The Yorkshire Terrier, commonly known as the Yorkie, is one of the smallest dog breeds in the world. Because of its tiny stature, Yorkie feeding and nutrition require a bit of special attention.
In this guide, you will learn what to feed your Yorkie as well as the proper Yorkie puppy feeding schedule.
We’ll also discuss the Yorkie’s nutritional needs based on its age. Stick around to learn all these and more!
Yorkie Feeding Chart by Age: How Much to Feed Your Yorkshire Terrier?
Yorkshire Terriers should be fed depending on their age. For puppy Yorkies, a quarter to half a cup of puppy food per day is enough. Meanwhile, adult and senior Yorkies need around a third to two-third cups of dog food daily.
Yorkies are not big eaters, which is understandable given their tiny size and petite body weight. That said, how much food you feed them matters a lot.
If you want your Yorkshire Terrier to grow up in good trim and up to their maximum lifespan, serve them the right amount of food with ample nutritional value. This will keep them in tip-top shape and away from diseases.
Calorie-wise, Yorkies need 100 to 250 kilocalories daily. This can be sourced from wet food or dry kibble, homemade meals, and other alternatives.
In planning a structured diet for your Yorkshire Terrier, you can follow the feeding charts below.
Just remember to tailor it according to your dog’s needs, as factors such as gender, activity level, and environment can still play a role in your dog’s needs.
Yorkie Puppy Feeding Chart (2 to 12 months)
Yorkshire Terrier puppies are dependent on their mother’s milk from birth up to approximately five weeks. Like all young pups, the Yorkie puppy will go through weaning, a process involving the transition from mother’s milk to puppy food.
Free feeding is generally harmful to dogs as it can lead to obesity and other problems concerning your dog’s weight. However, free-feeding is acceptable if your Yorkie weighs less than 2.5 pounds or is less than three months old.
Naturally, a Yorkie puppy will require more nutrients to support their rapid growth and development as compared to an older Yorkie.
Refer to the guide below to learn more about Yorkie puppy food:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|2 – 5 months||0.25 – 0.33||100 – 132||30 – 35%||8%|
|6 – 9 months||0.33 – 0.4||132 – 160||30 – 35%||8%|
|10 – 12 months||0.4 – 0.5||160 – 200||30 – 35%||8%|
The numbers may seem too small but remember that Yorkies are small dogs, and their size limits the amount of food they can take. Moreover, the kind of kibble Yorkie puppies eat is different from adult dog food.
Usually, Yorkie puppy dry food is more calorie-dense. It is also richer in animal protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for your Yorkie’s joint health, muscular development, and other vital bodily functions.
Alternatively, some recommend feeding Yorkies 45 to 55 calories per pound of body weight. This is a good baseline estimate of the amount of dry food to give your puppy.
Adult Yorkie Feeding Chart (1 to 6 years)
Adult Yorkies are not highly active dogs. In fact, these pooches are ideal as apartment dogs because of their quiet and relatively low activity level.
Hence, even when fully grown, Yorkies still don’t need much food to support their lifestyle.
You’ll see from the table below that the caloric requirement of an adult dog is less than a Yorkie puppy. This is normal for most dogs, even larger dogs because their metabolism gets slower as they age.
Here’s how much food to feed your adult Yorkie:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|1 – 6 years||0.5 – 0.625||200 – 250||25 – 30%||5%|
Following this chart, along with carefully watching your Yorkie’s protein, carbs, and fats intake, will keep adult dogs free from several health issues. Moreover, this also ensures that they stay in good shape and have the energy to play!
However, there is an exception to this rule. For instance, a smaller Yorkie like a teacup Yorkie puppy may need fewer calories than regular Yorkies.
Fortunately, Yorkies tend to eat only the food they need, so it is normal to see a teacup Yorkie leaving food behind when it’s full already.
Senior Yorkie Feeding Chart (7 years and above)
Senior Yorkies have less energy to go out and play. Their bodies don’t function as efficiently as when they were younger. That said, you need to pay attention to their nutritional needs a bit more.
Additionally, the digestion and circulation of senior Yorkies are slow-moving. Thus, formulated foods are the best option for your Yorkshire Terrier of this age to get the nourishment they need.
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|7 years and above||0.33 – 0.5||132 – 200||30 – 35%||8%|
From the table, you’ll notice a cut in both the quantity and caloric requirement of senior Yorkies. Considering their age and digestive situation, following this recommendation will ensure that your Yorkie is not being overfed or underfed.
Like younger Yorkies, senior Yorkies will also benefit from omega fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, and fibrous foods. Luckily, these nutrients can be obtained from both fresh food and manufactured food made for senior dogs.
One piece of advice that seems to work well with any dog’s diet needs: check in with your vet about this matter. After all, they are the experts in the field!
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Yorkie Feeding Frequency: How Often Should You Feed Your Yorkshire Terrier?
The feeding frequency of the Yorkshire Terrier depends on its age. For Yorkies under three months old, free-feeding is acceptable. On the other hand, Yorkie puppies aged 3 to 11 months old should be fed three to four times daily. Meanwhile, adult and senior Yorkies should be fed twice daily.
The Yorkie breed, in general, has a small appetite given its small frame. This breed likes to eat frequent, small meals throughout the day, especially for young puppies.
At three months old, a Yorkie puppy should be accustomed to eating three to four scheduled meals per day.
This will ensure that they will retain a constant energy level throughout the day. Also, it will reduce the risk of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels.
The table below summarizes the ideal feeding frequency of the Yorkshire Terrier:
|0 – 3 months||Free-fed|
|4 – 12 months||Three to four times a day|
|1 – 6 years||Three times a day|
|7 years and above||Twice a day|
This schedule should continue until your vet recommends otherwise. In some instances, it may be recommended for senior dogs to eat only once a day.
This helps them digest food better, given their slower metabolism and potential health problems.
READ NEXT: Parti Yorkie: What Does “Parti” Mean in Yorkshire Terriers?
Optimal Feeding Times for Yorkshire Terriers
Apart from the amount and frequency, another aspect to look into when feeding Yorkshire Terrier dogs is when to feed them. Sticking to a consistent feeding schedule will help your Yorkie develop good eating habits.
Yorkshire Terrier pups who are being free-fed don’t have a specific schedule to follow. They can indulge in the available kibble accessible to them whenever they like.
Here’s a summary of the optimal feeding times for the Yorkshire Terrier:
|Age||Optimal Feeding Times|
|0 – 3 months||Free-feeding|
|4 – 12 months||7:00 am, 1:00 pm, 7:00 pm|
7:00 am, 11:00 am, 3:00 pm 7:00 pm
|1 year to 6 years||7:00 am, 1:00 pm, 7:00 pm|
|7 years and above||7:00 am and 7:00 pm|
As stated earlier, Yorkies that are three months or older should be trained to eat three to four times a day.
The most appropriate time is morning, before noon, afternoon, and early evening. However, this can be changed according to your personal schedule.
The same optimal feeding schedule is applicable to an adult Yorkie. On the other hand, a senior Yorkie that is recommended to have two meals per day should have them in the morning and evening.
Like with other dog breeds, it helps to give Yorkies a baseline on what to expect in their daily lives. Thus, it’s crucial for your Yorkshire Terrier to have a consistent feeding schedule.
If you’re having trouble getting your Yorkie to eat on time, coordinate with the breeder or rescue where you got your dog. It is possible that your Yorkie is already accustomed to its old feeding schedule.
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Best Dog Foods for Yorkshire Terriers
Toy breeds like Yorkies are known for being picky eaters. Feeding these dogs can be challenging because you have to give them a nutritious meal while ensuring they like it.
So what are the best foods to add to a Yorkie’s diet?
In general, your dog’s food must be high in protein and fat to help them sustain their energy. So anything that is derived from meat and healthy ingredients is good for Yorkies, especially for a Yorkie puppy.
The list below provides the best food options for a healthy Yorkie diet:
- Wet Food: Wet dog food or canned food has high moisture content since it consists of 75% of water. It’s good for hydration as well as the improvement of palatability. However, a tiny toy breed like the Yorkie is prone to dental problems, so wet canned food may not be a practical option since it does not promote healthy gums and teeth. While your Yorkies can still eat wet food, it is advisable to serve it occasionally.
- Dry Food: Dry kibble or dry foods are common food choices for Yorkies. When purchasing dry dog food, make sure to choose one that’s high in protein. Usually, high-protein foods are the ones with flavors, such as chicken meals, fish, lamb, and more. However, keep in mind that your Yorkies’ nutritional needs still depend on many factors, so reading the dog food label is important.
- Homemade Raw Food Diet: Feeding Yorkies homemade food is totally fine! Just make sure you provide the six essential nutrients recommended by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO): protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water. Sometimes, preparing homemade dog food can be better as you have more control over what your dog eats than giving them commercial ones. However, overlooking some key nutrients is a possibility, so consulting with a vet is a must.
- BARF Diet: Biologically-Approved Raw Food Diet or BARF Diet is an alternative type of homemade raw diet, where raw meat and small bones are mixed with fruits and vegetables. This is a healthier option that can reduce the consumption of unhealthy processed foods. The benefits of a BARF diet include improvement of skin and coat health, enhanced dental health, less foul odor, and healthier and happier dogs.
At this point, it is worth emphasizing the importance of professional advice. No two Yorkies have the same diet requirements, so one’s diet plan may not work for the other.
One Yorkie might do well with dry food, while another may become healthier with wet grain-free food. Seek vet advice to know exactly the best food for your Yorkie.
On another note, if you want an insight on Yorkie feeding from a fellow Yorkie owner, watch this video:
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Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Yorkshire Terrier
Just like other dogs, the Yorkshire Terrier is prone to stomach issues. Knowing what food to avoid is as important as knowing the best food options. This will help them keep a nutritious diet while minimizing health risks.
Different foods can have different effects on your Yorkies. While some can only trigger minor allergic reactions, others can lead to severe and potentially fatal diseases.
For starters, be on the lookout for foods that are too high in chemical preservatives. These kinds of food can cause rapid weight gain, unhealthy coats, or a sudden drop in blood sugar.
In terms of toxic foods, grapes and raisins are among the first on the list. These seemingly harmless snacks are known to contain a substance that is poisonous to Yorkies.
Additionally, chocolates are also harmful to your Yorkshire Terrier. Sadly, these tasty treats are only for owners and not for pet dogs. Chocolate contains a xanthine compound called theobromine, which is very toxic to canines.
Onions, garlic, and chives are also foods you should avoid feeding your Yorkie. These three have a thiosulphate compound that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain.
Moreover, dairy products may also be bad for your Yorkies. When your dogs outgrow breastfeeding, the production of the enzyme lactase in their body decreases. Most of the time, this leaves them to become lactose intolerant.
Nuts, especially walnuts and macadamia, are also dangerous to your dogs. They contain high amounts of phosphorus, which may trigger health conditions like seizures, muscle weakness, and tremors.
Alcohol or any food containing alcohol is very harmful to Yorkies. It is an owner’s responsibility to ensure that this is not easily accessible to their dogs.
Add eggs to your list of foods to avoid. While eggs can be consumed by dogs and bring health benefits, they can be harmful to Yorkies. Eating cooked eggs is fine, but raw eggs can cause food poisoning, so avoid this at all costs.
Aside from toxic food, there are also other kinds of food that may pose a threat to your Yorkie. Obviously, this delicate breed does not have strong teeth and jaws.
That said, avoid giving the Yorkshire Terrier hard chicken bones. It can damage your dog’s teeth and jaws and cause digestive problems as bones will not be properly broken down in the mouth.
In general, it is best to avoid solid foods that are too big for them to chew. This also applies to the kibble you give them. The proper kibble size for a Yorkie is 0.27 to 0.32 inches.
Other foods which can be harmful to your Yorkies are fruit pits, cooked bones, caffeine, moldy or spoiled food, fake sweeteners, and spicy food.
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How to Transition Your Yorkie to a New Food
It is common for dogs to try out new diets as they grow up. Introducing them to new food brands or new food to change their diet is essential.
Transitioning your dog’s diet should be done meticulously while considering different factors such as their existing health conditions, age, and needs.
Typically, the ideal time for transitioning is around ten days. You cannot just immediately feed them food they are unfamiliar with, as this can cause discomfort, loss of appetite, and blood sugar instability.
Here’s a food transition guide you can implement for your Yorkie:
|Day||Old Food||New Food|
|Day 1 – 2||90%||10%|
|Day 3 – 4||75%||25%|
|Day 5 – 6||50%||50%|
|Day 7 – 8||25%||75%|
You should observe how your pets react to the new food they consume during the transitioning period.
If they seem healthy and happy with their new diet, you can continue serving it. However, if they exhibit signs, such as loss of appetite, vomiting, upset stomach, or diarrhea, try slowing down the process even more.
You may refer to AKC’s guide to switching dog food for more information about transitioning your dog to a new diet.
Feeding an Overweight Yorkshire Terrier
Like any other dog, Yorkshire Terrier dogs may overeat, especially when not fed in the proper way. Overeating can also be caused by Yorkie owners giving out too many treats or table scraps.
Regardless of the reason, overeating can cause your dogs to go over their ideal body weight. This is why it’s important to pay attention to how much to feed your Yorkie. But how can we tell if a dog is overweight or obese?
A Yorkie weighing more than seven pounds is considered overweight. Some telltale signs often include losing their tummy tuck and waistline. Checking your Yorkie’s ribs is a good baseline to determine if it is overweight or not.
According to the American Kennel Club, if you press on your dog’s ribs with your hand and can hardly feel the bones, then your dog is likely overweight.
Other signs of obesity in Yorkies are fat rolls on their body, especially on the face and base of the tail.
However, these are only general observations and may not always be accurate. It’s always best to visit a veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis.
In terms of feeding an overweight Yorkie, keep in mind that it still requires a well-balanced and high-quality diet, albeit in limited portions.
It is recommended to start cutting down their diet gradually while introducing more exercise. Monitoring calorie intake and transitioning to low-calorie Yorkie food is also very effective.
Now, if your Yorkie is not the biggest fan of low-calorie food, you can try mixing small amounts into their usual diet and gradually add more to every meal.
Adding more vegetables and fruits to their small meals is also helpful. Since veggies are not high in calories, this creates the illusion that they are still eating a lot.
In addition, these are rich in fiber and vitamins, which help with digestion. Apples, green beans, beets, sweet peas, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and carrots are all good for overweight Yorkies.
Rewarding dogs with treats is a wonderful thing, but if your Yorkie is obese, you should refrain from giving too many treats. If possible, give them healthy homemade treats instead.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is My Yorkshire Terrier Not Eating?
There may be an array of reasons why your Yorkie won’t eat. It may stem from minor issues, like dental problems or an upset stomach, to more serious health conditions, such as pancreatitis, gastroenteritis, and others.
Likewise, your Yorkie may also just be being picky. This can happen when they are in heat or they don’t like their food. It is also common for smaller Yorkies, such as the teacup Yorkies, to skip meals if it still feels full.
In any case, the loss of appetite of tiny dogs is a serious problem. Start fixing the problem by finding the cause of this loss of appetite if you can. Then, consult a vet immediately to get your Yorkie treated.
Do Yorkshire Terriers Eat a Lot?
Yorkshire Terriers are unpredictable pups. Some of them may chomp on food without restraint, while some may be picky.
Regardless of whether or not your Yorkie eats a lot, it’s important to never feed them more food than they can digest. Small dogs like them don’t need to eat much and should only have small servings of food per meal.
Can Yorkshire Terriers Eat Bones?
A tiny pooch, like the Yorkshire Terrier, has a set of teeth and jaws that cannot break down bones. We don’t recommend that you feed Yorkies bones or any hard food as these can lead to dental problems or choking.
Can Yorkshire Terriers Be Vegetarians?
Yes, Yorkshire Terriers can thrive with a vegetarian diet. Just make sure you serve them meals that contain the right nutrients, like protein, carbohydrates, etc.
The key is to give them balanced, well-proportioned, and nutrition-packed vegetarian meals.
Feeding a Yorkshire Terrier can be a bit tough, considering its sensitive stomach, diet needs, and picky nature. However, we can agree that there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your dog happy and healthy.
The key to a good Yorkie diet is knowing the size and frequency of its meals, the type of food that works for it, and the pace of diet transitioning. If you are ever uncertain about your dog’s food, consulting a vet won’t hurt!
Hopefully, you took some notes from this Yorkie feeding guide. If this has helped you in any way, feel free to let us know in the comments below.
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.