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The Yorkshire Terrier is a toy breed and it is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 most popular breeds in the United States by AKC registration statistics. These little dogs may be small but they have big personalities – many Yorkies have been known to stand up against dogs three times their size. The Yorkshire Terrier breed is very active and curious by nature – it loves to explore new things and will be happy with any time spent with family. One thing to be wary of with this breed is that it can be very active and, without adequate mental and physical stimulation, it has a high risk for developing problem behaviors. In order to keep your Yorkshire Terrier healthy you not only need to provide him with enough daily exercise – you also need to make sure he has a healthy diet. Below you will find valuable information about meeting your Yorkshire Terrier’s nutritional needs as well as some special considerations to make. You will also find recommendations for commercial dog foods for this loving breed.
Nutritional Needs for Yorkshire Terriers
The Yorkshire Terrier is one of the smallest dog breeds out there, weighing a maximum of 7 pounds at maturity. This breed was developed as a companion pet and they are known for their long, silky smooth coats that flow gracefully from head to toe. In addition to being very beautiful, the Yorkshire Terrier’s coat is also often referred to as being hypoallergenic. While this is not strictly true – all dogs shed to some degree – the Yorkie does shed at a lower rate than most dogs which makes it a good choice for allergy sufferers. In order to keep your Yorkshire Terrier’s coat in good health, you need to make sure that your dog receives a healthy diet that is balanced in protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Fats are particularly important for making sure your dog’s coat retains its glossy texture.
You may find it surprising to learn that small-breed dogs like the Yorkshire Terrier actually have higher energy needs per pound than a large-breed dog. A 110-pound Great Dane requires a total of about 2,500 calories per day which equates to about 23 calories per pound. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a 5.5-pound Yorkshire Terrier only needs about 250 calories per day but that equates to about 45 calories per pound. Small-breed dogs have very fast metabolisms and they need a lot of calories throughout the day to meet their energy needs. This is why it is very important that you feed your Yorkshire Terrier a commercial diet that is formulated for small- or toy-breed dogs because these formulas are more calorie-dense than formulas designed for larger breeds.
In addition to making sure that your Yorkie’s diet meets his energy requirements you also need to make sure that he gets the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Protein is the most important consideration for all dogs in terms of diet and it should come from whole animal-based sources like fresh chicken or fish. Meat meals are also a valuable source of protein (when they come from named sources like chicken, not simply ‘meat meal’) because they have been cooked down to a moisture content around 10% – this makes them a much more highly concentrated source of protein than fresh meat. Healthy animal-based fats are especially important in the diet of small-breed dogs because they are the most highly concentrated source of calories available. Your Yorkie’s diet should contain several animal-based fats like chicken fat and salmon oil. Carbohydrates are also important because they provide your dog with dietary fiber as well as various vitamins and minerals. Carbs should come from whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice or from grain-free sources like sweet potato, tapioca, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Special Considerations for Yorkshire Terriers
The most important thing to consider when feeding your Yorkshire Terrier is that he burns through energy very quickly. This being the case, you should feed him three or four small meals throughout the day rather than just giving him one or two larger meals. Refer to the feeding recommendations on the label for the product of your choice and divide the total daily amount into several feedings. Keep in mind that these recommendations are just that – recommendations – you may need to make adjustments. If your Yorkie loses weight or starts to act lethargic, you may need to increase his daily ration. On the other hand, if he starts to gain too much weight you should cut back a little bit. Be careful about how many treats you offer your Yorkie because, while he does require a steady stream of energy during the day, his total calorie needs are still fairly low and too many treats could push him over the edge.
Another important consideration to make in feeding your Yorkshire Terrier is that he has a very small mouth and a small stomach. Small- and toy-breed commercial dog food formulas are made with smaller kibbles that your Yorkie won’t have a hard time chewing. These foods are also fairly calorie-dense because small-breed dogs have small stomachs and they cannot eat large quantities of food at once. When choosing a commercial dog food formula for your Yorkshire Terrier make sure that all of the ingredients come from high-quality sources. Because your Yorkie can only eat small amounts of food at a time, the quality of that food is incredibly important. Avoid products made with artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, and dyes – instead you should focus on natural formulas made with high-quality ingredients that provide a healthy balance of nutrients.
Top Recommended Dog Foods for Yorkshire Terriers
If you need some help in finding the right food for your Yorkshire Terrier, consider one of the commercial dog food brands discussed below. Be careful when considering a breed-specific formula for your dog – do not just assume that the formula will meet your dog’s needs without evaluating the product for yourself. Consider the ingredients list to make sure that the product is of high-quality before offering it to your dog.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Adult Toy Breed
Blue Buffalo is rapidly becoming a household name in natural pet foods and it is known for having a wide variety of different formulas to choose from. Within the Blue Buffalo brand of dog foods there are four different product lines – Life Protection, Freedom, Basics, and Wilderness. The Life Protection line of dog foods contains over a dozen dry food products including five that are specially formulated for small-breed dogs and one for toy breeds. The Toy Breed Adult formula is made with fresh deboned chicken, chicken meal, and whole ground brown rice as the top three ingredients. It also contains various fruits and vegetables as well as healthy fats to ensure that your Yorkshire Terrier gets the nutrition he needs. This formula also contains Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits which are formulated with a balanced blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to ensure holistic health and nutrition.
Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health
The Wellness pet food company offers several different lines of dog food products including the Complete Health, CORE, TruFood, and Limited Ingredient Diets. In addition to having several different lines of pet food products, Wellness also has a large selection of dog foods that are specially formulated for toy- and small-breed dogs. Within the Complete Health line, for example, there are three toy-breed formulas – one for adults, one healthy weight formula, and one for senior dogs. This line of pet foods also contains five formulas for small-breed dogs – these products are made with fresh, wholesome ingredients like deboned chicken, whitefish, turkey, and brown rice. With so many formulas available it is easy to choose one that your Yorkshire Terrier or other small-breed dog is going to love.
Halo Spot’s Stew Toy & Small Breed
The Halo pet food company has been providing dogs and cats with holistic nutrition for more than 25 years. Halo offers several different lines of dry and wet food products, including several that are specially formulated for toy and small-breed dogs. Spot’s Stew, for example, is made with butcher-quality chicken and whole eggs as well as farm-raised fruits and vegetables. This formula doesn’t contain any byproducts or artificial preservatives and it is rich in protein, digestible carbohydrates, and both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Spot’s Stew also comes in small, bite-size kibbles that are perfect for smaller mouths. Simply put, if you are looking for a wholesome source of nutrition for your toy-breed dog that is easy to chew and digest as well, look no further than Spot’s Stew from Halo.
The Yorkshire Terrier is one of the most popular breeds in the United States, and for good reason. Not only are these dogs friendly and lively, but they can be very entertaining with their curious natures and vibrant personalities. The key to keeping your Yorkie active and healthy is to feed him a well-balanced diet like one of the products reviewed above.