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Anyone who has owned a Yorkie before knows that they tend to be picky eaters. They care about the brand and flavor of their food and have specific dietary needs to meet. There are a variety of reasons that a Yorkie might not be eating, each of which must be considered to keep your Yorkie happy and healthy.
As Yorkies get older, they tend to get pickier and pickier and become even more sensitive to what they eat, so even if this information isn’t all relevant currently, there may come a time when it will come in handy.
1. A Change in Dog Food
Imagine if you went from eating your current diet to a completely foreign one. Your stomach would likely take a while to adjust and there may be some bodily reactions and discomfort along the way.
A change in dog food may not seem as drastic, but it has been shown that many dogs and Yorkies in particular, are not able to handle food changes very well.
Even the slightest change often causes discomfort, which could result in them not eating or taking breaks between eating as they allow their stomachs time to process. If your stomach hurt, you probably wouldn’t eat much either!
If you have recently changed brands of dog food or even just flavors within the same brand, this could very well be why your Yorkie has stopped eating.
To reduce the impact of a food change, slowly introduce the new brand or flavor into your Yorkie’s diet over a longer period. This is kinder on your Yorkie’s stomach rather than a complete and sudden change from one meal to the next.
This can be achieved by mixing in a small quantity of new food with their original food and incrementally increasing the proportion of new to old food every three days or so.
A good generic method for doing that is as follows:
- For the first three days use a ratio of 3/4 original food, 1/4 new food.
- The next three days use 1/2 original food, 1/2 new food.
- For the final three days use 1/4 original food, 3/4 new food.
- At this stage, your Yorkie should be comfortable moving completely onto the new food.
When you do this, try to mix the two foods as best you can. If you find that your Yorkie begins to pick out and leave pieces of the new dog food, you may have to try a different brand.
2. Exposure to Human Food
A potential cause for your dog’s lack of appetite is that they may have been eating too much human food. Eating human food can affect your Yorkie’s appetite for a few reasons.
Firstly, dogs are not typically used to eating human food, so when they get a taste of the good stuff, they may not want to go back to the same old dog food that they have eaten every day for as long as they can remember!
Secondly, human food may also be impacting your Yorkie’s appetite because it quite simply fills them up! Human food often contains a lot of calories compared to dog food.
This means that if your Yorkie eats a good portion of human food, they may be sustained for two whole days, and only after that will they begin eating again.
Alternatively, perhaps your child has been feeding the dog some table scraps without you noticing, and you just assume that the dog hasn’t eaten in three days!
Thirdly, it may also be possible that if your Yorkie is eating human food, that it might not agree with them. If so, it could be affecting their stomach and spoiling their appetite that way. If you are going to feed your Yorkie human food, try to make sure that it is safe for them to eat.
Human food that is safe for Yorkies includes:
- Cooked Eggs
- Certain types of beans
(such as black, edamame, garbanzo, kidney, lima, navy, pinto, or soybeans.)
If your dog is not eating due to any stomach issues then I would recommend trying to feed them chicken and rice which are easy on the stomach.
This is normally the first change that a veterinarian may suggest to help a Yorkie with an unsettled stomach. Keep trying them with their own food but use chicken and rice as a backup if needed.
3. An Inappropriate Feeding Area
There are a couple of requirements that your dog may have when it comes to its food station. It’s important that your Yorkie feels comfortable in its eating environment.
Ideally, your Yorkies bowl should be:
- At a comfortable height – While this isn’t as much of a problem for Yorkies as some other larger breeds, some dogs prefer to have their food slightly raised off of the ground which allows them to eat more comfortably.
- In a relatively quiet and private area – Your dog needs to feel safe when they are eating. If your Yorkies bowl is currently in a noisy or high-traffic area, this might be stressing them out at mealtimes and causing them to be fearful of eating.
4. A Change in Feeding Location
If your favorite restaurant were to move location, and you turned up to the old place to see an empty building, you would be forgiven for thinking that it had simply closed up, rather than moved to a new area. The same goes for dogs and their feeding stations.
If his or her normal routine is to go into the laundry room in the morning to drink some water and eat some food, but there are no bowls when he or she arrives, then they may just think that you aren’t planning on feeding them today.
If you do move the location of their food, be sure to show them, but also give them time to adjust to the new location. They may take a few days, but they should adjust in time.
Alternatively, if you have moved house this might throw them off of their usual eating habits. Moving can be stressful for dogs and may cause them some anxiety which in turn will reduce their appetite.
Give them some time to adjust and they should return to their old self before too long.
5. A Change in Appetite
Sometimes it may just come down to the fact that your Yorkie doesn’t want the food you are giving it anymore.
Over time, especially as Yorkies get older they may well change perspectives and appetites, and this is generally to be expected.
In contrast to my first point, if you suspect that your Yorkie has simply gone off its food, it may be helpful to change things up and try something else.
Just bear in mind, when it comes to dog food, you usually get what you pay for and Yorkies tend to have expensive taste!
There’s plenty out there to choose from and you may not get it right the first time, but in the end, it will be worth the trouble.
Something else that is worth considering is that your Yorkie may have developed a sensitivity to something in their food. If this is the case you may notice that their stool has become looser or they get sick from time to time.
If you suspect this might be the issue, you should consult your veterinarian to discuss it. They might prescribe something to ease the symptoms and help you develop a diet plan to find whatever is causing the problem.
6. Hot Weather
Temperature also has a great effect on dogs’ appetites. In warmer weather, Yorkies will be less likely to eat.
Heat means that dogs will decrease their activity as they try to stay cool so on very hot days, you can expect your Yorkie not to eat as much as it would normally.
7. Reduced Activity
As I have just alluded to in the previous point, weather and activity go hand in hand with the eating patterns of a Yorkie.
If it’s hot and your dog is not doing much, it will eat less.
Additionally, if your Yorkie hasn’t been able to go outside and burn off some calories it will also have a reduced appetite.
Dogs love to take walks, but if they’re not walking or doing much during the day, they will consume less food.
Aging has a serious effect on your Yorkie’s appetite. This is something that I am sad to say that I’m currently witnessing in my 16-year-old Yorkie.
A Yorkie’s appetite will often decline with age. The process of aging is hard on the body, as your dog will have less and less energy. For its health and wellbeing, older Yorkies must eat enough and consume a well-balanced diet.
Since their body is also going through other stages of decay, they may experience any number of health problems or problems within their mouth that make it hard to chew and swallow.
It is important to get them regularly checked by a vet so they can tell you if they are still at a healthy weight and don’t have problems that you may not have noticed.
As they age, they may start to lose their sight or their smell, which could cause a decrease in appetite. This can be slightly remedied by adding cheese or peanut butter on top to increase the appealing scent of the food.
Some owners may think that their Yorkie is not eating enough food, when in fact they are quite simply overfeeding them. Yorkies are small dogs with small stomachs. It doesn’t take much for them to feel full!
Always check your Yorkie’s food packaging to see the recommended portion sizes for the dog’s body weight. Also just bear in mind that your particular dog’s activity level will also influence how much food they need.
10. Underlying Health Issues
There are also quite a lot of different health problems in Yorkies that all cause a Yorkie to go off of their food. You must see a veterinarian if your Yorkie’s loss of appetite persists for more than a couple of days. Below are just a few health issues that might be causing the issue.
- Mouth Problem – Boils, cysts, broken teeth, or other mouth infections. This can easily be seen if you take a look in their mouth or smell breath that is particularly bad.
- Dementia – This is when a dog will start to decline in brain function and forget about its food. In some cases, they won’t even recognize if they’re hungry. Other symptoms to look for would just be general confusion and uneasiness. You may have to remind the dog to eat and where its food is located.
- Cancer – Cancer is fairly common in dogs, so it is important to have them checked over each time you go for a visit to the vet. Cancer can decrease their appetite.
- Gastronineal Intestine Problem – This would mean that there could potentially be ulcers or other stomach and intestine-related problems that affect appetite. Other symptoms beyond not eating could be diarrhea, a lack of feces, or unsuccessful attempts to defecate.
- Pancreatitis – The pancreas is an organ that normally produces digestive enzymes and insulin. Pancreatitis is when the enzymes are prematurely activated and begin digesting the pancreas itself. This is extremely painful and causes a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fever, lethargy, diarrhea. If your dog is having a pancreatic attack your dog may also position their rear up in the air with its front end lowered to the floor.
Each of these health problems has side effects that include a loss of appetite and will require medical assistance.
If you already know about any issues your dog has, loss of appetite could also be a result of medications they are on.
How Long Can a Yorkie Go without Eating?
While growing up, all dogs and mammals need to eat what is necessary to help grow their body and build endurance. Food and water are essential.
Yorkies can go about 5 to 7 days without food, but only if they are still drinking plenty of water. After about 4 days, the animal should be taken to the vet. Without water and food, it will only survive for 2 to 3 days before it starts to have serious problems.
If your dog is not eating, give it a couple of days, and then if it continues beyond that, take it to the vet. The vet should be able to tell you if it is a mental, physical, or medical-related problem that needs to be addressed.
Always feed your dog and ensure it drinks lots of water. If needed, you can entice your dog to eat food by adding corn syrup or peanut butter to the top. You can also make hard food soft with water or beef broth.
There are many reasons that a Yorkie would stop eating. Often it comes down to pickiness, leading to reduced food intake.
Any real change will cause a Yorkie to go into an adjustment period, even something as simple as getting a new dog or changing the placement of their food bowl. Consistency is key, and Yorkies love a good routine.
However, there may be other problems that we cannot always see on the surface. If your dog is flat-out refusing to eat anything for a prolonged period, you more than likely need to seek medical help.
Get regular vet checkups and find the root of the problem so that your Yorkie can eat well and enjoy life again.