Now that you've decided to get a new best friend in the form of a sweet, little Yorkie puppy, it's time to prepare for her. Don't wait until you bring her home to get all of the things she'll need. You wouldn't feel very welcome if a friend invited you to stay in his home and greeted you with, "Oops! I don't have a place for you to sleep" and, "Oops! I forgot to buy groceries."
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Get off to a good start with your new puppy by having her bed ready, toys to play with, and, most important, food to eat. Very small dogs' and very small puppies' dietary needs are different from big or even medium-sized dogs.
Little tough guys
Yorkie puppies are spunky. They're affectionate but feisty, with tenacity and courage that belies their itty-bitty size. But don't let the tough guy act fool you. Yorkies can have delicate digestive systems, especially when they're still pups.
If you're still shopping for your puppy, don't jump on the first "Yorkies for sale" ad that you see. You can save yourself a lot of grief and vet bills if you buy from a reputable breeder. Do your research or ask the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America for a referral.
How often should I feed my pup?
At the time you bring your puppy home, his diet has been mother's milk for most of his short life. Yorkie puppies nurse about every two hours during their first week of life and less frequently as each week goes by.
By the time you bring your puppy home at eight to 10 weeks, he will still need multiple feedings per day. Four times daily is the usual recommendation, according to the American Kennel Club. You can cut back to three times per day at three to six months and twice a day after that.
If your work schedule does not permit for feeding multiple times per day, enlist the help of a neighbor or dog sitter. Yorkies, particularly ones that weigh less than four pounds, can be prone to hypoglycemia. Feeding them frequently prevents a dangerous drop in blood sugar. When your Yorkie puppy is mature, you can leave dry kibble out for him to graze on during the day.
Yorkshire terrier puppy diet
The breeder should have started introducing your pup to solid food at around five weeks. Most breeders will recommend what their puppies should be fed when they're taken to a new home. If yours does, follow her instructions.
Yorkie puppies should be fed puppy food. Adult dog food does not have all of the nutrients that growing puppies need. If you're feeding kibble, it should be moistened until they are at least 12 weeks old. Remember, your young Yorkie is still transitioning from an all-liquid diet.
Look for high quality dog foods that are not full of grains that dogs don't need. Corn meal is a common, cheap filler in low-end dog foods. Stay away from it. Yorkies eat so little compared to larger dogs that springing for the good stuff won't break the bank.
Concerns with feeding Yorkie puppies
Yorkies have very tiny teeth, particularly when they're young. If you're feeding kibble, make sure it's the kind that's formulated for small dogs. These kibbles will have very small bits of about a quarter inch or smaller in diameter.
If you decide to change your Yorkie's food, do it very gradually. This is especially important when you're changing brands but also applies if you're changing ingredients within the same brand. For example, if you decide to switch from a lamb to chicken or duck-based food for them.
Start with a little sprinkle of the new food mixed in with the old. After a few days you can feed one-quarter new food and three-quarters old food; after five to seven more days go to half and half; after another week go to three-quarters and one-quarter. After a few days at this ratio, you can start feeding the new food exclusively.
A word on raw diets
Raw diets for dogs have become increasingly popular. Many consider them the healthiest, most natural way to feed dogs because they mimic how dogs ate before they were domesticated. Suppliers of raw diets say that they're the best way to feed puppies, too.
If your puppy's breeder was feeding a raw diet, you should continue doing so when you bring her home. But discuss it with your vet when you bring your pup in for her first visit. If the breeder was not feeding a raw diet, do not put your puppy on one until you've discussed it with your vet.
Feeding raw meat comes with some risks. Among them, bacteria in raw meat could make your puppy sick. It's also an unbalanced diet, so your puppy may not be getting all of the nutrients she needs. And raw poultry comes with the risk of choking or breaking tiny teeth on the bones.