The Yorkshire Terrier, more often referred to as the Yorkie these days, is a fun, feisty and very good looking breed of dog that has become one of the most popular of the toy breeds in the US today.
Their distinctive looks and engaging personalities make them great companions for adults - it is not recommended that a Yorkie be introduced into a home with very young children as they are so small and delicate and too easily hurt by rough little fingers - and as show dogs they often rule the roost at the biggest competitions.
When it comes to the best dog food for Yorkies, high quality is a must, as their famous shiny coats need lots of nutrients to remain that way while their delicate little stomachs can be a little too sensitive to cope well with anything but the best.
However, with so many options to choose from which one is right for your little best friend? We took a look at some of the most popular options available to try and answer that question.
Best dry dog food
Castor & Pollux Organix Small Breed
Best human-grade fresh dog food
Ollie Fresh Pet Food Delivery
Best Freeze-Raw Dried Food
Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Topper
Best canned food
Solid Gold Sun Dancer
The Best Dog Food for Yorkies
Castor & Pollux Organix Small Breed Recipe (Best Seller)
First Five Ingredients: Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Meal, Organic Sweet Potatoes, Organic Chickpeas, Organic Peas.
When it comes to dry food for Yorkies a good one needs to be packed with the nutrients they need, the kibble needs to be small enough for their smaller mouths to handle and, of course, it needs to taste and smell good too, as what use is a nutritious dog food if it is so unappealing that a pup won't eat it?
In the minds of many Yorkie pet parents Castor & Pollux Organix Grain-Free Organic Small Breed Chicken & Sweet Potato recipe fits the bill perfectly.
The primary ingredient is chicken - real and organic chicken, sourced from free range flocks - and that provides just the right amount of protein for a smaller dog while also offering (one assumes) great taste. It offers 26 percent crude protein and 15 percent crude fat, with 368 kcal/cup.
The second ingredient, sweet potato offers extra vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6, all of which are essential for overall good health and the addition of flaxseed and salmon oil boosts the Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acid content to help keep a Yorkie's skin and coat healthy while also aiding in brain development and helping to ward off joint problems in later life.
Fans of Castor & Pollux Organix praise it highly in terms of digestibility and for the fact that it seems to help keep their Yorkies energetic and their coats vibrant and shiny.
Taste of the Wild Wetlands w/ Roasted Fowl (Runner Up)
First Five Ingredients: Duck, Duck Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas.
Tying with the Castor & Pollux Dry Dog Food for the top spot in the dry food category is this very popular kibble based offering from Taste of the Wild, a company that offers dog food recipes that make use of ingredients designed to mimic the diet a pup's ancestors once ate in the wild.
Taste of the Wild Wetlands Canine Recipe offers a variety of 'roasted fowl' to meet the protein requirements.
While the primary ingredient is real duck it also includes quail and turkey, all highly digestible proteins providing both additional vitamins and minerals as well antioxidants to help promote skin and coat health.
Overall, it provides a minimum of 32% protein and 18% fat with just 375 kcal per cup. A variety of fruits and vegetables in addition to sweet potato also offers extra Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids for additional coat and ske health benefits as well as protection against bone and muscle damage and heart disease as well.
Yorkie pet parents who are fans of the TOTW Wetlands recipe praise it for the quality of the ingredients, how well their smaller pups seem to tolerate it and its lack of artificial colors and preservatives.
Stella & Chewy's Chicken Meal Mixers Food Topper (Best Freeze-Dried Raw Food)
First Five Ingredients: Chicken With Ground Bone, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Organic Cranberries.
The idea of a raw diet for dogs is one that is still gaining popularity but maintaining such a diet can be both expensive and potentially problematic as it can be hard to source the best meats alone.
This freeze dried food blend from Stella & Chewy, which is sourced primarily from organic chicken meat is designed to be fed as a 'raw topper' in addition to a pup's regular kibble, offering both additional taste and an extra serving of high protein goodness as well as additional essential minerals and vitamins.
This is a quality high-protein dog food offering a whopping 48 percent crude protein and 28% crude fat and only 50 kcal per ¼ cup. Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Food Topper is fortified with veggies like broccoli, carrots and beets, fruits such as cranberries and blueberries, with a complete vitamin and mineral package.
It is also full of natural flavor that even the pickiest Yorkie will love! Fans of this food especially like the fact that it is easy to use, the taste seems to appeal to their sometimes very picky dogs and is gentle on the often sensitive little Yorkie tummy.
Solid Gold Holistic Sundancer Chicken Recipe (Best Wet Food)
First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Dried Ground Peas, Whitefish.
Most vets recommend feeding Yorkies a combination of both wet and dry dog foods, but when it comes to wet dog foods pet parents are especially concerned that certain offerings may contain too many fillers to be truly nutritious.
That is not the case for Solid Gold Sundancer. Grain and gluten free its primary ingredients are organically sourced chicken, both in the form of whole meat and chicken broth.
These ingredients are supplemented with freeze dried egg and cranberries, blueberries and flaxseed which all provide additional B vitamins and Omega 3 fatty acids for bone and joint support as well as to promote healthier skin and coat.
Pet parents who prefer to feed their Yorkies Solid Gold Sundancer praise it for its appealing taste and texture as well as for the fact it is gentle on the smaller digestive system of the Yorkie.
Yorkies Health Concerns
As a breed the Yorkshire Terrier is 'descended' from several Terrier breeds including the Clydesdale, Skye and Paisley Terriers, all of whom have Scottish roots.
Yorkies were bred into existence in the mid-19th century for one very specific purpose; to work as 'ratters' in the growing number of textile mills springing up in the North of England.
Their tiny size made it easy for them to navigate the mass of machinery where a larger dog could not at their persistent nature made them very good at their jobs.
As is the case for many deliberately created breeds like the Yorkshire Terrier the modern Yorkie has been left with a tendency to develop certain health conditions that any pet parent should know to be on the lookout for as their pup grows.
In a Yorkshire Terrier these may include any of the following:
Like other toy and small dog breeds of a similar size (Maltese, Maltipoos, Havanese etc.) Yorkies can be prone to hypoglycemia, especially when stressed.
This condition is caused by low blood sugar and can present itself as confusion, weakness, lethargy and in some cases cause seizure like episodes. It can go hand in hand with diabetes or exist as a standalone condition, as is the case for humans.
In Yorkies the best treatment for pups prone to hypoglycemia is a combination of lifestyle and diet changes.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a progressive degenerative eye disease that can lead to blindness as the photoreceptors at the back off the eye begin to decrease in number.
As this is a slow, progressive process however it is possible to detect years in advance of it actually causing vision problems and a combination of diet changes and supplements can be used to slow, or even halt, its progression.
Seek foods that are rich in Vit A and Beta-carotene.
Portosystemic shunt (PSS)
Portosystemic shunt is the term used to describe the abnormal flow of blood between the liver and the rest of body.
Although that can be caused by several things, including hypoglycemia, it is problematic because the liver's primary function - to help remove toxins from the body and properly metabolize nutrients - can be severely impaired.
Once detected - which can be done via annual health testing the problem can be corrected by diet and lifestyle changes and/or surgical intervention.
Yorkie Feeding Guidelines
When and how to feed your Yorkie can be as important as what you feed them.
This is true for any dog, no matter what breed, but can be especially important for a Yorkie as they can be prone to hypoglycemia caused by low blood sugar.
Here are some basic tips to help make sure that your Yorkie is properly fed at every stage of their life.
How Much Food Should I Feed My Yorkie?
Many people think that the guidelines provided - which are usually provided by weight - on the cans and packages of their dog's food are the definitive guide to just how much their pup should be fed, but that is not always the case.
While these guidelines can be very helpful they do not strictly apply to every Yorkie.
Livelier dogs - the ones that tend to run and run when given the chance - may need a little more food than more sedentary pups to keep up with their greater energy expenditure and an older pup, one that may not be as active as they used to be, is likely to need a little less food to compensate for that fact (and prevent age related weight gain).
The real key then to just how much to feed your Yorkie is to take those standard guidelines and then adapt them according to his specific - and changing - needs.
How Many Times A Day Should I Feed My Yorkie?
The standard advice when timing the feeding of any dog is that it is best that they are fed once in the morning and once at night.
However, as they are small, and may be prone to low blood sugar, it is often better for a Yorkie if they can be given three smaller meals a day instead.
If and when that is not possible (not everyone can pop home at lunchtime to feed their furkid) ensuring that meals are not too big but are large enough to satisfy their appetite is still a must.
For How Long Should I Feed My Yorkie Puppy Food?
Many people opt to give their dogs a specialist puppy food during the first months of their life as such foods are formulated to offer both the additional calories and the additional nutrients rapidly growing puppies need.
While this is a good idea Yorkies should be switched to an adult food just after their first birthday as adult Yorkshire terriers no longer need the additional calories and a good adult dog food should provide them with all the nutrients they need as well.
Can I Try Different Food For My Yorkie Safely?
Just like us different pups have different tastes and some smaller dogs -Yorkies included - can be notoriously picky when it comes to food.
This does mean that at times it can seem like a good idea to try something new, something that meets their nutritional needs but also appeals to their taste buds.
When switching foods however it is best to do so gradually, as a quick change is likely to upset their delicate stomachs.
Special Diet Considerations for Yorkshire Terriers
Back when their various Scottish terrier ancestors roamed the highlands they would have nourished themselves from the land.
Fowl of various kinds would have been on the menu often along with rabbit, venison trout, as would local berries and root vegetables.
As many people feel the best modern day dog diets should resemble those ancestral menus looking for a dog food - whether wet, dry, or freeze dried, is often the best way to ensure that your Yorkie is getting the nutrition he needs.
Should I Feed My Yorkie a Raw Diet?
Raw diets for dogs, while popular, are also a subject of great controversy.
Raw diets are based on the premise that pups should be fed more fresh meat, bones and fresh veggies but these diets can be problematic for a small dog like a Yorkie, especially as salmonella is a real risk when dealing with raw poultry.
As there is little clinical evidence that a raw diet is any healthier for pups than one featuring high quality prepared dog foods then to avoid stomach problems and even unintentional food poisoning raw food should be given sparingly to Yorkie pups - and fattening table scraps are certainly not a good idea!
Have you found a food a perfect food for your yorkie? Tell us all about it in the comments below.