Feeding a Yorkshire Terrier puppy well takes account of:
- their forecast adult weight – this determines the calories they need to achieve healthy growth
- the balance of nutrients they need to maintain steady blood sugar levels
- and their small size – feeding a Yorkshire Terrier puppy large kibble or raw meals with big pieces of bone and gristle increases the risk of choking.
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Feeding a Yorkshire Terrier Puppy
The Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) is a popular toy breed initially developed in England to control vermin and now kept primarily as a companion dog.
They weigh three to seven pounds, and extremely small sizes are increasingly common.
It can be difficult to judge how much to feed a tiny puppy.
If in doubt, always ask for recommendations from your veterinarian.
Find out how the puppy was being fed before you adopted him.
Read the guidelines of your chosen dog food. Plus, check out this guide to puppy bath time for a clean, happy puppy.
It is import to feed to meet the needs of your particular puppy.
Nutritional needs will vary with genetics and activity levels.
Young puppies should be offered four or more small meals throughout the day.
You want to avoid any extended periods where their little stomach is empty.
Bladder stones are more common in Yorkshire Terriers than other breeds.
It is essential to ensure your puppy always has access to fresh water to help prevent this condition.
Swapping Puppy Food Brands
Most breeders use a commercially produced dog food.
You should acquire enough of this food type to last for at least a few weeks.
If you decide to change to a new food, wait until the puppy is settled in their new home.
At first, add a small amount of the new food to the old food.
Add an increasing proportion of the new food over 1–3 weeks until it is completely replaced.
Given that some Yorkshire Terriers have sensitive stomachs, this transition period should not be rushed.
Yorkshire Terrier Puppy Diets
There are many suitable kibbles for small and miniature breeds.
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food for Small Breeds* is a great option.
It’s made of high quality ingredients with no artificial colors flavors or preservatives.
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition X-Small Puppy Dry Dog Food* is another good choice.
You will notice these are formulated for small breed puppies and have very small rounded pieces.
How Feeding Changes as a Yorkshire Terrier Puppy Gets Older
At around ten months of age, you should begin transitioning your Yorkshire terrier to the adult formulation of their diet.
At this time, they may only need two meals per day.
Providing more frequent meals continues to be an option, though.
What to Feed a Yorkshire Terrier Puppy
Yorkshire Terriers can be fed a wide variety of diets or combinations of them.
The main limitation is that food pieces must be tiny to avoid the risk of choking.
Feeding a Yorkshire Terrier Puppy Kibble
If you feed a kibble, ensure it is formulated for a small breed.
The size of the kibble pieces should be small and preferably rounded in shape.
Choose a brand meeting the specification of the Association of American Feed Control Officials.
Yorkshire Terriers can do well on both grain-containing and grain-free formulations.
Feeding a Puppy Wet Food
Wet food is available that is suitable for a Yorkshire Terrier puppy.
Wet food can be used as a regular diet or used when the puppy is showing lower appetite.
Feeding a Puppy Raw (BARF)
Yorkshire Terrier puppies can be fed a BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) diet.
The diet needs to be formulated for a toy breed, and all pieces must be very small.
BARF food is often manufactured with larger dogs in mind so may include pieces of bone or gristle.
Veterinarians report that large pieces of food from a BARF diet can get caught in the throat or esophagus of the Yorkshire Terrier.
Feeding a Puppy a Homemade Diet
The Yorkshire Terrier can be fed a homemade diet, but it should follow a plan provided by a veterinary nutritionist.
How Much Should I Feed My Yorkshire Terrier Puppy?
Young puppies can generally be offered as much food as they wish to eat until they are around fourteen weeks old.
Give them frequent small meals at least four times a day.
As a broad estimate, if you are feeding a small breed puppy kibble, you can expect to feed:
- ¼ cup per day for a dog expected to have an adult size of 3 pounds
- ¾ cup per day if their projected size is closer to 7 pounds.
Over time, you should observe your puppy growing steadily.
It is a good idea to weigh your puppy at least weekly to ensure they are gaining weight steadily.
Be sure to keep track of treats and snacks.
Treats should not become too large a proportion of what your puppy eats each day.
They are not nutritionally complete.
Is My Puppy the Right Weight?
As your puppy grows, you should learn how to assess his or her body condition.
You can gradually adjust feeding to maintain good condition.
In young puppies, it is important to avoid periods of fasting.
They are unpleasant for the pup and can contribute to health problems.
But once they become adult, obesity becomes a greater risk (especially for males) and can also contribute to health problems.
If your puppy becomes noticeably skinny or fat, consult with your veterinarian.
Or call the vet if you are not confident that you can assess their body condition.
Make a note of questions you would like to ask before a visit to your vet.
This can ensure that you get ongoing tips and guidance on how to keep your pup in good health.
You can refer to breed specific growth charts, but do not be overly concerned about the puppy’s weight.
Check that it is showing steady growth confirmed as healthy by your veterinarian.
My Puppy Is Still Hungry
Very young toy breed puppies cannot eat very much at once, so it is important to offer food regularly.
While they are small, Yorkshire Terriers come from a working terrier line.
Therefore, they should not lie around unoccupied all day.
As they grow larger and more mobile, it is crucial to provide them with plenty of opportunities to explore, socialize, play, and exercise.
This will prevent them becoming overly fixated on their next meal.
You can also offer a range of lower-calorie treats between meals as you reduce the number of meals per day.
This will help your pup carry out feeding activities and feel full without overeating.
If your puppy continues to seem excessively hungry, you should consult with a veterinarian.
There may be a medical cause for this behavior.
My Puppy Won’t Eat
It is common for puppies to go off their food when:
- moving to a new home
- presented with a new type of food
However, for miniature breeds, it is especially important that young puppies eat regularly.
Offering wet food or other preferred food types may help with a transition.
If your puppy refuses more than two meals in a row, a veterinarian should be consulted.
You should always be alert to any sudden loss of weight or drop in activity.
Toy breeds such as the Yorkshire Terrier can suffer from a number of diet-related conditions.
For example, a condition called transient juvenile hypoglycemia involves a sudden drop in blood glucose.
Hand-feeding a diet high in carbs and protein (under veterinary instructions) can treat the condition.
How Long Is a Yorkshire Terrier Considered a Puppy?
A Yorkshire Terrier is generally considered a puppy up until ten to twelve months of age.
Depending on their growth, they can transition to an adult food at around this age.
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References and Resources
Alexander, et al. (2017). Energy requirements for growth in the Yorkshire terrier. Journal of Nutritional Science.
Colliard,et al. (2006). Risk factors for obesity in dogs in France. The Journal of Nutrition.
Connolly, et al. (2014). Feeding practices of dog breeders in the United States and Canada. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Dzanis, (1994). The Association of American Feed Control Officials dog and cat food nutrient profiles: Substantiation of nutritional adequacy of complete and balanced pet foods in the United States. The Journal of Nutrition.
Houston, et al. (2004). Canine urolithiasis: a look at over 16 000 urolith submissions to the Canadian Veterinary Urolith Centre from February 1998 to April 2003. The Canadian Veterinary Journal.
Rodríguez-Alarcón, et al. (2010). Breed as risk factor for oesophageal foreign bodies. Journal of Small Animal Practice.
Salt, et al. (2017). Growth standard charts for monitoring bodyweight in dogs of different sizes. PloS One.
Vrábelová, et al. (2011). Analysis of 2735 canine uroliths in Spain and Portugal. A retrospective study: 2004–2006. Research in Veterinary Science.
Vroom & Slappendel. (1987). Transient juvenile hypoglycaemia in a Yorkshire terrier and in a Chihuahua. Veterinary Quarterly.