Yorkshire Terriers pack the bold personality of a giant dog into a tiny, compact little body. They only weigh three to seven pounds, and don’t require too much daily exercise, but their tiny statures resemble that of a high energy breed. In order to keep a Yorkie fit and healthy, it is important feed him a balanced diet that includes meat-based protein as well as carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables.
Energy and Caloric Needs
Yorkies have energy to spare, and they often do not settle down as they age. All Yorkies are unique; however, and not all of them remain high-strung throughout their lives. High-energy dogs will require more calories than low-energy dogs. According to the National Research Council, inactive dogs of this size require 150 calories of food daily, while active Yorkies need closer to 200 calories.
The majority of a Yorkie’s calories should come from protein. Look for food that is made from the muscle meat of chicken, lamb, fish, or turkey. Non-muscle meat found in commercial dog food can contain high levels of indigestible materials, which can upset the stomach. In order to incorporate carbohydrates into your Yorkie’s diet, look to foods like brown rice and sweet potatoes.
Keep Them Looking Healthy
The long and silky coat of the Yorkshire Terrier is one of the trademarks of the breed. If your dog’s hair feels dry and brittle, or begins to fall out, there is likely a problem with his diet. In order to maintain a healthy coat, a Yorkie’s diet should include fish. The omega fatty acids found in fish keep skin healthy and thus keep the coat silky and shiny. Omega fatty acids also help the body absorb other essential vitamins and nutrients.
Potential Health Risks Related to Food
Many Yorkshire Terriers are prone to stomach upset. In order to prevent vomiting and diarrhea, avoid dog foods made with corn and soy, which can agitate the digestive tract.
Very small Yorkies can be prone to a condition known as hypoglycemia, which is a drop in blood sugar due to lack of food. In order to maintain blood sugar levels and prevent hypoglycemia, feed a Yorkie three meals per day, spread out as evenly as possible. Hypoglycemia can be a life-threatening problem, so speak to your veterinarian about the symptoms and signs, and learn what to do in case you notice those signs in your dog.
It can be very easy to overfeed or underfeed a Yorkshire Terrier. It is important to remember that they have very small stomachs, and can only handle a little bit of food at a time. It is also important to remember that the breed is prone to blood sugar issues and obesity, so you never want to overfeed a Yorkie. Proper portion size and nutritional balance can help Yorkshire Terriers maintain health and happiness into old age.