It may be small, but its personality is without question, big. That’s what the Yorkshire Terrier or simply Yorkie is to many people. It has a temperament that is best described as insatiably curious that is well suited to its highly energetic personality. Bring it to a new place and its ears will be sticking out like a sonar array, its eyes rolling like a radar dish, and the rest of its sense super heightened. However nosy the Yorkie may be, it does have a rather impish sense of humor. They are alert, fast, and highly intelligent. They love nothing else than hearing the applause of their owners and the other people they associate with. Unfortunately, Yorkies do come with a predisposition for certain canine conditions such as dental issues, hypoglycemia, collapsing tracheas, hypothyroidism, and even subluxation of the patella. It is for this reason that they require the kind of dog nutrition that is appropriate for their breed. Don’t worry. If you’ve just got a Yorkie and are wondering what food to give, here are 5 of the best dog food you can provide for your Yorkshire terrier.
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Dog Food for Yorkies Buying Guide
Being the parent of a young Yorkshire terrier requires dedication for its optimum care. And since nutrition is an important aspect of pet care, you should be able to provide them with the kind of doggie nutrition that is appropriate and specific to their breed. This often means looking into the following considerations.
Younger Yorkies will often require greater amounts of proteins and fats compared to adults. Elderly Yorkies will also require higher protein levels unless they have kidney problems.
- Energy levels
Everyone knows that Yorkies are a very energetic bunch. However, not all dogs are exactly alike. Some pooches will be more active than others even though they belong to the same breed. As such, it is critical to talk with your vet to determine your pet’s activity levels and establish a baseline amount of calories that you need to give.
- Health status
Know that Yorkies are more prone to the development of certain health conditions such as hypoglycemia, sensitive tummies, patellar subluxation, and even tracheal collapse. Each of these conditions will require an entirely different kind of approach to its nutrition. Also, lactating and pregnant pooches as well as those that are currently sick will typically require a modification in their diet.
What is the Ideal Nutrition for Yorkies?
Most folks have this notion that since Yorkshire terriers are small they don’t need much food. While the amount of food that they can consume is significantly lesser than the amount you give to a Labrador or even a Pit Bull terrier, it still requires a good amount of proteins, fats, and healthy carbs. Let us try to have a basic understanding into the ideal nutrition of Yorkies.
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- They need smaller-sized food bits
In case you haven’t noticed Yorkshire terriers have small mouths and even smaller teeth. This means they need dog food that comes in smaller bits as well as softer consistency. Most pet owners would recommend moist canned food although its lower nutrient profile can be a real issue. As such, these are often mixed with dry kibbles that have smaller-sized kibbles. Otherwise, if you choose a standard-sized kibble, you’d have to soften these up with water or perhaps break them down into smaller bits.
- They need more calories, proteins, and fats
Small as they are, Yorkies are full of energy. They can run about the whole day and won’t even seem to tire. As such it is important to give them high calorie doggie chow as this helps provide them with the energy to go about their business. On the average, Yorkies require about 150 kilocalories per day. However, if you’ve got a really hyperactive pooch, then it is technically safe to bump their feeding a bit to about 200 kilocalories per day. Now, in case you’re not sure how much to give, you can ask your veterinarian about the ideal amount. We don’t necessarily recommend strictly adhering to the feeding-per-weight recommendation of food manufacturers as these don’t take into account your pooch’s activity levels.
Additionally, a high protein and fat diet is a must for a Yorkie. Running and playing require as much protein as they do calories. The reason is quite simple. Proteins build tissues especially the muscles. And with a very active lifestyle, your pooch really needs to develop those muscles. Moreover, it is inevitable that some of the proteins and fats will be used up as energy molecules especially if you don’t give enough carbs for your Yorkie to use as energy. As we shall see later on, Yorkies have the uncanny disadvantage of being more prone to hypoglycemia or reduced blood sugar in the blood. This leads to weakness.
- They require easily digestible food
Just as Yorkies have very small mouths, they also have very tiny tummies and guts. It is for this reason that they will require dog food that is easily digestible. While this can be managed by making sure they receive small frequent feedings rather than one hefty lump sum of a meal, it is equally important to look for high quality ingredients and free from any allergenic material.
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What Ingredients Should I Be Looking for in a Yorkie Food?
Based on what we have been discussing above, it is easy to understand what ingredients we need to look for in the best Yorkie dog food. Do take note that the actual proportion of nutrients can actually vary from one dog to another, often dependent on the age, the activity level, and the presence of any existing health condition that may require an adjustment of its nutrient intake. Nevertheless, the following are some of the key ingredients you need to look for in the best dog food for Yorkies.
- High quality proteins
We already mentioned that Yorkshire terriers require higher proteins for two fundamental reasons: for continuous building and maintenance of tissues especially the muscles and for augmenting losses due to energy utilization.
However, it is critical to look for high quality proteins often indicated by a specified animal source. If the label only reads “real meat” as compared to, say “real lamb”, then you should get the latter as you can be sure the protein came from lamb. It is also perfectly alright to look for byproducts as these often contain bones, blood, and internal organ meats that are rich in various nutrients. The only downside is that you have to take a look at the manufacturing process as byproducts are often trickier to process correctly.
As for the protein content, go for dog food that contains, on the minimum, anywhere between 28% and 34%.
- Healthy fats
If you’re especially averse to high fat diet, don’t project your aversion to your pet as they need fats, especially the healthier versions of it, for a variety of purposes. Since one of the distinguishing physical characteristics of a Yorkie is a super-smooth, downy coat, it is important to give it healthy fats especially omega-3 fatty acids. These fats also help enhance the development of the canine brain and eyes, allowing your Yorkie to play out its curiosity. On the average, your Yorkie should receive about 12 to 18 percent of fat in its diet, at the very minimum.
- Healthy carbs
Remember what we said about Yorkies being a hyperactive bunch? Since proteins are necessary for muscle and organ development and fats for nervous system and integumentary health, these two macronutrients should be spared as much as possible from being converted into usable energy. As such, carbohydrates will have to be supplied. However, only high quality carbs should be provided such as fruits, veggies, and wholesome whole grains. While some manufacturers actually include cereal grains for their added amino acids, if your pooch has allergies, these may not be good options. Sweet potatoes, peas, and carrots are often included in such food items as these provide exceptional antioxidants and other healthy nutrients.
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What Health Issues Should I Be Wary with My Yorkshire Terrier?
Since we’re talking about nutrition for your Yorkshire terrier, let us take a briefer into some of the more common health conditions that affect this breed of dog and how nutrition can play a role in their prevention and management.
This condition is characterized by the unusually low levels of sugar in the blood, leading to decreased energy levels and lethargy. One way to manage this is by providing your Yorkie with smaller yet more frequent feedings so that it doesn’t suffer abnormal crashes in its blood glucose levels.
- Floating kneecap
Also known as patellar subluxation or luxating patella, this is a knee condition that is very common in small breeds like Yorkshire terriers. In many cases it has a genetic origin, although it is not unusual that trauma can play a role in its development. Oftentimes, surgery is required to help correct the problem. In such cases, proteins are needed for tissue repair.
- Tracheal collapse
This condition of the trachea is characterized by the weakening or even the incomplete formation of the cartilage that make up the rings of the trachea. This is where a dog food that contains chondroitin, MSM, and glucosamine can help as these can help improve the health and functioning of cartilage cells.
- Sensitive tummies
Small as they are, Yorkies have quite sensitive tummies, too. This is where doggie chow that contains probiotics can help. Additionally, refraining from giving them difficult to digest as well as allergenic food can help prevent waking up a hyperactive tummy.
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Yorkies are an adorable bunch. They are very curious and are full of energy that you’d have to be fit yourself to be able to keep up. As such, they need only dog food that is rich in high quality proteins and fats that are commensurate to their age, their activity levels, and their current or existing health conditions. You will also have to look for food that provides enough calories to fuel your little pooch’s daily activities. This is crucial in helping them prevent and manage some of the common health conditions they face. Yorkies depend on us to provide them with only the best and our list of the 5 best dog food for Yorkies can get you started.