best yorkie dog food

Weighing just 4 to 7 pounds at maturity, the Yorkshire Terrier is easily one of the smallest dog breeds out there. These little dogs are spunky and smart, and they don’t have a problem standing up to dogs much bigger than them. This, combined with their long silky coats, makes them a somewhat high-maintenance breed.


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In addition to maintaining your Yorkie’s sensitive skin and long coat, you also need to provide for his nutritional needs. Since he is so small, your Yorkie won’t be able to eat a large volume of food – this makes the quality of his diet that much more important.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Yorkie breed and explore some of its unique nutritional needs. We’ll also provide some tips for choosing the best food for Yorkies and give you our top 10 picks.

What Do You Need to Know About Yorkies?

The Yorkshire Terrier – affectionately known as the Yorkie – is a toy breed that stands up to 9 inches tall and weighs up to 7 pounds, on average. Though they may be small, Yorkies have big personalities and more hair than a much larger dog. Their long, silky coats come in a stunning combination of blue-and-tan, though puppies are born black and develop their color as they mature.

Small dogs can be difficult to train at times, but, fortunately, the Yorkie doesn’t fall under this umbrella. This smart, spunky little dog is very trainable but is also highly inquisitive. As long as you find the right reward to motivate him, he learns quickly and can be trained to do all kinds of tricks. This breed also does surprisingly well with dog sports such as agility and rally.

Yorkies have a reputation for being purse dogs, which isn’t entirely untrue. They tend to prefer being the only dog in the house and they aren’t particularly great with children, largely due to their small size. This breed is apartment-friendly in size, but he does tend to bark a lot. Yorkies need a great deal of attention and socialization, but their needs for exercise are fairly low. Even so, they love taking walks and playing outside – just be careful about letting him play with bigger dogs.

Do They Have Any Special Dietary Needs?

The main thing you need to understand about your Yorkie’s nutritional needs is that he has a very fast metabolism. Your Yorkie may only weigh 7 pounds at most, but his metabolism is much faster than that of a larger dog. The average dog needs about 25 to 30 calories per pound of body weight per day. Your Yorkie, on the other hand, may need as many as 40 calories per pound of body weight.

To provide for your Yorkie’s high energy needs, you’ll need to choose a dog food with high fat and calorie content. You also need to consider that your Yorkie won’t be able to eat large quantities at one time, so his food needs to be very nutrient-dense. Smaller kibbles are good for Yorkies, and dry food is generally best to help keep your dog’s teeth clean since the breed is prone to dental problems.

Here are some of the other health problems to which the breed is prone:

  • Dental issues
  • Patellar luxation
  • Collapsing trachea
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Bladder stones
  • Eye problems
In terms of health issues and their impact on dietary requirements, the main thing to keep an eye on is low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia is very common in small and toy breeds (especially puppies) and can quickly become dangerous. When your Yorkie is a puppy, it may be best to keep his food bowl full, so he can eat when he needs to. Obesity is unlikely to be an issue with this breed as much as with some others, so you might be able to continue this practice into adulthood.

What to Look for in a Good Yorkie Dog Food

No matter what breed your dog is, he needs plenty of animal protein and fat in his diet. Protein provides the building blocks for strong muscles in puppies and helps maintain lean mass in adults. Fat is the most highly concentrated source of energy for dogs, making it particularly important for breeds with very fast metabolisms like the Yorkie. Your dog also needs a balance of essential vitamins and minerals, and most of his nutrition should come from animal rather than plant sources to ensure digestibility.

Here are some things to look for in a good Yorkie dog food:

  • All-natural ingredients. The higher the quality of the ingredients in your dog’s food, the more digestible it will be, which means better nutrient absorption. Whole-food ingredients are essential in a good dog food, so avoid anything made with byproducts and artificial additives.
  • High-quality, animal protein. Animal sources of high-quality protein like meat, poultry, and fish should be the foundation of your Yorkie’s diet – look for a minimum of 20%, ideally more.
  • Rich in healthy fats and calories. Fat is particularly important for high-energy breeds and needs to come from animal sources as much as possible. Look for a minimum of 15% fat with a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat support.
  • Nutrient-dense but small kibbles. Your Yorkie has a small mouth and stomach, so his food needs to come in small pieces and be nutrient- and calorie-dense.
  • Complete and balanced. Make sure your Yorkie’s food is complete and nutritionally balanced according to AAFCO nutrient profiles for small breeds.

Now that you know more about your Yorkie’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start shopping for the best food for Yorkie dogs. Keep reading to see our top 10 picks.

The 10 Best Yorkie Dog Foods

If you’re wondering what to feed a Yorkie, there is not a single answer. The best food for Yorkies will be complete and nutritionally balanced while being high in fat and calories with plenty of protein for lean muscle maintenance. It needs to be highly digestible, should come in a smaller kibble size, and must be made with wholesome, natural ingredients and free from artificial additives.

Here’s our top pick for the best Yorkie dog food:

NomNomNow Fresh Food Delivery

Overall Best Yorkie Dog Food: If you want what’s best for your Yorkie, you can’t do better than fresh food. Typical kibble is extruded, which means that it is cooked at very high temperatures in a process that destroys much of the nutritional integrity of the raw ingredients. Fresh pet food, on the other hand, retains more of its original nutritional integrity, making it a smarter and healthier choice for your Yorkie. If you’re wondering what to feed a Yorkie to maximize his nutrition, we recommend NomNomNow. NomNomNow is a fresh pet food delivery service that sends perfectly portioned packages of fresh pet food right to your door. Choose from several recipes made with premium animal proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables to deliver a powerful punch of high-quality nutrition and natural flavor. Just provide some basic information about your dog and NomNomNow will do the rest!

  • Pros: Fresh food delivered to your door, comes in perfectly portioned packages, real whole-food ingredients, catered to your dog’s calorie needs, several protein choices, high nutritional quality
  • Cons:  Expensive to feed as a staple diet, limited number of recipes

Taste of the Wild Appalachian Trail Small Breed Formula

Most Popular Yorkie Dog Food: With so many dog foods out there, it can be difficult to decide what to feed your Yorkie. If you’re having trouble, consider a popular brand like Taste of the Wild. This Taste of the Wild Appalachian Trail Small Breed Formula is a great option because it is formulated for small breeds like your Yorkie and contains a variety of high-quality animal proteins. This recipe features fresh venison as the main ingredient with lamb meal, duck meal, and ocean fish meal for supplemental proteins. It is naturally grain-free for digestibility and contains fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients. This recipe contains a whopping 32% protein with 18% fat, including a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat support. It also contains probiotics for healthy digestion.

  • Pros: Formulated for small breeds, high in protein and fat, real venison main ingredient, grain-free carbohydrates, highly digestible, probiotics, chelated minerals, fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Cons:  Contains some plant protein (pea protein)

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Toy Breed Adult Recipe

Most Affordable Yorkie Dog Food: When it comes to feeding a Yorkshire Terrier, quality and digestibility are important, but you also need to choose a recipe that is affordable for you. This Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Toy Breed Adult Recipe is moderately priced and uniquely formulated for toy breeds like your Yorkie. It features fresh chicken as the main ingredient and a natural source of lean protein with chicken meal for supplemental protein as well as glucosamine and chondroitin. This formula contains digestible whole grains for energy, fiber, and essential nutrients, and is supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients. Overall, this recipe provides 26% protein with 15% fat and 415 calories per cup. It also contains Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits which contain a proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

  • Pros: Formulated for toy breeds, high in protein and fat, supplemented with LifeSource Bits, highly digestible, fresh fruits and vegetables, 26% protein, chelated minerals and probiotics
  • Cons:  Contains some plant protein (pea protein), not a grain-free recipe (some dogs may be sensitive)

Canidae Grain-Free PURE Petite Small Breed Puppy Recipe

Best Yorkie Dog Food for Puppies: Toy-breed puppies reach their adult size very quickly, particularly for the Yorkie whose adult size is only 4 to 7 pounds. This being the case, you need to provide your Yorkie puppy with a premium-quality source of nutrition to fuel his growth and development. We like this Canidae Grain-Free PURE Petite Small-Breed Puppy Recipe because it is uniquely formulated for small breeds and is made with a limited number of simple ingredients to provide quality nutrition with a low risk for food allergies. This recipe features fresh salmon as the main ingredient, a rich source of protein and omega fatty acids. It also contains freeze-dried salmon for a boost of flavor and nutrition with digestible grain-free carbohydrates for energy and nutritional support. Overall, this recipe provides 24% protein and 13.5% fat with 4% fiber and about 525 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Formulated for small breed puppies, limited number of ingredients, high-quality animal protein, rich in omega fatty acids, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, freeze-dried salmon
  • Cons:  First source of fat is plant-based (canola oil), expensive to feed as a staple diet

Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Senior Recipe

Best Yorkie Dog Food for Seniors: As your Yorkie gets older, his metabolism may slow down, but it is still likely to be faster than that of a larger dog. The best Yorkie dog food for seniors will account for your Yorkie’s fast metabolism, providing the ideal balance of protein, fat, and calories for optimal health. This Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Senior Recipe is a great option because it features real deboned chicken as the first ingredient and a lean source of animal protein with digestible grain-free carbohydrates for support. It is still nutrient- and energy-dense but contains fewer calories and fat to help your aging dog maintain a healthy body weight. Plus, it contains prebiotic fibers and probiotic supplements as well as vitamins and chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption and healthy digestion.

  • Pros: Fewer calories and fat to maintain healthy weight, rich in lean animal protein, digestible carbohydrates, chelated minerals, prebiotics and probiotics, complete and balanced for seniors
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein and potato protein)

Solid Gold Mighty Mini Chicken, Chickpeas, & Pumpkin Toy & Small Breed Recipe

Best Dog Food Yorkies with Sensitive Stomach: If your Yorkie has a sensitive stomach, the quality and digestibility of his diet matters greatly. This Solid Gold Mighty Mini Chicken, Chickpeas, & Pumpkin Toy & Small Breed Recipe is an excellent choice because it is a holistic, natural recipe made with whole-food ingredients. It is uniquely formulated for small and toy breeds as well, so you can rest easy knowing it will meet your Yorkie’s high energy requirements. This recipe features fresh chicken as the main ingredient with chicken meal as a concentrated source of supplemental protein. It is highly digestible, made with gluten- and grain-free carbohydrates as well as 20 nutrient-rich superfoods. This formula is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, plus it is gentle on your dog’s digestion and great for sensitive stomach.

  • Pros: Holistic natural recipe, contains 20 nutrient-rich superfoods, formulated for toy breeds, rich in animal protein, highly digestible, rich in omega fatty acids for skin and coat
  • Cons:  Contains some plant protein (pea protein)

4 More Top-Rated Yorkie Dog Foods

If the dog foods reviewed above don’t seem like the perfect fit for your Yorkie, don’t worry – there are plenty of other options! Here are four more top-rated Yorkie dog foods we recommend:

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Toy Breed Adult Chicken Recipe Dry Food

Protein is important for all dogs, but for toy breeds, it helps maintain lean muscle when the body is burning through energy at a rapid speed. This Blue Buffalo Wilderness Toy Breed Adult Chicken Recipe Dry Food is designed to be high in protein with an optimal balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. It features fresh chicken as the main ingredient with digestible grain-free carbohydrates and fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional support. It is supplemented with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption as well as dried fermentation products for probiotic support. It also contains Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits, a proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support whole-body health and wellness in your Yorkie.

  • Pros: High in protein, balance of omega fatty acids, fresh fruits and vegetables, LifeSource Bits, chelated minerals, probiotics for digestion, rich in energy and nutrients
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein)

Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Your Yorkie burns through energy extremely quickly but can only eat so much at a time. That’s why it’s important to feed him a nutrient- and calorie-dense diet like this Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe. This recipe features fresh chicken as the main ingredient and a high-quality source of animal protein. It also contains digestible whole-grain carbohydrates like brown rice and oatmeal for fiber, energy, and essential nutrients. This formula is uniquely designed to support your toy breed’s high energy requirements but is still complete and nutritionally balanced. Plus, it comes in a smaller kibble size to make it easier for your dog to eat. This recipe is supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients with supplements as needed.

  • Pros: Complete and balanced for toy breeds, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits, and vegetables, high in protein and fat, chelated minerals and probiotics, energy-dense
  • Cons: Not a grain-free recipe (some dogs may be sensitive)

Nutro Ultra Toy Breed Adult Dry Food

You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune to feed your Yorkie well. This Nutro Ultra Toy Breed Adult Dry Food is a great option because it provides wholesome, natural nutrition at a moderate price. It features three lean animal proteins, including farm-raised chicken, pasture-fed lamb, and salmon for a protein-packed diet that is also rich in healthy fats. It contains plenty of antioxidants for immunity and heart health with fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients. You’ll also be glad to know that it contains chelated minerals and vitamin supplements to ensure complete and balanced nutrition with supplemental fiber for healthy digestion. Overall, this recipe provides 27% protein with 16% fat and 371 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Complete and balanced for toy breeds, three lean animal proteins, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, rich in omega fatty acids, chelated minerals, rich in fiber
  • Cons: Not a grain-free recipe (some dogs may be sensitive)

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Toy Breed Adult Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe

Though some dog owners assume that all grains are bad for dogs, whole grains are actually quite nutritious. In this Nutro Wholesome Essentials Toy Breed Adult Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato recipe, they provide a rich source of fiber to support healthy digestion as well as natural sources for essential vitamins and minerals. This formula features farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient and a lean source of high-quality animal protein to support your dog’s lean muscle mass. It is also rich in healthy fats, with a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat support. This formula provides 25% protein and 16% fat with 382 calories per cup. It also contains chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption with vitamin supplements as needed for balance.

  • Pros: Formulated for toy breeds, farm-raised chicken as first ingredient, whole-grain carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty acids, chelated mineral supplements, high in protein and fat, plenty of fiber
  • Cons: Not a grain-free recipe (some dogs may be sensitive), contains some plant protein (pea protein)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much should my Yorkie eat? – When it comes to feeding a Yorkshire Terrier, you won’t be going through a significant amount of dog food. These little dogs only weigh an average of 7 pounds at maturity, so your dog may only be eating ¼ to ½ cup of food per day. This being the case, the quality and nutrient density of your dog’s diet is extremely important. The best dog food for Yorkies will be high in calories, protein, and fat.
  • How often should I feed my Yorkie? – Most dogs do well with two meals per day, but Yorkies have a very fast metabolism and a high risk for low blood sugar, particularly as puppies. This being the case, you may want to simply keep your puppy’s food bowl full with ¼ cup to ½ cup of food so he can eat as much as he needs to grow and develop. When your Yorkie puppy reaches his adult size, you can transition onto three meals per day as needed.
  • Do Yorkies have food allergies? – Dog food allergies are less common than the pet food industry would have you believe, and Yorkies do not have a significantly higher risk for allergies than any other breed. If your dog develops recurring ear infections and chronic skin issues, however, it could be a sign of an allergy, and you should talk to your veterinarian. Switching to a limited ingredient diet could help resolve your dog’s issues.
  • When should I switch my Yorkie puppy to adult food? – Yorkie puppies grow very quickly and, because their adult size is only about 7 pounds, they may reach that size well before they turn 12 months old. You can talk to your veterinarian to get his advice, but many vets will recommend that you keep feeding him puppy food until he reaches 12 months. It is very important that your Yorkie puppy gets plenty of nutrients and calories to sustain his metabolism as well as his blood sugar.
  • Is a grain-free diet good for Yorkies? – There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the use of grain-free diets for dogs, largely due to a recent FDA investigation. There have been over 300 reports of grain-free diets being linked to dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs, a health problem typically seen in large and giant breeds. Because the Yorkie is so small, his risk for DCM is fairly low. Even so, there is really no need to feed him a grain-free diet unless he is allergic or sensitive to grains. Whole grains are a very healthy and nutritious source of energy for dogs as long as they can tolerate them.

Conclusion

Your Yorkie may be small, but quality nutrition is just as important for him as for any dog. Your dog’s diet needs to be rich in protein with healthy fats for energy and balanced in terms of vitamin and mineral content. The best way to meet these needs is to choose a high-quality dog food formulated specifically for toy breeds, ensuring that it is also complete and nutritionally balanced.

By now, you should have a good understanding of your Yorkie’s nutritional requirements, so all you have to do now is put that knowledge to use! If you’re still not sure where to start shopping, try one of our top-rated dog foods for Yorkies reviewed above. Best of luck to you!

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