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Best Dog Food for Yorkies: Don’t Malnourish Your Yorkie!

Feeding small dogs can be tough. I know. I have one! They often have different dietary needs, and it can be really easy to either overfeed them or underfeed them.

Yorkies, in particular, are prone to stomach problems, so if you’re not careful, you can find yourself cleaning up a whole bunch of gross doggy messes. We’re here to help. We’ll give you the facts, which makes finding the best dog food for Yorkies a no-brainer!

Quick Picks: Best Food Options for Yorkies for Quick REFERENCE 

**Below, you'll find our expert's science-backed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Chewy.

If you're in a hurry, this table should give you a quick idea of our top dog food picks for this breed. Any of these would be a pretty good buy, and all of them have good ingredients for Yorkies. As always, consult your vet before switching to any dog food. 

If you'd like to read more about the specific dog foods we recommend, you can click here to skip straight to the reviews.

Yorkie Nutritional Needs: Calories & Portion Size

0 Cal
Puppies
0 Cal
Adult Dogs
0 Cal
Senior Dogs

**Please note: these estimates are based on an average weight for this breed. Every dog is different. Please talk to your vet before making changes to your dog's diet. 

Yorkies are small dogs, so (obviously), they don’t need much food. They usually weigh between three and eight pounds. If your Yorkie is on the smaller side of that range, or if she’s not very active, she’ll need about 150 calories each day if she's a moderately active adult.

If you’ve got a bigger Yorkie, or if your pup is more active, it’s safe to bump her up to 200 calories per day.

One of the most important thing to remember about Yorkies is that they have teeny tiny little stomachs. They won’t be able to handle two meals per day like most dogs (even my little 14lb mutt gets two meals a day).

If they overeat, they can get sick, so it’s something to avoid if you don’t like cleaning up messes. Instead, split your dog’s daily food ration into four smaller meals. This is a good rule of thumb for lots of toy breeds.

Best Dog Food Ingredients for Yorkies

Protein. Like all dogs, Yorkies need protein. Food that contains protein from the muscles of animals is the best bet. Shoot for animals you’ve heard of: chicken, lamb, fish, beef and turkey are all good bets (this shouldn’t be too much of a problem, since almost all commercial dog foods include one of these).

The only thing you really need to avoid here is any protein that does not come from the muscle of an animal. That stuff is often super-processed crap. No Bueno.

Carbs. With Yorkies, you want to be a little more careful with the carbs. Certain types of carbohydrates commonly found in dog food can be really hard on her stomach: corn and soy. Avoid those. Instead, shoot for some of the other dog food staples: sweet potatoes and rice (preferably brown rice, although cheap brown rice sometimes contains arsenic).

Fats. Some dog foods are surprisingly light on the fat. Yorkies need good fats to maintain their long, shiny coats. The best way to help them keep that stylish, Hollywood look is to find a food that has fish oil in it. If you can’t find a good one, you can always buy some fish oil of your own and drizzle a few drops on your best bud’s dinner.

Dry Dog Food or Wet Dog Food?

For Yorkies, dry food is best. It’s no secret that lots of toy breeds tend to develop dental troubles, and Yorkies are no exception.

Dogs with dental trouble usually do best with dry foods. The crunchy, brittle texture helps clean your canine’s canines. And it does it naturally. You can always supplement your pup’s dry food with wet food, but you don’t need to. At my house, our dog gets wet food (or small portion of a nice juicy steak) on special occasions.

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Health Problems To Watch Out For

Sensitive Tummies. Yorkies are known for their sensitive little tummies. If you’re not careful, they can very easily turn into walking poop machines. They’re also small, territorial dogs, which means they’ll be crawling under your bed to do their business. We don’t want that!

The best way to sidestep your Yorkie’s stomach issues is to practice a few of the things we’ve already mentioned:

  • Feed her small meals more frequently
  • If you change her food, do it gradually over several weeks
  • Avoid soy
  • Avoid corn

Hypoglycemia. If your Yorkie is on the smaller side, she has a higher chance of developing hypoglycemia, which means her blood sugar can drop if she goes too long without eating. Lots of smaller dogs have this issue, but Yorkies are especially prone, since they can also be picky eaters, and skipping a meal can make their sugar crash.

Here are a couple things you can do to avoid this. First fee,d your dog something she enjoys, so she's happy to eat when you feed her. Spread out her meals, so she's eating regularly throughout the day. Finally, supplement her meals with just a few healthy treats. 

How To Feed a Yorkie Puppy

It’s always important to remember that puppies need quite a bit more food than adult dogs. And it’s a really crazy difference for Yorkies.

Would you believe you need to feed them double the calories when they’re a puppy? It’s true! When she’s just a little pup running around chewing on your toes, she needs 400 calories per day.

Would you believe you need to feed them double the calories when they’re a puppy? It’s true! When she’s just a little pup running around chewing on your toes, she needs 400 calories per day.

Of course, her stomach is going to be even smaller than normal, so she’ll also have to eat more frequently: at least 4 times per day and up to 6 times per day.

Another option some trainers and breeders recommend is to always have food available throughout the day. If you go this route, just keep an eye on your puppy to see how much she’s eating. Puppies can get excited and eat a lot more than they can handle, making themselves sick.

Check Out Our Take on Some of the Top Dog Food Choices for Yorkies

​Blue Buffalo Small Breed Chicken & Rice

best food for yorkies

Blue Buffalo is one of my go-to brands—mostly because our pup seems to like it so much. It also has a lot of the stuff we’re looking for in a great dog food for a Yorkie. There’s no soy or corn, which is the most important thing.

All the protein comes from chicken, and none of it comes from chicken byproducts, which means it’s almost entirely from the muscle of the chicken.

Blue Buffalo is always good about limiting artificial preservatives and sticking to more natural ingredients. You’ll also find lots of anti-oxidant-rich ingredients in here as well, such as blueberries and cranberries.

Finally, we like this food because it includes flaxseed, which is a good alternative to fish oil. Those Omga 3s and Omega 6s can help keep your little friend’s coat looking snazzy.

Taste of the Wild Hi-Prairie Canine Formula with Roasted Bison and Venison

taste of hte wild dog food review

This dog food is probably going to give you the best bang for your buck. 

As the name suggests, this food gets high marks for having mostly natural ingredients. In particular, this food is chocked full of bison and venison, which is kind of cool and gives it kind of a gamey flavor (I didn’t taste it; our dog told me).

There’s no corn and no soy, which is what we’re looking for.

The carbs seem to come from dried chicory root instead of sweet potatoes or rice. I honestly don’t know much about chicory root, but it seems to look and taste like a parsnip (to humans anyway), and it checks the carbohydrate box.

We really like the Taste of the Wild dog food, though, because it includes fish oil. A lot of dog foods don’t include it, so it’s a nice bonus

Our pup also asked me to tell you that our sample tasted pretty good. She wasn’t ecstatic, but she had no complaints.

The only downside here is that it’s not made for small dogs specifically, so the size might be a bit large for a Yorkie.

Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato & Chicken

This is a deceptively good dog food that’s just not very well marketed.

But it sure beats some of the bigger brands out there.

The best thing here, by far, is the limited number of ingredients. It’s pretty easy to know exactly what your dog is eating.

The protein comes from chicken and chicken meal (no byproducts), and the carbs come from sweet potatoes. Unlike most foods, though, the main ingredient here is sweet potatoes (not protein).

Another cool feature is that the shape and size of the kibble is specifically intended to help keep your dog’s teeth clean, which is awesome for Yorkies.

Wellness Complete Health for Small Breeds

wellness brand dog food reviews

This is another good food that checks all of our boxes.

The main benefits of this food are that it has three sources of animal protein, and variety is never a bad thing. This also gives it a slightly higher protein ratio than some other foods (28% protein).

It includes ground flaxseed instead of fish oil, which isn’t optimal, but it’s still okay.

Most of the carbs come from sweet potatoes, which is fairly standard.

I don’t particularly like the number of chemicals in the ingredients. I usually go by the old standby rule of “If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t trust it,” and that kind of applies here, I suppose.

Still, the main ingredients are super healthy, it’s got a high protein content, and our dog snarfed her sample in like a second.

Wellness CORE Small Breed

wellness core dog food reviews

Here’s another good option from Wellness brand.

The main difference between this and the other Wellness option listed above is that this has slightly higher protein content (not to mention a few different ingredients that are good for longer-haired dogs).

The things I like best about this food are that (1) it includes salmon oil, which helps maintain a shiny coat and tastes really good, and (2) it includes Glocusamine and Chondroitin, which promote bone and joint health (some breeders say that it promotes dental health as well, which Yorkies need).

Like all their foods, this one is grain-free and contains no animal byproducts.

Foods to Avoid

Finally, we wanted to point out a few foods to avoid. Mostly, you want to avoid all Hill’s Science Diet foods if you’re a Yorkie owner. They all contain corn. The same is also true for Pedigree foods, since the main ingredient is corn. Gross.

Fancy this guide? Check out this one for the mighty Maltese! We also published a good how-to article for Shih Tzus. And here's a post on feeding a border collie

**Disclaimer: Our dog food reviews are based mostly on (1) our expertise and that of the experts with whom we consult and (2) the information provided by the manufacturers. We do test many dog foods (with our dog's help), but we can't test them all. As such, please remember the above recommendations are our opinions, and you should consult your vet before making changes to your dog's diet.

Image credits: Chewy.com

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 11 comments
Stephanie - November 17, 2016

My 7 month old, 7 lb. Yorker, is very hyperactive, and seems to be always hungry even though we leave her food out and accessible, which is Biljac farmers country small breed recipe. She is constantly grabbing and eating maple leaves. She hides them to chew on. She ALWAYS seems hungry I wonder if she’s not getting enough nutrition. I WOULD love to hear back from someone. Thank you,

Reply
John - January 9, 2017

Your blog is very informative, and I found it interesting. We say that dog is man’s bestfriend, therefore, we must give them the best and proper dog food.

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Gail - January 16, 2017

I was advised by a vet long ago to mix canned food with my dog’s dry kibble, saying that it was the best diet for my pets so, I’ve been doing this for many years. Seems like the idea too! I feed my adult senior Boxer a blend of Eagle Pack Natural Large and Giant Breed adult formula dry kibble along with a couple of tablespoons of their all life stages canned food. He also gets a Phycox canine joint supplement everyday, along with a Schiff Mega Red krill oil soft gel. I feed my 12 week old Great Dane the puppy formula with a couple of teaspoons of the canned food 3 times per day. She also get a krill oil soft gel everyday too. I just mix the foods with some filtered water, and mix well. This has seemed to work very well for my dogs!!!

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Ivy Baker - May 25, 2017

This is some really good information about dog food. I just recently bought a puppy and I want to take good care of him. So, I liked that you talked about is in each type of food.

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Barbara Heed - June 15, 2017

Please. Would you be able to give me any infi on a puppy food named “Diomonmd Narurals”I was given 2 samole by my local and by the way great oet store. They seem to really care. But after reading what you had said about yorkie foods–I have a ckorkie. Seems to have some sensitive skin issues also. She is the only living pup and mom soon passed 1 week after hwr birth . She was bottke fed as is doing GREAT !we love her and want only the best. Seems to be the love Ive been in need of.
Please help me in the dog food area though .Much thanks
Barbara Heed . please put on you site as im not too tech savvy. Thanks

Reply
    PC Carrell - June 15, 2017

    Hello Barbara
    Research has shown that some people approve of Diamonds as it does contain some natural products. However it is always good to read the ingredients listed and note if this is something you want to feed your dog. It has not been lsted at the top or even in the ten top dog foods so this is something you may also consider.
    Cheers

    Reply
Kayla - October 4, 2017

Thanks for these tips. My sister likes Yorkie puppy videos. I am planning to give her one on her birthday. I am now looking up some shops that have this breed. I’ll also forward this article to my sister after I gave her the puppy.

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    Julye - October 13, 2017

    Hi Kayla, I strongly recommend you DO NOT buy a puppy from a store. Look up the American Kennel Club (AKC) and find your local Yorkie club. If you can’t find one, contact the National Yorkie club person and ask for a local contact.

    Puppies in stores are often bred only for profit and many come from puppy mills. Puppy mills are vile. The animals are in horrid conditions and the animals can have bad health issues.

    Breeders who show their dogs (members of AKC), care about the dogs, their personalities, as well as their looks (at least, good breeders do). You can also contact the local rescue group and rescue a Yorkie.

    If you are going to buy a pure-breed puppy, you want as healthy and happy an animal as possible. Plus, you don’t want to support puppy mills. With a breeder, you should be able to meet the animal’s sire or dam (not all breeders own both the father and mother).

    Good luck!

    Reply
Linda schalk - November 22, 2017

Thank u for all your help. My dog scratches a lot can that be to dry skin. She dont. Have fleas i bath her in oatmeal shampoo. Please let me know . Linda

Reply
    PC Carrell - November 23, 2017

    Hi Linda
    The itching could be due to dry skin. Try getting a shampoo for dry skin for her.
    Cheers

    Reply
Sandra - March 31, 2018

I feed my puppies pedigree after I had one to die on the science food which my vet recommended. It has always done great. My pedigree has no corn in it. Your article says it does.

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