Despite their size, Yorkie terriers are just like bigger dogs. When it comes to the kitchen table, they're not above begging for scraps. While most dog experts agree that feeding off the table isn't a good idea, an occasional healthy treat is allowable.
First Things First . . .
While Yorkies develop strong, loving bonds with their owners, owners should never substitute food treats for love. A small toy companion breed, Yorkies should weigh no more than seven pounds, according to breed standards. Visually, Yorkies should look neat and compact. If you can see the ribs, vertebrae and pelvic bones, the dog is probably underweight; however, your dog is at an ideal weight if you can easily feel the ribs and observe the waist.
The Trouble With Handouts
Since Yorkies can be a finicky breed, owners must be careful when offering table foods. Not only can feeding from the table encourage a Yorkie's desire for special treats over regular dog food, it can also promote the bad habit of begging. Nevertheless, dogs will be dogs -- and while it's better to give treats made specifically for dogs, an occasional table food is okay as long as it's a healthy choice.
Healthy Treats From the Table
Now and then you can indulge your Yorkie with healthy treats or table scraps -- but moderation is always key. Healthy goodies include most fresh fruits and vegetables, like watermelon and apples, which are high in fiber and water; lean meats, like chicken, turkey, fish or beef; and very small amounts of simple or complex carbohydrates, such as rice and pasta, which are highly digestible. However, if your dog is diabetic, always avoid giving carbohydrates.
Milk in Moderation
Since Yorkies can have sensitive digestive systems, give milk and milk products with caution, as they can cause gas or an upset stomach, and always choose the low-fat variety. However, most Yorkies seem to tolerate yogurt and cottage cheese -- again, low-fat -- fairly well. The calcium in these foods helps promote healthy teeth and bones, especially essential in this breed, which tends to have dental issues.
Cautionary & Absolute No-Nos
Yorkie or not, some foods are plain unacceptable. The ASPCA advises to never give Yorkies caffeine -- no chocolate! -- avocados, Macadamia nuts or grapes and raisins, which can cause kidney failure. Also, avoid yeast dough, which can expand and rupture your Yorkie's intestines, and cooked bones, as well as raw bones that are not ground fine. Finally, avoid products containing Xylitol; onions, garlic or chives; and overly fatty and oily table foods, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even pancreatitis.
Debra Levy has been writing for more than 30 years. She has had fiction and nonfiction published in various literary journals. Levy holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing/fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars.