Yorkshire terriers are a spirited and popular small breed that adapts well to apartment living. With its long, luxurious blue-and-tan coat, sociable disposition and compact size, it has become a favorite of dog-owners both young and old. The Yorkie puppies have particular nutritional needs, however. A high-quality food given on a frequent schedule is especially important for this breed of puppy.
Small Breed Puppy Nutrition
Small breed puppies have higher metabolic rates per pound than larger breeds. Small breed puppies need more protein, fat, phosphorous and calcium to support bone and muscle development. Because small breed puppies like Yorkies also have smaller mouths and smaller stomachs, they require kibble that is easy for them to consume in order to get the nutrients they need. Small breeds also reach mature weight faster than larger breeds, so gradually transitioning to adult food after one year is recommended.
Commercial Food vs. Homemade
Commercial dog food manufacturers have taken these needs into consideration when formulating their small breed puppy foods. These foods are higher in protein and make use of small kibble pellets so that puppies can eat them easily. They also tend to be nutrient-dense, so that small amounts provide big nutrition. Homemade dog food is a growing trend among dog-owners. Many recipes are available combining high quality protein with carbohydrates, vegetables and other nutrients.
Dry Food for Dental Health
Veterinarians recommend adding dry food to your puppy's diet to help clean its teeth. Puppies often object to tooth-brushing, and it’s a good way to make sure softer food debris is scraped from their tooth surfaces. If your Yorkie puppy does not like dry kibble, mix it with a bit of canned food or try offering a small biscuit or dental chew made especially for small breeds.
Yorkshire terriers often have a problem with hypoglycemia, a condition in which the concentration of glucose in the blood falls below normal levels. According to GoPetsAmerica, this often occurs in puppies between 5 to 16 weeks of age. It can also occur in older dogs. The condition can be caused by chilling, stress, poor nutrition, changes in feeding, insufficient water, infections or by consuming an artificial sweetener that is in many human foods called xylitol. Symptoms of canine hypoglycemia are weakness, drowsiness, shivering, disorientation, listlessness, tremors and depression. If your Yorkie puppy exhibits these symptoms, see your veterinarian immediately. It can be a life-threatening illness.
Breeders' Diet Recommendations
Most breeders will give the new Yorkie owner information about the recommended food for their puppy. This is likely to be the food that the puppy has been getting since it was weaned, and one with which the breeder has had good overall results. If you wish to change your Yorkie puppy’s food, make the change gradually to allow the dog’s digestive tract to make the adjustment.