Yorkshire terriers are one of the world's tiniest breeds, with the average dog weighing in at less than 7 pounds. As a result of its small size, feeding a Yorkie is challenging and the food it gets is important to its wellbeing. Yorkies are prone to developing tooth decay, hypoglycemia and allergies, and proper food and feeding practices may help to prevent these conditions.
Recommended Dog Foods for a Yorkie
Your Yorkie needs kibble to supply the basic vitamins and carbohydrates in its diet, as well as to keep its teeth healthy. Munching on crunchy kibble helps scrape tartar off the back of the teeth, preventing it from causing gum disease and bad breath. One commercial dog food manufacturer offers kibble specially formulated for Yorkies which contains calcium chelators to reduce tartar formation, along with Borage oil and biotin to promote softness and sheen of the dog's hair. The food contains an "intensive color" nutrient which brings out the coat's color, and a variety of flavors to tempt fussy eaters. Add a spoonful of wet food to the kibble to make it more appealing.
Commercial Dog Food Ingredients
Check the ingredients of the kibble on the side of the pack. Many commercial brands have animal by-products such as bone meal as their main ingredient, followed by a high percentage of corn. With the Yorkie's small size and tiny appetite, every mouthful counts. Make sure that whatever your Yorkie eats, it gets maximum benefit from the food. Look for foods that states real meat, chicken or fish as the first ingredient on the list, and purchase only good quality commercial food.
Cooking for your dog is a good way to ensure that you feed it correctly, and with a Yorkie the quantities needed are small. Use 50 percent animal protein such as muscle meat, organs including heart, liver and kidneys (5 percent of total protein), oil-rich fish such as salmon, dairy such as yoghurt and cottage cheese, and occasionally eggs. The other 50 percent can include carbohydrates such as grains, pasta or vegetables, and some types of fruit. Keep grains to a minimum as they contribute to some medical conditions, including allergies. Organic brown rice cooked with chicken is a good basis for home-cooked food for your Yorkie.
Foods to Avoid
Apart from the usual foods that can harm your dog, such as chocolate and raisins, items to avoid giving your Yorkie include raw eggs, which may make it difficult for the body to absorb the biotin and lead to skin and coat problems; cooked bones of any sort – the Yorkie is too small to adequately manage these-- and onions and garlic, which may be difficult for its tiny system to digest.
Feed your Yorkie four times daily for its first three months. The dog consumes small quantities at a time and burns calories very quickly, so feeding less often may leave your puppy going to bed hungry and could lead to hypoglycemia. From three to six months, you can reduce feeding to three times daily, and from six months to a year to twice daily.