WOOF, what foods Yorkies should avoid? Keep on sniffing!
Last Updated 7/9/23
Since Yorkies are “toy breed” dogs with ultra-sensitive tummies, they are prone to gastrointestinal issues and pancreatitis. GRRR. If your Yorkie has a BIG appetite like me, it may be hard to resist their cute teddy bear beggin’ faces during mealtime (ARF, to be clear, I don’t beg – I DEMAND). Whenever I’m traveling the world, I like to get a lick of just about everything that my humans are devouring.
However, even an alpha dog like myself with the most persistent staredown gets turned down sometimes – well, for my own sake. After all, having an upset tummy is no fun and NOT worth that one bite. ARF, it’s all good since I make sure my humans pay me off with treats and other dog-safe goodies. While I can sniff out quite a few human foods that are pawfectly safe for Yorkies to consume, many human goodies are only OK in small quantities, and other foods that should be PAWS OFF regardless of the circumstance.
Sniff out my list of 20+ Foods Yorkies Should Avoid:
GRRR, let’s start with the BIG NOs:
#1 Gum (sugar-free)
ARF-my-DOG! Gum may freshen your breath, but it KILLS dogs! My veterinarian’s warning was loud and clear – keep gum away from me! And yet, it’s not just gum but any sugar-free candy containing the sugar substitute xylitol, which is deadly to dogs. Even ingesting small amounts of xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener, can cause your Yorkie’s pancreas to release insulin, causing hypoglycemia, seizures, liver failure, and even death.
Since Yorkies are small in stature, xylitol is even more toxic and can wreak havoc on their little bodies within hours! Make sure you keep gum (both unchewed and chewed) AWAY from your precious Yorkie. If your Yorkie’s mouth is a vacuum just like mine, then you must pay close attention to walks (and stop looking at your phone).
My humans are huge avocado lovers! ARF-ter all, they are from California. However, avocados are a NO-GO for Yorkies (or any dog, that is). From diarrhea to vomiting, all dogs are likely to feel bad after taking a bite of that healthy green fruit. The big enemy is the dog-toxic ingredient persin, which is found in the leaves, pit, bark, and pulp of the avocado. Persin may even cause fluid to accumulate in your Yorkie’s lung and chest, potentially leading to respiratory complications, heart problems, and pancreas issues. Moreover, the avocado pit can be a huge choking and digestive hazard if ingested, especially for small dogs like Yorkies.
GRRR, as delicious as they are to humans, grapes, and raisins are toxic to dogs. The toxic substance is unknown at this time, but what is known is that grapes are bad for dogs PERIOD. The barks are loud and clear! They can be so dangerous to your Yorkie’s health that even one grape can make your Yorkie sick. The smaller the dog, the higher the level of toxicity in their body. The more grapes consumed, the higher the toxicity, which can mean kidney failure within 72 hours. ARF, NO!
Thanks to the ingredients of theobromine and caffeine, chocolate is a BIG NO-NO for Yorkies. Both theobromine and caffeine are very similar to one another since they’re heart and nervous system stimulants. Unfortunately, dogs cannot metabolize theobromine and caffeine; the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more toxic it is for your Yorkie. GRRR.
Consuming chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, increased heart rate (consumption of 20 mg of methylxanthines per kilogram of body weight), and even seizures, tremors, heart failure, and collapse (consumption of 40 to 50 mg/kg) within 6 to 12 hours. Even without the two toxic ingredients, chocolates are high in sugar and fat, which can still make your Yorkie sick. 🙁
Taro milk tea, anyone? NOT me! Although my human #1 loves chomping on taro and slurping up the taro bubble tea all over Asia, taro is sadly PAWS OFF for Yorkies. Whether raw or cooked, taro can cause poisoning, oral irritation, e.g. burning of the mouth, tongue, lips along with drooling, gastrointestinal issues, vomiting, and in severe cases, even kidney failure in Yorkies and other dogs. Let me also bark that both the taro root and plant pose the same danger to dogs when ingested. That’s when I turn my nose up at it and bark NO, THANK YOU. ARF, I won’t be beggin’.
#6 Spicy Food
Since spices smell super ARF-mazing, it’s hard to stop the sniffing and chops-lickin’. My human #2 may be all about spicy food (from Thai to Indian) and hot sauce galore (Sriracha, Tabasco, Tapatio, Crystal Louisiana – you bark it, he has it!), but it’s something that I have to skip – PAWS DOWN.
Just as they can cause an upset tummy for humans, spicy foods can mess up your dog’s digestive system – from diarrhea to constipation to gas to pain. Spicy foods are, indeed, TOXIC to Yorkies and other dogs, unlike in human consumption. While humans can make an educated, self-conscious choice to add a little sriracha or chili peppers to their meal, dogs must rely on their responsible humans to provide healthy, safe food. When it’s spicy, please don’t feed. GRR, so no sriracha for me!
OK – here’s the bark on tomatoes! Not all tomatoes are bad for your Yorkie, but you must be careful with unripe ones. Generally barking, unripe tomatoes and tomato plants contain the substance solanine, which is dangerous to dogs. GRRR, solanine is found in the stem and leaves in the green parts of the tomato plant. Hence, if you have a tomato plant, be sure to keep it in a place where it’s inaccessible to your Yorkie.
BUT the good news is that the presence of solanine is less in ripe tomatoes, which means ripe tomatoes may be OK for your Yorkie as long as you feed in small amounts as an occasional treat or snack. Nonetheless, my humans rather stay on the safe side by avoiding tomatoes in my meals entirely.
ARF, Yorkies wanna have a good time too! But that doesn’t mean Yorkies need a sip of your drink to wag their tails to the present moment. Since alcohol and dogs just don’t mix, your Yorkie is pawfectly happy with treats, toys, and perhaps, your undivided attention (drop those phones!). When you’re getting down with a couple of drinks, be sure to resist the urge to let your dog try a lick or two. As ASPCA puts it, “Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol. Letting your dog drink any alcoholic beverages can lead to any number of adverse conditions.” You heard the bark – just don’t do it!
WOOF, let’s get the facts straight – not all nuts are bad for dogs (think peanut butter). However, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and hickory nuts are, generally barking, no good for Yorkies. Macadamia nuts, in particular, are the most dangerous nuts for dogs; their toxicity includes weakness, vomiting, and difficulty walking. While walnuts are not necessarily toxic to your Yorkie, they can still cause significant damage to their health, including pancreatitis and gastrointestinal issues (e.g. blockage) due to their high-fat content. And, similar to walnuts, hickory nuts can also cause an upset stomach and bowel obstruction in dogs.
Although garlic can work wonders for humans, it must NOT be part of your Yorkie’s meal PERIOD. While small doses of garlic may not generate major side effects for your Yorkie (besides a little gas), it is still PAWS DOWN in the toxic category. It usually takes 15 to 30 grams of garlic per kilogram of body weight to generate alarming alterations in a dog’s blood (with an average clove probably weighing between 3 and 7 grams). Due to garlic containing disulfides and thiosulphates, ingestion of garlic by your Yorkie can lead to damage in red blood cells. GRRR.
Because dogs metabolize garlic differently than humans, your Yorkie could suffer from substantial health consequences, including Heinz body anemia, hemolytic anemia, and methemoglobinemia. Be on the lookout for rapid breathing, dark-colored urine, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite.
ARF! Now that we got the list of BIG bad foods out of the way, let’s continue the list! Next up is 10 foods that could be OK for Yorkie in occasional, small quantities (basically a small lick or two should be fine, BUT ideally your Yorkie should still avoid eating):
#11 Lemons & Limes
WOOF! The citrus flavor found in lemons and limes may be refreshing for humans, but citric acid can be harmful to Yorkies; again, they are prone to digestive issues. Not to bark, dogs don’t necessarily enjoy the citrus flavor anyway, which is bitter and sour to them. In general, dogs cannot digest large quantities.
While a few licks may not cause any harm, too much citric acid will lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting. GRRR, no THANK YOU! My human loves cooking with lemon and lime juice, but will never feed me anything with it. Limes, which are even higher in citric acid, are also toxic to dogs – the leaves, peel, or fruit itself can make your Yorkie sick. All in all, lemon juice, lemonade, lime juice, and even grapefruit should be paws off for dogs).
NEWSFLASH: There is no part of an onion that isn’t toxic to dogs! In simpler barks, onions are toxic to dogs PERIOD, including the leaves, juice, stem, root, and core. Whether cooked or raw, onions are a big NO-NO for Yorkies. Unfortunately, onions may lead to anemia in dogs, in which the symptoms include lack of energy, lack of appetite, pale gums, and even red urine. Although Yorkies may tolerate small amounts of onions, my humans will NOT take any chances (typically, a 45-pound dog would experience toxicity levels after consuming a medium-to-large-size onion).
Ice cream for dogs? ARF, maybe. Well, just a tiny lick. OK, let’s bark the truth! Dairy products like cow’s milk aren’t entirely off-limits for Yorkies and other dogs – as long as it’s only a tad bit. However, like humans, some dogs ARE lactose intolerant, which means they will have trouble digesting it. Regardless of your Yorkie’s lactose status, you probably should not give milk and other dairy products to your Yorkie on a regular basis (although a little cheese here and there should be OK). From bloating to loose stools to upset stomach to diarrhea to vomiting, your Yorkie is likely in some discomfort after excessive intake.
#14 Ripe Tomatoes
Even though ripe tomatoes are not necessarily poisonous to dogs, they CANNOT be given to your Yorkie in huge quantities. ARF course, a tiny, ripe cherry tomato may be tolerable for your Yorkie as an occasional chops-lickin’ snack (be sure to slice to prevent choking). However, too much will hurt their sensitive tummies. Due to the acidity and the potentially toxic substance of tomatine (as found in a tomato), my humans play the safe route by keeping these juicy, squirting goodies away from my little wet nose. Even as an Italian Yorkie, I couldn’t get a lick of pasta pomodoro – but thank goodness my humans always packed treats to buy me off!
From coconut oil to coconut flesh, coconuts are non-toxic and could even work wonders in improving your Yorkie’s health. The anti-inflammatory properties found in coconut are super beneficial to their skin and joints, and the plethora of antioxidants helps boost their immune system. Nevertheless, it DOES contain triglycerides, which may generate an upset stomach along with other gastrointestinal issues in dogs.
#16 Coffee & Tea
Besides the hot temperature factor (which can cause burning), caffeine intake in dogs can cause hyperactivity, restlessness, hypertension, elevated heart rate, seizures, and even collapse. However, the good news is that a lick or two of your coffee, soda, or tea shouldn’t cause any caffeine poisoning to your Yorkie. WOOF, the big thing to watch out for is coffee beans and tea bags, which are PAWS DOWN toxic to dogs.
Despite the fact that oranges, tangerines, and mandarins offer some ARF-mazing health benefits to dogs (think vitamin C, potassium, and fiber), Yorkies cannot consume these mouthwatering citrus fruits in large amounts. But, there’s really no need to lower that tail – as barked out earlier, dogs generally don’t lick their chops to citrus fruit anyway. If your Yorkie enjoys this juicy treat, then a small slice each day shouldn’t do any harm. Be sure to avoid giving your Yorkie the peel as the thickness can cause major discomfort in their little tummies.
#18 Raw Eggs
Just like in humans, feeding your Yorkie raw eggs is extremely risky due to the possibility of salmonella contraction. Even though dogs may have been consuming raw eggs for centuries in the wild, your Yorkie should not be eating eggs completely raw – as a precaution. If you are adamant about feeding eggs to your Yorkie, make sure you cook them thoroughly before serving to destroy any contaminating bacteria. From B12 to iron to protein, egg consumption does boast a range of essential minerals and vitamins for dogs.
#19 Salty Foods
WOOF, we all know that salt can make any food taste paw-lickin’ good! BUT get your paws off that salt shaker when preparing food for your Yorkie. Salt can make your dog very dehydrated, and excess intake will even cause diarrhea, tremors, vomiting, and seizures. Excessive salt consumption can even lead to sodium ion poisoning, which may be deadly to dogs in extreme cases. Hence, lunch meat, cured meat (no jamón, por favor), or any type of salted meat or food must be completely avoided in your Yorkie’s diet.
GRRR! Fatty foods, stay away! Even though dogs are carnivores and love devouring meat like their wolf ancestors, they should never eat too many fatty foods as part of their diet. Deep fried foods should also NEVER ever be a consideration when it comes to feeding your Yorkie. Sadly, Yorkies are prone to pancreatitis, which can be triggered by consuming high-fat foods.
Pancreatitis is a serious health condition that may require 2-4 days of hospitalization, leading to death in severe cases. This condition most commonly occurs after a holiday meal or big family dinner when your Yorkie slurps up a good amount of high-fat table scraps. Whenever your Yorkie takes a bite of some fatty foods, the pancreas gland expands in response.
As the pancreas releases digestive enzymes in your dog’s stomach, its function disrupts when too many fatty foods are given to your Yorkie. Symptoms of pancreatitis include panting, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, and fatigue among other alarming signs. Emergency veterinary care is needed immediately – do NOT wait!
What if your Yorkie eats one of these foods?
Hopefully, your utmost care and monitoring of your Yorkie will prevent emergencies from happening. But, of course, accidents happen even to the most pampered and looked-after Yorkie with the best pawrents. In the unlikely event that your Yorkie accidentally sneaks in some bites, please monitor closely for any reaction or behavioral changes.
If you see your Yorkie behaving abnormally, please consult a veterinarian immediately. Acting fast can save your Yorkie’s life! If it’s related to poisoning, your veterinarian office may refer you to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline, available 24/7 at (888) 426-4435. Bear in mind that there is a $75 fee, which allows them to operate 24/7, including holidays without any external funding.
In mild cases of an upset stomach, white rice can help soothe your Yorkie’s tummy. Cook the rice with extra water until it’s soft and watery similar to porridge. You can also throw in some shredded chicken to make it irresistible for your Yorkie. Try taking your Yorkie out for a walk to see if he or she can eliminate it. As Yorkies are prone to have digestive issues, my humans have dealt with enough cases of my upset tummy. Oftentimes, I just need to poop it out, and then I bounce back to normal. Again, always consult a veterinarian, if necessary.
WOOF! Hope you find my list of “20 Foods Yorkies Should Avoid” useful. Be sure to keep it handy for future reference!
Markin’ it up,
Roger Wellington a.k.a. The Doob