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Feeding Your Yorkie (Yorkie Diet, Selecting a Food, Refusal to Eat, How Much to Eat)

Feeding Your Yorkie

Selecting a Food For Your Yorkie

Choosing a food for your Yorkie is a big decision. There are a lot of things to take in to consideration when making your selection. First, your Yorkie's main diet should be dry kibble. Because Yorkies are prone to tooth decay, I do not recommend feeding wet or canned food on a regular basis. However, if you do choose to feed wet food to your Yorkie, make sure to brush his teeth after eating. In my experience, most canned food is made with a lot of water (for processing purposes). So, in most cases, there really isn't any more nutrition in canned food as there is in dry food. It's easy to assume that, since it looks more like meat it must actually be more like meat than dry food. But, check the labels! Canned food is basically the same as dry food with more water. Always check the labels on everything you feed your Yorkie - canned food, dry food, treats, supplements, etc.

As far as choosing a dry food, there are a lot of quality products out there, any of which would be a good choice. Do not rely on names or brands only. Always read the labels! Some companies make a great puppy kibble, but their adult formulations aren't as good. So, don't stick with a brand just because it's a brand you trust - read the labels on everything.

Yorkie puppies should be eating a puppy food until they are 8 - 10 months old. After that, you can transition to an adult kibble. There are a lot of different brands available, and that choice is up to you. We feed our puppies Royal Canin Mini Puppy 33 (we get the Pro bags for breeders, and the shape is slightly different). We feed our adults Diamond brand dog food.

Here is a list of things you should look for in a dry kibble for your Yorkie:

- Minimum 30% protein
- A recognizable meat as the main ingredient (not something that says "meat" - look for "chicken" or "beef," etc)
- A manageable shape for your Yorkie (large pieces are not a good idea for small mouths)
- "Small Breed" formula (can give you an all around indication that the food is likely the right size and has the right nutrition - but, check the labels)
- "Complete and Balanced" on the label (Dog foods must meet specific requirements set by the AAFCO - Association of American Feed Control Officials - in order to be labeled as "Complete and Balanced." The label must also state the group for which the food is intended. "Complete and Balanced" adult food is labeled as "maintenance," and "Complete and Balanced" food for puppies and pregnant or lactating bitches is labeled "growth and reproduction."

How Much to Feed Your Yorkie

A frequent question I am asked is "How much should I feed my Yorkie"? There is no good answer to that question. Every Yorkie is different, and every Yorkie goes through changes during different stages of growth and development. Each brand of food has a "recommended feeding guidelines" section on the bag, but, these are just rough guidelines.

I strongly recommend that you let your Yorkie free feed, or self-feed. Basically, leave food out and available at all times. Yorkies will not overeat like some other breeds. There is no reason to try to regulate your Yorkie's weight by restricting food (unless your Yorkie has a medical issue and you discuss a diet with your veterinarian). A healthy Yorkie will maintain a proper weight while free feeding, and free feeding greatly reduces the risk for a hypoglycemic attack. So, let your Yorkie eat when he's hungry.

If Your Yorkie Doesn't Want to Eat

If your Yorkie doesn't want to eat, you can give Nutrical according to the directions for your Yorkie's size. You can also try canned food or some dry kibble soaked in a little beef broth or beef liver broth. However, if your Yorkie is refusing to eat a food that he previously ate, then you need to investigate the reason. Sometimes, a Yorkie will hit a growth stage and change his tastes. The solution may just be to try a different food. However, there are a number of illnesses that can cause a Yorkie to refuse to eat. Most commonly refusal to eat is caused by internal parasites (worms, Giardia, etc). So, you need to enlist the help of your veterinarian to find out why your Yorkie doesn't want to eat. But, in the mean time, your Yorkie needs to be eating something in order to avoid hypoglycemia. (Read more about Yorkie hypoglycemia)

We send our new owners a sample of either Royal Canin Mini Puppy 33 or Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Puppy plus coupons in their puppy package. Below is the information we send to our new owners in their puppy package.

Specific information on some food brands

We feed some of our puppies Royal Canin products and some of our puppies Purina Pro Plan Products. Here is some more information about the two foods that we recommend. Eukanuba also makes a great small breed food that we use occasionally for very small pupies (the pieces are about 1/2 the size of Royal Canin and Purina small breed foods).

Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Puppy Royal Canin Mini Puppy 33 Eukanuba Small Breed Puppy
Approximate cost per pound: $2.17 Approximate cost per pound: $4.00 Approximate cost per pound: $2.33

Crude Protein (Min) 30.0%
Crude Fat (Min) 20.0%
Crude Fiber (Max) 3.0%
Moisture (Max) 12.0%

Crude Protein Minimum 33.0%
Crude Fat Minimum 20.0%
Crude Fiber Maximum 2.6%
Moisture Maximum 10.0%

Crude Protein (Min) 32.00 %
Crude Fat (Min) 21.00 %
Crude Fiber (Max) 4.00 %
Moisture (Max) 10.00 %
Chicken, corn gluten meal, brewers rice, whole grain corn, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), poultry by-product meal, fish meal, corn bran, calcium phosphate, dried egg product, animal digest, fish oil, salt, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, DL-Methionine, zinc sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, garlic oil, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite. Chicken meal, brown rice, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, chicken, rice, dried egg product, dried beet pulp (sugar removed), natural chicken flavors, wheat gluten, anchovy oil (source of EPA/DHA), dried brewers yeast, potassium chloride, sodium silico aluminate, flax seed, salt, fructo-oligosaccharides, choline chloride, L-lysine, taurine, salmon meal, dried brewers yeast extract (source of mannan-oligosaccharides), Vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), biotin, D-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin A acetate, niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2) supplement, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), Trace Minerals [zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, zinc proteinate, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], preserved with natural mixed tocopherols (source of Vitamin E) and citric acid, rosemary extract. Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Fish Meal, Chicken Flavor, Brewers Rice, Dried Beet Pulp, Dried Egg Product, Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Brewers Dried Yeast, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, Fructooligosaccharides, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Carbonate), DL-Methionine, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Acetate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of vitamin B2), Inositol, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Vitamin E Supplement, Marigold, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract
Transition to adult food: Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Transition to adult food: Royal Canin Yorkshire 28 Transition to adult food: Eukanuba Yorkshire