Feeding a small dog like a Yorkie puppy can be very confusing. Many Yorkie puppy owners end up underfeeding or overfeeding their puppy.
They assume they need a little amount of food because they’re tiny. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Overfeeding can also be a problem.
Despite their size, Yorkies need their nutrients. This is especially important for puppies because they’re at their growth and development stage.
By the end of this blog, you should know how much food your Yorkie needs, how often to feed them, and what to feed them.
Let’s dive right in.
How Much Should I Feed My Yorkie Puppy?
I thought we should address the elephant in the room first, and that’s how much food your Yorkie puppy needs.
The amount they need changes based on their age. Here is a breakdown of how much to feed your Yorkie puppy and why.
0 to 4 Weeks
Your Yorkie puppy should start gaining 2-20 grams every day after birth. By the time they’re 10 days old, they should be double their birth weight. If this isn’t happening and their weight is going down instead, consider bottle feeding them because it might put them at risk of hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia is a sudden loss of blood sugar levels, and its symptoms include weight loss, confusion, fainting, and coma. It may be fatal if not managed.
For the first three weeks, focus on ensuring the puppy’s mom is feeding well, and getting all the nutrients they need and enough water.
If the dam isn’t hydrated enough, it may lead to a milk shortage, affecting the puppy’s growth.
5 to 6 Weeks (½ lb. – 1 ½ lb)
Four weeks may seem very young to start weaning for a human baby, but it’s the appropriate age for a puppy. You’ll notice that the dam is giving the puppies less time to nurse, and she may seem to be impatient with them.
At this stage, consider feeding your Yorkie puppy with a mash of wet food and a little kibble (softened with warm water).
Be prepared to constantly clean the puppies and their items as they don’t know the difference between the food place and the playing place. You’ll have to clean their faces and paws several times a day.
Some puppies will get accustomed to food more quickly than others. As your Yorkie puppy starts to eat more, feed them dry kibble after they have mastered eating soft food so that they get used to crunchy textures.
Your puppy should be comfortable eating wet dog food and snacking on kibble by the end of week six.
2 to 4 months old (1½ lbs. – 3 lbs.)
This is when many Yorkies go to their new homes, so even though nursing is possible, they might not have the option of their mother’s milk.
This could be ideal for large dogs to establish a regular eating time, but small dogs like Yorkies deal with blood-sugar swings between meals. For this reason, it’s best to ensure they have food in their pen at all times.
At this stage, your puppy is growing rapidly, so they should have 175-200 calories from their food every day.
5 to 9 months old (3 lbs. – 5+ lbs.)
Your Yorkie will continue to get some muscles and fill out their chest, but they’ll be almost full-grown at nine months.
Keep in mind the rate at which your puppy grows doesn’t solely depend on the amount of food you feed them. The growth rate varies from one puppy to another, and other factors like genetics and health can influence their appearance.
If your suspect you’re overfeeding your Yorkie, consult your vet on the amount of food to feed your Yorkie to protect them from obesity. Similarly, if your puppy is underfeeding, talk to your vet and see if you can change their diet.
How Often Should I Feed My Yorkie Puppy?
If your puppy is a slow feeder, then you can continue free-feeding them. However, if your Yorkie eats anything within their reach, this isn’t a good idea. In this case, the best thing is to feed them several times a day.
Multiple meals help combat hypoglycemia and ensure your puppy stays full between mealtimes. Ensure you spread out the meals and stick to a timetable so that your puppy isn’t anxious about when they get their next meal.
Having scheduled meals has other benefits like easy predictability of when they need to potty so it may help with house training your Yorkie.
Should I Give My Yorkie Puppy Treats?
You can start giving your puppy some treats at 7-8 weeks. They’re getting all their nutrients from their food at this age, so an occasional treat is okay.
That being said, it’s best to limit the number of treats you give your puppy. And make sure the treat is tiny.
They’re at their growth and development stage, and they should be getting all the nutrients they need from their food.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, it’s advisable to ensure that your puppy only gets 5% (at most) of their calories from treats.
Consider your dog’s size to make this easier when shopping for treats. For example, your Yorkie puppy doesn’t need an extra-large dog treat. If the treat is soft, you can always break it up into small pieces for your pup.
Also, avoid giving your puppy any food at the dinner table to discourage them from begging for table scraps in the future.
Lastly, if you really want to give your pup a treat, introduce them to healthy snacks like bell peppers, carrots, and green beans. Just think of something crunchy with low calories.
How Long Can a Yorkie Puppy Go Without Eating?
When a Yorkie puppy is between 4-7 weeks, they can go for about 5 hours without food. If your Yorkie puppy is 6-8 weeks, they can go for 8 hours without food.
However, we highly discourage waiting for that long to feed your puppy at this stage because they’re in their development stage and tendency for hypoglycemia.
Puppies can’t survive for 12 hours without food like adult dogs because puppies don’t have fat reserves. This is especially true for small dog breeds that are prone to hypoglycemia.
Should I Worry About My Yorkie Puppy not Eating?
If your puppy has been feeding well and suddenly stops, it might be a good idea to take them for a checkup. However, if they’re still playing, try a different diet first because they might just be bored with their current food.
My 2 Yorkies go on a hunger strike whenever they get bored with their food. If the new diet doesn’t help, book an appointment with your vet.
When to Switch from Puppy to Adult Food
The best time to switch your Yorkie’s puppy food to adult food is after reaching 90% of their expected adult weight. For many dog breeds, this happens at the 12-month mark.
However, this may happen a few months earlier for small dog breeds like Yorkies. At this point, your puppy doesn’t need growth and development food; they need maintenance food.
Some puppies are also naturally lazy and spend most of their time lazing around and sleeping. For the lazy bones, it’s important to switch them from a puppy high-calorie diet and protect them from gaining unnecessary weight.
How to Transition Yorkie Puppy to An Adult Dog Food
When your puppy transitions to adult food, a lot will change for them. The food will most probably have a different flavor, the amount they eat will change, and the number of times they eat in a day will change.
It’s therefore important to take everything slow and make the change gradual.
Here is an example of balancing the food when making the diet switch.
- DAY 1: 75 % puppy food, 25% adult food.
- DAY2: 50% puppy food, 50% adult food.
- DAY3:25% puppy food, 75% adult food.
- DAY7: 100% adult food.
Be sure to keep an eye on how the diet change affects your puppy. Some Yorkie puppies have sensitive stomachs, so they may need more time to adapt to the new food.
Dry Vs. Wet Food: Which is Better for My Yorkie?
The main difference between dry and wet food is the water percentage. Dry food only has 3-12% water content, while wet food has 64-80% water content. One difference the water content makes is that the dry food has a longer shelf than the wet food.
When it comes to your Yorkie puppy, the dry food has hard kibble, while the wet food is easy for your puppy to chew. The best thing is to mix both so that your puppy doesn’t strain a lot, but they also benefit from strengthening their teeth from the kibble.
What Ingredients Should You Look for in a Puppy’s Food?
What makes your Yorkie’s puppy food good quality is the nutrients they have. Here are the top ingredients you should look for when shopping for your Yorkie puppy’s food.
Protein is very important to every dog as it helps grow and development of bones and muscles. This is especially important for puppies. Here are the best protein sources.
You won’t have any issues finding dog foods with these ingredients because most of the top brands have these proteins. Be wary when buying cheap foods because most use processed stuff and fillers. This may trigger allergic reactions in your Yorkie and cost you more in the long run.
Another important ingredient is carbohydrates. Your puppy needs the energy to run around and play. Here are some of the best sources of ingredients.
- Brown rice
- Sweet potatoes
Avoid foods that contain corn and soy, especially if your puppy has a sensitive stomach, as they are known for causing stomach-hypersensitive reactions.
Dogs do need some fats in their diets. They supplement their diet and ensure that your Yorkie’s hair remains shiny and silky. Fats also make the puppies’ food tasty. A good source of fats are fish oils, as they help heart health.
What to Avoid Feeding Your Yorkie
While they are some human foods that your Yorkie puppy can eat, like meat, vegetables, and fruits, some human foods are dangerous for your puppy.
- Chocolate. While chocolate might be good for you. It might cause seizures, muscle tremors, or even death to your puppy.
- Onions and garlic. This explains why you shouldn’t feed your food to your puppy. The onion family contains shallot, which is toxic to dogs.
- Caffeine. Caffeine is also harmful to your puppy’s body system. You should avoid sharing your snacks or drinks with your puppy that contain caffeine.
- Raw bread dough and alcohol. The latter contains ethanol that’s poisonous for dogs, while raw bread dough causes your puppy’s tummy to expand, causing difficulty breathing.
- Grapes and raisins. These two have been shown to cause kidney failure in some dogs. It’s best to keep your Yorkie away from them.
- Ham. Ham has a high salt content and is very processed. It will often trigger digestive problems with dogs.
Can You Feed a Yorkie Puppy Raw Food?
Yes, you can feed your puppy raw food. This is commonly known as the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diet (BARF).
Some researchers found this diet to be appropriate for dogs based on the argument that all dogs were once wild animals and should have what they were eating before they were domesticated.
The BARF diet has other benefits like the fact that it has zero additives, which is great for puppies with sensitive stomachs.
If you decide to go with this diet, feed your puppy food that’s equivalent to 2% of their body weight. They can have all proteins, including chicken, rabbit, beef, pork, and lamb.
We recommend beginning with one type of meat and diversifying as they get used to the diet. You can later add vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, carrots, green beans, etc., to the diet and fruits.
PS: All raw meat should be handled with caution because of salmonella. This diet also has its drawbacks, so it’s only recommended for pet parents who are very knowledgeable about dog food nutrition. And it’s always a good idea to check with your vet first.
What Do I Feed My Yorkie Puppy? (Our Favorite Picks)
Now that we’ve discussed everything on the ins and outs of feeding a Yorkie puppy, it’s time to get some recommendations.
This will help you get started as you process this information and decide what’s best for your puppy.
Let’s get started.
1. Halo Dry Dog Food for Small Dogs, Chicken & Chicken Liver
If your Yorkie puppy has a sensitive tummy and has issues like vomiting, a hot tongue, or lack of appetite, then Halo dry food might be your answer.
The Halo Purely for Pets Company uses a holistic approach to ensure your puppy doesn’t get any allergic reactions. Their food doesn’t have any artificial flavors and preservatives, growth hormones, antibiotics, color, or any other form of factory farming. The food is also free of non-GMO fruits and vegetables.
Instead, the food contains a mixture of fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Some of the ingredients include chicken, chicken liver, peas, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, blueberries, and carrots, just to mention a few.
- Natural plant-based preservatives
- No artificial additives
- No by-products
- Some pet parents don’t like foods with grains
2. Royal Canin Yorkshire Terrier Puppy (our top choice).
This food is a good choice for a couple of reasons. Royal Canin has been in the dog food business for a long time, and they produce quality food.
Secondly, this food is specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of a Yorkie (8 weeks – 10 months). It has everything your puppy needs to grow a healthy coat, boost their immune system and improve their digestive system.
In addition, the kibble size is made with your puppy in mind. They’re big enough to strengthen their teeth but small enough for their small muzzle and bite.
- Purposely designed for a Yorkie puppy
- Small kibble size
- Contains antioxidants
- Boosts digestive and immune system
- Most dogs love Royal Canin
- It has animal by-products
- Some have claimed it is junk food for dogs
3. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Small Breed
If you’ve been reading several dog food reviews, I’m sure Purina has come up several times. Their food has all the nutrients your small champ needs for growth and development.
The food contains DHA for vision and brain development. It also has calcium, phosphorous and other minerals needed for bone development. Other ingredients worth mentioning include omega fatty acids, vitamin A, and antioxidants.
The food has a high protein content with real chicken as the first ingredient, which is great for muscle growth and development.
- High-protein content
- Great for vision and brain development
- Fortified with probiotics for immune and digestive health
- Not recommended for puppies prone to allergic reactions
4. NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Puppy Dry Dog Food
This is another great choice for Yorkie puppies, and its first ingredient is a high protein source. Depending on your puppy’s preference, you can choose from their different flavors: chicken, lamb, venison meal, and beef flavors.
The dog food recipes don’t contain any GMO ingredients, and they contain nutrients that your puppy needs for growth and development. If your puppy has a sensitive stomach, you’ll be glad to know that this food doesn’t contain wheat, corn, chicken by-product, or soy protein.
- It has no GMO ingredients
- No chicken by-products, wheat, corn, etc.
- Great for puppies with a sensitive stomach
- The kibble pieces are a little big, and puppies in the teething stage might struggle a bit
5. NUTRO PUPPY Grain Free Natural Wet Dog Food Bites
I decided to end my recommendation list with the best-wet puppy food just in case you need something to mix with the kibble. This could also be a good choice for teething puppies with very sore gums.
You can also put your puppy on a wet food diet if you prefer it to dry kibble. It still has all the nutrients your Yorkie puppy needs to grow and develop.
Nutro puppy dog food is made of real lamb, beef, turkey, and chicken which puppies find very tasty. It also contains omega fatty acids to keep your puppy’s skin and coat healthy, and antioxidants to boost their immune system.
- High-quality protein
- Contains omega amino acids and antioxidants
- Puppies enjoy the taste and flavor
- It’s made with real meat
- May give your puppy bad breath
- It’s not recommended for puppies with sensitive tummies
I don’t mean to freak you out but what you feed your puppy is one of the greatest decisions you’ll have to make for them. It will significantly influence how their skin, hair, and general health turn out.
Before you buy food for your Yorkie puppy, check to confirm it has all the nutrients they need. Ensure it’s for small breeds; otherwise, you may buy them food with large kibble pieces that might hurt their teeth.
Once you buy the food, learn how to feed them the right amount so that you don’t end up overfeeding or starving them.
Dog Blogger, Former Dog Groomer
I have adored Yorkies for well over 50 years. As a young adult, I began to show and breed them. Now, I just write about them and have several in my little pack of small dogs.
I have had dogs all my life and have trained as a dog groomer. I also have been a kennel worker, worked in a pet hotel through PetSmart, and still am a pet sitter.
Check out my bio for more information about me.