Your Yorkie may come in a teeny-tiny package, but their nutritional needs rival that of large canines. From their elegant coats, sensitive skin, and other common health problems, you have to work pretty hard to keep your pup at their best.
Picking a quality food with the right nutrient profile and ingredients is an easy way to help your Yorkie or Yorkie mix stay healthy. In this article, we’ll talk about what a Yorkie diet needs, how to find a quality food and our recommendations of the best dog foods for Yorkies.
What Are Some Common Health Concerns of the Yorkie Breed?
Your tiny Yorkie packs a lot of personality into a little frame. But did you know they also come with their fair share of health concerns?
Like most teeny breeds, Yorkie’s can suffer from hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Episodes of this scary problem include weakness, drowsiness, and fainting, according to Yorkshire Terrier Guide.
This issue is most common in puppies and active Yorkies, as well as teacup Yorkies.
Like their giant cousins, Yorkies are prone to a host of joint and bone problems including luxating patella and legg-perthes disease. Yorkies are less prone to arthritis and other joint inflammation problems, however, due to their light frames.
The Yorkie’s coat, especially when left long, is one of the most distinguishing features about them. Unfortunately, skin allergies common to the breed can cause their normally lustrous coat to be dull and brittle.
Allergies to food and other environmental factors can also increase the odds of your Yorkie developing a serious medical emergency known as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (or HGE). This frightening problem presents with bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy.
Because of issues like HGE, allergies, and skin and joint problems, it is especially important to find a quality diet for your Yorkie to decrease their risk of developing these more common health problems.
Is Small Breed Dog Food Important for Yorkies?
Don’t let that tiny mouth fool you! Yorkies and other small breeds require more calories pound for pound than larger dogs.
Small dogs’ metabolisms work at a much faster rate than that of large breed dogs, according to akc.com. This, along with their increased risk of hypoglycemia, means it is important to find a calorie-dense dog food that was made teeny breeds.
Luckily, there are a growing number of small dog specific foods available on the market. In addition to containing more calories per cup, these foods usually also have smaller kibbles made for smaller mouths.
Finding a Quality Diet for Your Yorkshire Terrier
Are you starting to wonder if your current food is good enough to help your Yorkie thrive? If it’s time to look for something better, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Higher fat foods are perfect for Yorkies of all sizes. Not only will the extra fat content feed their hyperactive metabolism and reduce hypoglycemia risk, but it will also feed their beautiful coats.
According to petmd.com, diets rich in essential fatty acids like omega-3’s and omega-6’s can help support a healthy coat. But to get the most benefit from these fats, they need to be consumed in the right ratio at around one omega-3 for every four omega-6.
In addition to a high-fat diet, you want to look for one that contains high protein and quality animal ingredients. Dogs get most of their nutrition from protein and very little from carbohydrates like starch and fiber.
Does your dog suffer from red, itchy skin, watery eyes, or frequent digestive upset? They may have a food allergy.
Because of an increased risk of HGE, it is important to find a food that soothes your Yorkie’s GI tract and one that is free from any likely allergens. Avoid foods with corn, wheat, and soy.
Reviews of The Best Dog Foods for Yorkies
#1. Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed & Toy Breed Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food
First up on our list of the best food for Yorkies is a diet that combines nutrient-dense and quality ingredients with a recipe made for small and toy dogs. Instinct’s small and toy breed Raw Boost food is perfect for Yorkies.
This quality food comes in three small dog recipe flavors: chicken, beef and duck. And as a bonus, this food is available in a special toy breed recipe with extra small kibbles, which makes this one of the best dog foods for teacup Yorkies.
Both the small and toy dog recipes contain about 37% protein and 16% fat to help your Yorkie stay energized and avoid blood sugar issues.
All formulas contain quality meat ingredients like chicken meal, turkey meal, duck meal, beef, and herring meal. All the great animal-sourced ingredients mean that super-high protein percentage is bioavailable for your pup’s system to utilize.
All flavors contain essential fatty acids and a ratio of omega’s close to six to one, making this a great choice for owners looking to support their Yorkie’s fabulous coat. Those fats are also good to maintain joint health.
One of our favorite things about Instinct is their use of freeze-dried raw bites in their kibble diets. These “doggy lucky charms” are packed with rich nutrition in a form that’s more easily digestible for your dog.
With all that quality, you can expect to pay a premium for this food. But it is well worth it to feed one of the best dry dog foods for Yorkies.
#2. Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Small Breed Recipe
Our second choice on the list of the best dog foods Yorkies will thrive on is one of our favorite small dog diets. Merrick’s Lil Plates packs quality ingredients into all of their different protein options so you can find the right flavor food for your dog, or rotate between them for a little variety!
This small breed food comes in four flavors: lamb, beef, chicken, and salmon. All flavors contain between 30% and 38% protein and around 15% fat.
Ingredients like beef, lamb meal, salmon meal, chicken meal, and turkey meal all add bioavailability to the overall protein percentage. And, because the red meat recipes don’t contain poultry, this food is one of the best dog foods for Yorkies with allergies to protein.
Like our first choice, this food contains omegas for a healthy fat boost. The ratio of omega-3’s to omega-6’s in this food is a little higher at one to nine, but still good compared to most commercial diets.
Another great feature of this food is that it was designed for all life stages. That designation and the calorie-dense kibbles make this one of the best dog foods for Yorkie puppies on our list.
This food is a touch cheaper than our first choice, but still on the higher end of the price spectrum. But well worth it for the number of flavor choices available.
#3. Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Small Breed
Third on our list of the best foods to feed a Yorkie is Wellness Core’s small breed food.
Similar to Merrick’s small dog recipe, this one contains 36% protein and 15% fat. This is a great diet to support your Yorkie’s fast metabolism and keep them energized and happy.
This food contains some quality meat ingredients, including turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal as the first three listed. These high protein ingredients are supported by healthy fat ingredients like ground flaxseed and salmon oil.
Those rich fats mean there are a lot of great essential fatty acids in this food. The ratio of omega-3’s to omega-6’s is one to six, making this another excellent choice for skin and coat health.
Added vitamin E on top of the omegas makes this one of the best dog foods for Yorkie-poos to keep their curly coat in prime condition.
Like all our recommendations so far, this food is all natural and loaded with nutrient and calorie dense kibbles made just the right size for your Yorkie’s pint-sized mouth. Also like the number one and two choices, this one is grain free.
Grain-free foods are great for sensitive dogs and those with grain allergies, but many use peas and legumes in place of grains. These foods are high in protein, but it is not as bioavailable to your dog as meats and they tend to be more starchy than whole grains.
This food is similarly priced to Merrick, near the top of the price spectrum. It is common for small dog diets to cost more pound for pound than all-breed diets because they are more calorie dense.
#4. Solid Gold Small & Toy Breed Wet Food with Real Protein
If your Yorkie has picky sensibilities, you may find that a dry kibble diet just isn’t going to cut it for them. Our number four pick on the list of the best dog foods for Yorkshire terriers was made for those picky eaters.
Solid Gold’s toy and small breed wet food has an enticing odor and taste that will keep your Yorkie coming back for more.
Like most canned foods, this one is higher in protein and fat than the standard dry diet. At 41% protein per dry matter, this food is the highest protein food on our list.
This food packs a lot of extra energy and is perfect for active and young Yorkie’s who need help keeping weight on. Those with weak appetites will also benefit from the high-calorie density of this food.
With quality ingredients like chicken, chicken liver, fish oil, egg whites, and pumpkin, it’s easy to see why we consider this the best wet dog food for Yorkies. And, like all Solid Gold diets, this one contains holistic ingredients to keep your Yorkie healthy.
Even if you don’t want to feed wet food exclusively, this food contains thick, highly-palatable gravy and chunks that can easily be mixed with dry kibble for an extra bit of flavor and some added protein.
This wet food is moderately priced and also comes in lamb, salmon, and turkey flavors.
#5. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Natural Adult Dry Dog Food for Small & Toy Breeds – Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe
Our final choice was selected for its quality ingredients, small breed specific formula, and affordable price tag. Nutro’s Wholesome Essentials line always provides quality food at a bargain price, and their small and toy diets are no exception.
Like our first choice food, this recipe is available in small breed or toy for those pups with extra dainty mouths. Both formulas contain around 25% protein and 15% fat.
With lower protein and slightly lower fat than most of our choices, this food is a good option for older Yorkie’s who tend to gain too much weight on higher calorie foods. Because it is less calorie-dense, this would not be a good choice of food for Yorkies prone to hypoglycemia, though.
This food contains quality meat ingredients like chicken, chicken meal, and lamb meal. This diet is not grain free and not suitable for dogs with grain allergies, but it is free from cheap filler ingredients like corn and soy.
This diet has the weakest omega ratio of any food that we reviewed at about one to ten. However, considering many commercial diets contain ratios around one to fifty, we would still consider this a good diet for skin and coat health.
What truly makes Nutro’s small breed diet stand out, though, is the price tag. This food will easily fit into a smaller budget without sacrificing too much in terms of quality ingredients.
What is the Best Dog Food for Yorkies?
After comparing all the great small breed specific dog food formulas out there, we chose Instinct’s Raw Boost small breed recipe as the best dog food for Yorkies. This diet contains a powerful punch of high-protein kibbles and nutrient dense raw bites to keep your Yorkie thriving for years to come.
With an almost perfect omega fatty acids ratio and quality ingredients, this food outperformed all others we compared it to. And with a variety of flavors and different kibble sizes, you’re sure to find the flavor that works best for your Yorkie.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option or something a touch-less calorie dense, we’ve included some great choices for those on our list as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Summed Up: The Best Dog Foods for Yorkies
|Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed||Merrick Lil Plates||Wellness Core Small Breed||Solid Gold Small Breed Canned||Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed|
|Features for Yorkies||High protein, quality animal ingredients, raw bites for added nutrition||Quality ingredients, all life stage formula for puppies and adults||High protein, healthy fats, quality animal-sourced ingredients||Highly palatable, very high protein, holistic ingredients||Affordable, quality diet with wholesome meats and grains|
- Anna Burke. “Best Dog Food for Small Breeds” akc.com, 2 June 2016.
- Various. “Top 10 Common Health Problems in Yorkies You Must Be Aware Of” yorkshireterriorguide.com.