Best Dog Food for Yorkies: Small Stomach, Picky Appetite

Looking for a high-quality dog food for your Yorkie?

Hop on, because we will be looking into what makes a diet, best dog food for Yorkies.

Yorkies are a little picky about what they like in terms of food, that’s why they are known to be a relatively high maintenance breed.

While some households prefer bigger breeds of dogs, more people nowadays are choosing the members of the Toy Group.

These terriers are brave, investigative, perky and determined. Despite the fact that small dogs are quite difficult to feed, their big personalities and cheerfulness made them more popular.

In particular, the Yorkshire Terriers or Yorkies are small, spirited, feisty dogs that can easily adapt to different surroundings.

Yorkies are greatly pampered since they are known as fashionable pets and companion for families of European high society in the late Victorian era. This could be one factor why most of them have picky appetites.

Yorkshire Terriers also have special dietary needs because of their small stomach and like all toy breeds, they have extremely small mouths which make them prone to dental disease due to overcrowded teeth and stuck food in between teeth. Since they cannot eat large meals, they should be fed several small meals in a day.

They are also prone to tooth decay, digestive problems and low blood sugar so it is important to feed them with appropriate high quality dog food and servings.

Let’s take a look at some several factors to consider in choosing the best dog food for your Yorkie.


Our Picks for Best Dog Food for Yorkies *

Note: Above ratings are based on our experience with the product and/or expert opinions. Click the link above to read customer reviews and see the current prices on Amazon.

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Calories Requirements of Yorkies

In general, small breed dogs need more calorie-dense dog food compared to larger dogs. An adult Yorkie usually weight between 4-8 pounds. The exact amount of food however, and the frequency of feeding varies depending on the Yorkie’s age and activity.

Estimated Calorie Requirements for Yorkies

According to the NRC of the National Academies, a dog in general, requires 30 calories per pound of their body weight to maintain their ideal weight.

40 calories per day can be used by small active dogs such as Yorkie whose weight is less than 20 lbs. If a dog is less active the calories requirement may be less. And since Yorkies can only have so many calories daily, make sure to give her lots of nutrition.

If your dog is moderately active, 150 calories per day is more than enough for him to keep up with this lifestyle. For an older Yorkie 125 calories are good, however, for an active pup 200 calories a day is ideal.

125 Cal
Older Yorkie
150 Cal
Typical Adult Yorkie
200 Cal
Active Yorkie

Note: Above estimated calorie requirements are primarily based on an average weight of Yorkies. Before making any significant changes in your dog’s diet, please consult with your veterinarian.

For those who make food at home, determine the caloric content of each meal. You can add low-calories treats and veggies in between meals and it is much easier for them to have 2-3 meals per day. Split their food ration so they won’t overeat.

Small dogs tend to use more energy compared to larger dogs thus, most dog foods for Toy dogs are packed with calories and are specially formulated for them.

These foods usually have too many calories that big dogs can become overweight if they eat it.

An important reminder, do not overdo their treat as it tends to kill their appetite and will affect their health in the long run.


Micronutrient Requirements for Yorkies

Estimated Calorie Requirements for Yorkies

To keep your Yorkie healthy, it is crucial to give them a balanced diet. A sufficient amount of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals and clean water is imperative for them to thrive.

It’s also vital for your dog’s health to use grain-free high-quality dog food. A nutritionally balanced food not only keeps your dog healthy but also increases his lifespan.


All dogs need dietary proteins that provide them 10 amino acids as they cannot produce them naturally. These amino acids give them building blocks and carbon chains required to make glucose for energy.

Protein Requirement for Yorkie's Food

It’s important that proteins must come from high-quality muscles of animals such as lamb, fish, turkey, chicken and beef. However, make sure to avoid proteins that too processed and do not come from animal muscles, such as meat by-products and protein comes from grains.

Giving them high-quality proteins will ensure that they receive a good balance of all the essential amino acids.

As recommended by AAFCO, dogs require at least 18% protein in their daily diet and according to the experts, 25% to 30% protein is normally required.

We recommend you to give your dog a food that contains 35% to 40% protein as increasing protein intake in dog’s diet is good for muscle growth and overall health.


Animal fats and seed oils are an ideal source of fats.

These resources give the most concentrated energy source. Also, they supply essential fatty acids which are Omega-3 and Omega-6 which are important to maintain your Yorkie’s long shiny coat. Fatty acids also prevent skin lesions, coarse hair, vision and learning problems.

You can incorporate a minimum of 10% fats to your dog’s diet, however, 15%-20% is the advisable amount. Usually you do not need to add any additional fat in your pup’s food because most commercial dog foods add enough fat to enhance the taste.

These nutrients are vital in proper cell structure and function and act as carriers of important fat-soluble vitamins. Good fats also enhance the texture and taste of dog foods.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and Minerals for Yorkie's Food

Vitamins and minerals also play a huge part on your Yorkie’s overall health and growth.

Some of them can be found in all foods, however, no single food contains all of them thus, the proper balance of fruits and vegetables is highly recommended in your dog’s diet.

Vitamins and minerals help dogs with their coat, immune system, anemia and many other bodily functions. That’s why a good amount of fruits and vegetables are vital in any dog food.

If your dog food is low on vitamins and minerals then you should feed fresh fruits and vegetables to your Yorkie. Yorkies love eating fresh carrot, apples (without seeds), bananas, lettuce and pumpkin.

An ideal dog food contains variety of fruits and vegetables.


Officially, there is no minimum requirement of carbohydrates for Yorkies but you should be a little more careful as certain types of grains can be hard on their stomachs such as soy and corn. Low quality grains like wheat and corn are known to cause many food related allergies in dogs.

Avoid these dog foods instead, choose high-quality grains like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, barley and brown rice as your Yorkie’s food staples.

Carbohydrates provide energy to your dog’s body and are equally important for muscle growth.

Peas are another great source of carbohydrates.


Water in Yorkie's Diet

Often ignored but water is probably one of the most important nutrient in a dog’s diet. Like humans, all dogs require water regularly. It promotes proper digestion, skin health, flushes toxins and carries nutrients throughout the body.

An adult Yorkie must take up to 5-10 ounces of water a day, basically 1.2 ounces of water for each pound of their weight.

You should make sure that your Yorkie must have fresh and clean drinking water available all the time. It’s not only helps flush toxins out of your dog’s body but it also helps your dog in maintaining stable body temperature.


Ingredients to Avoid in Dog Food

Not all food ingredients are good for Yorkies.

There are some food ingredients that can harm your Yorkie such as low-quality grains like corn, soy and wheat thus; it is your responsibility to make sure they won’t get these ingredients.

Also avoid dog foods that include artificial preservatives, colouring and flavour, salt and sugar. These are known to cause many allergies in Yorkies.

When reading dog food labels, check if there are low-quality protein ingredients such bone meal and meat by-products included.

The meat-by-products are considered unidentifiable as it can come from road kill meat, zoo animals or even euthanized cats and dogs. Make sure there are no unidentifiable by-products included as these can be unsafe and unhealthy for your dog.

Dogs need to eat raw meat. If possible, feed your dog raw meat more often.


Common Health Problems in Yorkies

Small dogs are also prone to certain health issues like bigger breed dogs.

Common Health Problems in Yorkies

Although your Yorkie may be prone to these diseases, it doesn’t mean that you cannot do anything about it.

Learn the common signs and symptoms so you could easily determine the disease and the proper treatments to give your dog.


This refers to the fast drop of blood sugar levels, which is very common with toy breeds especially Yorkies. It normally occurs from birth to 4 months of old, but an adult Yorkie can also develop it.

Hypoglycemia is a condition wherein the body cannot properly regulate blood glucose and the concentration of blood sugar is too low. It can affect the motor skills and brain function of your dog. Several factors such as stress and lack of proper nutrients are said to be the culprit of it.

The common symptoms are drowsiness, fainting, seizures, depression, confused behavior and weakness, however not all dogs may exhibit these symptoms. You should closely watch your dog and provide them proper treatments.

Legg-Perthes Disease

Legg-Perthes Disease in Yorkies

Legg-Perthes is a disease of the hip joint that suffers from improper blood circulation. When the hip area has inadequate blood circulation, the dog’s bones tend to weaken and collapse. The cartilage will also malformed and cracked.

This usually occurs in young puppies from 5-8 months old. Among the common symptoms are limping, leg going lame and signs of pain. This can be diagnosed with the help of x-ray examination, but since the bone changes happen gradually, experts recommend repeating the x-rays after a couple of weeks.

Legg Perthes can be treated with a surgery to remove the damaged hip bone and allow the ligaments to strengthen. Don’t worry as toy dogs can recover faster after the surgery than larger breeds.

Retinal Dysplasia

Retinal Dysplasia is an irregularity in the dog’s retina. Unfortunately, most cases of Retinal dysplasia in Yorkies are inherited thus; dogs with this disease should not breed.

In mild cases, you will not notice any signs and there are no indications that the disease is severe enough to impede the dog’s daily routine. A full examination including eye exam will help you determine if your dog has retinal folds. This may cause small blind areas, but the dog will definitely adjust to it and function normally.

However, in moderate to severe case, the dog’s vision will be affected and may lead to total blindness. Aside from being inherited, it is also presumed that Retinal Dysplasia may also develop from an infection or trauma to the eye.

Kneecap Dislocation

This occurs when the patella or kneecap is dislocated from its position which is in the furrow of the thigh bone. It is a prevalent abnormality in toy dogs. The common symptoms include limping, odd skipping or odd walking or if the dog is having difficulties in bending its hind leg.

These symptoms may come and go and puppies tend to continue to walk even their kneecap is dislocated. It is only that when it slips that they suffer from severe pain. Your vet will be able to diagnose this condition through x-rays and ultrasound.

For minor to moderate cases, anti-inflammatory medications and strict bed-rest for a couple of months are usually prescribed, but for re-occurring cases, a surgery may be required.

Collapsed Trachea

Collapsed Trachea is another common problem among toy breeds wherein their trachea or windpipe narrows or collapsed. This occurs when their cartilage rings soften due to a genetic weakness. In some cases, it happens when a small dog such as a Yorkie is attached to its best collar and leash.

Pulling back the dog too hard will cause its trachea to collapse inward. Thus, a good dog harness should be used instead of a dog collar.

Dogs with this condition exhibit noisy or troubled breathing, produce gagging sounds or has moderate to a severe cough. For the treatment, keep your dog away from possible irritants such as cigarette smoke and air fresheners. There are also medications to be given to reduce coughing and swelling.


Feeding Schedule for Yorkie Puppies and Adults

Feeding Schedule for Yorkie Puppies and Adults

The right amount of food and schedule of feeding greatly varies on the Yorkie’s age and activity level. However, because of its very small size, it is ideal to feed them with 2-3 small meals daily.

From 0-4 week mother’s milk is the best food they can get. The dam’s nutritional requirements while nursing is very crucial so remain feeding her with high-quality food and fresh water to keep up with her milk supply.

Their 4-7 weeks is called the weaning age. A pup should be free-fed until such time that they can handle a more structured diet. This time, you can incorporate puppy dog food with water or milk to your dog’s diet. Most breeders recommend introducing your puppy first to very bland food until they are old enough for dry foods.

When they reached 2 months up to 1-year old, you can start scheduling meals and give them solid dog food. 3-4 meals a day is best and should not be later than 2 hours before their bedtime. Yorkies are considered adult at the 1-year mark so you can expect for changes and adjustments on how frequent you should feed your dog as well as the type of food to give.

Toy breed dogs can be sensitive to abrupt changes in their diet. Remember, when changing food types and brands, do it gradually over a course of 8-10 days by mixing their current food and new food with the ratio of newer food increasing every day.

Best Dog Food for Yorkies


Top Recommendation

Taste of The Wild Dry Dog Food


Taste of The Wild Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild is a high-quality dog food that has all the necessary ingredients for a nutritionally balanced food.

It has a good amount of animal protein which comes from bison, venison, lamb meal and chicken meal. Chicken meal is a protein rich ingredient and has 300% more protein than raw chicken. In all, Taste of the Wild has 33% protein which is great for your little pup.

Since we are looking for a grain free dog food, it’s ideal for our Yorkie. Carbohydrates are 40% and most of it comes from sweat potatoes, peas and dried chicory roots. These are high-quality carbohydrate sources.

One more thing we like about it that it contains good quantity of fish oils that many other brands ignore these days.

Taste of the Wild is a value of money product. It is a little cheaper per pound than most premium dog food brands, so it fits right into your budget.

Overall, Taste of the Wild is a great option for Yorkies and we highly recommend it. It is also the recommended dog food for German Shepherds.

Our Analysis

  • High Protein Content
  • Grain Free Food
  • Lots of Animal Protein
  • Lots of Moisture
  • Fish Oils
  • No Added Salt and Sugar
  • No Artificial Preservatives & Chemicals
  • Best Value for Money
  • Slightly High Fat Content
  • Canola Oil (controversial ingredient)
  • Tomato pomace (inexpensive filler)

Taste of the Wild is a grain-free meat-based dry dog food which uses bison, venison, lamb and chicken as its main sources of animal protein. It deserves our 5 stars rating and earns a highly recommended dog food for Yorkies.

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Worth Mentioning

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Food


Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Food

Blue buffalo life protection is a high quality dog food for your pup and it’s completely grain free. It comes with 28% animal proteins and 33% fat which are great for small dogs such as Yorkies.

Blue buffalo brand is known for maintaining the quality of their food by using quality sources. It does not contain low-quality animal protein sources such as meat by-products, chicken by-products or bone meal. Most of the animal protein comes from deboned chicken, chicken meal and fish.

Although it contains a high amount of carbs but there is nothing to be alarmed about, since the main sources of carbs are barley, brown rice, oatmeal, potatoes, peas and many other vegetables.

They avoid using low-quality grains, such as corn and soy, so it’s ideal for dogs that have tendency to catch food related allergies.

Our Analysis

  • High Protein Content
  • Grain Free Food
  • Lots of Meat Protein
  • Lots of Vegetables & Fruits
  • No Added Salt and Sugar
  • No Synthetic Preservatives & Flavour
  • Tomato Pomace (low nutritional filler)
  • Alfalfa (high in plant protein)
  • Caramel (natural coloring agent)

Blue buffalo life protection is a grain free animal meat-based dry dog food and has a significant amount of vegetables and fruits, thus it earns a 5 star rating and a highly recommended dog food status.

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Some of the tips on how an owner can ensure their Yorkshire Terrier’s better health may seem obvious, however, the lack of knowledge and not paying attention even to the smallest details can make a huge difference on a Yorkie’s quality of life.

Always keep an eye on your Yorkie’s behavior and look for symptoms of health problems.

Nonetheless, a responsible owner should be aware of his or her pets’ overall condition by learning all the details of their life and health.

Pets such as Yorkshire Terriers are like children that need their owner’s love, attention and dedication so that they will grow healthy and strong. In return, they will treat us as their best companions and best friends.

Looking for more dog food guides? Read our detailed article on finding the best doog food Boxers and what food to feed a Beagle.

Taste of The Wild Dry Dog Food was reviewed by Brian Hersh on Jan 25, 2016.

*Disclaimer: Our review on dog foods is based mostly on our expertise and the experts/veterinarians we consulted with and the information provided by the manufacturers. We do test many dog foods, but it’s not possible to test them all. As such, please remember the above recommendations are our opinions, and before making any changes in your dog’s diet, please consult with a local veterinarian.

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Comments →

  1. Karen Stillings

    This was very helpful. Thank you very much for the information about food and health issues. We love your Yorkies!

    1. Thanks Karen. I am glad you found it helpful.

      Let me know if you need help with something else! 🙂

  2. Thomas

    Canned food may become the cause of foul stool, so before giving your pet canned food choose carefully which one is better.

    1. Thanks for the info.

      Canned dog food has its own advantages, but when it comes to convenience, nothing beats dry dog food. Plus it’s lighter on your pocket too.

      One important thing to remember, never leave any canned food in dog’s bowl for more than an hour or two. Unlike dry dog food, wet foods exposed to the environment can easily grow bacteria — and quickly become contaminated.

    2. Norma Giard

      My yorkie is a rescue who has had all his teeth removed. He is such a picky eater, I am at my wits end trying to find something that he likes.

  3. Lucretia Brown

    Due to yorkies having teeth problems. Why recommend dry dog food? Do these top food companies carry wet food as well?

    1. Not really. The thing is, almost all dogs have these problems, but the important thing to consider is that you should buy food that is specially made for small dogs because of the kibble size.

      Yes, these companies also sell a wide range of wet foods.

      1. Dianna Wayman

        Doesn’t wet food make tartar buildup on small dog’s teeth faster?

        1. That’s true. That’s why it’s important to maintain dental health specially when given wet food.

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