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It’s no secret that a dog’s good health begins from the inside out; choosing the right type of nutrition for your Yorkshire Terrier gives them an enormous paw up on the path to a healthy lifestyle! Most Yorkie owners are also aware that their furry friends have some pretty specific needs when it comes to nutrition – despite being a toy breed, these pint-sized pups are spunky, energetic, and athletic little dogs that benefit from balanced, high-quality food.

They also have tiny teeth and jaws, tend to be pickier eaters, and many Yorkies also prefer several smaller meals daily, instead of one or two. Since there are so many different types of dog foods on the market, it can be confusing for Yorkie owners to choose the perfect food for their dogs. Before picking a specific type and brand of food, however, it’s essential for owners to understand the basics of canine nutrition.

Here’s a quick primer on some important terms.

  • Complete and balanced: It’s extremely important that any food you feed your Yorkshire Terrier is complete and balanced. This means that a specific diet contains all the nutrients that your furry friend needs daily, and most importantly, contains them in the appropriate amounts for their age and size. Too much or too little of the key nutrients in your pet’s diet could lead to serious health issues like malnutrition, poor bone development, or hormone deficiencies. For commercially sold foods, the minimum requirement for a food to be labeled as complete and balanced is that it must meet the standards established by AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials). Ideally, your Yorkie’s food should also undergo real-life feeding trials and be tested for quality, consistency, and digestibility in order to be considered a top-quality food – these are the criteria that are the most important to consider.

Best food for your Yorkie

  • Nutrients: The various elements of your dog’s diet that contribute to proper body function. Nutrients are not the same thing as ingredients! Essential nutrients include protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water. Examples of ingredients (which deliver nutrients to your dog’s body) may include chicken, beef, barley, rice, beet pulp, poultry by-products, corn gluten, etc., and will be different from food to food. Excellent nutrition allows your Yorkie to be as healthy as possible and helps to prevent disease over their lifetime.
  • Digestibility: The measure of how well your Yorkie’s body can digest and use the nutrients in food. A food with poor quality ingredients won’t be very digestible, meaning that your dog will have to eat more of it to actually get all the nutrients that they need, or may not even absorb those nutrients as well. A low-quality diet may also contribute to poor skin and coat health, digestive problems, or even behavior issues in your Yorkie.

Now that you have a good starting point, you’re ready to pick the food that’s best for your Yorkie. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of different feeding styles and food formulas.

Dry food for Yorkie


Dry (Kibble)

  • Convenient for many owners because of its lower cost, wide variety, and long shelf life
  • Most kibble diets are complete and balanced, and many have kibble sizes and formulas that are specifically formulated to suit a Yorkie’s small size and health requirements
  • Nutrients in kibble may not be as biologically available as diets made from fresh, whole foods
  • Not as appealing in taste or smell as other diets
  • Preservatives are used in food to prevent the kibble from spoiling

Brands to check out: Royal Canin, Canidae, Merrick


Photo Title Buy
Royal Canin Veterinary...image Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Hydrolyzed Protein Small Dog Dry Dog Food, 8.8 lb Check Price
Purina ONE Dry...image Purina ONE Dry Dog Food Lamb and Rice Formula - 31.1 lb. Bag Check Price
Pedigree High Protein...image Pedigree High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food Beef and Lamb Flavor Dog Kibble, 18 lb. Bag Check Price
Halo Purely for...image Halo Purely for Pets Holistic Dog Food, Complete Digestive Health Grain Free Cage-Free Chicken and Sweet Potato Recipe, Dry Dog Food Bag, Senior Formula, 10-lb Bag Check Price
Blue Buffalo Life...image Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 30-lb Check Price


Canned Food for your Yorkie

  • Almost all commercial canned foods are complete and balanced
  • Easy for Yorkies to eat
  • Higher moisture content helps reduce the risk for urinary tract disorders and bladder stones
  • Higher moisture content means fewer calories than in an equivalent amount of kibble
  • Less potential for bacterial contamination
  • Long shelf life
  • Food still undergoes significant processing, often destroying key nutrients which need to be re-added
  • Preservatives and flavoring additives are often present in food

Brands to check out: EVO, Royal Canin, Merrick

Photo Title Buy
Purina ONE Tender...image Purina ONE Tender Cuts in Gravy Beef and Barley Entree in Wet Dog Food Gravy - (Pack of 12) 13 oz. Cans Check Price
PEDIGREE CHOICE CUTS...image PEDIGREE CHOICE CUTS IN GRAVY Adult Canned Soft Wet Dog Food with Beef, 22 oz. Cans (Pack of 12) Check Price
IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH...image IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Adult Wet Dog Food Chunks in Gravy Beef, Rice, Carrots & Green Beans Flavor, 12-Pack of 13 oz. Cans Check Price
Amazon Brand -...image Amazon Brand - Wag Stew Canned Dog Food, Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe, 13.2 oz Can (Pack of 12) Check Price
PEDIGREE CHOICE CUTS...image PEDIGREE CHOICE CUTS IN GRAVY Adult Soft Wet Dog Food 18-Pack Variety Pack, 3.5 oz Pouches Check Price

Raw Food (commercial)

  • No added preservatives, usually made with fresh, whole ingredients (meaning more biologically available nutrients)
  • Can tailor your dog’s food to their specific nutritional needs, which could help to reduce the effects of allergies and improve skin and digestive health
  • Higher water content is ideal for overweight dogs and those with urinary problems
  • Raw and homemade diets are more appealing for dogs to eat
  • Many raw diets are still not tested for nutritional balance or completeness
  • Raw diets contain a higher amount of pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria like Salmonella, Clostridia, and Staphylococcus, creating a potential health risk for immune-compromised, elderly, or very young people and dogs

Brand to check out: Nature’s Variety

Photo Title Price Buy
Nature's Diet Simply...image Nature's Diet Simply Raw® Freeze-Dried Raw Whole Food Meal - Makes 18 Lbs Fresh Raw Food With Muscle, Organ, Bone Broth, Whole Egg, Superfoods, Fish Oil Omega 3, 6, 9, Probiotics & Prebiotics (turkey) $32.99 ($0.69 / Ounce) Check Price
Instinct Raw Boost...image Instinct Raw Boost Mixers Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Topper, Grain Free 14 Ounce (Pack of 1) $29.99 ($2.14 / oz) Check Price
Instinct Raw Boost...image Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Dry Dog Food, High Protein Real Beef Kibble + Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food, 20 lb. Bag $89.99 ($0.28 / Fl Oz) Check Price
Maev Raw Dog...image Maev Raw Dog Food, Better Than Freeze Dried Dog Food, Flash Frozen Dog Food with Lean Beef Protein, Vitamin-Rich Organ Meat in Every Serving, Skin and Coat Formulation, Adult Dogs, 10 Pounds Check Price
Instinct Freeze Dried...image Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Meals Grain Free Recipe Dog Food - Chicken, 25 oz. $54.99 ($35.19 / lb) Check Price

Dehydrated Raw (Commercial)

  • Food keeps fresh longer than regular raw but still maintains highly available nutrients since it’s not processed at high temperatures
  • Easier to store than fresh or frozen raw food
  • All water is removed, so not as convenient – need to add water before feeding

Brands to check out: Bravo Pet Foods, Nature’s Variety Instinct, Primal Freeze-Dried

Photo Title Buy
The Honest Kitchen...image The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Grain Free Dog Food – Complete Meal or Dog Food Topper – Chicken 4 lb (makes 16 lbs) Check Price
The Honest Kitchen...image The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Whole Grain Chicken Dog Food, 2 lb Box Check Price
Stella & Chewy's...image Stella & Chewy's Freeze Dried Raw Dinner Patties – Grain Free Dog Food, Protein Rich Stella’s Super Beef Recipe – 14 oz Bag Check Price
Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried...image Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw, Ultra-Rich Grain-Free Dry Dog Food for All Breeds and Life Stages with BC30 Probiotic for Digestive and Immune Health 13 Ounce (Pack of 1) Check Price
Addiction Outback Kangaroo...image Addiction Outback Kangaroo Feast Raw Alternative Dog Food - Gently Air-Dried Complete Meal or Dog Food Topper for Digestive and Skin and Coat Health, 2 lb Check Price

Raw Frozen (Commercial)

  • Convenient as it can be bought ahead of time and stored for months
  • Retains a high water content

Frozen raw food for Yorkie










  • Thawing improperly could lead to food spoilage

Brands to check out: Bravo Balance Raw, Primal Frozen, Vital Essentials

Photo Title Buy
Raw Paws Signature...image Raw Paws Signature Blend Pet Food for Dogs & Cats - Beef and Vegetables Recipe, 1-lb Rolls (20 Pack) - Fresh Pet Food Made in USA - Natural Dog Food Rolls - Raw Frozen Blend Dog & Cat Food Check Price
Raw Paws Signature...image Raw Paws Signature Blend Pet Food for Dogs & Cats – Beef Recipe, 8-oz Patties, 20-lb - USA Small-Batch Raw Frozen Dog Food - Frozen Raw Cat Food - Raw Food for Dogs, Grass-Fed Frozen Beef Dog Food Check Price
Tucker's Raw Frozen...image Tucker's Raw Frozen Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food, Turf & Surf Formula 14oz Check Price
Steve's Real Food...image Steve's Real Food Freeze-Dried Raw Nuggets 1.25# (Beef) Check Price
Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried...image Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw, Ultra-Rich Grain-Free Dry Dog Food for All Breeds and Life Stages with BC30 Probiotic for Digestive and Immune Health Check Price

Homemade (Raw or Cooked)

  • Owners have complete control over what goes into their dog’s food
  • Can eliminate ingredients that cause digestive upset or sensitivity
  • No preservatives, and uses fresh, whole ingredients that have excellent nutrient availability for your dog
  • Feeding raw bones can put your Yorkie at risk for bowel obstruction or perforation
  • Homemade diet formulas may not take into account the particular energy needs of toy breeds, particularly their tendency for developing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Diets made by owners themselves are almost never balanced nutritionally unless they’ve been formulated with the direct assistance of a veterinary nutritionistYorkie food made at Home





  • Imbalances in homemade diets can be particularly dangerous for puppies, affecting bone development as they grow
  • Homemade diets are a lot of work! Significant time, cost, and preparation are involved

Resources to check out:,

Although researching diets might seem like hard work, choosing the right food for your furry little friend will provide benefits for both of you far into the future. A high quality diet, though perhaps pricier or needing more time and effort, will be far more beneficial for your Yorkshire Terrier’s health (and your wallet!) throughout their lifetime.

Is it a bad thing that the dogs might ha by colorblindPICASO, on Flickr
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Dog Food (1) by AlishaV, on Flickr
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Homemade dog food by monicaewagner, on Flickr
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Grandpa’s frozen dog food by noktulo, on Flickr
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Cesar Dog Food [#2950] by I am I.A.M., on Flickr
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