The Yorkshire Terrier, otherwise and affectionately known as the Yorkie by pet enthusiasts, is one of the best breeds to have around due to their unique eating habits. Their eating style is as varied as the colors of the rainbow – some of them tend to be picky with their food while others will simply gobble down everything like a big dog breed.
If you keep a Yorkie, chances are, you’ve gone through many hiccups down the road when it comes to feeding them with the right amount of food and enforcing a proper feeding schedule for them to keep them healthy, strong, and happy.
With that said, there is no solid standard when it comes to feeding your Yorkie puppy because every puppy grows differently and has various preferences. Many factors come into play, which includes playtime routines, physical activities, age, type of food, availability of food, your own work/school/life schedules, and much more.
When choosing the right feeding schedule for your Yorkie puppy, keep in mind that every pup will have a different approach needed. However, just to help you out, we wrote this article to present some simple and basic guidelines so you can choose the appropriate food and the (what you think is the) right feeding schedule for your Yorkie puppy to stay healthy and happy.
How much to feed a Yorkie puppy?
A Yorkie needs about 150 to 200 calories a day, which translates to somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of their daily dog food. Like adult dogs, pups need their meals separated to avoid bloating and other digestive inconveniences. The amount should be divided into 2 to 4 meals a day.
However, when it comes to the exact measurement of calories, it all depends on various factors, such as age, food availability, health concerns, and the like. That’s why it is important to know about your Yorkie puppy’s weight, which can be easily done with a trip to the vet.
To help you figure out how much is too much for your Yorkie puppy, here are a few guidelines you can follow per puppy age and weight:
Below 4 weeks old (including a newborn)
During their early stages, puppies only need to depend on their mother’s milk to survive. Their mother dog’s milk is filled with sufficient calories that will give them the right amount of nutrients to grow healthy.
Yorkie puppies grow fast such that you’ll easily find them walking in a matter of a week or so. In this stage, they will usually weigh less than half a pound and only need to be nursed by their parent.
5 to 6 weeks old
The weaning process starts during this period. A Yorkie puppy will usually weigh around 1/2 to 1 1/2 pounds when they are 5 to 6 weeks old. Although they will still be fueled by nursing from their mother’s milk, this will slowly change since the mother Yorkie will most likely reduce nursing time.
By this period, you should start slowly switching your Yorkie to solid foods that are appropriate for them. During this time, you can try introducing mashed puppy food and small kibble that’s rated just right for their age. You can add water to soften it and make it easier to digest for the puppy.
The puppy (or puppies) might not eat it right away so it is good to just give them time and only put small amounts to test it out. You also need to put it every single day into their living area to get them used to it and eventually want to try out the new food.
When you start feeding your Yorkie puppy with solid food, there will be a mess all over the place – and that’s normal! Always have paper towels or any washcloth ready near their living quarters, especially if they have toys or a playground. Young as they are, puppies still don’t know that they are making a mess after eating from the food bowl.
With that said, although free-feeding is advisable for a Yorkie puppy during this stage, it will still depend on your puppy whether or not they like the food, and whether or not they will consume it immediately or wait for a few days. Getting your puppy accustomed to the food source will help lessen its fear.
When the Yorkie puppy becomes more interested in the food and is gobbling it properly, that is when you can adjust the food consistency by lessening the water and slowly switching into kibble. Around 6 weeks old, Yorkie puppies will probably munch dry kibble properly.
2 to 4 months old
Yorkie puppies around this stage will weigh 1 1/2 to 3 pounds and should be fed with around 175 to 200 calories of kibble. Since they are already used to solid foods without their mother’s milk (although nursing is still possible but only very minimal), solid dog food should already be their staple.
As a Yorkie is a small dog breed, free-feeding is more advisable during their puppy stage to avoid hypoglycemia, a condition that causes their blood sugar levels to go spiraling down quickly.
Consider giving your Yorkie puppy high-quality kibble that’s appropriate for their age. You can also get them to the vet for regular check-ups to ensure that they are being fed with the right food for their age.
When distributing food to your Yorkie puppy at this stage, use a measuring cup and do not make wild guesses! Look for a dry measuring cup for giving them the appropriate amount of kibble. You can also use a digital kitchen scale to help figure out how much food to give.
5 to 9 months old
During this time, Yorkies will be somewhat fully-grown so they will begin the transition from puppy food to adult dog food. This process should be done slowly to avoid digestive upsets and unwanted behaviors regarding food.
Yorkie puppies will have most of their bodily growth finished by this time but it can be easy to overfeed them due to being a small breed. However, with that in mind, not all Yorkie puppies are the same as some have better metabolism. But in general, you have to see for yourself which feeding schedule and style is best for your puppy.
To ensure that your puppy only gets the best quality food, consider talking to your vet to help with the transition from puppy to adult dog food. Puppies who tend to eat less, on the other hand, are still more suited to free-feeding – as long as someone is always watching over them.
At 9 months old, your Yorkie puppy will most likely weigh 3 to 5 pounds or more. They will need 175 to 200 calories a day, which is divided into 3 to 4 meals. By the time they turn into adults, the meals should only be around 150 to 175 calories a day, divided into 2 to 3 meals as most of them will weigh 5 to 7 pounds.
To prevent obesity issues, you have to take charge to avoid overfeeding, especially if your Yorkie likes to gobble their food.
Scheduled meals for a Yorkie pup will only be more applicable once they hit 3 months old or if they are already gobbling up their food. However, here’s a common schedule (simple blank chart) that you can fill up and follow when feeding a Yorkie puppy:
As you can see, your puppy will have 3 to 4 meals a day: breakfast (1), lunch (2), and dinner (1). Always keep in mind that 175 to 200 calories a day are recommended for a Yorkie pup from 3 to 5 pounds of weight to keep them healthy.
A Yorkie pup with a scheduled feeding routine will also help keep their bathroom breaks in order and predictable. This will help you to lessen the time and effort of having to clean their puppy place.
Yorkie puppies vary in terms of growth depending on their breed variety (toy, teacup, tiny toy) and also depending on how they weighed at birth. With that said, here’s a simple growth chart for finding out if your Yorkie puppy is on the right track when it comes to the ideal weight. This will help you figure out if your pup is underfed or overweight:
|Puppy age||Yorkie breed variety|
|Teacup||Tiny toy||Toy size|
|Weight at birth||2.5 oz||2.75 oz||3 oz||3.5 oz||4 oz||4.25 oz||4.5 oz||5 oz||5.5 oz||6 oz||6.5 oz|
|18 months||2 lbs.||2.5 lbs.||3 lbs.||3.5 lbs.||4 lbs.||4.5 lbs.||5 lbs.||5.5 lbs.||6 lbs.||6.5 lbs.||7 lbs.|
How to avoid overfeeding a Yorkie pup
Overfeeding a Yorkshire Terrier puppy is always a common mistake among first-time pet keepers. That’s because they are a small breed and free-feeding is a usual routine since they have to be fed from time to time to avoid hypoglycemia. Do know that it is possible to overfeed a Yorkie puppy so always be wary about how much food you give.
If you stick to our advised amount from above for their daily meals, your Yorkie pup will not suffer from health problems such as obesity and the like. It is a little tricky to figure out the right amount of food to give to a Yorkie pup due to the variety of breed temperaments and food attitudes.
For example, your Yorkie pup might be a gobbler while your neighbor’s Yorkie pup might be a picky eater. There is no exact standard but always watching over their feeding activity is already a plus point and preventive measure.
Always remember that when you are computing your total feed per day, include the table scraps (if any) and treats, especially if you perform reward-based training for them. Calories can also be found in such small amounts of food. This is very important for Yorkie puppies that like to gobble down large heaps of kibble (or wet food).
FAQs on Feeding a Yorkie Puppy
Here are the most commonly asked questions regarding feeding a Yorkie puppy:
What kind of food is best for Yorkie puppies?
Fortunately, many pet food manufacturers today have special dog food that’s meant for puppies. Some of these companies even manufacturer breed-specific dog food so you will surely find one that’s meant for your Yorkshire Terrier pup, especially from online stores.
When looking at the packaging, always consider the calorie count, which should be around 200 a day. While an adult Yorkie needs less than that, the reason why puppies need more calories is that they are growing fast and need all the nutrition that they can get.
If you do want to choose a good Yorkie puppy food, consider the following:
1. Has protein
When feeding pets, especially puppies, protein sources should be very present in their kibble. Protein-rich sources include chicken, turkey, fish (such as salmon), and the like. If your puppy isn’t allergic to eggs then they could also use it as a potential meat source.
Protein will help build their muscles as they grow so it’s good to have sufficient protein for your pup. Even though the Yorkie pup isn’t a big breed, they will still need their regular intake of protein from their food.
2. Omega fatty acids
These omega fatty acids will help your puppy to stay healthy against cancer and various immune system problems. Kibble or wet puppy food that contains fish oil will help them get their regular dose of omega fatty acids. Dogs can’t produce such acids on their own so they’ll need to get it from their food.
3. Sufficient fats
Puppies that are growing up need sufficient amounts of fats in their food to help keep their energy boosted. Fats are also important for Yorkie pups in the winter season to help protect their bodies from excessive cold.
The fat content in puppy food should be around 10 to 25% when they feast on dry kibble. Keep in mind that too much fat leads to obesity, just like in humans, so always watch your Yorkie puppy’s fat intake in their food.
4. Quality meat sources
The protein source should be from quality meat such as chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs. A plus point is if the meat source did not include by-products (crushed pieces of animal bones and whatnot) and if the livestock were taken care of in cage-free facilities.
Puppy kibble with additional livestock organs would help them get ample amounts of vitamins and minerals that aren’t often found in regular meat.
6. Easy to digest
Yorkie pups are small breeds so they’ll need food that’s easy for them to digest. Because such pups need to be fed from time to time to avoid hypoglycemia, they need to be fed more often than most dog breeds. By giving them kibble that’s small enough to be broken down, they’ll much it quickly and even transition smoother from nursing to weaning and eventually to full solid food.
7. Formulated for small breed puppies
As mentioned above, many manufacturers today have breed-specific dog food, as well as age-specific ones. If you read on the label of the puppy food, check the calories and the other features that make it okay for your Yorkie.
8. Doesn’t contain your dog’s allergens
Some puppies do develop allergies so you’ll need to scan your puppy food in case it contains certain allergen foods. Dog allergies will be advised by your vet on how to handle and which food ingredients to avoid.
Grain-free food is a commonly-marketed kind of dog food but you should ask your vet if your Yorkshire Terrier puppy is advisable for such food. Grain-free food is only appropriate for breeds that have gluten sensitivity. Fortunately, most Yorkie pups will do well even with whole grains.
My puppy won’t eat. What should I do?
There are many reasons why your puppy isn’t taking your food (yet). Here are sure-fire ways to help them out:
- Use a slow transition. Always ensure that there is smooth between their old food and their new food with gradual portions. Each day, mix a little bit of the new food with the old food and then gradually raise the portion of that new food until they get used to it. Gradual transitioning will also help lessen digestive upsets.
- Lessen treats. Try not to give your pup some treats during the transition process or even in weaning.
- Add moisture. Consider adding water to their kibble for easier digestion, especially since a Yorkie puppy is a small breed.
- Try hand-feeding. When you are hand-feeding your Yorkshire puppy, it will help build trust and also keep them healthy, so it’s hitting two birds with one stone. Hand-feeding is also a great bonding activity with your pup.
Can I give my Yorkie pup a cup of food a day?
Not exactly – a cup of dog food has about 375 calories, which is too much for them. Instead, take a proper measuring cup and narrow down their average daily consumption to between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of kibble.
Of course, different kibble brands have different calories so pay attention to their label to know the true calorie count. Ensuring the right amount of calories per day for your Yorkie puppy will keep them away from overweight issues.
As a whole, the process of feeding your Yorkie puppy is a little different from most pups since they are a small breed and have a varied way of approaching their new food. However, what’s similar is that they need to take the process slowly to avoid behavior problems and being scared of the new food.
When in doubt, you can just contact your vet for any concerns regarding feeding your Yorkie puppy should they run into any problems, such as possible food allergies, weight issues, and the like.