The Best Food for Your Yorkie: Part 7

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This is the seventh in our multi-part series on the best food for your Yorkie. We hope to give you enough information to make an informed choice for yourself, and we hope that the information we provide will lead you to look carefully at the choice you make when it comes to your Yorkie’s food.

This time we are looking at 5 quality foods for your Yorkie. We received some sample products from a great company, Nature’s Variety. We reviewed these three foods with two others we purchased from Merrick and Wellness. We will be reviewing each food in terms of kibble size, ingredients and nutrition, cost, recall information, ownership, and, of course, a taste test. In this review we are looking at (in alphabetical order):

Kibble Size

Each of these foods has a decent size for a Yorkie.  The Raw Bites have the largest pieces and the Wellness has the smallest pieces. The Raw Bites are not traditional kibble – they are raw foods in small pieces that must be kept in the freezer. I have taken photos of the pieces next to or on a quarter for your reference.

Ingredients & Nutrition

The best way to compare the ingredients and nutrition is with the chart provided below.

Here are a few highlights for you that we found the most interesting.

The Merrick Buffalo, Instinct Duck and Turkey, Small Bites Duck and Small Bites Chicken are all grain-free.

The Merrick Buffalo has the highest protein at 38% and the Raw Bites Duck has the lowest at 14%. The Raw Bites Duck also has the lowest fat content at 10% and the Instinct Duck and Turkey has the highest at 18%.

Merrick Buffalo
Instinct Duck & Turkey
Raw Bites Chicken
Raw Bites Duck
Wellness Small Breed
First Ingredient Deboned Buffalo
Duck Meal Chicken Duck Deboned Turkey
Second Ingredient Chicken Meal
Turkey Meal
Ground Chicken Bone Turkey Liver Chicken Meal
Crude Protein (Min) 38% 35% 15% 14% 28%
Crude Fat (Min) 17% 22% 12% 10% 15%
Calories kcal/kg 3740 464 per cup 65 per ounce 65 per ounce 3740
Serving size per day
for smallest weight category
1/3 – 1/2 cup
1/4 – 1/2 cup 3/8 – 5/8 cup 3/8 – 5/8 cup
1/4 – 3/4 cup


Cost is always a consideration, especially if you have more than one Yorkie. We used prices at for prices. We divided the price into the pounds to get a cost per pound. Here are the per pound prices from lowest to highest for our current 5 foods. Keep in mind that there are different serving suggestions for each food per day, with the Merrick requiring the lowest daily serving and both of the Raw Bites requiring the largest serving size.

  • Instinct Duck and Turkey – $3.40/lb
  • Wellness Small Breed – $3.50/lb
  • Merrick Buffalo – $3.99/lb
  • Raw Bites Chicken – $6.95/lb
  • Raw Bites Duck– $8.50/lb

Taste Test

Catherine’s rankings:

1. Nature’s Variety, Instinct Raw Bites: Duck Formula
2. Nature’s Variety, Instinct Raw: Chicken Formula
3. Merrick Grain Free Real Buffalo + Sweet Potato
4. Nature’s Variety, Instinct: Duck Meal & Turkey Meal Formula
5. Wellness, Small Breed Adult Health Recipe
Catherine really loved both varities of the Instinct Raw Bites. She ate the Duck first and the Chicken second in each trial. She also liked the Merrick and always ate all of it as well. She ate the Instinct Duck and Turkey kibble and would probably eat it if it was all that was offered to her, but she didn’t eat the Wellness and for whatever reason didn’t seem to want to try it.


  • Merrick is owned by Merrick Pet Care, Inc and they have their own facilities in Texas.
  • Nature’s Variety is a private company based out of Lincoln Nebraska.
  • Wellness is made by WellPet LLC, a subsidiary of the Berwind Corporation. WellPet’s other lines include Holistic Select, Eagle Pack, Prism, Hy-Ration, Old Mother Hubbard and Holistix.


The recall information I have reviewed goes back to 2009.

  • Merrick – recalls of their treat lines in 2010 and 2011 for possible salmonella contamination.
  • Nature’s Variety – 2012 voluntary recall of Prairie Beef Meal and Barley Medley Kibble due to some recipes not remaining fresh and 2013 voluntary recall of one batch of Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula due to the possibility of pieces of clear plastic in the bags.
  • Wellness – 2012 withdrawal of a limited number of Wellness Small Breed Adult Health Dry Dog Food bags due to higher than intended moisture content and 2012 voluntary recall of recipes made at the Diamond Pet Foods’ Gaston, South Carolina facility. Wellness says they no longer purchase from Diamond Pet Foods.

Our Choice

Based on everything, this time our favorites are the Raw Bites (both varieties), with the Merrick Buffalo being a good choice for those who prefer actual kibble to the frozen foods. At first, the idea of raw foods seemed cumbersome to me – even getting the food out of the freezer and letting it defrost seemed like too much work (I’m a busy gal, lol). But, according to the package, there is no need to thaw – just “scoop and serve.” So, I did exactly that – after the taste test was over, that night I gave Catherine some of the Raw Bites Duck for dinner and she ate it up with glee, didn’t wait for it to thaw. It wasn’t as annoying as I though it would be. I will say the only annoying parts were that, toward the bottom of the bag, the pieces were a little clumped up together and hard to break apart and at the bottom of the bag were a lot of ice chunks, presumably from the moisture in the food. But, other than that, I have zero complaints about the quality or the ingredients and  it’s a food I would definitely recommend feeding.

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