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How Much Should a Yorkie Eat?

Whether you’ve just adopted a Yorkie puppy or a full-grown adult, it’s not always easy to tell how much you should be feeding your pup.

As a dog expert I get asked how much is normal for a dog to eat all the time. It is a sensible question!

But, of course, every owner wants their spunky, energetic Yorkie to be as active as they can be. So, here’s what you should know about keeping your furry friend happy, healthy, and well-fed. 

how much should a Yorkie eat
How much should a Yorkie eat?

In this article we discuss

  • How much a Yorkie puppy should eat
  • How much an adult Yorkie should eat
  • How much less a senior Yorkie will eat
  • How much homemade dog food to serve a Yorkie
  • And what amount to feed a Yorkie when its losing weight

How Much Food Should a Yorkie Eat Per Day?

The amount your Yorkie needs to eat in a day can depend on what stage of life they’re in. It will depend on whether they are a puppy, adult, or senior. 

black and gold yorkie
A classic Black and Gold Yorkie

Puppy 

While it can vary based on the specific puppy and the type of food you’re using, most Yorkie puppies need to eat around ¼ to ½ cups of food per day. Therefore, until they reach the age of four months, it’s usually recommended that owners keep food available for puppies at all times. 

The biggest reason for this is that having food available can help prevent hypoglycemia as your active, growing puppy develops. 

Once they’re four months old, you can start establishing a more routine eating schedule. You will find that most of the time, Yorkie owners break up that ¼ to ½ cup portion up into three or four feedings a day. Three feedings per day are enough for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is also usually a good idea for breakfast to be your Yorkie’s biggest meal of the day. Also, you should avoid feeding your Yorkie dinner too close to bedtime. Their last meal should be at least two hours before they go to sleep).

Adult

Once they reach a year, your Yorkie stops growing, and you can begin switching them to adult food and a diet. However, some owners may begin this transition as soon as ten months into their pup’s life. Not only does the type of food they get change, but the amount does as well. 

Most adult Yorkies need to eat around ¼ to ¾ cups of food per day, depending on their size and activity level. So if you were feeding your puppy four times a day, you no longer have to feed them as frequently. Most owners feed their pups two to three times a day, and it’s generally not recommended that you feed them less than two times per day. 

Like many small dogs, Yorkies have small stomachs, and it’s easier for them to digest their food if it’s divided into multiple meals. 

a tiny yorkie puppy
The tiniest of Yorkie puppies!

Senior

Once they reach the age of eight, most Yorkies are considered seniors. As they get into their golden years, you may switch to a senior dog food brand and change how much you feed them. Senior Yorkies tend to be less active than adults or puppies and have slower metabolisms, so it’s not uncommon for them to gain weight. 

Paying attention to how much your Yorkie eats and exercises can help prevent this from happening, and if you were feeding your Yorkie ¾ cup before, you might want to scale it back to ½ cup. 

However, if you’re not sure whether to decrease their food intake, you can always consult your veterinarian for advice. 

What if You’re Feeding Homemade Meals Over Dry Food? 

While it’s often easy to calculate how much your Yorkie should eat with dry food and feeding charts, it can be trickier if you give your pup homemade meals. While puppies usually need all the nutrition, they can get from dry kibble, some owners may transition to homemade meals once their Yorkie is full-grown. But, how do you calculate the amount of food to give them? 

With homemade meals, the best way to calculate food intake is through calories. Most Yorkies need a general amount of calories per day, and you can use these numbers to make sure you’re providing them with balanced, full meals: 

  • Puppies generally need 200 calories per day
  • Adult Yorkies only need around 150 calories per day 
  • Senior Yorkies need just a little bit less at 120 calories as activity levels decrease 

Keep in mind that these are just averages, so if you have an extremely active adult Yorkie, you may want to feed them closer to 200 calories to account for the extra exercise.

However, with adult or senior Yorkies that may have medical issues, that number could drop lower. If your Yorkie has special circumstances that could affect caloric intake, it’s never a bad idea to double-check with your vet about the exact number of calories they need. 

males vs female yorkies
Male vs Female Yorkie – which to pick? And what Yorkie name should you choose?

How Much Should a Yorkie Eat If They’re Trying to Lose Weight? 

Many of the numbers above correlate to dogs with a healthy weight and specifically need to maintain that weight. However, the amount you feed your Yorkie can change if they’re on a diet and trying to lose weight. 

Depending on their size, Yorkies can be overweight if they weigh more than ten pounds, so you may want to put them on a diet. 

Unfortunately, the amount you need to feed them can depend on how much weight they need to lose. However, you can follow these steps to keep your pup on the right track: 

  • Switch to a lower-calorie kibble, weight management, or weight loss brand specifically meant for small dogs.
  • Follow the feeding chart on the back, which should tell you how much food to give your pup based on how much they should weigh. This number can vary based on brand and how much weight your Yorkie needs to lose. 
  • Avoid giving them table scraps and unnecessary treats. Feeding your dog too much human food and an abundance of treats can add extra calories that make losing weight harder, so it’s usually a good idea to limit these things while they’re on a diet. 
  • If you can, try to use healthy treats and snacks versus calorie-rich, fatty ones. For example, if you’re used to giving your Yorkie bacon bits or peanut butter, try switching to carrot sticks or celery. Of course, not all Yorkies, especially those that are picky eaters, will be happy about the switch, but finding a healthy alternative is an easy way to keep rewarding them (without compromising their diet). 
cutting yorkie hair
You can DIY groom a Yorkie!

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, there’s no specific number when it comes to how much a Yorkie should eat. Food intake can vary based on various factors like age, activity level, existing health issues, and whether they’re overweight or not. 

And, if you’re worried that you may be feeding your Yorkie too much or too little, you can always double-check with a medical professional to make sure you’re on the right track.