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What Do Yorkshire Terriers Eat?

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The Yorkshire terrier is one of the most popular dog breeds around. They’re usually 8 to 9 inches at the shoulder and weigh only 4 to 6 pounds fully-grown. Despite their small size, they typically have no problem holding their own against larger dogs, thanks to their confident attitude. 

What do Yorkshire terriers eat? Read this article to find out what you should feed your Yorkie and what you should avoid.

Unfortunately, this attitude can make some Yorkies picky eaters! It’s important to provide your Yorkie with a high-quality, nutritious diet on a regular basis to keep them at their feisty, loveable best. 

What’s the Best Dog Food for Yorkies?

Since protein supports growth and development in dogs, it’s often the main foundation for a healthy diet. It also helps adult Yorkies to maintain their lean muscle mass. The recommended protein content in a dog’s diet is a minimum of 18-22% for canine growth and reproductive health. 

For fat, the recommended dietary requirement is 8% for younger dogs and 5% for adult dogs. Fat is a concentrated calorie source that helps your Yorkie absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Carbohydrates are not listed in the nutritional requirements for Yorkies, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that they need a diverse collection of vitamins and minerals for a healthy diet.

Based on these requirements, it’s vital to feed your Yorkie high-quality, nutritious food. Animal protein like meat or poultry is essential, as is a very limited carbohydrate intake.

At times, you might feel like your dog deserves more than the nutritional requirements stipulate, but remember that they’re there to keep your dog healthy. The amount of calories your dog needs will depend on its age and weight.

In general, you don’t want your dog food to have artificial additives like colors, flavors, or preservatives. The first ingredient should always be either real meat, poultry, or fish, as animal-based fat is good for energy. A limited amount of digestible carbohydrates with vitamins and minerals should come from natural sources as well.

Dry Food or Wet Food?

Naturally, lots of toy breed dogs are picky eaters and prefer wet, canned food, but this doesn’t mean you should fulfil your Yorkie’s urge.

Wet food is often preferred but always the best choice by itself because it’s not good for healthy teeth and gums. It can also cause runny stools. Yorkies are generally prone to tooth decay, and their dental care should always remain a necessity. 

How can you get your Yorkie to go for dry food? 

If they’re already too much into canned food, you can mix a bit of wet food with some dry kibble for a compromise.

You can also soak the kibble in warm water for a minute or two if your Yorkie has a tough time eating dry food. Soaking in a low-sodium chicken or beef broth can also make the transition easier and tastier for your Yorkie. 

You can always try warming the food as well, because many picky Yorkies will refuse to eat chilled or cold meals! When you’re warming food in the microwave, you can time it for 10 seconds or so. You don’t want it to be too hot.

My little Ziggy is very picky but after trial and error I found a few high quality foods he loves. I give him a wet food that is delivered by A Pup Above and I also a freeze dried meat pieces that provide the crunch of kibble but is healthier. It’s called Rawbble.

What Human Food Can Yorkies eat?

You can prepare high-quality food for your Yorkie with some of the daily ingredients that you use, including meat, vegetables, and some grains. Just skip the salt and other seasonings.

These human foods not only make your Yorkshire terrier happy, but can provide them with a more healthy and energetic body, with shiny fur and a big smile on its face.

Meats

Raw meat is believed to be good for sick dogs, but you shouldn’t mix it with cooked meat. You should also be careful not to overcook any meat you feed your dog. 

Giving Yorkies a new taste for food can be an exciting experience for them, but that doesn’t mean you should let them taste everything. Turkey skin, for example, is not recommended. The fat in turkey skin can cause pancreatitis when eaten in large amounts. Also skip ham because of it’s high sodium and fat.

Eggs and Dairy

Yogurt is a low-fat source of calcium and protein, which makes it good for a Yorkie’s bones and teeth. If there are active bacteria cultures in the yogurt, it can even act as a probiotic and aid in digestive functioning. You should, however, be careful about yogurt products with sugar and artificial sweeteners. 

You can also feed your Yorkie eggs, as long as they’re cooked. Eggs are enriched with digestible proteins, riboflavin, and selenium. However, raw eggs can cause biotin deficiency in Yorkies, so make sure they’re cooked properly.

Fruits, Vegetables, and Seeds

Toy breed dogs can’t digest vegetables in large chunks, so it’d be a good idea to process most veggies thoroughly before you bring them to your Yorkie. 

You can give your yorkie a baby carrot to chew on as a snack if you want.

Sweet potatoes are super healthy and are known to be a good source of dietary fiber. They have vitamin B6, vitamin C, beta carotene, and manganese. Pumpkin is another great option.

You can use brown rice when you cook it to make a healthy meal for your doggy.

Another healthy human food option for your Yorkie is apples. Apples have vitamins A and C, plus some fiber. The skin of an apple is especially full of nutrients, but you should avoid feeding the seeds to your dog, as they contain trace amounts of cyanide.

Your Yorkie could potentially enjoy flax seeds as well. They’re a source of omega-3 fatty acids that help keep skin healthy and coats shiny. You can add a very small amount of the seeds to your dog’s diet for an extra source of fiber too.

How Many Times a Day Should I Feed My Yorkie?

It all depends on the age and size of your Yorkie. The recommended number of meals per day for adult Yorkies is two. Mine actually just have one meal when they get up but they do get several small snacks throughout the day.

Some owners go for three times a day, which can be fine as long as you divide the meals correctly and don’t go overboard with the calories. 

A puppy should have 2 to 3 small meals throughout the day.

How Much Should a Yorkie Eat

The amount of daily calories recommended for Yorkie puppies is 200, while it’s down to 150 and 120 for adults and seniors, respectively.

You can free-feed your Yorkie puppy until they gain enough weight for a structural diet. This usually happens when they reach the 3-month mark or weigh 2.5 pounds. 

Housebreaking can be difficult if you continue to free-feed your Yorkie once they reach this stage. This is because puppies tend to need to relieve themselves soon after they eat. If your dog has a scheduled meal time, it’s much easier to train for a scheduled potty time and area too.

By the time your Yorkshire terrier reaches a year old, you can probably add more flexibility to the schedule. For starters, you should switch from puppy formula to an adult formula. With some snacks throughout the day, an adult Yorkie can do fine with two meals. You can time it so that they eat a bigger breakfast and a smaller dinner, or the reverse.

You should also take your Yorkie out for a short walk once or twice a day, typically in the mornings and evenings. Although you may not always be able to keep to the schedule, it’s preferable to take your dog for walks at the same time each day. 

Yorkie Health Issues

Yorkshire terriers are generally a healthy breed, but they can encounter some health issues throughout their lifetime. The typical life expectancy of a Yorkie is 12 to 15 years. Common health problems include eye infections, tooth decay, and gum problems. 

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is common in Yorkies, as their jaws are tiny and can lead to crowded teeth and the buildup of plaque and tartar. To prevent this, you should start daily brushing at an early stage. 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Another serious health condition that could challenge some Yorkies is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which eventually leads to blindness. The disease is hereditary, and there is no treatment or cure for it, but, fortunately, dogs with this disease usually adjust very well to it.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is another health condition that affects small dogs like Yorkshire terriers, and it’s present at birth. As many as 26% of Yorkies may have this developmental abnormality of the leg bones and knee caps. Surgery might be needed if your Yorkie faces pain while walking and a grade IV patellar luxation. 

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia could also be an issue for your Yorkie puppy. It’s caused by low blood sugar and should be treated at an early stage. You can provide honey, syrup, or sugar when you suspect your puppy may be lethargic, shaking, or weak due to low blood sugar. 

Allergies

You should protect your Yorkie from unnecessary chemical exposures, as skin allergies can be a problem for this breed. This leads to irritation, itching, and hair loss. 

Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is common in toy breeds as well and can be exacerbated by overexcitement, obesity, and overexercising. If your dog has a recurring hacking cough, they may require medication or surgery, and if they appear to be struggling to breathe, take them to a vet right away.

Conclusion

So, what do Yorkshire terriers eat? You have to pick out certain foods that are healthy for their bodies and delicious to their taste buds at the same time. Unfortunately, they don’t like everything! But it’s important to make sure your Yorkie is getting all the protein, vitamins, and minerals they need.

I hope you enjoyed reading our detailed overview of what you should feed your Yorkie and what should be avoided, and we hope you found it useful!

I’d love to know what you are feeding your Yorkshire terrier. Leave a comment and let us know!

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Cathy Bendzunas with yorkie and yorkie mix

Cathy Bendzunas

Dog Blogger

I have always loved Yorkies and got my first on when I was 19. I bred and showed them back in the 80’s. Though I love other breeds too, Yorkshire Terriers will always be my first love. I have lived and worked with dogs all my life.

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2 comments

    1. I’m on the fence on it. It seems kind of complicated to get right and there are chances of getting your dog sick so personally I won’t do it. But I know a lot of people swear by it and it can be a good option if you are willing to educate yourself on it.

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