Yorkies, like all dogs, are carnivores ... but that's no reason to leave out the vegetables. In fact, adding veggies to your dog's daily diet ensures that he gets the essential vitamins and minerals he needs to keep him strong and healthy. And the upshot? Most Yorkies seem to love 'em!
Yorkies--and all dogs for that matter--should eat veggies for the same reason people do: vegetables contain important nutrients that can lead to good health. Veggies provide soluble and insoluble fiber, which are good for digestion, since Yorkies tend to have digestive problems. They also have vitamins and minerals that are lacking in today's "civilized" commercial food preparations. Omega-3 essential fatty acids, enzymes, anti-aging factors, antioxidants, probiotics and phytochemicals are all nutrients found in vegetable sources.
Maintaining your Yorkie's proper weight can help keep him healthy. Green veggies like broccoli and spinach are low in calories and high in nutrition--plus, they give your dog a shiny coat. Celery, dense in calcium, potassium, phosphorus and sodium, is said to decrease nervousness and neutralize acid, especially beneficial for Yorkies with tummy troubles. Carrots, high in carotenes, are beneficial for the eyes; Yorkies sometimes inherit progressive retinal atrophy, a degenerative disease of the retina.
Sweet peas offer antioxidants, flavonoids and vitamins beneficial for good for bone mass--a plus for Yorkies who can develop degenerative hip problems or luxating patellas. The carotenes in cooked sweet potatoes are especially suited to protect Yorkies from eye problems, like cataracts, common to the breed. Yorkies can be prone to liver problems, such as liver damage and failure, and cooked beets--high in folate, vitamins C and B and potassium--can help to keep the liver clean.
The easiest way to incorporate vegetables into your Yorkie's meals is by home cooking. Meat-deboned chicken, liver, kidney, organs, fish and lean hamburger--should always be the main staple, followed by veggies and then starch. Cut the veggies into small, easy-to-eat pieces and steam thoroughly. Then add a source of starch, which can include white or brown rice or pasta ... but always go easy on the starch; too much can make your dog overweight. Mix and serve.
Always clean vegetables, make sure they are in bite-sized pieces and cook or steam to help aid in digestion. Raw veggies can cause flatulence. Never give corn on the cob, which can block your dog's intestine, and always avoid onions, garlic and chives, which contain disulfides and sulfoxides, both of which can cause anemia and damage red blood cells. Potatoes, which contain oxalates, can be detrimental to the digestive, nervous and urinary systems.
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.