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

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

Did you know the smallest dog ever was a Yorkie?

Her name was Sylvia, and she was 3.5 inches long, 2.5 inches tall, and weighed a little over 100 grams. Can you imagine how itty-bitty her stomach was?

That's why feeding Yorkies can be tough. They often have different dietary needs, and it can be really easy to either overfeed them or underfeed them.

We'll give you tips on this later...

Yorkies, in particular, are prone to stomach problems, so you have to be careful with what you feed them! 

And without further ado...

Quick Picks: Best Food Options for Yorkies for Quick REFERENCE 

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. 

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed
    Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free
      Natural Balance L.I.D. Small Breed Bites Grain-Free
        Wellness Small Breed Complete Health
          Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed

            **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.

            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.

            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 kibble size might be a bit large for a Yorkie.

            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.

            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.

            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.

            Yorkie Nutritional Needs: Calories & Portion Size

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            Adult Dogs
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            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.

            Best Dog Food Ingredients for Yorkies


            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.


            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).


            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.

            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 doublethe 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 doublethe 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.

            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


            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.

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            **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.

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            Comments ( 13 )
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            • Stephanie

              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,

            • John

              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.

            • Gail

              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!!!

            • Ivy Baker

              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.

            • Barbara Heed

              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

              • PC Carrell

                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.

            • Kayla

              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.

              • Julye

                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!

            • Linda schalk

              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

              • PC Carrell

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

            • Sandra

              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.

            • Marcee Novick

              I dnnt see Merrick on your list. What are your thoughts? Or should I switch to Blue Buffalo?

              • Paul Curran

                Hello Marcee,
                Thanks for the question!
                You can offer your pup some Blue Buffalo food just to add diversity to his/her diet. You definitely should do it if your dog doesn’t love the current food much. As for Merrick, the Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato recipe has the great ingredients list too.