Best Dog Food for a Yorkie
You want to make sure you're giving your yorkie the best food, but there are so many different options and it's hard to know what to look for.
There's a ton of junk out there that is dangerous to your dog. With their unique dietary needs, it's important that you choose a dog food that will give them the nutrients they need to stay healthy and happy.
This guide will show you the 9 best dog food for yorkies as well as what to look for when choosing a dog food for your yorkshire terrier.
First a quick note: this website is reader-supported. I spend a lot of time personally evaluating, testing and reviewing each product on this list, along with the help of my two expert dog testers: Atlas and Nitotem.. When you buy through links on our site, I may earn an affiliate commission. This also keeps the pups happy.
8 Best Dog Foods for Yorkies
Best Meal Topper
Best For Allergies
Best For Puppies
Best For Seniors
Best Wet Food
1. Best Overall: Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Turkey
This grade-A dog food gets its protein from prime sources like deboned turkey, chicken meal and salmon meal, ensuring copious energy and sturdy muscles.
But the best part of Wellness Breed is he high amounts of joint building compounds like glucosamine (250 mg/kg), chondroitin sulfate (200 mg/kg) and omega 3 fatty acids (2%).
If you have a yorkie struggling with stiff joints, this is your best shot at fixing it.
Key Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Salmon Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Brown Rice
I like the balanced protein at 28% with 16% fat. There's also antioxidants from blueberries and spinach to boost their immune system.
The kibble is small enough for tiny little mouths but more importantly my dog Atlas loves the taste. He wolfs theses down as if they were the finest steak.
2. Best Meal Topper: Bluebird Provisions Beef Bone Broth
After introducing bone broth into my two dog's diet, I can confidently say that it increased their appetite. Among my dogs, Atlas is known for being extremely selective when it comes to food. He often gazes at his meal and then looks disappointedly at me.
But everything changed once I began incorporating beef bone broth as a topping for his meals. Its robust flavor causes him to devour his food without hesitation.
The best part is that you only need a small amount of approximately 1 tsp per meal. The 7 oz pouch provides a substantial quantity and offers excellent value.
I appreciate the fact that this broth is exclusively made from grass-fed beef bones - not only does it taste delicious but also serves as an exceptional source of protein for muscle growth and collagen for joint health.
Containing 94% protein without any undesirable filler ingredients, this brand maintains their dedication towards quality by sourcing from non-GMO farms while ensuring they are free from antibiotics and hormones.
Within just a few weeks, I noticed significant improvements in Atlas's digestion and joint well-being. He no longer experiences morning stiffness and exhibits more enthusiasm towards life itself.
Buy from Bluebird Provisions or...
3. Best For Allergies: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Small Breed
One of your best choices for a yorkie with food allergies is the Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Small Breed. There's a limited ingredient list that is free from common allergens like corn, soy, chicken, yeast or animal by-products.
Key Ingredients: Lamb, Brown Rice, Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran
I'm a huge fan of lamb in dog food because it works if your dog is sensitive to poultry. With a single animal protein source, you can trust that your pup is getting all the amino acids they need for a long and healthy life.
There's also added omega 3 fats from fish oil, which are great for promoting a lustrous coat and healthy skin.
I found the smaller kibble size to be great. And the gut friendly ingredients seem to work well for digestion in my experience with Atlas.
Natural Balance is a good balance between good stuff and a good price. And you can trust the sourcing because it is proudly made in the USA.
4. Best for Puppies: Hill's Science Diet Puppy Small Paws
Puppy Small Paws from Hill's is without doubt he most popular dog food for small bread puppies. It features extra small kibble (7 mm x 4mm or about 1/3rd the size of a dice) that is perfect for small, developing mouths and teeth.
It's nutritionally rich with 24% protein and 15% fat, ensuring active puppy growth. There's also added DHA (crucial for brain development and eye health), Vitamin E and C for and antioxidants, skin and coat health.
Key Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Pork Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn
I like the antioxidant blend and the high quality protein from chicken and pork. This is all your puppy needs. I also appreciate that puppies will not struggle to chew this kibble.
Hill's proudly makes their food in the USA. And it is surprisingly cost effective for being such a high quality product. Try some today!
5. Best for Seniors: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Dog Food
Choosing the best for your senior Yorkie? Look no further than the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Dog Food! Here's why:
- It is made in the USA and uniquely formulated for aging small breeds like your yorkie.
- With high-quality protein from chicken (23%) it helps to retain your dog's muscle strength.
- Crucial antioxidants from the unique "LifeSource Bits" help keep you dog's immune system in check through their elder years.
Key Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal
I also like the added probiotics, because of the gut health issues that many senior dogs have. You might notice better digestion and that your yorkie is more energetic and alert after using this.
There's a helpful dose of glucosamine (400 mg/kg) and chondroitin (300 mg/kg) to keep their joints nice and supple as they age, along with L carnitine for energy and DHA (0.1%) for reducing inflammation.
6. Best Wet Food: Instinct Original Small Breed Canned Dog Food
You're doing your Yorkie a huge favor by choosing the Instinct Original wet canned food. This top-tier wet food ticks all the right boxes. Here are five things that I like about Instinct:
- High Protein: 8.5% protein from cage-free chicken ensures strong, lean muscles.
- Whole Food Ingredients: Features cod, eggs and flaxseeds for balanced nutrition.
- No Harmful Additives: Keeps your dog safe by excluding corn, soy and artificial colors.
- Taste and Texture: The loaf-like texture is adored by small dogs. My dog Atlas went crazy for it!
- Versatile: It can be served alone or as a food topping.
Key Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, cod, peas, eggs
This is ideal for yorkies of all ages, especially those with a taste for chicken and a love for smooth textures.
7. Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Dry Dog Food
Taste of Wild Wild Appalachian Valley is a fantastic small breed dog food option for your yorkie. It is moderately priced but that is because it uses the highest quality animal protein from venison and lamb.
There's a whopping 32% crude protein with 18% fat and 0.3% omega 3 fats. The perfect blend of protein and fats is all your yorkie needs to thrive.
This grain free option is full of beans and peas. But what I really love are the 80 million cfu / lb of probiotics. This helps your dog digest food properly and improves their gut health.
Key Ingredients: Venison, lamb meal, garbanzo beans, peas, lentils, pea protein
In my experience, the kibble size is just right for a yorkie. It is smaller than most brands, but perfect for their little mouths.
My dog Atlas seems to love the taste as well as there is never anything left if his bowl.
Lastly, Taste of Wild is full to antioxidants like raspberries and blueberries to support your dogs overall immune system. Try some today!
8. Royal Canin Yorkshire Terrier Adult Dry
Royal Canin Yorkshire Terrier is the gold standard when it comes to feeding yorkies. The kibbles are specifically designed for the contours of yorkie mouths and teeth.
They are small and easily chewed in my experience. This formula is packed with nutrients for coat health like omega 3s fats, omega 6 fats and biotin.
After just 2 months of use, I noticed that my dog Atlas has a shiner coat and less skin irritations.
Now, when it comes to nutrition and ingredients, Royal Canin does a great job. There's 26% muscle building protein to go with 16% fat.
Key Ingredients: Brewers rice, brown rice, chicken by-product meal, chicken fat
The balance of ingredients certainly gets dogs eating. I noticed my dog's fussy appetite was gone when we tried him on this. It might have to do with the kibble size as well.
Either way, you'll have a happy yorkie with Royal Canin.
9. Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
The Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed has the perfect blend of ingredients to keep your yorkie performing at a high level throughout their life.
The recipe is full of beneficial antioxidants to boost your pup's immune system. There is also high quality protein from chicken (24% crude protein) and carbs from rice.
I like that there are added omega 3 (0.2%) and omega 6 (2%) fats from fish oil for joint health and to get that shiny coat you've always dreamed of.
Key Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Barley, Split Peas, Brewers Rice
Because the food is low bulk and formulated specifically for small breeds, you get more bang for your buck, so the price isn't off setting.
Overall, the reviews are fantastic at 4.7 stars.
Understanding the Nutritional Needs of Yorkies
Yorkies have unique nutritional needs because of their build and size. As such, you need to pay special attention to their protein intake, specific vitamins and minerals, digestive support and specific supplements.
I'll break down each of these for you below.
1. Protein Intake
If your yorkie is not getting enough protein can lead to muscle loss and a lackluster coat. Imagine them not having those striking colors or the energy to play all day. What a bummer that would be!
Protein helps their body build lean muscles, keeps their coat vibrant, and fuels their high-energy life. Look for a dry food with at least 20% protein (all of the ones on the list fit this bill).
You also want something with animal based protein in the first two ingredients.
2. Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins like B vitamins and Vitamin E give anti-inflammatory benefits and heart health. You also want to prioritize omega 3 fats like DHA and EPA for brain health, vision and reducing inflammation.
Minerals like Magnesium strengthen heart health too and even more.
3. Gut Friendly Ingredients or Digestive enzymes
Yorkies often struggle with digestive problems, leading to poor nutrient absorption and health issues. The gut is the cornerstone of all health, after all.
Without proper digestion, your pup will not properly absorb nutrients from food, leading to deficiencies and possible diseases.
Feeding them diets rich in gut friendly ingredients like dog bone broth or digestive enzymes is an efficient solution. Digestive enzymes, like protease, amylase, and lipase, break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats,
These are added to some dog food brands as they can help with nutrient absorption. You can always add bone broth as a meal topper to help with digestion and gut health.
4. Supplements and additives
Incorporating supplements and the right additives is a crucial step in ensuring they are getting all of the right nutrients they need for a long and healthy life.
Here are the top four supplements and additives beneficial to your Yorkie's health:
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Improve brain function, eye health and skin health. They can also reduce systemic inflammation and can help with lubricate joints as well.
- Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate: Two of the most potent anti inflammatories for joint health. These work great as preventative measures or if your yorkshire terrier is already having issues. Look for dog food that has this added to it or you can buy a supplement to give them yourself.
- Prebiotics & Probiotics: Support a healthy digestion and gut health. These are added to some dog foods, but you can also buy in supplement form.
- Vitamin-rich organ meats: Provide extra minerals and vitamins for overall health. These include liver, kidney and heart. You can learn more about beef liver supplements in my article.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Dog Food for Yorkies
The main things to keep in mind when choosing food for yorkies are nutrition guidelines, macronutrients, fiber, antioxidants, omega 3 fats, allergens, size of kibble, tenderness and variety of ingredients.
1. Nutrition Guidelines and Macronutrient Ratios (Protein)
The nutrition guidelines are pretty straightforward because they are outlined by the AAFCO.
Here are the top 5 nutritional factors to consider:
- Protein: Yorkies need about 1 gram per pound of their body weight daily. It supports growth and maintains lean muscle mass. From a practical perspective, look for at lest 20% protein, but 24+% is better.
- Fat: It provides calories and supports absorption of vitamins. Look for at least 12% fat, but 16% is even better.
- Carbs: Although not essential, healthy sources can provide vital nutrients.
- Balanced Micronutrient Content: Pick foods enriched with fruits, vegetables, and essential micronutrients like omega fatty acids for overall health support.
You want something with animal protein, higher fat and less carbs.
2. Fiber Content
Fiber plays a crucial role in your yorkie's diet, aiding digestion and keeping them regular. Here are top five reasons why fiber content should be considered in their food:
- Regular Bowel Movements: highe fiber gives regular stools, preventing constipation.
- Weight Management: Fiber-rich foods help with weight control, as they keep your yorkie fuller for longer.
- Digestive Health: Fiber aids the digestive process, ensuring your Yorkie absorbs essential nutrients effectively.
- Blood Sugar Control: It helps in managing blood sugar levels, vital for preventing diabetes.
- Improved Immunity: Some fibers act as prebiotics, boosting your Yorkie's immunity by supporting healthy gut bacteria.
3. Antioxidants Content
Everyone knows antioxidants are good, but no one can tell you what they are. Think of them a protective molecules, that help fortify cell health and reduce heart disease risk, a common Yorkie health issue.
A lack of antioxidants in your yorkie's food could mean higher susceptibility to heart diseases. Always look for antioxidant-rich ingredients like fruits and vegetables. A little goes a long way.
4. Omega 3 Fats
Omega 3 fats are among the most potent anti inflammatory foods on the planet. They do so many things it sounds like hyperbole.
In my experience, they are fantastic for coat health including skin, hair and nails. They also provide immune boosting benefits, brain health and eye development.
Look for a food that has added omega 3s from fish oil on the ingredient list. Fish oil is crucial because it has the EPA and DHA we are looking for.
Plant sources (flax, chia, walnuts, etc) do not have the same levels of EPA and DHA and thus do not have the same health benefits.
More is better with omega 3s. I look for at least 1.5% in what I feed my dogs. But if you have a food with less than that, you can always buy a supplement and feed it to your pup.
5. Allergen Content
It is difficult to talk about allergies in a general sense because all dogs are different. One of my dogs is allergic to just about everything, while the other tolerates most foods just fine.
From a practical perspective, common allergens for dogs are corn, soy, artificial ingredients, yeast extract and animal by-products.
It is popular to recommend grain free diets to dogs. If your dog is truly sensitive to grains then you'd be best to avoid them. The issue is that many people are putting their dogs on grain free diets thinking it is superior to grains.
Researchers are finding that grain free diets are more likely to cause heart issues in dogs (1). The thought is not necessarily the absence of grains but actually all of the beans and legumes that are used in place of grains (peas, lentils, all type of beans).
If your pup is sensitive to grains, look for a food that uses potatoes in place of grains and not beans.
If you suspect allergies, you can try different food, do an elimination diet, try an at-home pet food allergen test or speak to your vet.
We did an at home test and it was super easy and helpful!
6. Tenderness of Food
Selecting dog food that promises tenderness can be a game-changer for your yorkie. This helps your dog chew and digest food so it will not irritate their gums or tummy.
7. Size of the Kibble
Choosing the right kibble size for your yorkie is absolutely critical. Tiny yorkies have dainty mouths and may struggle with munching on large, unwieldy kibbles. Here's why the kibble size matters:
- Ease of Eating: Small-sized kibbles are easier for them to chew and swallow.
- Dental Health: Regular chewing on kibbles can help keep their tiny teeth clean.
- Digestion: Properly chewed food aids in smooth digestion.
- Enjoyment: Your furball might find small, easy-to-crunch kibbles more enjoyable.
- Nutrient Absorption: A flavorful small kibble may mean more nutrients per bite!
How to Transition Your Yorkie to a New Dog Food
Thinking of changing your yorkshire terrier's dog food? Great decision, but be careful! An abrupt change can upset your Yorkie's sensitive stomach. But don't worry, transition is possible with a step-by-step method:
Always remember to closely monitor your dog during this transition. If any adverse reactions are noticed, stop the new diet and consult with your veterinarian.
What is the best food for yorkies?
The best overall food for yorkies is the Wellness Small Breed Complete Health product line. Or if you are looking for a wet food option, try the Instinct Original Small Breed Canned Dog Food.
What nutrients are essential for yorkie puppies?
The most important nutrients for yorkie puppies are animal protein, B vitamins, omega 3 fats (from fish oil) and high quality omega 6 fats.
Are there any food allergies yorkies may have?
Here are the most common foods that can trigger allergic reactions in yorkies:
- Chocolate, raisins or grapes, avocado, garlic, and onion: These are toxic to most dogs, including your yorkie and should be completely avoided.
- Macadamia and walnuts: These nuts contain high-fat content which is challenging for a yorkie's digestion.
- Milk, certain proteins, chicken and cooked eggs: These might cause allergies especially in yorkies with sensitive tummies.
- Xylitol: An artificial sweetener found in many foods, extremely toxic to dogs.
What ingredients should I avoid when feeding my Yorkie?
When feeding your yorkie, you want to avoid common allergens like artificial preservatives, corn, soy, meat by-products, artificial flavors and colors and fillers. These can cause a ton of health issues from digestive problems and allergies to and nutritional deficiencies.
How much food should I feed my yorkie?
Feeding your yorkie the right amount of food is important for their development and longevity. Make sure to start by following the suggested portion on the package. From here you want to pay close attention to your dog.
Are they gaining or losing weight? You can have your vet help you monitor this as they will keep tack of your dog's weight during checkups. If you notice your dog gained some weight then you can reduce the serving size by 5% or so to start.
Generally, puppies require about 55 calories per pound of body weight, while adults need 40 calories. Just weigh your Yorkie and follow the feeding guide on your dog food package. For instance, for a Yorkie weighing 3 pounds, you'll want to provide around 120-165 calories per day, divided into 3 meals. Remember to factor in any treats too!
How do I know which type of kibble is right for my yorkie?
Sourcing ideal kibble for your yorkie can be tricky. You want to look for one that uses real animal protein sources as the first ingredient. From here you can look for the following:
- 20-30% protein
- 18-22% crude fat/an animal-based fat (ex: chicken fat) to provide your yorkie the required energy.
- Avoid kibble with artificial additives. This helps eliminate potential allergens.
- Added omega 3 fats from fish oil (at least 1.5%).
What are the pros and cons of feeding a yorkie dry vs. wet food?
-Better for dental health. Removes tartar
-Easy and long-lasting storage
-Doesn't taste as good
-Better for picky eaters
-Can be messy
Are there any supplements I should consider adding to my yorkie's diet?
Supplements might be necessary for your yorkie to supplement their diet and help guard against common health issues. Here are a few supplements to consider:
- Bone Broth: A potent anti-inflammatory which supports digestion, gut health, shiny coats and joint health. Try the one from Bluebird Provisions.
- Chondroitin: Supports joint health. My favorite is the Nutramax Glucosamine and Chondroitin all in one.
- Glucosamine: Promotes joint health.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Anti inflammatories for joint health, brain development, coat health and eye health. Can be found in salmon or anchovies and sardines (among other things). I like the Pet Honesty Wild Caught Omega 3s.
What type of treats are safe for yorkies to eat?
The type of treats safe for yorkies to eat are those rich in nutrients and easy on their sensitive tummies. Look for dehydrated options with minimally processed ingredients for best results.
I like using dehydrated salmon dog treats, but some dogs do well with chicken bites, fruit snacks or milk bones.
I hope you found my guide useful for your yorkie. My number one choice for most people is to try the Wellness Small Breed Complete Health line of kibble. And if you need a high protein meal topper for a picky eater, try Bluebird Provisions bone broth.
Remember to take into account your pup's individual needs when making a decision and be sure to consult with your veterinarian. If you have any questions about the brands on the list or other brands, leave a comment and I'll get back to you.
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Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used to treat or supplement any pet's diet. Consult your veterinarian or animal health specialist if you have questions about anything related to their food, consumption or health. The statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, USDA or CFIA.