Yorkies are sassy little things. They have no clue how small they are, and their attitudes seem like they’d be more appropriate for dogs of a more intimidating size. Despite their spicy personalities, Yorkies are prone to a variety of health problems, putting emphasis on the importance of good nutrition. As a dog owner, coming up with the ideal diet can be confusing, so let’s break it down together!
Macronutrient Requirements for Yorkies
Protein doesn’t have the emphasis for Yorkies that it does for a German Shepherd, but Yorkies are still carnivores even if they only weigh four pounds. Most commercial dog food brands have a protein content of about 25%, and this is more than adequate for a toy breed like the Yorkie.
The type of protein that’s best for your dog depends on their system. Yorkies are commonly afflicted with a sensitive stomach, so opting for a food that’s free from chicken (a common food allergen for dogs) helps prevent stomach issues. Fish is very gentle on the stomach and still provides a healthy source of protein.
Little dogs are commonly overweight. If you don’t sneak table scraps or treats to your Yorkie and they’re still a bit tubby, it’s time to reevaluate their diet. Cheaper brands of dog food are guilty of using cheap, simple carbohydrates like corn to bulk up their food. While corn isn’t bad for dogs, simple carbs are more likely to cause weight gain.
Read the labels before you buy a bag of food. Complex carbs are nutritionally dense and free of empty calories. Higher-end brands of food use things like brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes to make the food more nutritious.
Every mammal needs a form of good fat in their diet. Yorkies are known for their beautiful coats, and good fats are the key to a long, shiny, healthy coat. Commercial dog foods contain small amounts of fat in the form of fish or flaxseed oil, but whether the amount in the food is sufficient should be decided by your veterinarian. You may be able to safely supplement their diet with additional fats (fish, flaxseed, or coconut oil), but too much fat leads to diarrhea and/or weight gain, so tread carefully.
Dry or wet food, whats best for Yorkies?
It’s mistakenly thought small dogs should be fed a soft diet because of their small mouths and even tinier teeth. There are many brands of food that have created tiny kibbles for their pint-sized customers, so this isn’t really a valid excuse anymore.
Veterinarians recommend skipping wet food with small breeds because of their predisposition to bad breath and plaque on the teeth. Dry food provides just enough abrasion to scrape the beginnings of plaque off of the teeth.
Dry food is never a replacement for annual dental scalings by your veterinarian, but the dry kibbles do provide a minor defense mechanism against advanced dental disease and bad breath.
Yorkies tend to have fussy stomachs, and this is prevented or managed through diet. Oftentimes, chicken is a common culprit for stomach upset because a lot of dogs are actually allergic to it. If your Yorkie has a sensitive stomach, avoid chicken, corn, and soy.
Limited ingredient diets are a great way to prevent bouts of diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. A true limited ingredient diet has less than 10 ingredients in it, and uses low-allergen foods like sweet potatoes, fish, and no grains.
If you get your Yorkie as a puppy, you should know about hypoglycemia. Tiny dogs tend to have unstable blood sugar levels. If they play too much without any food, their blood sugar drops and they become weak, unconscious, or even suffer seizures. Puppies can die from it, too.
A Yorkie puppy needs to be fed regularly every couple of hours. Full meals aren’t necessary. Instead, divide their meals up throughout the day so they’re eating something every few hours. Hypoglycemia is completely preventable with a careful feeding schedule.
Feeding your Yorkie is pretty easy. Limit their calories to prevent weight gain, and pay attention to their feeding schedule when they’re a puppy. Yorkies are pretty low-maintenance despite their big attitudes, so sticking to a high-quality commercial food is all you need to do to ensure your Yorkie has a long, healthy life.