The Yorkshire Terrier, also known as the Yorkie, is one of the cutest dogs you can own. They are known to be confident and intelligent but to give them a healthy and happy life, you’ll need to feed them properly and give them the right nutrition.
If you consider adopting one or already have one at home, knowing all about their feeding schedules and what foods to give them is your responsibility as a pet owner. A Yorkie that starts as a puppy receiving properly-prepared food and becomes accustomed to schedules will grow healthily.
How much to feed a Yorkie?
Yorkies should be fed 2 to 3 times a day if they are adults and 3 to 4 times a day during puppyhood. Make sure that each meal is divided equally to avoid getting your Yorkie hungry at certain times of the day.
As a small breed, a Yorkie requires a dedicated schedule for feeding so that they don’t stress-eat. For puppies, it’s best to give them about 1/4 to 1/2 cups of food (divided into 3 to 4 meals) a day. The same is true for adults although you might want to cut the maximum calorie intake per day from 200 to 175.
You can calculate your Yorkie’s overall daily calorie intake by looking at the food labels and doing research on various foods and their corresponding calories. In this way, you’re sure that your little canine friend isn’t underfed and won’t be overweight.
Senior Yorkies, on the other hand, should be fed with fewer calories from 135 to 175 – spread and equally divided into 2 to 3 meals a day. That’s because Yorkies that are old-aged will perform fewer activities within the day so they need to have a balanced diet to avoid weight issues.
Weight plays an important role when feeding a Yorkie. Here are some recommendations depending on your Yorkie’s weight:
|Recommended daily amount of food, divided into meals
|2 to 4 pounds
|1/3 to 1/2 cups
|3 to 4 pounds
|1/3 to 1/2 cups
|7 to 8 pounds
|Up to 2/3 cups
Keep in mind that this is just a guide. If you are in doubt or don’t have a weighing scale at home, you can take your Yorkie for a visit to the vet and have them weighed. Your vet will also likely recommend a diet based on their nutritional needs.
Yorkie Feeding Schedule
Yorkie puppies that are younger than 3 months should be free-fed to make sure they get all the right nutrition. Getting them used to solid food versus wet food is also done during this stage alongside the weaning process with their mother.
For much older Yorkies, the feeding schedule could look something like this – feel free to change as necessary. However, this is just a guide on how much to feed your Yorkshire Terrier depending on various factors:
|Amount per day
|3 months to 1 year old
|3 to 4 meals
|MorningLunchLate afternoonEvening (2 hours before bed)
|Dry treats in between meals
|1 year old and above
|2 to 3 meals (2 if the food serving is heavy)
|MorningLunchDinner If 2 meals: Heavy breakfastLight dinner
|If treats are heavy in calories, adjust to 2 meals a day
Note: when giving snacks to your Yorkie, make sure to include the calories of the treats into the total calorie intake per day. Some people are making the mistake of not including the snacks where their dog is getting more calories out of the treats.
Yorkie Growth Chart
Are you curious just how your Yorkie will turn out from puppyhood to adulthood? Know what to expect with the following growth chart so that you can prepare your home, budget, and food supplies for your little canine friend:
|Age in months
|Weight in Kilogram
|Weight in Pounds
2 to 3 weeks old
A Yorkie in its first two weeks will be around its mother and getting her milk as its primary source of nutrition. Nursing should be in-demand and must be done in a quiet place. The litter should be kept undisturbed by their mother.
Puppies will slowly open their eyes and explore during their first two weeks. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that they roam around in the puppy quarters without getting into dangerous situations. Yorkie puppies that are of this age will only need their mother’s milk.
During the third week, a Yorkie puppy can roam around much farther away from its mother. However, they still need nutrition from the mother and they might not walk properly yet. This puppy stage is when they learn to explore the world slowly – taking it one step at a time.
This is not the right time to start the weaning process as your Yorkie puppy is still very young. Have them nursed by the mother as much as needed so that they get the right amount of nutrition during their younger years starting as little puppies.
4 to 5 weeks old
When your Yorkie pup turns 4 weeks old, that’s when they can be weaned. During this process, your puppy will slowly lose interest in its mother’s milk and the mother, likewise, will also take it slow on the nursing. Therefore, this is the right time to start attempting to feed your puppy solid food.
To do this, mix 3 parts water and 1 part puppy food. Ensure that the puppy food is right for their age and breed (not all puppy foods are made for the same breed size). The reason we want to do this is to make sure that the puppy food is easily digestible and edible for their soft mouths and sensitive tummies.
Don’t be discouraged if your Yorkie puppy doesn’t like the idea at first. This is all trial and error and some puppies could take interest quickly, but some don’t. Keep trying until your Yorkie puppy begins to look into the food and eat it a bit.
At 5 weeks of age, the Yorkie puppy will likely get more involved and interested in the food mix that you offer them. They might like the smell much more and you can expect the food bowl to be somewhat emptied if the puppy likes it.
However, there is still a chance that your puppy might ignore it, but don’t lose hope! Keep trying to feed them until they get a little bit interested. It will take time but they will surely move to the solid food because they will eventually lose interest in their mother’s milk.
Moreover, the nursing will also slow down based on the mother’s reactions – but this depends on the situation and your dog. Most breeders agree that 4 to 5 weeks of age is still too young for full weaning, but you can slowly begin the process so that your puppies won’t get surprised by the 6th week.
After feeding the puppy, ensure the following safety procedures:
- Remove leftover foods after 15 to 20 minutes
- Don’t store the foods in sunlight or humid areas
- Clean up the bowl as needed
6 weeks old
During your Yorkie puppy’s sixth week, you can slowly decrease the amount of water if you think and observe that your puppy is eating the mixture regularly. To avoid digestive upsets, the reduction of the food mixture from watery to completely dry should be done slowly.
You can do this change every few days or so. There are many benefits to giving your puppy dry kibble instead of wet or canned food all the time. For instance, it strengthens their teeth so they grow up to have shiny and healthy snappers to chew their food properly with.
A 6-week-old Yorkie puppy will be more active and they will also get nursed less often. Continue feeding the Yorkie puppy with the food mixture and then wait until they finally switch over to completely dry dog food.
When your Yorkie puppy turns 7 weeks old, they are more independent than in their previous weeks. The mother might not be nursing that much but will still do it from time to time. Your puppies are likely exploring around and spending less time with their mother.
The mother of the puppies might nurse them while standing up and only for a short while. Meanwhile, continue feeding your Yorkie puppies with the kibble that you originally fed them before. Your puppies should already be feeding mostly kibble and less of the mother’s milk.
This is when you can begin to set a schedule of about 3 to 4 times a day – we wrote a sample schedule above to give you an idea, so do check that out.
Make sure that each serving of food for your Yorkie puppy is not too overwhelming since they are a small breed. It is better to feed them many times a day rather than to feed the puppies in one go because they have tiny tummies that could only take smaller meals.
8 weeks old
When your puppy turns 8 weeks of age, they are likely fully weaned and can be separated from the mother. They can be adopted or re-homed depending on the situation. If you are the breeder, make sure you give all the important information about the Yorkie to the new owner, such as:
- The puppy’s diet
- Parents’ information
- Certificates of vaccination
- Health certificates
If you are the person who will adopt a Yorkie puppy, always ask the information about the puppy first. Your vet should provide certificates, introduce the parents, show you around the living quarters, and give you a list of foods that the puppy eats.
10 weeks old
When your Yorkie puppy turns 10 weeks old, they are likely re-homed or adopted and they should be fed on a strict schedule of 3 to 4 meals a day – portioned equally to avoid hunger pangs. Make sure to follow this schedule to avoid overeating or causing your puppy to be underfed.
A puppy during this stage won’t eat as much compared to when they were younger. With that said, for each daily feeding, all the meals should total 1/4 to 1/2 cup and be divided equally. The number of cups per day may depend on the weight and the activity levels of your puppy.
When your puppy turns 11 weeks old, they will be pretty vigorous so it’s best to have them roam around your yard but make sure they are still protected by puppy-proof fences. To avoid accidents around the yard or vicinity, ensure that all kinds of dangerous items are out of the way.
A Yorkie during this time might also eat a lot compared to their previous week due to their growth spurt and a burst of energy. If your puppy needs more food than usual, you can increase their daily intake up to 1/8 cups a day. Be sure to only feed them whenever hungry.
As with previous feedings, always keep the food bowl in a place where sunlight, moisture, and other external factors won’t easily spoil it. Any food that hasn’t been eaten in a while might not be healthy for your puppy so it’s best to remove these and don’t store them for later.
Even though a Yorkie is a small breed, they are likely getting some physical developments and growing slightly bigger than their usual puppy size during the eleventh week. Your vet might recommend increasing their daily calorie intake during this time.
12 weeks old
At 12 weeks old, the Yorkie puppy can be fed 3 times a day and still divided equally. Their weight should be managed properly to avoid overweight issues. Since the Yorkie is fluffy, it can be hard to know if they are too fat for their age so it’s best to have them visit the vet sometimes.
If you don’t know what to feed your Yorkie, here are some suggestions:
1. Glucosamine-rich foods
Yorkies are known to be prone to some joint- and bone-related diseases, such as luxating patella, so they need glucosamine-rich foods. Fortunately, many dog foods nowadays have glucosamine and chondroitin, which can be found on most seafood, to strengthen their joints and bones.
2. Omega fatty acids
Omega fatty acids are good for the heart. Yorkies tend to have heart-related problems such as Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA) so they need a healthy source of heart-friendly nutrients. You can give fish and seafood since they are a good source of omega fatty acids.
3. Crunchy foods and vitamin C
Periodontal disease is due to a deficiency in vitamin C and poor dental health. Therefore, you can fight this common Yorkie health issue by giving them kibble and all sorts of crunch foods and treats – make sure that they are suited for your Yorkie in terms of breed size serving!
Foods to Avoid
Yorkies shouldn’t be fed most of the standard list of human foods that are not meant for dogs, such as chocolate, garlic, onions, and caffeine. However, it’s noteworthy that Yorkies are prone to blood sugar problems so they should have fewer preservatives on their food.
In the same way, Yorkies also don’t do well with too many citrus fruits (in moderation only), as well as coconuts and coconut-based products, since they tend to have a sensitive tummy.
FAQs on Feeding a Yorkie
Here are some frequently asked questions on feeding a Yorkie:
How do I choose the right food for my Yorkie?
To choose the right food for your Yorkshire Terrier, here are some criteria to ask yourself:
- How old is my Yorkie?
- How much does my Yorkie weigh?
- Is my Yorkie physically active or often staying indoors?
- Do they have a history of certain health issues?
- What’s my budget?
- What does my vet recommend?
Based on those criteria, decide on the amount of food, the type, the brand, and the nutrients that you need from the dog food you want to buy. This ensures that your Yorkie is getting food that is tailored to their nutritional needs.
Should I give my Yorkie treats?
Yes – Yorkies can be given treats. A Yorkshire Terrier will benefit well from crunchy treats because this helps their teeth to get stronger to fight periodontal disease. However, as mentioned above, always include the number of treats in terms of calories on the daily calorie count.
Raw feeding a Yorkie
Raw feeding a Yorkie is possible but it’s best to get the advice of your vet in doing so. Vets will give you a list of foods that you should include in your puppy’s diet because raw feeding can be tricky in a way that you might miss out on important nutrients.
While raw feeding is beneficial since you are sure about what goes into your puppy’s food (no preservatives or additives), you need to make sure the food is handled properly and prepared with just the right amount of nutrients for a balanced meal.
Examples of raw foods you can give to your Yorkie puppy would be carrots, pumpkin, and other vegetables. Raw bones can also be given but make sure that are the right size to avoid digestive problems.
Yorkies are fun and intelligent dogs when raised properly – part of which comes from proper feeding. We hope that this feeding guide helped you in giving the best kind of nutrition for your Yorkshire Terrier. And with that, we wish you the best in raising a healthy and happy Yorkie!