How To Choose The Best Dog Food For Yorkies
What is the best dog food for Yorkies? Yorkies are cute little fluff balls, but we need to be aware of what we can feed them and what we cannot. Because of their size and metabolism, they would for example not typically have a diet similar to what a Pit Bull might eat.
Yorkies are a small breed, so we need to figure out how much they need to eat and how often in order to support their metabolism (smaller dogs’ metabolism differs from larger dog breeds’ metabolism, and need feed accordingly).
The Best Dog Food For Yorkies When Health Is An Issue
When it comes to allergies, there's lots to love about Yorkies. Not only are these dogs' coats hypoallergenic, the breed itself has few issues with allergies. When allergy issues do occur, they tend to be triggered by factors such as the environment and food.
Working with your veterinarian, environmental allergies can be relatively easy to diagnose and treat.
Food allergies however, are another story. While an increasing number of dog owners are receiving a food allergy diagnosis, true food allergies are fairly rare in dogs. An increasing number of vets now think that both dogs and cats that are being diagnosed with food allergies may actually have food intolerances. Your poor suffering Yorkie won't much care about the distinction.
Both conditions result in unpleasant symptoms for sufferers. In either case, vomiting and diarrhea commonly occur. Other symptoms that can indicate that a true food allergy is occurring include:
- Skin issues
- Ear infections
But despite these additional clues, a definitive food allergy diagnosis is very difficult to come by. Food allergy testing can be done with blood and "scrape" (skin) testing. Scrape testing involves anesthesia, which can be both stressful and risky for small animals. It's also not as effective as an elimination diet for allergy testing.
This type of testing is also recommended to verify food intolerances. What does an elimination diet involve? Your Yorkie will be placed on a diet that will have him/her consuming foods that it has never been eaten before. If there are no adverse reactions to this new (usually venison or duck combined with green peas) diet, it's assumed that something in the previous one triggered the allergy or intolerance. Your veterinarian will want to keep your Yorkie on the elimination diet for a solid four to six weeks.
I know it's hard, but the diet must be strictly adhered to in order to see results. This means picking up the dishes of any other pets to keep the Yorkie from snacking. Any treats during this time should be vet approved hypoallergenic ones.
After the elimination diet period ends, what is the best dog food for Yorkies going forward? Assuming that the elimination diet has confirmed a food problem, you'll have three choices:
- Keep the Yorkie on a special vet prescribed diet
- Purchase only foods that don't contain ingredients of the previous diet
- Prepare special meals from scratch
Of these choices, the first is probably the best in terms of convenience and safety. Be warned that a more limited diet can lead to food boredom. You may have to change hypoallergenic food brands more frequently. And it's possible for pets to develop allergies to hypoallergenic foods. You should expect to work closely with your vet when working with foods for either allergy or intolerance problems.
Like other small breeds, Yorkies can also be prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and urinary tract disease. The best dog food for Yorkies in order to avoid these issues includes proteins, complex carbohydrates, and simple sugars among its ingredients. And rather than have your Yorkie wolf down one or two larger meals during the day, try feeding smaller amounts throughout the day.
The Best Dog Food For Yorkies In Terms Of Nutrition
There are a number of "nutritional" pet foods on the market these days. And the concept of such food remains fairly controversial. Many veterinarians feel that multiple generations of pets must be observed before it can be determined if a manufactured and controlled diet benefits health and increases longevity.
While considering what's the best dog food for Yorkies, consider this. Even many "all natural" and "special diet" foods contain many dyes and fillers. These and other ingredients such as soy are now believed to be the causes of many food allergies.
Because of this, some pet food experts are now suggesting that you allow nature to be your food guide. Admittedly, it would be a disaster if your little Yorkie took to the woods and attempted to "live off the land". But your pup's distant ancestors ate mainly meat, and your Yorkie is genetically hardwired to most benefit from a high protein diet.
But not all of your dog's nutritional needs will be met by a specific meat, or even by meats alone. If you've decided that the best dog food for Yorkies is what you prepare, take a look at the dog "food pyramid" below to see what needs to be included.
This should comprise more than 50 percent of any dog's diet. These meats should consist of red meat, poultry (with skins removed), organs (like the heart and liver), and fish. Any meat given should not include fatty portions. If including "meaty" bones here, beware choking and cutting hazards.
Highly nutritious and safe to eat every day. Our little Yorkie pals should eat only half an egg or less on a daily basis.
Avoid cow's milk. Most dogs can tolerate goat's milk. Plain yogurt is an even better option. And while fatty cheeses should be avoided, ricotta and cottage cheese are good choices.
Dogs love fruits such as apples, berries, melons, and bananas. They can be served raw. Do not give your pups either grapes or raisins, as such food causes renal (kidney) failure in dogs.
While vegetables are not an essential part of a dog's diet, they're a good source of fiber. For digestive purposes, vegetables should be cooked.
Never make grains more than 50 percent of a dog's diet. "Good" grains include oatmeal and barley. Dogs like cooked rice, and it's a great way to settle an upset stomach. But rice has no nutritional value for dogs and should be served very sparingly.
So have you decided that the best dog food for Yorkies is an "au naturel" one?
If so, the daily doggie menu would look like:
- Two to three ounces of meat
- One half or less of a hard boiled egg
- One ounce of a fruit or vegetable
- One half ounce or less of a dairy product
When you looked at this this menu, you may have had the same initial reaction that I did: "I don't eat this well on a regular basis!" And aside from the fact that the constant nutrient calculating, shopping, and preparation may not fit into humans' busy lifestyles, there are other reasons why this "cave dog" diet might not be the best dog food for Yorkies.
One drawback is that many preparers leave important daily nutrients out of these meals. This means that they try to compensate with supplements, leading to other problems. And some dogs have medical issues that make closely mandated prescription diets a must. So while a natural diet is doable for those who can do it properly, it certainly isn't the only way to feed your Yorkie nutritiously.
Start by regarding the basic needs of smaller dogs. Remember that they need to consume more calories per pound than larger breeds. This is especially important for puppies. Consider the effect that food products you're feeding to your Yorkie may have on its skin and hair health. You may not be showing this dog, but you still don't want to subject yourself or your pet to a dull matted coat and itchy, flaking skin.
Yorkies are fortunate not to suffer from some of the aging problems of other breeds. But this is a breed that is prone to urinary tract issues, a common condition in many aging dogs. Be sure to consult with your vet before changing foods for this and other medical reasons. Otherwise, the best dog food for Yorkies in good health is one with a high protein content and few carbohydrates.
What Ingredients Should And Shouldn't Be In Dog Foods?
One of the drawbacks of commercial pet foods is that manufacturers are permitted to make substitutions if they can show that they can reach nutritional minimums in doing so. So if a manufacturer can reach "X" amount of a protein percentage by substituting a vegetable instead of an animal protein, they'll do so as it's far cheaper for them.
As a result, you'll see lots of soy being used in pet food. Unfortunately, soy is now believed to be a leading cause of pet food allergies. So pay close attention to ingredients on labels. Ones that you want to see (in order of importance) include:
- High quality meat "meal" (Avoid meat meal that includes the words “by-products” in its name or fails to identify the specific source animal.)
- Fish or fish meal
- Fruits, vegetables
- Ascorbic acid, vitamins, minerals
Ingredients that you don't want to see:
- Brewers rice
- Soy flour
Is The Best Dog Food For Yorkies Wet Or Dry?
The small mouths of Yorkies means both tooth crowding and cleaning issues. As a result, dry kibble is recommended to prevent tooth decay. Both wet and dry foods provide equal amounts of nutrition. Wet food can be temporarily helpful if a dog is suffering from an upset stomach.
Who doesn't like treats? And whether you're a human or a pet, treats can be very useful both to produce certain kinds of behavior and as a reward. But some are better for pets than others. As with foods, avoid ones that contain lots of dyes, cereal, and soy.
Good ones contain large amounts of meat and don't forget that you can make your own healthy pet treats. Just remember that even healthy treats are not substitutes for food.
So what is the best dog food for Yorkies? Start by finding a good food brand appropriate for the dog size in general, and modify according to your specific dog's needs. Be willing to check labels thoroughly, follow dog food news to be aware of trends and problems, and keep your veterinarian informed of food changes and issues.
Be aware that you may have to change "best" foods several times over a dog's lifespan. Do slowly and with patience. The results will not only be an avoidance of food woes, but a great looking and healthy Yorkie.