Ah, the Yorkshire Terrier. What a cute yet classic animal that is not only timeless but a masterful, energetic and ever-so-cute member of any family.
These lovely little creature from the Toy Breed classification of canine are just too much to handle in terms of the adorable factor.
Their iconic look and standing in the dog world are simply unmatched, and every dog lover can place them immediately just by hearing the word Yorkie.
They are a popular breed that can have a lifespan moving well into 15 years plus, depending on how well these fantastic fur babies are cared for, and their diet factors largely into how long they live.
How does diet matter so much?
Being that Yorkies are of the Toy Breed, their size makes it so everything in their environment affects their organs, skin, and stomachs on a far more concentrated scale than larger dogs.
Think of how giving a salty dog treat might be okay if your dog weighs 50 pounds, but another smaller breed might become extremely thirsty with one bite of the same.
Now amplify that by twenty.
Because we are talking about a delightfully little doggy that typically weighs no more than 7 pounds to make it into dog shows and up to 15 pounds before getting into an overweight territory, the Yorkshire Terrier diet must be dialed in just so.
See what you should watch for in a dog food here and what dog foods rank best on our list for Yorkies by reading on below.
What Makes a Good Dog food?
As we already reviewed, and your vet and breeder may have reiterated for you, there are several things to look for in suitable dog food for your tiny new little buddy.
We have our rating system too, and we want you to know what matters most when we review dry dog foods for Yorkies.
So what makes for the best dry dog food for a Yorkie?
All canines need protein in their diets –yes, this is important because dogs are natural carnivores.
Dry dog food comes with all kinds of proportions of nutritional value, and you need to be aware of which are best for your dog as per their breed.
The measures vary depending on your Yorkie’s age too.
For instance, an adult Yorkie will do well with 18%-24% Crude Protein Content in their food, which has its own caveats.
Because Yorkies are really small, so are their organs, which means if yours has any liver issues or this could be a concern in the future, ensure this stays on the lower side at no more than 18% Crude Protein Content.
Puppies are way different.
Their growing bodies go through some pretty rapid changes within a very short time –and being that these little balls of energy are so very active, they will need up to 28% Crude Protein Content in their kibble.
This helps their muscles grow nice and strong while also supplying the caloric intake and other micronutrients they need for proper brain and circulatory system development.
Yes, fats are super important too! Don’t overlook them simply because we associate fat with obesity and unhealthy, artery-clogging experience.
A lot of the fats in dog food are linked to the animal proteins in their formulas.
But that’s not all.
This measurement is also comprised of essential fatty acids like Omega 3 and 6.
These fats in your dry dog food aid inadequate brain development in puppies as well as maintaining proper balance in your Yorkie’s brain, skin, heart, and coat health right into their senior years.
As a puppy, your Yorkshire Terrier should be getting a Crude Fat Content of 17% in their dry dog food while adult Yorkies should have a portion of food with 9-15% fat.
But be careful.
Having an excessive amount of fat can be way too much of a load on your Yorkie’s organs, so review your dog food’s guaranteed analysis to ensure they get what they need.
If you’re like us, you want the very best for your canine companion.
Because our pets are a part of the family, it’s important to feed them as such.
We wouldn’t give our kids garbage foods that contain impossible-to-pronounce ingredients, chemicals and preservatives not fit for human consumption.
So why consider it okay for your Yorkie?
The answer is simple. Don’t.
Give your Yorkie a dry dog food with minimal preservatives and weird-sounding chemicals.
Make sure there are nutrients in their foods that they need and ensure that they aren’t ingesting items in their dog food that could make their stomachs upset or anything they’re allergic to.
You must be attentive with this one too.
Some foods look good on top, but the list gets jumbled as you move further down, and it can be easy to overlook foods, additives and other ingredients that trigger sensitivities and allergies in your dog.
Bottom line is this:
Look for natural foods, whole foods and healthy ingredients that provide a well-balanced diet.
Dental health is immensely important for dogs, and as has been said before, Toy Breeds are affected by health issues on a more concentrated scale.
When we look at dry dog foods, it’s important to consider that crunchy food is going to contribute to excellent gum and dental health for Yorkies.
It’s not just the crunch that matters.
Toy breeds must be able to comfortably ingest their food, so there are dry dog foods specifically sized to fit a smaller mouth like that of the Yorkshire Terrier –otherwise, they will be uncomfortable or even unpleasant to chomp on.
Smaller kibble that has a good crunch is perfect for a Yorkie.
All pet owners out there would love to save a little on their dog food.
Price can be a concern for some dog lovers.
Sometimes because of the size of their pack of dogs at home and how much food they go through while others are generally concerned about affordability because they have to.
Regardless of the reasoning, it’s important to also consider if this is going to benefit your Yorkie to have an affordable dry dog food if it doesn’t offer them the nutritional value.
Always remember that affordability can be a concern, but so too should your pets’ health.
Yorkies can be picky eaters. In fact, they will simply stop eating if they dislike food, which can be for any number of reasons.
However, if you can ensure your pet enjoys the taste of particular dog food, you may be closer to winning this battle than you think.
Picky eaters can even get bored of the same food for too long, so if you find your dog loves the size or shape of a certain food, but they tire of the same flavor day after day, it can be beneficial to seek out new varieties of flavor in the same brand or type of dry dog food.
You would be surprised how many come in multiple flavors. Just try not to give your Yorkie something with too many artificial flavorings that can be unhealthy for them.
Choosing the Most Appropriate Food for a Yorkie
Yorkshire Terriers have a lot of stuff in common with other dogs when it comes to what they shouldn’t eat.
You can follow all the regular rules of not feeding them garlic, onions, nuts, cooked bones, alcohol, chocolate, and bread dough, etc.
But even though it seems that simple, it really isn’t.
Yorkies are sensitive to other foods and can have some pretty nasty allergies as well.
This has to do with size, extra details, and little quirks to pay attention to, which you can learn more about right here.
Examining the Yorkie’s Dietary Needs
Aside from those foods above, there are other things to keep out of your Yorkie’s food dish.
Whether because of food sensitivities or because it has been found that these foods are common allergens for most Yorkies, keep an eye out for these foods in your dry dog food or as additions to treats.
- Beef (Some Yorkshire Terriers are sensitive to this protein, and it is heavy on the stomach compared to leaner protein sources).
- Dairy (A lot of dogs can’t handle dairy products, but little dogs can get extremely sore stomachs from this ingredient even in small amounts).
- Corn, Wheat, Soy (If you give any grain as a source of carbohydrate to your Yorkie, make it brown rice, which small dogs tolerate quite well).
- Animal Byproducts (Can be loaded with nondigestible components that are difficult for Toy Breeds to pass since the stomach does not process them).
- Synthetic Preservatives (A fresh diet is nice, but when giving a dry dog food, go for something that uses naturally-sourced preservatives instead of stuff made up in a laboratory).
- Artificial flavorings or enhancers like Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and dyes like FD&C Blue No. 2 AND FD&C Red No. 40 (much like with humans, these can make cuddly critters sick, causing vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and other digestive issues).
- Human-grade nutrition supplements (contain lethal doses of vitamins and minerals not suitable for animals that may cause overdose).
It looks like a lot to remember, but after looking over a few labels on foods and noting a few key elements to watch out for, you’ll get the hang of it quicker than you thought.
Concerning Feeding Toy Breeds as a Whole
Toy Breeds need more attention to their diets because of their size. It can’t be mentioned enough. There are things that hit them way harder than others.
Salty snacks and treats are a big no-no. These cause dehydration in even larger dogs, so imagine being a 6 or 7 lb. animal and how bad that can be.
Just like how salt is harder on smaller dogs, so can unhealthy fat.
Dogs shouldn’t be fed any more than 10% of their diet from table scraps, and we would go further and say that giving them closer to 0% is even better.
If you do happen to give them any meat from the table, trim off any fats, strip turkey of its skin and don’t give them ham (loaded in both salt and fat since it is brined and very greasy).
The truth is that when Toy Breeds have that kind of load on their system from things like excess unhealthy fat, it can cause inflammation of the pancreas.
Although suspect, there is an additive in most dog foods that haven’t been banned or studied enough to prove harmful to canines but the FDA has forbidden its use in Cat food due to its causing Heinz Body Anemia.
It’s called Propylene Glycol, and there are dog owners with lawsuits on brands of dog food who are not convinced it hasn’t been linked to organ damage in their smaller breeds of dogs.
No one officially deemed it unsafe, but McGill University has cautioned that pet owners can and should steer clear until there is unrefuted proof it isn’t causing small dogs’ premature death.
The Best 5 Dry Dog Foods for Yorkies
Energetic little furballs like Yorkies don’t need mountains of food, but you will want to give them one of the best foods out there.
Whether it’s our pick for most affordable dry dog food, best protein content or all-natural food choice, give your adult Yorkie 150-200 calories of one of our top picks in two meals per day.
Puppies will need a lot more at 400 calories for their high-energy and rapid growth in three meals per day while senior dogs only need about 100 calories daily in dry dog food because of their slowing activity levels.
Here those foods are!
Best Puppy Food Pick
Acana Puppy Small Breed
Protein Content: 4/5
Fat Content: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.4/5
Formulated for small breeds, Acana’s Puppy Small Breed is a fantastic pick for its quality of ingredients, which includes protein from free-run chicken and whole eggs.
There are tons of other great vegetables, fruits, and supplements containing nutrients needed to help form all the muscle, brain and skin health your Yorkie pup can’t make up for when they’re older, which is why we love this food.
It’s also quite affordable considering its quality.
The Crude Protein Content in Acana’s Puppy Small Breed is quite high at 33% while the fat content is also higher than we would like to see at 20%, so it would be nicer to see this lower considering how many calories a Yorkie pup should take in each day.
Check out the details on the Acana site here.
Most Affordable Yorkie Food
Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Grain-Free Turkey Meal & Pea Recipe
Protein Content: 5/5
Fat Content: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.3/5
Extremely affordable at just under $10 for a 5-lb bag and totally dialed in when it comes to its numbers for Protein Content and Fat Content in its Guaranteed Analysis, Rachael Ray’s Nutrish Just 6 Grain-Free Turkey Meal & Pea Recipe is touted for being so great for fur babies with allergies and food sensitivities.
All while being super easy on the wallet.
So what gives?
This natural dry dog food for Yorkies isn’t specifically made for Toy Breed dogs, so it might not be easy for all Yorkies to chomp down on if they’re on the smaller side.
In addition, the first and only meat ingredient other than the natural pork flavor is turkey meal and not actual turkey meat.
So although it is grain-free, we would have liked it better if it had actual meat instead of meat meal in it.
Have a look at this and other Nutrish products on their website here.
Best Protein Content Choice
AvoDerm Small Breed Limited Ingredient Diet Revolving Menu Lamb Recipe
Protein Content: 5/5
Fat Content: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
The fantastic thing about AvoDerm’s Small Breed Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb Recipe is its fantastic good fat content and protein content.
They’re in complete symphony with each other as well as with the guidelines for your Yorkie as an adult dog at 23% Crude Protein Content and 13% Crude Fat Content.
This comes from avocado and other great sources of Omega fatty acids, which all dogs need for healthy skin, coats and brain function.
Another valuable part of the mix here is its size, which is perfect for Toy Breed dogs, who absolutely need smaller kibble for their tiny mouths. In addition, this formula is a part of a revolving menu program where you can mix it with other foods in the line or rotate it out for another recipe if your Yorkshire Terrier gets bored easily or is a picky eater.
The cons with this food…
This dry dog food for Yorkies is a bit more on the pricy side, averaging about $20 for a 4-lb. bag.
It also has a pretty long ingredients list that isn’t all-meat protein sources and does include some meat meal. It just goes to show; Natural doesn’t necessarily mean all-natural.
Visit the AvoDerm website to see which other revolving menu mixes there are for your Yorkie.
Best Organic/All-Natural Yorkie Food
Whole Earth Grain-Free Small Breed Recipe with Salmon & Whitefish
Protein Content: 5/5
Fat Content: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.8/5
With an all-natural ingredient list that’s tough to beat, the perfect size kibble for Yorkies, the best protein and fat content ratios at 26% to 13% and a price at around $25 for a 12-lb. bag, it’s pretty hard to beat Whole Earth’s Grain-Free Small Breed Recipe with Salmon & Whitefish.
This food has all the perfect ingredients for making sensitive dogs lick their chops when it’s dinner time while also catering to all their nutritional needs, and it has a good flavor.
The only thing we can say about Whole Earth’s dry dog food that could work against it?
Some Yorkies might get bored of this flavor and want others, which are available but might not be as fantastic in terms of protein level or Omegas, and your dog might crave a different shape or size of kibble if they get bored.
See all the delicious details of this all-natural dry dog food for Yorkshire Terriers here.
Top Dry Dog Food for Senior Yorkies
Diamond Naturals Senior Dog Chicken, Rice & Oatmeal Formula
Protein Content: 4/5
Fat Content: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.2/5
The inclusion of supplements such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin, imperative for joint health in a Yorkie’s senior years, in addition to an emphasis on carbohydrates like brown rice and oatmeal as top ingredients in Diamond Naturals Senior dry dog food, make it a frontrunner for your little furball.
This blend also has a fantastic price at $25 for 18 lbs.
The things that this dry dog food for a senior dog lack is few, but still key.
For example, because it includes its carbs from grain sources, if your Yorkie has an issue with oats or rice, this is not going to work well for them.
Secondly, there should be a bit less protein and fat in this food considering it is a senior dog formula while the fiber should be higher.
There is also no option for a senior dog in the Toy Breed classification, so we don’t know if it would be the gentlest on your aging dog’s gums and teeth, which could mean the need to balance it out with a wet food or crush it a bit so the kibble is a tad smaller.
Have a look to judge how suitable this food is for your senior Yorkie here on the Diamond Pet website.
Best Overall Dry Dog Food Choice for Yorkies is…
Whole Earth Grain-Free Small Breed Recipe with Salmon & Whitefish
Yes, that’s right. The leading contender here is the all-natural option with its formidable Crude protein Content, well-within range fat measurements, affordability, high-quality ingredients and supplements and kibble size that’s perfectly set up for your Yorkie to chew on without difficulty thanks to its small breed formula.
This recipe is grain-free, doesn’t contain all the nasty additives, dyes or other things some pet owners might consider dangerous, and it isn’t hiding any nasty stuff behind trademarking or tricky labels.
The healthy fats are great for a Yorkshire Terrier’s signature coat and help cut down on issues with skin problems while keeping their mind sharp well into their later years.
Special Food Choices for Your Yorkie
Sometimes you must go against the grain and make not-so-desirable decisions like feeding your dog a few treats instead of some pieces of carrot or giving them a bit of wet food when you know their dental hygiene is going to benefit more from dry food alone.
If you must go with walking that line, here are the recommendations we have for you.
Best Wet Dog Food Choice
Halo Small Breed Healthy Weight Salmon and Venison Recipe for Dogs
We still don’t think Toy Breed canines such as Yorkies should take part in ingesting wet food if pet lovers can help it.
There are times when it is necessary such as to supplement a picky dog’s diet, help add some softness to your senior dog’s kibble if they have weakening teeth or to give a dry food some flavor when your dog is just downright bored.
We like Halo Small Breed Healthy Weight Salmon and Venison Recipe for Dogs.
It gives your Yorkie a healthy dose of meat. That’s right, not meat and meat meal. It also has a great flavor and healthy Omegas thanks to salmon.
That’s not all.
It’s made for small breed dogs, which means it caters to the caloric needs and dietary restrictions of your dog with no grains and no nasty additives.
Have a look at the details on Halo’s website here.
Top Pick for Doggy Treat
Wellness Petite Treats Soft Mini-Bites in Turkey, Pomegranate & Ginger
We give them to our dogs for training purposes and as a neat little snack for doing new tricks or for a little treat.
Hence the name treats. Just because that’s what they are doesn’t mean we should expect them to be junk food.
Any good dog treat should be just like dog food, providing nutrients, a good texture, flavor, and the right size without choking hazard.
We found one that’s exactly what your Yorkie needs and wants!
Wellness Petite Treats Soft Mini-Bites in Turkey, Pomegranate & Ginger.
They have a great taste, very little sugar, the perfect size for Toy Breeds, soft-texture, no dyes, antioxidants from pomegranate and ginger, which has a slew of benefits from anti-inflammatory properties to boosting digestive health in a dog with a sensitive stomach.
Take a look at all the info on these Yorkie treats here.
Now that you know all the best dry dog foods for your Yorkshire Terrier no matter which stage of life they’re in, we hope that you can make a far better decision as to what to feed your dog to help prolong their life and keep them happy and healthy the whole way through.
Of course, sometimes there are additional things like rare allergies and other issues no one foresees when they get a new pet, but with the links to each food, you might find other great substitutes or additional recipes that might be just the ticket for your Yorkie if you find poultry is a problem or that you can’t give them something else in these foods.
Just remember, your dog is trusting you to make the best choices for them –since they will eat nearly anything you put in front of them, so with these tips and a list of the best dry dog foods for your Yorkie, we know you’ll have a content little cuddly creature for years to come!
Is it True That Dogs are Being Poisoned by Propylene Glycol in Some Dog Foods? Joe Schwarcz PhD, McGill University Office for Science and Society 20 Mar 2017, accessed 17 January 2019,
Foods My Yorkie Can Eat, PetCareRX14 Jun 2017, accessed 17 January 2019,
Nutrition for Yorkshire Terriers, A Complete Guide, YorkieAdmin 9 May 2017, accessed 18 January 2019,
Dangerous Yorkshire Terrier Foods to Avoid, Sharda Baker 2019, accessed 18 January 2019,