If you’re a fan of miniature or toy dog breeds, the Yorkshire Terrier is easily one of the most recognizable and popular choices among dog lovers. Full of energy and personality, Yorkies are known for their often bold attitudes and outgoing behavior.
Due to their small and lightweight bodies, it can be challenging to estimate how much to feed your Yorkie puppy, especially if you’re a new dog owner or if you’ve only taken care of larger breeds in the past. Tips and recommendations are provided below to take the guesswork out of feeding your new fuzzy friend!
General Guidelines for How Much to Feed a Yorkie Puppy
As you might already expect, a small breed puppy will require significantly less food per day in comparison to a large breed puppy. Yorkie puppies only need to eat around one-fourth of a cup to half a cup of food per day, and this amount is typically divided into small amounts throughout the day, whether the puppy is free-fed or eats meals on a feeding schedule. Keep in mind that your puppy may eat a little less or a little more depending on its weight and general appetite fluctuation.
Additionally, all puppies need to have a daily intake of calories to support their energy levels and overall well-being. Yorkie puppies typically need around 200 calories per day to support their growth. Some owners will calculate calories solely based on meals, while others will include potential calories from snacks.
Ultimately, this is a matter of preference, although it is important not to overfeed your Yorkie with too many snacks. Despite their fantastic energy levels, Yorkies are prone to become obese if you don’t properly monitor their caloric intake or if they don’t have enough physical activity between meals. Caloric recommendations will adjust as your puppy continues aging, generally becoming lower as your puppy becomes an adult and transitions into becoming a senior.
How Often Should You Feed Your Yorkie Puppy?
Understanding and developing a feeding schedule for your Yorkie puppy is very important, particularly since this breed can be predisposed to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in the absence of regular meals. Although feeding frequency will vary as your puppy continues to grow, the consistent factor is that your Yorkie will need multiple meals and snacks throughout the day.
All Yorkie puppies up to 3 months old will need to be free-fed throughout the day, which means that you should always have food openly accessible to them in case they become hungry. Although free-feeding is often not appropriate for older puppies, it is suitable to provide to Yorkie puppies during this early stage of growth. It enables them to gain weight and makes it easier for you to anticipate the many variables of a growing puppy’s appetite. When your puppy reaches either three months of age or 2.5 lbs., you can begin transitioning them to a more structured, traditional feeding schedule.
At three months of age, your puppy should begin eating three to four meals per day. It is not recommended to continue free-feeding past three months since the lack of a meal schedule can also limit the puppy’s obedience to other scheduled activities and make it difficult to anticipate when they may need to go outside for walks. If you choose to feed your puppy three meals per day, the most common schedule will include a meal in the morning, afternoon, evening, or night.
A recommended Yorkie feeding schedule with four meals would include a meal in the morning, afternoon, early evening, and a final meal around two hours before bedtime. Since four meals a day can be challenging for some owners based on their own schedule, the most common plan can often involve three meals per day with dry snacks provided in between. Ultimately, the structured feeding schedule can be used until your Yorkie is at least one year of age.
Best Dog Foods for a Yorkshire Terrier Puppy
As mentioned previously, Yorkie puppies are often susceptible to low blood sugar, and their small size makes it especially important to select dog foods and treats that will meet their dietary needs. Special consideration should be taken regarding sources of carbohydrates, fats, and protein when selecting your puppy’s food.
All dog foods are not created equal, and although other breeds may experience a variety of benefits from certain types of ingredients, these same ingredients can sometimes be difficult for Yorkies to digest comfortably. For example, soy or corn sources of carbohydrates can be difficult for Yorkies to digest and should generally be avoided. However, brown rice or sweet potatoes are typically well-received alternatives.
Your puppy’s primary source of energy will often come from protein because this is one of the key building blocks present in its rapidly developing immune system. There are many different protein sources, but all protein provided to your Yorkie puppy should come from the muscle of the animal and not the bone. In lower-quality dog foods, it is not uncommon to see protein ingredients sourced from bone meal, for example.
Although these types of ingredients do provide protein, they are typically over-processed and don’t offer the quality or volume of protein necessary to fully support your puppy’s growing body. Instead, opt for dog foods and treats that specify exactly which muscles the protein comes from in the animal. Popular protein choices can include fish, chicken, beef, lamb, and other options. As you continue spending time with your Yorkie, you’ll quickly realize which flavors they like or dislike.
Providing your puppy with healthy fat sources is another way to support their overall health and contribute to a beautiful, shiny coat. Many ingredients can provide healthy sources of fat, but the most common method that is used among dog owners is incorporating krill or fish oil into their Yorkie’s diet by drizzling it over dog food during mealtime. Since some puppies are not interested in their dog food when oil is incorporated into the meal, another alternative would be to provide your Yorkie with fish snacks between meals.
If you struggle with finding a commercial dog food that meets your standards for high-quality ingredients, you may want to consider providing your Yorkie with fresh meals prepared at home. Although this can sometimes be a bit more costly compared to traditional commercial dog food options, preparing specialized meals for your dog at home will put you in full control of what your dog is eating and can be easily accomplished with some supervision from your veterinarian.
Although learning to adjust to a small breed dog’s feeding needs may initially be challenging, you’ll discover that it becomes more of an intuitive and straightforward process as time progresses. There are few experiences as rewarding as having the companionship of a dog, and your Yorkie puppy is certain to provide you with countless unforgettable memories as you continue through your journey together!
If you feel uncertain of whether you’re properly addressing your puppy’s dietary needs or would like further guidance regarding how to support their growth and well-being through adequate nutrition, your veterinarian is an excellent asset for additional resources and advice.