Some people feed their Yorkies whatever they have lying around.
Or worse, whatever their dogs want.
Don’t do this.
There are a lot of foods that seem healthy, but that are bad for dogs. This includes foods dogs love to eat.
The list of foods Yorkies can eat is long. But so is the list of foods they should not eat.
In fact, that one is longer.
Keep reading to learn what foods Yorkshire terriers can eat. We’ll also cover how to feed those foods and how much of them to feed.
Foods Yorkies Can Eat
We will begin our list of foods Yorkies can eat with the most obvious and the most important. In fact, the first food on the list is the only food your Yorkshire terrier needs.
Commercial Dog Food
Actual dog food is the best food for your Yorkie. It should make up at least 90% of its diet, but it can be 100%.
You can certainly make your own dog food, but these days, you have so many different options when it comes to commercial dog food for Yorkies.
You can choose from food for Yorkie puppies, adult dogs, senior dogs, lactating or pregnant females, dogs with kidney issues, obese dogs, sterilized dogs, and on and on and on. You can also buy special hypoallergenic dog food for sensitive Yorkies.
Choose from wet (or canned) dog food, dry dog food (or kibble), dehydrated raw food nuggets or pellets, semi-moist food, and freeze-dried food.
In general, dry food is better for your dog’s teeth, because the crunchy texture can help reduce plaque and tartar.
Wet dog food, on the other hand, is better for your dog’s kidneys. Many owners (myself included) give their dogs both. Whichever type you choose, always select dog food that meets or exceeds AAFCO’s guidelines for dogs (check the label of the food).
Look for foods free from preservatives, fillers, byproducts, dyes, and artificial anything. The food should ideally list the first two ingredients as meat. Your vet can guide you in choosing the best commercial dog food for your pet, or you can learn about the best dog foods for Yorkies here.
Meat And Eggs
What can I feed my Yorkie besides dog food? Yorkies love meat and the protein from meat should be the foundation of your Yorkie’s diet. You need to feed 1 gram of meat per pound of your Yorkie’s body weight per day.
Beef and chicken are the easiest, because they are readily available. You can also consider turkey, lamb, goat, and game animals. Lamb can be a great choice for Yorkies with allergies to chicken or beef.
You may want to feed your Yorkie a variety of meats to prevent boredom and also ensure that your dog gets all the amino acids.
For example, you can offer chicken one week, followed by turkey the next week, beef after that, and so on. What about the bones? Can Yorkies eat chicken bones?
No, they should never have chicken bones, only the meat. The bones are too small and brittle. They can cause all sorts of issues.
Eggs are a great choice for a Yorkie’s breakfast and are packed with proteins, too. Table scraps are not a good idea, because there could always be something in there that could make your dog sick.
Do Yorkies have sensitive stomachs? Yes, this breed is prone to stomach issues. Some Yorkies have sensitive digestion and could be allergic to certain meat proteins.
In such cases, you could consider novel proteins (proteins your dog hasn’t eaten before) including exotic meats like emu, kangaroo, rabbit, and even crocodile! Allow at least 4 weeks for the new food to work.
Always choose fresh grass-fed, antibiotic-free, free-range, organic meat and eggs, as far as possible.
Some Yorkie owners feed raw meat to their dogs. Raw feeding (also called BARF or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diet) is considered quite healthy for dogs and could eliminate allergies, skin issues, and bad breath in our canine pals.
Raw food can also make your dog’s coat shinier and healthier. On the downside, raw meat and eggs do have the risk of salmonella poisoning.
Always speak to your vet before changing your Yorkie’s diet, and introduce new foods gradually.
You can feed fresh, canned, or frozen fish to your Yorkie. Wild-caught pink Alaskan Salmon is a great choice, but you could also opt for mackerel, sardines, and shellfish.
Avoid feeding high-mercury fish, such as tuna. You should also refrain from giving dogs breaded fish sticks and fried seafood.
If you feed cooked fish, make sure it does not have any other seasoning. Remove all of the tiny bones in the fish, because they could cause intestinal blockage or injure your Yorkie’s mouth and throat.
It is best not to feed raw fish to Yorkies, because it could contain bacteria or parasites that could make your Yorkie sick.
According to the PDSA, the following vegetables are safe for Yorkies.
- Carrots: raw, boiled, or steamed
- Broccoli: raw and steamed in small quantities.
- Beets: small quantities only as they are high in sugar
- Celery: in any form
- Sweet potatoes and potatoes: cooked, never raw
- Peas: all varieties except canned peas.
- Green beans: cooked
- Spinach: add a small quantity of cooked spinach to your Yorkie’s food. Large amounts could result in calcium oxalate stones.
- Cucumber: raw
- Squash: has tons of health benefits for dogs due to its high vitamin content.
Vegetables you should never feed a Yorkie are onion, leeks, and chives, because they contain organosulfides, which could cause symptoms of toxicity in dogs. Also, do not feed lemons or limes which can be too acidic for your pet.
Keep the vegetable content to less than 25% of your dog’s total caloric content. Remember: too many vegetables could change your dog’s gut flora and that could impact the kidneys.
Certain fruits are safe to feed Yorkies, albeit in small quantities only. Fruits are high in sugar, so you must only feed them in moderation.
As a whole, you should limit treats to 10% of your dog’s total diet. You can consider fruits as good occasional treats, but they should not be the only treat and not make up a full 10% of the diet.
The following fruits are safe for Yorkies.
- Apples: without seeds
- Bananas: high in sugar so only feed small quantities.
- All berries: like blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries; feed strawberries in moderation as they are packed with sugar.
- Mango: without the pit and in small quantities
- Orange: remove the seeds and skin
- Pears and peaches: without the seeds or pits
- Watermelon: without the seeds and the rind.
Fruits you should never feed your Yorkie are grapes (or raisins), avocados, plums, and cherries.
If your Yorkie is not allergic to grains, you could feed some of them to your pet. But only in moderation. Here are grains that are safe for most Yorkies.
Rice, especially brown rice, is easy to digest and packed with healthy carbohydrates, fiber, and B vitamins. Brown rice also contains selenium, magnesium, and vitamin E. Rice can comprise 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake.
Barley is another great grain for Yorkies. Its low Glycemic index also makes it a great choice for diabetic or obese Yorkies. Many dog foods contain barley as a source of carbohydrates.
This ancient grain is packed with fiber and could keep your dog full longer. Many Yorkie owners add barley grass powder as topping over their dogs’ food. Feed your Yorkie barley in moderation.
Oats are an excellent grain for Yorkies. They are low in gluten and high in protein. Oats and oatmeal can help manage cholesterol and control blood sugar.
The AKC recommends feeding dogs one to two tablespoons of cooked oats for every 20 pounds of body weight. Oats are also a great alternative food to feed a picky Yorkie.
Millets like sorghum, finger millet, pearl millet, etc. are also safe to feed Yorkies. They are gluten-free and rich in minerals and trace minerals. You can cook millets as flatbreads and serve them to your Yorkie with chicken/fish/lamb/turkey and vegetables, for a balanced meal.
Foods Yorkies Can Have: Final Thoughts
Yorkies can have a lot of different foods, but the best thing to feed them is dog food. It does not have to be commercial dog food.
It can be homemade, as long as you follow a recipe that has a similar nutritional makeup as commercial food. That means mostly meat of some kind, along with some grains and perhaps some vegetables. These recipes are all good for Yorkies.
If you want to give your Yorkie treats, you can feed it anything else from the list above. The key is to limit treats to 10% of the daily caloric intake or less.
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