Best Foods for Yorkies with Sensitive Stomachs

by Stuart | Last Updated:   August 18, 2019

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Yorkie parents know how energetic, feisty, and domineering their dogs can be. Yorkies are also extremely affectionate, so seeing a Yorkie dealing with a sensitive stomach and difficulty eatings and/or digesting can be heartbreaking. 

Yorkies may be a small dog, but a sensitive stomach for them is a big deal.

Top Pick At A Glance

Wellness Core

  • Premium protein expertly balanced with nutrient-rich superfoods for complete and balanced dog food, with guaranteed levels of all the nutrients your dog needs to thrive and no fillers

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Recommended dog foods for Yorkies with sensitive stomachs: Our Picks

  1. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free
  2. Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Sensitive Systems
  3. Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach
  4. Hill’s Science Diet, Sensitive Stomach & Skin
  5. NomNom & Ollie Fresh Dog Food
  6. Allergy Immune Supplement

The best foods for Yorkies with sensitive stomachs are ones that avoid the food(s) causing the sensitivities and ones that help improve digestion while avoiding cheaper fillers.

Infographic for Yorkies with sensitive stomachs with a picture of Yorkie sitting on pillow on top of chair

We’ve also added a premium option that may be worth considering for those pet parents that have already tried “everything”. But unless you are dealing with some very serious symptoms and/or dietary restrictions there is no reason to think that spending more means a healthier doggie. 

With so many foods on the market and so many people blogging about dogs, it can be difficult for a pet-parent to find any sort of real answer. If you suspect your Yorkies have sensitivities and are looking for new food then keep reading.

I’m going to discuss what food allergies are, how they are in fact quite rare in dogs, and then discuss some possible options that can help with your doggie’s sensitivities.

Best Foods for Yorkies with Sensitive Stomachs and Allergies

Whenever switching to a new food it’s important to follow both the food’s recommended transitioning protocol and any suggestions from your veterinarian.

And while there is no single perfect dog food for every Yorkie, we hope this list helps get you and your doggie closer to finding the perfect dog food.

1. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Ocean

If you’re looking for a food that has a good chance of relieving your Yorkie’s sensitive stomach then you should consider the Wellness Core dog food.

Wellness Core

  • Wellness CORE is available in grain and grain-free recipes, as well as limited ingredient diets for dogs with food sensitivities
  • Wellness CORE dog food is made with a high concentration of protein from fresh meat ingredients
  • Guaranteed levels of omega fatty acids from ingredients such as flaxseed and salmon oil

The size of this kibble is larger than what most small breeds are probably used to eating. There are, however, verified Yorkie pet parents giving this food five stars on Amazon which you can read by clicking here.

Effectiveness with allergies:

In case your Yorkie is one of the very rare populations of dogs that has a grain allergy this food is grain-free.

It contains Whitefish as its first ingredient and the remaining protein sources come from fish. 

Value for money:

At $35 a month, this food is starting to get on the pricier side. There is a good chance, however, that it will help your Yorkie’s symptoms within a short amount of time.

Few foods can avoid so many common food allergens while still maintaining fairly high nutritional integrity.

The Wellness Core Ocean dog food avoids many of the common dog food allergens in commercial dog foods. In fact, the reviews for this dog food are full of anecdotal stories from pet parents stating this food relieved many of their doggie’s allergies once they switched to it.

Cons:

This food, unfortunately, has a very strong smell to it. If a fishy smell causes you to feel queasy then you may find this food unbearable to handle.

Just to be on the safe side I recommend storing it in a sealed container and outside of any main room (if possible).

Additionally, not every pet parent and their doggie finds relief with this food. Some pet parents review this food as having made their dog sick causing an upset stomach.

Summary:

The Wellness Core Ocean dog food may be the quickest way to eliminate many of the common food allergens found in most dog food. If you’re Yorkie’s allergies are getting bad then transitioning them to this food, even if temporarily, may help reduce their symptoms.

As always, consult your veterinarian before making any major dietary changes. I’m sure they’ll have a good reason if they advise against this food as it’s already vet recommended.


2. Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Sensitive Systems

This food is a great option for pet parents on a budget and contains mostly salmon as its protein. If you’re trying to pinpoint a particular protein your Yorkie is allergic or sensitive to, then this food is a good place to start.

Purina ONE

  • Sensitive skin dog food features real salmon as the #1 ingredient
  • Salmon dog food recipe is easily digestible for dogs with sensitive systems
  • Kibble dog food contains vitamin E and Omega-6 fatty acids to promote skin & coat health
  • Purina ONE is veterinarian recommended

Effectiveness with allergies:

This dog food has a focus on easier to digest nutrition. It contains salmon (as the first ingredient) and is an omega-rich dog food which can help improve a doggie’s skin and coat. Other vitamins and minerals found within this food aim to improve a dog’s immune system which may help with defense against allergens.

Value for money:

At roughly $17 a month for a 35 lbs. doggie, this food is an excellent choice for pet parents on a budget.

The main protein source is fish. If you are working with a Yorkie that has chicken or beef allergy then this food will help. Don’t feel bad about the low price, Purina is a well-established pet food company and often sold out of veterinarian’s offices.

A lot of pet parents report this food as helping their dog with a sensitive stomach. Due to the higher amounts of omega fatty acids, this food is also being praised for making dog coats shinier.

Cons:

While the first ingredient is Salmon, this dog food does contain some chicken. If chicken is suspected as a food allergen for your Yorkie then this product may not work.

This food was once free of all chicken, but it now appears further down the list of ingredients.

Summary:

This is the best option for those on a budget. In fact, it’s a great option for those not on a budget as well.

If you want to try this food out or you’re interested in reading more reviews on Amazon then click here to open a new tab. If you suspect your Yorkie is reacting to certain foods, then Purina ONE SmartBlend may be a suitable food in helping manage their symptoms.


3. Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach

Think of this one as a slightly better version than #1, and at less than $10 extra per month for this food the Purina Pro Plan may be worth considering for a few reasons.

Purina Pro Plan

  • Real salmon is the #1 ingredient
  • Prebiotic fibre promotes digestive health to support your dog’s total well-being
  • Contains no corn, wheat or soy
  • FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula has a new look and product name coming soon. May receive either bag during the transition
  • No corn, wheat or soy. No artificial colours or flavours. No poultry by-product meal

Effectiveness with allergies:

The first ingredient is salmon and there is no:

  • wheat
  • soy
  • corn
  • artificial colours
  • artificial flavours
  • no poultry-by-product meal

Like I said, similar to #1 but a little better.

Value for money:

At roughly $24 a month for a 35 lbs. doggie, this food is an excellent choice for pet parents on a budget.

Many pet parents have reviewed this food as responsible for relieving their doggie’s skin allergies. It can also improve a doggie’s coat making it appear shinier.

A lot of pet parents report success with this food and their dog that has allergies.

It contains a prebiotic fibre that promotes digestive health. It does not contain any corn, wheat or soy which can help when trying to determine a specific food allergy.

Cons:

While shipping dog food is normally fine, there have been an unusually high amount of complaints about this particular food. A lot of the complaints from pet parents focus on spoiled or damaged food which may indicate warehousing issues.

Summary:

If you suspect your Yorkie is dealing with a food allergy, especially to something like chicken, then this food is an excellent choice. If you’re looking for something with even fewer ingredients then keep reading.


4. Hill’s Science Diet, Sensitive Stomach & Skin for Small & Miniature Breeds

This food has been designed to promote better digestive health in dogs while also nourishing their skin. 

Hill’s Science

  • This dry dog food uses prebiotic fibre to feed your small dog’s microbiome for optimal digestive health
  • Vitamin E, omega 6 fatty acids and other nutrients in smaller kibble help nourish skin and promote a lustrous coat
  • Dog food formulated with little dogs in mind to provide an optimal balance of nutrients specifically for miniature and toy breed dogs
  • Precise balanced and highly digestible ingredients for sensitive stomachs and for dogs with sensitive skin
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Made in the USA with global ingredients you can trust
  • No.1 veterinarian-recommended

Effectiveness with allergies:

Hill’s Science foods are highly recommended by veterinarians. While this food isn’t perfect for all dog’s it can be an excellent food for some dog’s experiencing symptoms from the food they are eating.

While this food is not geared towards eliminating certain protein sources it does aim to improve digestion. It contains a source of prebiotic fibres that help to balance the gut microbiome in dogs.

The Hill’s Science Diet is formulated to be highly digestible to help dogs better absorb the nutrients from the food they eat. It also contains higher amounts of Vitamin E and Omega 6 fatty acids to help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.

Value for money:

This one is a little on the pricier side considering what it contains. However, this food is designed for sensitivities rather than allergies.

As I discussed earlier, food allergies in dogs are rare, and grain allergies are very rare. If you don’t actually know for sure if your Yorkie has a food allergy, this food may be a good waste to change up and clean up their diet.

It contains a source of prebiotic fibre to support a balanced gut microbiome in your grown dog. This food is also designed to be highly digestible, something the food your Yorkie is currently eating may lack.

Cons:

If you are specifically trying to avoid eggs, chicken and/or grains then this food will not work. Some pet parents have experienced this food making their doggie’s allergies even worse.

Whether it’s diarrhea or more itching, some dogs, unfortunately, do not do well on this food. This is the reality for dog food, unfortunately, but it can be more disappointing when it comes from a higher quality and commercial dog food.

Summary:

If you’re not actually sure if your Yorkie has a food allergy (i.e., you and your vet have not done extensive testing), then this food may be worth trying for your Yorkie. If you’re interested in picking some up you can click here to view it on Amazon.

It won’t completely change up what your Yorkie is likely already eating. It will clean up what they’re eating and promote better digestion.

These two things combined may improve your Yorkie’s current symptoms like itching or poor quality stool.


5. Premium Options

I want to make it very clear that premium dog food does not necessarily mean better dog food. Premium becomes a suitable option when you have a doggie that has unwanted symptoms that don’t seem to be improving.

If your Yorkie truly has an allergy then trying out dog food like NomNom or Ollie may be beneficial. First, NomNom contains very few ingredients and contains a single protein source. This makes it very easy to identify what your Yorkie is allergic/sensitive to.

NomNom is a dog food company that makes fresh, healthy, and limited ingredient dog food that gets shipped right to your door. And utilizing a service like NomNomNow when you’re struggling with a potentially serious condition can save you both money and peace of mind.

Fresh Dog Food

Ollie & NomNom

  • The easiest way to feed your pup fresh food
  • Meals specifically formulated for YOUR dog’s age, weight, breed, and allergies
  • Meals arrive on a flexible, regular schedule
  • Use the feeding guide to give your dog their customized portion and ensure they’re getting the right amount of food

After all, NomNomNow was started by Dr. Justin Shmalberg who is a practicing veterinarian, a professor of veterinary medicine, and one of less than 100 board-certified veterinary nutritionists in the country to complete years of specialized education and training in the field.

6. Allergy Immune Supplement

In case you feel that none of the recommended foods in this post is a good fit for your doggie, or you feel that you may not need to completely switch their food, I’d like to recommend this allergy immune supplement.

Zesty Paws

  • Boost the Immune System – Zesty Paws Aller-Immune Bites are grain-free soft chews that support immune, histamine, and digestive health for dogs with skin, seasonal, and environmental allergy issues.
  • Enhanced with EpiCor – At 80 mg per chew, EpiCor contains vitamins, protein, fibre, and antioxidants that are clinically proven to support the body’s natural immune defences to keep your dog healthy.
  • Prebiotic & Probiotic Complex – These supplements feature a powerful Prebiotic and five strains of Probiotics for 250 million CFU of healthy bacteria that supports pet digestion and immune health.

This supplement is enhanced with EpiCor. At 80 mg per chew, EpiCor provides vitamins, protein, fibre and antioxidants that are clinically proven to support the body’s natural defenses to balance the immune system and keep your Yorkie feeling healthy.

What’s great about this supplement is that allergy medication for dogs, like Apoquel, can sometimes run as high as $150 a month whereas this supplement will be a fraction of that cost. Just don’t expect these to work overnight. Some pet parents had to wait two-three weeks before their doggie’s symptoms improved.

What Is a Food Allergy for Dogs?

A sensitivity in dogs often indicates some sort of allergic reaction. In this post, I’m focusing on the possibility of food causing that reaction and looking at some helpful options.

If your Yorkie has a food allergy it means their immune system is misidentifying a protein from their food as an “invader” rather than a food item which causes an immune response.

Think of it like a “glitch in the matrix”.

If this is the case for your Yorkie then this “invader” will end up causing itchy skin or ear and skin infections. It can also cause vomiting or diarrhea (gastrointestinal signs) for some dogs. The thing is, food allergies aren’t the only causes for these symptoms and many of the other causes are much more common than food allergies. Some common causes of gastrointestinal signs in dogs:

  • parasites
  • viruses
  • bacterial infections
  • pancreatitis
  • eating something they shouldn’t have

So consider whether you have the right evidence supporting your Yorkies’ food allergy. There’s a lot of marketing hype in the dog food world which can cause pet-parents to become worried and start searching for the new “right” product.

“Pets require nutrients, not ingredients; a diet full of great sounding ingredients can be less nutritious than a diet containing less appealing (to people) ingredients. Some manufacturers may add ingredients to diets solely for marketing purposes, to increase the appeal of the diet to consumers. These ingredients may have unproven benefits, be present in minuscule amounts and provide nothing to the diet but added expense.”[2] Dr. Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, DACVN

How to Diagnose a Food Allergy in Dogs

Not only are food allergies rare in dogs there is no easy test for finding food allergies in dogs.

“While many tests – using blood, saliva, and even hair – that can be performed by a veterinarian or purchased by a pet owner online (and even sometimes shockingly, through a Groupon!) advertise that they can diagnose food allergies or “sensitivities”, there is no proof that they work.”[1] Dr. Deborah E. Linder, DVM, MS, DACVN

The most effective way pet parents can find out if their doggie has a food allergy is to work with their vet in monitoring their dog’s new strict diet.

The diet needs to be one that your pet has never been fed before. This can include foods with proteins that are hydrolyzed (where the proteins are broken down into very small pieces that can hide from the immune system) or ones that are purified to remove the parts that are likely to cause allergies.

This new diet needs to then be strictly adhered to for at least a month, but sometimes longer. If your doggie’s signs dramatically improve during the trial then the last step is to reintroduce their old food to confirm it was in fact an ingredient in the old food.

Which Foods Are Dogs Most Commonly Allergic To?

The most commonly reported food allergies in dogs are:

  • chicken
  • beef
  • dairy
  • egg

Keep in mind, however, these are the foods that dogs are exposed to most. What about grains? Well, despite marketing dog food hype, most dogs are allergic to animal proteins if they have a food allergy.

Grain allergies in dogs are very rare.

There Is No TRUE or BEST Dog “Allergy Diet”

Despite what marketing would want you to believe, there is no “one size fits all” diet when it comes to your Yorkies and allergies.

The closest thing to a “hypoallergenic” diet that dog food companies can offer are hydrolyzed diets. Hydrolyzed just means the proteins are broken down into very small pieces that can hide from the immune system.

Continue Reading:

  1. Best Dog Food for Less Poop
  2. Best Food for Older Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs
  3. Best Tasting Dog Food for Picky Dogs
  4. Best Dog Food for Older Dogs with Sensitive Teeth
  5. Best Dog Foods For Husky With a Sensitive Stomach

Final Thoughts

If you suspect your Yorkie has sensitive and/or allergies then make sure you, well, make sure!

Too many pet parents fall into a spiral of worry. Your Yorkie may have recently developed an allergy or sensitivity to the food they’re eating and, if that’s the case, I hope this post has helped narrow down some new food choices.  

Stuart loves blogging about his hobbies and passions. Sir Doggie is a place for him to share what he learns while being a pet parent. Click here to read more.
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