3) Food and appetite changes -
You do not necessarily need to change a Yorkie from an adult food to senior food and there is good reason why. First, there are no governing agencies that give out any guidelines whatsoever in regard to what qualifies as a 'senior food'. The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) and the National Research Council (NRC) have no documentation on this at all. Therefore, commercial dog food companies decide for themselves in which way they are going to change their senior formulas. Some will have less protein, others will keep it the same. Some will add certain supplements, others will add different ones.
Also, one of the main differences between adult and senior varieties is the calorie count. This is because many dog breeds tend to become overweight as they age. However, with such a small frame and a rich history
filled with generations of being such an active dog, the Yorkshire Terrier rarely becomes overweight, even as a senior.
If you are giving your Yorkie a good, quality brand there will be no harm in switching to the senior label, however this normally is not an urgent requirement. And you can certainly speak to your vet about any concerns in this regard.
In many cases, due to a slightly slowing metabolism, many older Yorkies have a slight decrease in appetite. This alone usually makes up for the fewer calorie needs and helps a senior maintain weight.
While slight decrease in appetite is expected as a Yorkshire Terrier ages, any noticeable changes should be reported to the vet. It is important to not write this off as a normal signs of aging since many health issues can cause a dog to not want to eat including dental issues and stomach ailments.
4) Supplements -
There is no need to load your senior up with nutritional supplements just because he or she has reached their senior years. Rather, each dog must be looked at as an individual and a determination should be made based on a particular dog's needs. Some older Yorkshire Terrier will begin to develop joint related issues including arthritis and in those cases, a quality supplement for aging dogs and joint health would be appropriate. It is not uncommon for older Yorkies to struggle a bit with dry skin issues
and for that reason a good Omega 3 or Omega 3,6,9 can be helpful. You veterinarian will be able to guide you regarding your dog's needs.
While some foods are already packed with more than enough vitamins, offering a complete vitamin and mineral supplement can only be beneficial.... anything not needed by the body will be eliminated and any needed nutrients will now be present that would otherwise have been lacking. Do be sure to choose a quality brand and only offer one per day.