Yorkshire Terrier Diet & Meal Plan Advice
By Hungry Bark | September 25, 2021
As a breed, Yorkshire Terriers are in the “toy” category defined by being diminutive with all the energy, tenacity, and feistiness from food allergies and preferences to nutritional needs at various life stages typical of larger terriers yet only weighs 7 pounds.
Due to their diminutive stature, Yorkies are one of the most popular dog breeds in large urban settings, as they are affectionately known.
Yorkies are also known to have long, full lives and are low-allergens even with their long, flowing coats.
To ensure a long, happy life, pet parents must provide enough exercise and proper nutrition for all the life stages of their Yorkie.
Like people, all dogs have a personality, moods, likes, and dislikes, including food. Tastes and preferences change over time, so what your pup eats at one stage of its life may differ down the road. Keeping in mind all the personality and nutrition needs should guide you in selecting the best meal plan for optimal health.
One of the most common mistakes that people make is that they feed their dogs just anything that sounds good. But food labels can be misleading. For example, “Chicken Entree” sounds delicious, right?
The truth is that wording such as “Chicken Entree” doesn’t mean that the meal plan is all chicken; instead, it derives a small percent of nutrition from chicken and that there are additives and fillers included.
Keep reading as we’ll discuss the benefits of a holistic approach to your Yorkie’s health, and examine how to read between the lines with a food label, as well as learn how to find the best meal plan you can.
The Importance Of Getting Enough Exercise
One of the most important roles we have as pet parents is to provide the safest environment for your Yorkies.
Every dog breed needs a combination of exercise, bonding, regular veterinarian check-ups, and proper nutrition to live a long life.
Some pet parents believe that a Yorkie doesn’t need as much exercise as a larger breed due to its stature.
Not true! In fact, Yorkies should get approximately 30 minutes of vigorous activity a day.
The benefits of exercise are the same as it is for people.
- Aids In Digestion: Daily exercise will improve your dog’s appetite and assist it with digestion which can be causes of agitation, stress, and uncomfortableness in dogs that don’t get enough exercise.
- Increases Cardiovascular And Respiratory Function: Daily exercise will improve your pet’s heart and lung health, which will help its body maintain overall health and boost the immune system.
- Helps Weight Management: Just like people, sedentary lifestyles can impact their weight, but also heavier weight is known to impact cardiovascular health, including heart disease.
- Increases Flexibility: Movement is critical to maintaining joint health and flexibility, especially as your Yorkie ages.
- Improves Mental Function: Dogs that are high in anxiety have little ability to focus or respond in positive behaviors. Exercise calms its mind and allows them to be less agitated and more adaptive to your instructions.
- Maintains And Builds Muscle: Building and strengthening your Yorkie’s muscles are crucial for overall health and wellbeing, especially in aging pets. Daily vigorous activity is one of the best tools available for you to build your strength and endurance.
- Correct Behavioral Issues: As your Yorkie can only communicate by its actions when it misbehaves, it’s a symptom of anxiety, lack of bonding, or some other mood. Daily exercise will calm its mind, allow your pet to be happier, and improve its behaviors to match your expectations.
With a proper amount of daily exercise, your pet’s health will improve, your bonds together will increase, you’ll be happier, and your dog will be healthier.
Exercise also has the added benefits of discovery and socialization for your pet. Dogs instinctively explore and smell their surrounding environments to find threats and food sources. It’s one of the primary ways dogs interact with their world, and getting daily exercise allows them to discover smells, opens their minds to the world around them, and helps them have a better concept about the world in which they live.
Depending on where you live, we have a few suggestions for daily exercise that will stimulate your Yorkie, allow them to interact with their world, and gain a peace-of-mind along the way.
Walks: As previously discussed, the benefits of daily walks allow your Yorkie to explore their immediate environments as well as get some exercise in the process. Daily walks are also a great way to work together on expected behaviors and reinforce the bond between pet and pet parent.
Hikes: If you have the opportunity, take your Yorkie on a hike. Sure their coats may get dirty, but cleaning them is a bonding ritual for you and it, so see that as a function of better relationships. Getting out of your immediate neighborhood is a great way to engage your pet’s exercise needs while letting them discover a new world around them.
Dog Park: A great way for your Yorkie to learn social skills and get a good amount of exercise is to take them to a dog park. Dogs are social by nature, so taking them to a dog park where they can pack with other dogs, run, and wrestle, is excellent. In a short 30-minute dog park adventure, your Yorkie will be more than tired afterward.
Swimming: For older dogs or Yorkies that experience joint issues, swimming is a low-impact opportunity to get cardiovascular benefits of exercise without the hard impact of traditional walking and running. Some terriers enjoy being in the water while others don’t, so this is an individual option for pet parents.
The Type Of Nutrition Your Yorkshire Terrier Needs
Yorkshire Terriers are as different from other dogs as they are within their breed. From food allergies and preferences to nutritional needs at various life stages, there are a few things to consider when deciding on the best meal plan for your Yorkie.
Determining the right type of nutrition, considering your dog’s age and weight, whether your dog has any food-borne allergies or even intolerance, to the level of daily activity your Yorkshire is engaged in should all factor into your meal planning.
How Active Is Your Yorkshire
Active dogs require much more protein, carbohydrates, and fats than those that are sedentary and inactive. This is similar to the difference between an office worker and a professional athlete. An athlete requires a much higher concentration of calories than someone who has fewer demands on their bodies.
Is Your Dog Allergic Or Intolerant To Types Of Foods
Dogs that develop allergies, especially food-borne allergies, are prone to more allergies developing than others. Digestive issues and excessive itching are forms of allergic reactions to food, and if your Yorkie is exhibiting these, it’s best to discuss with your dog’s veterinarian to ascertain the cause.
Your Dog’s Age And Weight
Like people, dogs at different stages of life require different nutritional needs for a well-balanced diet. Additionally, your dog’s weight and activity levels should factor into the portions you offer it at feeding time.
Dry Food Vs. Wet
Some dogs prefer dry food, while others prefer wet food. There’s been some debate over whether one is more beneficial than another, but in general dry food is easier to store and won’t be an issue if your dog isn’t hungry at feeding time.
Why Your Yorkshire Terrier’s Food Ingredients Are Important
Not every dog food offers the same range of nutritional benefits, so learning to read the ingredient list is an essential step in determining the best meal plan for your Yorkie.
The purity of food that you offer your Yorkie should be top-notch for proper nutritional value and should mix with the appropriate combination of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, or in other words, the types of macronutrients needed.
Macronutrients are fats, proteins, and carbohydrates and should make up the bulk of your meal plan. These macronutrients are the most used energy sources for your pet, and they should list their sources clearly on a product label.
Ideally, the best meal plan will include Superfoods such as pure protein sources like chicken, lamb, turkey, or salmon, rather than listed as “meat meal,” which is an unclear source and may have fillers or additives that may cause health issues with your pet.
Superfood protein sources are essential because food-borne allergies may arise from those fillers and preservatives in “meat meal” lists. As discussed, food-borne allergies can stimulate the immune system response and lead to other allergies or health issues.
In rare circumstances, food intolerance may occur, which is a more severe type of allergy that may lead to digestive issues in your Yorkie.
Carbohydrates act as an energy source over time, meaning that as the body breaks down, it relies on carbohydrates to provide sustained energy.
Fats work as a delayed energy source and are crucial for extended time between feeding.
Protein serves to build muscles, aids with brain function, and provides the body with energy throughout the day, so the protein source is crucial for optimal performance and health.
The goal then is to offer only the purest sources of superfoods of protein, carbohydrates, and fats derived from a singular reference to maintain proper energy levels, muscle growth, muscular and joint maintenance, as well as a healthy sheen in the coat.
Benefits of custom nutrition for your Yorkshire Terrier include:
- Stronger muscle tone
- Repairs and maintains the skeletal-muscle system
- Healthy bones and teeth
- Increased energy levels
- Improves digestion and waste
- Enhances the immune system
- Better sleep patterns
- Healthier coats
Are you ready to find out the best meal plan for your Yorkie? Take 1-2 minutes to complete our Custom Meal Planner and our team of vets and pet nutritionists will create a Custom Meal Plan made just for them.
How To Read The Ingredients Label
As an industry, dog-food is highly regulated and has strict standards of what can be included, yet labeling laws allow for some gray areas. When you read an ingredient label, the types of words used will be revelatory to the kind of ingredients and sources of the foods included.
Reading the ingredient label can be confusing and stressful when you’re trying to make the right decision.
To best understand the food label, you need to know the language used by food manufacturers first.
First, understand that food labels list the ingredients to their overall weight in the product, meaning that foods listed first make up a more significant percentage of the food than those listed further.
Next, you need to know that there are four main ways to describe the nutrition values in a food label. Those ways that food is listed are the 95% rule, the 25% rule, the “With” rule, and the flavor rule.
95% Rule: The 95% rule states that a dog food product must include 95% of what it states in the ingredient label. For example, “Salmon for dogs” must comprise 95% of salmon and must be 70% of total ingredients when liquid is considered into the final product.
The 25% Rule: When you see a label that claims “Sweet Potato Entree,” what it is referring to is that it must include a range of 25-95% of that stated ingredient. To eliminate confusion, it is required that the term “entree, dinner, or platter” be used to denote that there is less than 95% of that ingredient source included.
“With” Rule: When a food label includes the term “with,” it is describing that there is only 3% of that ingredient included as a minimum.
The Flavor Rule: The FDA states that for the term flavor to be used, such as “beef flavor,” there is no minimum requirement for that ingredient. It merely needs to be detected in the food.
Other things to look out for and avoid:
Preservatives: In reading the product label, preservatives don’t need to be spelled out clearly. As we saw in learning what the terms used may mean, “meat meal” can include any number of preservatives that may offer little nutritional value and may also be causes of allergies.
Higher grain count: Grains act as a carbohydrate which may seem like a good thing, but certain grains may not be suitable for your Yorkie. The higher levels of grain in the food product may upset the nutritional balance of your Yorkie. Additionally, grains such as wheat, corn, and soy may lead to allergies or food intolerance and should be avoided.
Additional Fillers: Fillers such as low-quality grains and others don’t offer much nutritional value and should be avoided as much as possible.
Selecting The Right Meal Plan For Your Yorkshire Terrier
Now that you know how to read an ingredient label, the next step is to look for a meal plan that is the best one for your pet.
Ideally, your meal plan should prioritize macronutrients from a singular protein source, carbohydrates that come from a healthy grain such as brown rice, and fats that may stem from the protein source.
While you want to avoid preservatives as much as possible, some such as tocopherols and an herb like rosemary may be beneficial.
Higher-quality foods will have evident ingredients listed and will avoid unclear terms. As you evaluate your Yorkies’ overall health and dietary needs, the right meal plan will consider all these factors.
As we discussed, Yorkies are just like people, they have favorites, specific personalities, all with unique likes and dislikes, and changes to diet and tastes will occur over time.
If you’re still unsure of the best meal plan you can find for your Yorkie, the Hungry Bark Custom Meal Planner is a great place to start!
In as little as 1-2 minutes, you’ll receive a Custom Meal Plan designed just for your unique dog, taking into account characteristics such as breed, age, weight, and activity level.