the small kibbles and how the food’s texture encourages them to chew, which strengthens their jaws as a result.
- Adult dogs love it too
- Saves the dogs from ingestion problems
- Available on subscription, which turns out cheaper
- A few owners are dissatisfied with the ingredients
- Some reports of ordering problems
Another type of food from Royal Canin, this loaf is a perfectly balanced meal that stimulates your Yorkie’s appetite while aiding the preservation of its intestinal system’s health.
Its good health effects extend to mouth conditions as well, so try this specific food if your dog has been prone to gum disease and the like.
The nutrients within this meal will also help keep their outer beauty by feeding their rich coat and keeping it in great condition.
- Dogs love it so much and eat it as if it’s a treat
- No intestinal problems in dogs with sensitive gut
- Known to help with some other health issues
- A bit pricey for some owners
- A few reports of loose stools in dogs after eating this food
This breed-specific dog food from Eukanuba is said to be predominately made of chicken, full of proteins, but at the same time, easy to digest. Not only that, but the fibers in it will help prevent any intestinal problems as well as improve absorption of nutrients from food.
The owners are more than happy with this brand, since they see the results of the effort put into making this formula. They say their dogs seem to enjoy it and they can see the health benefits of it.
- Easy to chew and swallow
- Good for dogs with allergies
- Plenty of fatty acids for skin and coat health
- Some dogs may refuse to eat it
- Some owners are not satisfied with the ingredients
Dogs are as different as people and some are more susceptible to allergies than others. If your Yorkie happens to have bad reactions to poultry-based food, here is a brand with salmon as a main ingredient.
This will not only let your dog enjoy its food problems-free, but it will improve the looks of its coat and the health of its skin as well.
People are also more inclined to buying this brand because it is said to use only the best-quality USA ingredients. This makes them feel a bit more secure when it comes to the quality control of their beloved pet’s food.
- Grain and gluten-free formula
- Small, easily swallowed kibbles
- Crunchiness of the kibbles improves teeth cleaning
- Some old users notice certain changes in the quality
- Puppies may find it too rich in protein
Meat from farm-raised animals with the addition of vegetables seem to be a great combination for small dog breeds. Food that is balanced in this way is easily digestible and filled with enough nutrients to keep your dog’s fast metabolism occupied for longer.
The kibbles are small and easy to swallow and chew, so even the dogs with teeth issues can eat with no discomfort.
- Bigger breeds like it as well
- Good price
- The dogs seem to really love it
- A few reported problems with the delivery of the package
- Some owners say it caused allergies in their pet
Healthy digestion means healthy weight and this brand focuses on improving your dog’s intestinal system health by using only meat and fruit in its production process. They boast ingredients like first-class chicken and lentils, while grains are not taken into consideration.
On top of these qualities, the production process takes place in the USA, so all the health standards have to be followed through. In other words, you don’t have to worry about the reliability of the producer.
- Small-sized kibbles
- Bigger dogs react well to it too
- Good for sensitive stomachs
- Some impressions of degradation in quality lately
- A few owners say they find it pricey
Not only grain-free but also containing raw foods, this brand introduces significant changes into the world of dog nutrition. That is to say, it lets you start your canine pet on raw meats in a safe way. This way, they use all the benefits of preserved nutrients but with no side effects.
The owners who have already tried giving this food to their dog are overwhelmed by the high protein content and the absence of ingredients dogs are intolerant to. The main impression they will mention regarding this food is how much the dogs love it.
- Picky eaters love it
- Causes no intestinal problems
- Makes coat shiny and gives more energy
- Not all the dogs love it
- Somewhat pricey
If you don’t want to feed your puppy any animal by-products, this is probably a good choice of food. It is filled with protein and other useful ingredients from different superfoods, including chicken, beef and salmon.
The period of puppyhood determines how your Yorkie develops and giving it the best, quality food is crucial. Your dog has to be able to eat it without any difficulties, so the fact that this brand’s kibbles are truly as small as necessary is only a plus.
- Older dogs also like it
- Helps soothe allergies
- Puppies love it and it helps them develop into a healthy dog
- Small kibbles may cause choking
- A few reports of allergic reactions
Although it’s not made specifically for small breeds, this food comes in small chunks, so your tiny Yorkie will be able to chew and swallow it with no problem.
IAMS claims that they studied hard the needs of dogs before they set out to make this formula, so their nutrition products should be among the best out there.
Since it is claimed that it contains high levels of proteins from carefully bred farm chickens, this dog food is probably at the top of the general foods list.
- Contains fibers and prebiotics for better ingestion
- L-carnitine is supposed to help with metabolism
- Antioxidants give the immune system a boost
- Might cause nausea
- Too small of a package
Choosing the Right Dog Food
Size is Important
Yorkies are small-sized, meaning that if you opt for kibble dog food, you need to ensure that it’s small enough for your dog to eat it safely. Not only will this minimize potential choke risks, but it will also help your pooch digest the food more efficiently.
This may seem like such a minor detail to think about when buying dog food for your Yorkie, but it’s definitely something you need to think about.
Opting for Calorie-dense Dog Food
It might surprise you to know that smaller breeds are in graver need of calorie-dense food than larger ones. A straightforward explanation is that small dogs need to use more energy during the day. In other words, they will subsequently burn more calories.
That’s why it’s essential to search for food that is specially formulated for Yorkies or other small breeds, as their calorie per pack will be higher – which is precisely what your Terrier needs.
In addition to calorie-dense food, you’ll need to ensure that the brand you choose contains the finest and the highest quality protein on the market.
In other words, avoid processed kibble or those containing meat by-products, which ultimately don’t offer the nutritional value Yorkies need. The best choices for your pooch incorporate chicken, fish, turkey, or other lean meats that are still high in protein.
The Concern of Grain-Free Alternatives
Over the past couple of years, grain-free dog foods have flooded the market. The idea of supplying your dog with a more natural and nature-related diet is noble. However, many grain-free foods come packed with dangerous carbohydrates.
If your dog doesn’t suffer from any allergies that would stop you from feeding him or her grained foods, then it won’t be that important for you to cut this ingredient out of its life. Remember to always read the label and ingredients.
Canned vs. Kibble
This debate has been going on for years and years and while there is some evidence suggesting that kibble is better for your dog’s teeth than canned foods, the difference is quite minor.
It usually has to do with your dog’s dental health, as dry foods help with tartar and build-up. However, there are other alternatives too, including dental and chew toys for dogs, or even delicious tartar biscuits. Plus, you have the option of brushing their teeth every once in a while.
A Yorkie’s Diet
As previously mentioned, protein is one of the most significant ingredients in a Yorkie’s diet, with some of the best sources coming from turkey, fish, chicken, lamb, or even beef. However, it’s still essential to avoid processed and meat by-products.
When it comes to this adorable tiny breed, you’ll want to pay particular attention to their carb intake. While grain-free food is not an absolute must, except for food sensitivity cases, other types of carbs are dangerous, such as corn, in particular.
Instead, opt for more natural alternatives, including rice, sweet potatoes, or other sources of Vitamin A.
Running around and jumping on the sofa to get cuddles can be exhausting. That’s why high-quality food designed for Yorkies is going to be indispensable for these pooches that boast a fast metabolism.
Our recommendation is picking foods that contain at least 15% protein, with higher-end brands going as high as 20% fat. Ultimately, fat will also help with their overall appearance, including their coat and skin.
Last but not least, any food with a decent content of omega fatty acids will serve as a bonus. Typically found in foods containing fish (i.e., salmon, tuna, or oil), this will help with the shiny and healthy appearance of their coats.
Vitamins and Minerals
These energetic little pooches can live up to 16 years, provided that they are given a good start in life. Bearing that in mind, you should do your best to ensure that their food is rich in vegetables and fruits – particularly in terms of antioxidants (i.e., blueberries).
Alternatively, opt for food supplements that your vet can tell you more about/ Many of them are also breed-specific, which can be excellent for your Yorkie.
How the Right Food Helps with Their Health
While dental diseases are quite common for Yorkshire Terriers, the food they eat can make a significant impact on their overall health.
As a rule of thumb, because Yorkies have small jaws and mouths, their snacks can quickly get stuck between teeth – eventually leading to gum disease, plaque build-up and decay.
Dry kibble will help remove plaque; its hard texture while brushing their teeth will help with clearing any stuck foods.
Low-quality food often leads to sensitive or upset stomachs and that’s because the artificial preservatives, food dyes, or low vitamin content could, in time, lead to allergies. By contrast, higher-end food can help with common allergens Yorkies suffer from.
Some meals are even free of dairy, beef and other foods you might need to eliminate. You will notice that once you change their food to a nutritious combination of turkey, fish and other healthy oils, a significant change will be seen - both in energy levels and overall happiness.
You are able to help your pooch get used to new and delicious foods by mixing its current kibble with the new one – decreasing the chances of developing allergies or rejecting the food.
What to Avoid
Most people are aware that commercially-produced dog foods aren’t always healthy. With a variety of commercially available dog food products, it is very easy to just grab anything that looks remotely healthy without checking the ingredients.
However, this negligence may result in compromising your beloved Yorkie’s health. That is why you need to make it a habit to check the food’s ingredients and as much as possible, opt for an all-natural dog food that benefits your pet’s health.
That being said, be cautious and watch out for these harmful ingredients that are found in commercially-produced dog food and treats:
Butylated-hydroxyanisole is a preservative used in both dog and human food to extend their shelf life. It is meant to prevent spoilage of fats and oil in food.
However, according to the U.S. Department of Health as well as the Human Services National Toxicology Program, this ingredient is potent and dangerous, as it often produces tumors in laboratory animals. In fact, it is also linked to cancer in both animals and humans too.
Often found in low-quality foods, it is used as a filler to increase its protein content. This ingredient is harmful to dogs’ endocrine system, as it is estrogenic.
Another toxic preservative commonly found in dog food and treats, ethoxyquin has been banned from use in human food, as it has been linked to cancer.
Still being used in dog food though, it has been linked by veterinarians to blindness, kidney and liver damage, immunodeficiency syndrome, leukemia and other types of cancer.
Commonly added to dog food and treats to add sweetness, this ingredient is addictive and unnecessary. Too much consumption of corn syrup in dogs may lead to hyperactivity and health conditions, such as diabetes and weight gain and other behavioral problems.
A mixture of the internal remains of beef, chicken, turkey, fish, or lamb, these ingredients are grounded, including the eyes, beak and feet, the animals’ tumor and even deceased animal organs and tissues to increase food content.
Dyes like Blue 2, Red 40 and Yellow 5 and 6 can also be found on your Yorkie’s food and treats, which are known to contribute to hypersensitivity (allergic-type) reactions, behavioral problems and cancer in humans.
Additionally, the caramel color contains 4-methylimidazole (4-MIE), which is also known as an animal carcinogen.
Human foods adulterated with other contaminants like rodents, roaches and bird excreta being fed to pets and other animals are not strictly regulated by the FDA Compliance policy CPG Sec. 675.100.
Your beloved pet may be exposed and/or eating human foods with a high possibility of contamination from disease-causing substances.
Yorkies are known to be picky eaters; it is a common problem among the breed. Sometimes, switching the food brand or putting a bit of chicken or beef broth can do the trick.
Although if your Yorkie refuses to eat the food he or she used to love, there may be an underlying medical reason behind this problem. Health issues may also cause the loss of appetite in your dog.
An upset stomach, tooth infection, physical pain and discomfort - whatever the reason is - it is best to contact your trusted veterinarian to help your Yorkie better.
Refusal to eat may also indicate that, depending on what kind of food it ate previously, it is just putting its digestive process on the right track. Exposure to table scraps may also be one of the reasons for its refusal to eat.
After all, human food has a strong smell and taste. Be sure to keep your Yorkie off of table scraps, or prepare your own home-cooked dog food if the refusal persists for too long.
How Often Should You Feed Them?
As with most dogs, the exact amount of food and feeding times vary, depending on your Yorkie’s age and activity. Still, proper feeding is one of the most essential ways to keep your dog healthy. Generally, 2-3 small meals per day is enough due to its small size.
While other breeds are contented with one big meal throughout the day, Yorkies are not able to cope with long times between feeding. While a Yorkshire Terrier is still a puppy, during its weaning age between 4 weeks old to 3 months, it should be free-fed as it is weaned.
This important growth stage requires your pup to eat at least 4 times a day to gain the right weight and nutrition and to prepare him or her for a more structured diet. As your pup grows into an adult, you are now able to start to schedule its meals and be consistent with it.
A well-scheduled meal time will promote good behavior from your dog. It is advisable to provide 3 (even 4) meals a day without serving the last one later than 2 hours before its bedtime. Dog treats and alternating between wet and dry food are also recommended during this age.
As your Yorkie matures, approximately around the age of 8 - since Yorkies have a life expectancy of 15-20 years - it will tend to slow down. Similar with humans, its diet should also reflect its age, switching it to food within its age range.
Whatever your Yorkie’s age may be, it is essential to provide food and schedule a consistent mealtime to keep your dog healthy and happy. How often you feed it still varies one to another, but a scheduled 3-4 healthy meals everyday can suffice the needs of your beloved pet.
Individual taste, age and temperament are important factors to consider when choosing the right one for your pet. For your Yorkie, taking into consideration the health benefits it can get with the right food and avoiding certain types of food will provide your pet proper nutrition until old age.
Be mindful of its eating habits as well to take cues regarding your pet’s health and wellness. If you notice any difference that leans towards alarming, contact your veterinarian immediately to help you understand your pup more.