Do Yorkies Really Need Grain-Free Food?


Feeding your Yorkie, a well-balanced and nutritious diet is important in order to keep them in the best health possible. The right food can play a big role in the lifespan of your dog and the health of their heart. Grains are sometimes thought of as an unnatural food source for dogs but…

Do Yorkies really need grain-free food? Yorkies do not require a grain-free diet so long as they don’t have a specific allergy to grains. Yorkies are not prone to DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) which can be caused by a grain intolerance. However, your dog’s diet should be something you discuss with your vet.

Yorkies are a smaller dog that requires a different feeding schedule and diet than a larger breed of dog. If they are not given the proper diet and schedule, they can run into some health issues that can turn serious. Here is what you need to know.

Does Your Yorkie Need A Grain-Free Diet?

Whether or not your Yorkie has a grain-free diet should be discussed with your veterinarian. However, most dogs are absolutely fine to eat grains.

A grain-free diet is typically given to a dog that is believed to have an allergy, although it’s really not common for corn and other grains to cause allergies in dogs.

Some people choose to give their dog a grain-free diet because they believe that grains are an unnatural source of nutrition for dogs. However, a dog’s anatomy has changed considerably since the days when they were purely carnivorous animals.

During the course of the dog’s evolution, their genes have been modified to digest carbohydrates more easily. Therefore, a grain-free diet is not required in terms of their metabolism.

Nonetheless, although it is not common, it is still possible for a dog to have allergies to grains. Symptoms of this allergy include:

  • Itchiness
  • Bald patches
  • Excessive hair loss
  • Inflamed skin

If you do notice these symptoms then you may have to adjust their diet. In which case you should consult a vet regarding the best course of action.

How Much Should A Yorkie Eat?

There are a couple of variables that determine just how much to feed your Yorkie. To ensure you are feeding them correctly pay attention to the following points:

  • How much do they weigh – You should know how much your Yorkie weighs, and typically, they should be fed 55 calories per pound (approx. 0.45kg) of body weight. Elderly dogs or dogs with a decrease in exercise are only required 35 calories per pound of body weight.
  • Recommended serving size on the dog food label – The standard serving size on a label is normally the amount a dog should eat in a day, not per meal. The required amount is based on their age and weight and should be divided by how many times you plan on feeding them.
  • Properly measure out the dog food – A dry measuring cup should be used when measuring out dry dog food in order to get a proper measurement.

Feeding range:

  • 3 months to 12 months of age(2-4 pounds) will only need ⅓ to ½ cup per day.
  • Adult dogs 3-4 pounds will still only need ⅓ to ½ cup per day.
  • 7-8-pound dogs can be given up to ⅔ of a cup per day.

Daily Nutrient Requirement for Yorkies

Yorkies should be given a healthy and fortified diet.

  • Protein – A Yorkie’s diet should be 30-40% protein sourced from meat and grain products to provide strength and energy.
  • Fats – Yorkie dog food should be 10-17% of fats with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to help keep their coat silky and shiny.
  • Carbohydrates – Carbs are not required in a Yorkie’s diet but are included in a lot of dog food. Soft carb sources like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and barley are good for a Yorkie, but corn and complex carbs should be limited. Stay away from dog food that is over 70% carbs.
  • Vitamins and minerals – Fruits and vegetables include important vitamins and minerals that help keep your dog’s bones healthy and strong.

How Often Should A Yorkie Eat

Feeding a Yorkie will be different than feeding a larger dog because they require smaller, more frequent meals. Too much time between feedings can cause low blood sugar, hypoglycemia, and an upset stomach.

  • Newborn puppies up to three months old should be given free-fed meals while they are being weaned from their mother’s milk and are at a weight that can handle a more structured feeding schedule.
  • Three months old to one year is when scheduled feedings should begin. Your Yorkie should be given three to four meals a day, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack. Meals should not be given later than two hours before bedtime.
  • One year old and older is when a Yorkie is considered an adult and can be given an adult formula. Typically, a Yorkie should be given three small meals a day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If there are any large snacks given, then it is okay to give your Yorkie two meals per day.

Hypoglycemia And Yorkies

Smaller dogs like Yorkies are more susceptible to hypoglycemia if there is too much time between feedings. Low blood sugar in dogs can cause an upset stomach and vomiting that can include white or yellow foam. Other signs include:

  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Shivering
  • Restlessness
  • Increased hunger
  • Tiredness

Once these symptoms are recognized, treatment should automatically be given and should work within five to ten minutes. If your Yorkie doesn’t respond to the treatment, they should be brought to the vet immediately.

The first thing you should do for your Yorkie is to put a little honey into their mouths. Effects of hypoglycemia in Yorkies can include:

  • Seizures
  • Brain damage
  • Mental problems
  • Weakness
  • Low body temp

Dry Food Vs. Wet Food for Yorkies

Although most dogs will prefer wet canned food, it is best to avoid it and stick with dry food. Soft foods can cause runny stools and can promote tooth decay and bad gums.

Yorkies, in particular, can often run into dental issues due to their small jaw size so sticking to dry food is definitely recommended.

It is okay to give your dog wet food on occasion but it should not be the go-to food every time.

If you want to get your Yorkie out of the habit of eating wet food, you can mix some dry food into it and gradually eliminate wet food from the mix.

When Choosing Food For Your Yorkie

The best way to choose the right food for your Yorkie is to avoid the foods they should not have. A lot of dog food brands have ingredients that are extremely detrimental. Here’s what you should look out for when choosing a dog food:

  • Chemical preservatives – can cause an allergic reaction
  • Fillers – Used to plump up food and serves no nutritional value
  • Artificial coloring and flavoring– Can cause allergic reactions
  • By-products – Added as a cost-saving method to reach quotas
  • Generic meats – This can be meat from roadkill or diseased animals

Here is a list of ingredients your dog food should have:

  • Small-sized kibble – Creates comfortable eating and aids digestion
  • Omega-3 – Important for joint health. Fish oil and flaxseed are good to look for
  • Natural preservatives – Dog foods should be naturally preserved using vitamin blends or plant extracts.
  • Wholesome traditional meat – Chicken, turkey, goose, duck, rabbit, lamb, beef, fish
  • Fruits and vegetables

If you don’t really want to hunt around too much, my personal recommendation for Yorkie food is Natural Balance Whole Body Health. I’ve tried several foods over the years that didn’t agree with my girl but she really enjoys this one and we’ve not had any tummy issues. It’s available here at AmazonOpens in a new tab. but is slightly cheaper at the time of writing this here at ChewyOpens in a new tab..

So Yorkies Can Eat Grains but Here’s What They Shouldn’t Eat

It’s widely known that chocolate can be dangerous and even fatal to your dog, but there are other foods to look out for if you give your Yorkie table scraps.

Some foods your Yorkie shouldn’t eat:

  • Grapes – Can affect kidneys
  • Broccoli – Large quantities are toxic to dogs
  • Pits of fruits and seeds – The pit contains a type of cyanide that results in poisoning
  • Bones – Small bones can split and cause stomach lacerations and are a choking hazard
  • Mushrooms – Harmful toxins that can cause liver and kidney problems
  • Dairy – Dogs do not have lactase, the enzyme that breaks down milk
  • Yeast dough – The dough can rise in their digestive system and cause gas

Mark Ingram

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I hope that it was informative and useful in some way. I love all of my pets and their care is paramount to me. I hope that my writing will help others in caring for their pets also.

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