Best Dog Food for Yorkies

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The Yorkshire Terrier, also commonly called a “Yorkie” is a toy breed that originated in Northern England. The breed was developed by the Scottish to aid in ridding mills and mines of rodents. While their long, human-like hair was the butt of many jokes by the mill workers, the breed continued to gain popularity.

Yorkies made their way to America in the early 1870s and were officially recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1886, a year after the AKC recognized their first Yorkshire Terrier, Belle, in 1885. The size of the dog continued to decrease to be more popular with housewives and ladies of the day until it reached the toy status size it is known for today.

Why Quality Food Matters to Your Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers have a life expectancy of 11 to 15 years. Like most small breeds, they require adequate nutrition to help keep them healthy through the early years, sustained through the adult years and active in the later stages of life. High-quality food will give them everything they need to survive and flourish every day.

Clean water is essential and should always be made available . When it comes to food, though, the Yorkshire Terrier is prone to overeating and gaining too much weight. The breed is very active by nature but has no problems leading a sedentary life as a lap dog if allowed. Calorie intake should be monitored.

With a higher-quality (or even human grade) food, the calories are kept to a minimum if proper portion control is maintained. Treats can (and should) be offered as a reward or for training. However, too many treats can add to the overweight problem.

Top Yorkie Foods : Quick Look

In this review, we will cover the best dog food for Yorkshire Terriers in various categories. These will include:

Yorkshire Terrier Common Health Issues

Yorkshire Terriers, like any other dog breed, will have health issues. Some are common to the breed while others are common to the species. We will cover each one here, so you know what to be aware of.

Sensitive Digestive Tract

One of the most common concerns with Yorkies is their sensitive or delicate digestive tract. When these dogs get food outside their normal diet, it can quickly and easily cause diarrhea or vomiting.

The best treatment is prevention. To help curb the Yorkies tendencies, you should maintain a diet that is high in protein and nutrients. High-quality food appropriate for the dog’s age (puppy, adult, senior) will keep them at the food bowl instead of finding things in the yard.

While all dogs, including Yorkies, will at times eat something they shouldn’t, offering their food at regular intervals and keeping their water bowls full with fresh, clean water will help curb the appetite and need to find food elsewhere.

Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)

Hypoglycemia is arguably the most common health problem with the small breed. The low blood sugar is most commonly seen in new-born puppies before the age of six months, as well as in adult Yorkies who are pregnant or have a liver condition.

Yorkshire Terriers that suffer from low blood sugar will often exhibit symptoms. These can include being sluggish, fainting, being weak or constantly sleeping. If you think your dog has hypoglycemia, you should have them checked out at the veterinarian.

Rubbing a sugary substance on the gums for quick absorption can help in the short term. Honey is usually recommended, though you can also use syrup or orange juice.

Proper nutrition is crucial to prevent low blood sugar, and a high-quality diet will give your dog everything he or she needs. While you can’t feed puppy food to a dog under eight weeks, the first six months are important to start a healthy diet and maintain good eating habits.

Foods rich in proteins like chicken or turkey along with vegetables and vitamins should be the choices sought out.

Portosystemic Shunt

A portosystemic shunt is a liver condition that is caused by an issue with the portal vein. In essence, the vein closes down preventing blood flow to the liver. When this happens, the liver won’t do its job of clearing the blood of toxins. You may hear this condition called liver shunt, but it is the same thing.

It is believed that this is a hereditary issue and not every bloodline will suffer from it. Once the liver shunt does occur though, surgery is the only option.

Prevention can be aided with proper nutrition. Though this isn’t the only method, and it isn’t a fix. If the dog is predisposed to the condition, there isn’t much you can do. Controlling the diet, along with antibiotics will help if the condition takes hold.

This diet should include a lot of proteins and a lot of vitamins and minerals. Check your food labels for the dietary needs or see our recommendations below.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is one of the common ailments that can be prevented the easiest. Pancreatitis will cause bloating, abdominal pain, vomiting, and even diarrhea. The most common listed cause is a poor diet. Diets rich in fats, low proteins, and non-soluble fiber can all lead to obesity, which can also lead to pancreatitis.

Prevention is the best medicine, and it all starts with a well-balanced diet. You want a high protein (chicken, beef or turkey), low-fat diet. Look for foods with added vitamins and minerals that will aid in digestion and prevent the dog from storing fat.

If you suspect the Yorkie has pancreatitis, you should seek the help and advice of your veterinarian. They will be able to properly diagnose the condition as well as offer help on what you can do differently to treat the disease.

Allergies

Yorkshire Terriers are known to be susceptible to a lot of different allergens. Skin allergies are the most common, though respiratory conditions can develop as well. While the dog’s fur is hypoallergenic and good for humans, the dog itself is highly susceptible to food allergies as well as skin irritants.

When it comes to food, fish, egg and most seafood are common triggers. You should also stay away from foods that contain added colors, as these color dyes can cause an allergic reaction. By purchasing higher-quality foods, you can avoid most of these food-borne allergens, thus preventing any attack.

You should also watch out for air born pollutants such as cigarette smoke and musty or moldy air from contaminated air vents.

What to Look For in a Quality Dog Food for Yorkshire Terriers (And What to Avoid)

We know about the things to avoid in dog food to help prevent allergies, pancreatitis and other conditions. But what should you look for to have in the dog food? There are hundreds, if not thousands, of possible ingredients. What should you make sure your dog food includes?

Read the Label

The first line of information will come on the ingredients label. There are several factors you should know when looking here, though. First, it is required that all companies supply contact information on the label. Do not be afraid to call to find out more detail about their ingredients.

Next, the ingredient list is required to list everything in the bag or can in descending order. That means the first listed item is a more prominent ingredient and the amount of each item gets less as they go down the list.

The first ingredient listed should always be a type of meat. Be wary of labels that just list “meat” as this can be any type of meat. You should see chicken, beef or pork listed first. Sometimes other meats are used, like turkey, fish or seafood. However, for the Yorkshire Terrier and their allergy concerns, you should stay clear of egg, fish, and seafood, just in case.

From there, the ingredients should be things you recognize, names you can pronounce and be void of additives like colors and dyes. If you see colors and dyes, you should avoid the purchase, since these can trigger allergies in Yorkies.

Proteins are important for the Yorkshire Terrier, and most of their protein intake should come from meat proteins. Wheat is a common protein added to dog food to boost their ability to say they have a lot. While this is true, grain proteins aren’t very beneficial to the breed.

You won’t be able to tell how much protein is from meat and how much is from grain just by looking at the label. However, a good indication is to look at the ingredient list and study what follows the meat item. If it is followed by four or five grains, you can be pretty confident that the majority of the protein is a grain protein.

Water Content and Fat

The ingredients aren’t the only thing to make a note of. Items listed will tell you more about the foods if you know what you are reading. For example, moisture content is weighed, meaning it can add to the content of that ingredient without proving more of it.

Chicken, as an example, is meat that is high in water content and therefore weighs more. By using chicken as the main ingredient, the company can use less meat and more grain and still be able to list chicken first, since it weighs more.

Ingredients with high moisture content, such as chicken, aren’t bad for your dog, but it is how the manufacturer uses these ingredients. Fat content is also high in water content, and this can be bad for your Yorkie. High fat leads to obesity, which we noted in the previous section, is a major concern.

You will need some fats, of course, which are essential to any diet. Crude fat, for example, is a measurement of the amount of fat left over after the ingredient is dissolved in a test fluid. Labels are required to list the amount of crude fat (as well as crude protein, crude fiber, and water measurements).

When searching for the right dog for your Yorkie, you should stick to meat proteins (instead of soy or bean), and if the chicken is the main ingredient, the moisture content in dry dog food should be less than 12 percent.

Wet dog food can have a maximum of 78 percent moisture content (though there are ways around this as well). It is natural for higher water content, due to the nature of wet dog food. Stews, soups, and gravy on the label allow for a higher water content than the 78 percent maximum.

Grain proteins are okay as well, as long as there is more meat protein than grain. For the Yorkie breed, wheat grain is a good option, but you should avoid soy or bean proteins as they can cause digestive issues or allergies. Grain proteins though should never be the main ingredient.

Meat Byproducts

If you ever see “byproduct” listed next to a meat source, you should put the bag down and move on. Meat byproduct is a mixture of meat products that come from unknown sources. The term byproduct is coined to tell consumers the proteins aren’t suitable for human consumption. Canines, on the other hand, can.

As a rule, if you wouldn’t eat the ingredient, neither should your dog. Meat byproducts include muscle and bone proteins from chicken, beef, pork, and even fish. However, the rest of the meat in the mix is unknown.

Expired meat from the grocer, road kill meats, diseased meats and meat from dead animals have all been found in the byproduct manufacturing process. Most aren’t even cleaned or filtered. It isn’t uncommon for shipments of expired meats from grocery stores to arrive, still packaged and be tossed in, whole, to the mix.

Brands That are Common Offenders

There are several brands you should look to avoid because of their ingredient list alone. Some of these are well-known and trusted brands, but as we learn more and more about proper nutrition for our dogs, their ingredient lists continue to fail.

Beneful by Purina

Beneful is one of the highest offenders when it comes to their ingredients. While they do use chicken, they also use a lot of meat byproducts.

Because 4-D meat is not suitable for human consumption, you won’t run into it in your food’s ingredient lists. However, it does qualify for canine consumption and as many such manufactures, such as Purina, use it.

Beneful also uses a lot of colors and dyes, which should be avoided at all costs by Yorkies.

Ol’ Roy

Ol’ Roy is a Walmart brand dog food and is priced to sell. However, there are no meat proteins at all found in the food. Not even meat byproducts. Instead, corn and grain are listed first followed by a lot of questionable ingredients. Citric acid, which is used in the food as a preservative, can cause digestive irritation, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Feeding your Yorkie Ol’ Roy has been compared, by veterinarians, as giving your child a diet of Snickers bars and dark cola. There are no redeeming ingredients, and it is just a stomach filler, which doesn’t last long or provides nutritional content for your dog.

Yorkshire Terrier Feeding Chart

The amount you feed your Yorkie is as important as what you feed your dog. While no two dogs will have the same feeding schedules or food amounts, the general rule for an adult Yorkie is ½ to ¾ cup of dry dog food per day.

This feeding amount should be split between two feeding times. You shouldn’t just keep the bowl full and accessible all day. Instead, place the ¼ to ½ cup of food int eh bowl and leave it for about an hour. Remove the bowl until the next feeding time when you add the remainder of the daily scoop.

You need to check for overeating and weight gain. These conditions can cause a lot of health problems for a Yorkshire Terrier and are easily avoided.

The size, weight and activity level of your Yorkie will also determine how much you feed them. Younger, thinner and more active dogs will need more food, while more lethargic “lap dogs” will need less.

If you feel you are feeding too much or not enough, have your Yorkie checked out by the vet and bring examples of how much the dog is eating on a daily basis. The vet will be able to tell you how much more (or less) is okay for the dog based on the examination.

Best Dog Food for Yorkshire Terriers

Let’s dive into the best brands of dog food for the Yorkie breed. Each recommendation below is based on the ages of the dog and the nutritional concerns of the breed.

Adult – Best Overall – Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato

Merrick is among the most well-rounded dog food available, especially for small and toy breeds like the Yorkshire Terrier. The Lil’ Plates dry dog food consists of all-natural proteins with no grains. Merrick is also free of corn, soy, wheat and is 100 percent grain free.

The first five ingredients listed are:

  • Deboned Chicken
  • Chicken Meal
  • Turkey Meal
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Potatoes

What Customers Like

  • All natural deboned chicken and chicken meal as primary ingredients.
  • Small kibble for the Yorkies smaller mouth and teeth.
  • No grains at all, nor soy are included.

Common Complaints

  • Yorkies tend to eat less than the recommended amount.
  • Larger bags can expire before being consumed.

Adult – Best Value – Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo was one of the first companies to offer high-quality foods for dogs. The adopted a policy to include only fresh and pure ingredients in their dog food, which continues today. The Life Protection formula is designed for small breeds and perfect for Yorkies. It contained rich protein sources and added minerals and vitamins to help keep the dogs active and nourished.

The first five ingredients are:

  • Deboned Chicken
  • Chicken Meal
  • Brown Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Barley

What Customers Like

  • The formula adds vitamins and minerals not often found in other foods.
  • High-energy dogs will eat less and still maintain proper weight.
  • Perfect size and density kibble for smaller teeth

Common Complaints

  • More grain than some other high-quality foods.
  • The ingredient list is long and may not provide much more nutrition.

Adult – Best Super Premium – NomNomNow Heartland Beef Mash Fresh Dog Food

NomNomNow makes human grade dog food with only sourced ingredients from reputable farmers. They are wholesome, fresh and contain very few ingredients. There are no additives, preservatives in the dog food and is a perfect wet food for smaller teeth and toy sized dogs, like Yorkshire Terriers.

The first five ingredients are:

  • Ground beef
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Egg

What Customers Like

  • Few ingredients with notable sources.
  • Easily eaten and digested by Yorkies.
  • Multiple recipes to keep a variety on hand.

Common Complaints

  • Contains egg and fish oil, which can cause allergic reactions in some Yorkies.
  • Keeping the dog food fresh can be a hassle.

Puppy – Best Dry Food – Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potatoes Dry Dog Food

Nutro small breed puppy formula is perfect for the baby Yorkie in your life. The farm-raised chicken helps spur growth, keep up metabolism and aids in reducing skin irritations. For a Yorkshire Terrier pup, there isn’t much better. Nutro uses non-GMO ingredients and refrains from ever using byproducts, corn wheat or soy.

The first five ingredients are:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken Meal
  • Whole Brown Rice
  • Brewers Rice
  • Pea Protein

What Customers Like

  • Easily digested formula keeps puppies active.
  • Small kibble for the tiny mouths and teeth.
  • Doesn’t cause digestive issues common in the first year.

Common Complaints

  • Isn’t grain free (brown rice and oatmeal are grains).
  • Doesn’t include some of the vitamins other premium options do.

Puppy – Best Wet Food – American Journey Grain-Free Chicken & Turkey Canned Dog Food

American Journey uses real meat and limited ingredients to give your puppy exactly what it needs. Chicken and turkey are high-protein meats that allow your pup to maintain energy levels, metabolism rates, and a digestive tract without complications.

The first five ingredients are:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken Broth
  • Turkey
  • Chicken Liver
  • Potatoes

What Customers Like

  • Cans are easy to use and store for long periods.
  • Nine percent crude protein.
  • Two meat protein sources in each variety.

Common Complaints

Contains fish oil and salt which can cause allergies and weight gain, respectively.

Not as limited in ingredients as other premium choices.

Senior – Best Dry Food – Nutro Ultra Small Breed Senior Dry Dog Food

Nutro Ultra senior formula is designed to give the elderly Yorkies what they need int eh later stages of life. The mix contains three meat proteins as well as a variety of berries and fruits to aid in joint and bone retention. Senior Yorkies can have a myriad of bone issues, and Naturo has ingredients that address these specific needs.

The first five ingredients are:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken Meal
  • Whole Brown Rice
  • Brewers Rice
  • Rice Bran

What Customers Like

  • Special formula offers older dogs help in digestion and bone issues.
  • Keeps the vitality of the dog up even in the later stages.
  • Easy to consume and digest for the older digestive tracts.

Common Complaints

  • Higher in grain content which causes more trips outside.
  • Kibble may not be small enough for the older teeth.

Senior – Best Wet Food – American Journey

American Journey doesn’t have a specific formula for puppies or seniors. Their wet food is designed to boost all aspects of all life stages of your small dog. The limited ingredients list doesn’t leave room for grains, and the meat proteins are naturally sourced, coming in a variety to meet even the most demanding tastes.

The first five ingredients are:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken Broth
  • Chicken Liver
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Flaxseed

What Customers Like

  • Wet food is easily served alone or with a mix of dry kibble.
  • Nutritional value for senior Yorkies keeps them active.
  • Easily digested and most seniors seem to love the taste.

Common Complaints

  • Some flavors have larger chunks of potato that may not be enjoyed.
  • Not enough vitamins for senior dogs with known ailments.

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