The Best Dog Food for Jack Russell (Review) in 2021

Last Updated August 26, 2021

You are what you eat and your Jack Russell is also what he eats. Jack Russells are among the funky and naughty dog breeds. You can fence them up but never their free spirits. They chase after butterflies and balls thrown their way. Boy, they even chase after their own tails when the environment becomes too dull to bear. They are that energetic and intense. So it’s important that their food brand keeps up with their needed energy level.

A Jack Russell diet must be lean and filled with protein and fiber. This powerful combination allows their bodies to digest smoothly, avoid gastric problems, and speed up energy conversion. Of course, there is nothing wrong with an occasional sweet and starchy treat. Just remember to give it sparingly and be ready to handle the sugar rush moments. Remember also to distribute daily heavy meals evenly throughout the day and avoid one-time big-time chow sessions. For proper serving portions and detailed dietary information, here is a food guide for every Jack Russell lover.

A Quick Overview of 10 Best Dog Foods for Jack Russell

Editor's PicksProduct NamePriceRating
Best Overall Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed AdultCheck Price on Chewy4.7
Best With ProbioticsTaste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small BreedCheck Price on Amazon4.6
Best High-ProteinWellness CORE Turkey Meal & Chicken MealCheck Price on Chewy4.6
Best Puppy FoodORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free Dry FoodCheck Price on Amazon4.6
Best Wet FoodPurina Beyond Beef, Potato & Green Bean RecipeCheck Price on Chewy4.6
Best Gluten-FreeBlue Buffalo Wilderness Duck & Chicken GrillCheck Price on Amazon4.5
Best for Hyperactive PuppiesRoyal Canin X-Small Puppy Dry Dog FoodCheck Price on PetSmart4.8
Best for Allergies Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Dry Dog FoodCheck Price on Chewy4.4
Best Limited IngredientMerrick Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog FoodCheck Price on PetSmart4.5
Also ConsiderPurina ONE SmartBlend Small Bites Beef and RiceCheck Price on Amazon4.7
*Ratings are from Amazon, Chewy, and PetSmart at the time of publication and can change


Without a doubt, this Blue Buffalo recipe is the best dog food for Jack Russell terriers because of its exceptional calorie and protein formulation that capitalizes the goodness of easily-digestible animal proteins and wholesome grains. Real meat, garden veggies, antioxidant-rich fruits, and wholesome whole grains work together to give your pet the best food for Jack Russell terriers. The Super 7 system that features ingredients that are considered the heavyweights in antioxidants is perfect for immune system support as well as optimum skin and coat health. The kibble size is just right for smaller mouths while the chelated minerals ensure your dog gets all the amino acids it needs. If you want to find out more about their company, product lines, and recall history, read our overview of Blue Buffalo Dog Food.

Calorie content: 397 kcal per cup

Crude protein content: 26%

Crude fat content: 15%

Crude fiber and moisture content: 4% and 105

Ingredients listed as top 5: chicken meat, chicken meal, oatmeal, brown rice, and barley

Omega fatty acids, minerals, amino acids, probiotics, vitamins, glucosamine, prebiotics

  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • Model: 800188
  • Weight: 15 pounds


With the taste of slow-smoked and carefully roasted meat, poultry, and fish titillating the very senses of your Jack Russell terrier, this Appalachian Valley recipe is a worthy contender for the best dog food for Jack Russell terrier plum. It comes in a well-balanced and complete nutritional formulation that follows the same recipe that Mother Nature intended for your small hound. With pasture-raised deer giving your dog the high-quality animal protein that it needs for optimal muscle and organ tissue development, this TOTW recipe is highly specific for small breeds. Its K9 Strain Probiotics system is a must-have for any JRT that wants to optimize all the nutrients found in its Jack Russell terrier diet. Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley is one of 7 dog food recipes mentioned in our review of Taste of The Wild Dog Food.

Calorie content: 370 kcal per cup

Crude protein content: 32%

Crude fat content: 18%

Crude fiber and moisture content: 4% and 10%

Ingredients listed as top 5: venison, lamb meal, peas, garbanzo beans, and lentils

Probiotics, omega fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, prebiotics

  • Brand: Taste of the Wild
  • Model: 418038
  • Weight: 28 pounds


With its high-calorie and high-protein formula, this Wellness CORE recipe is the perfect Jack Russell dog food in terms of its ability to maintain the optimal functioning of your JRT’s body organ systems and not just its bones, joints, and coat. Using freshly-grilled turkey as the star of the recipe, this Jack Russell terrier diet capitalizes on the goodness of two of the world’s foremost animal protein sources. This nutrient-dense formula is made even better by the inclusion of antioxidant-rich ingredients as well as the highest quality omega-3 fatty acids. The probiotic organisms are always a great addition to any dog food as it ensures the optimum digestion and absorption of all nutrients. Wellness CORE Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal is one of 5 dog food recipes included in our review of Wellness Core Dog Food.

Calorie content: 421 kcal per cup

Crude protein content: 34%

Crude fat content: 16%

Crude fiber and moisture content: 4% and 10%

Ingredients listed as top 5: turkey meat, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, and potatoes

Probiotics, glucosamine, omega fatty acids, vitamins, chondroitin, minerals, amino acids, prebiotics

  • Model: 88403
  • Weight: 26 pounds


Orijen’s Puppy formulation is, without a doubt, the best dog food for Jack Russell terrier puppies. Featuring a blend of all-natural whole-food ingredients that give the recipe a calorie-dense, protein-rich, and fiber-rich formulation, the Orijen Puppy is simply the most ideal Jack Russell food for pups. It provides the energy for your highly active, rambunctious four-legged punk while making sure its immune system, coat, skin, heart, and brain all undergo maturation at the desired pace. These nutrients can help ensure the optimum functioning of your puppy’s body organ systems and prevent more frequent trips to the vet when it grows up.

Find out more about Orijen Dog Food.

Calorie content: 520 kcal per cup

Crude protein content: 38%

Crude fat content: 20%

Crude fiber and moisture content: 5% and 12%

Ingredients listed as top 5: chicken meat, turkey meat, whole eggs, whole herring, and chicken liver

Amino acid, vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, chondroitin, glucosamine

  • Brand: Orijen
  • Model: DOR4400-4.5
  • Weight: 4.4 pounds


Our only misgiving about this Purina Beyond formulation is that it puts water as its first ingredient when it’s supposed to be a named animal protein. Regardless, it still makes for a good choice as the best food for Jack Russell terriers because of the natural ingredients it uses. Unlike other Purina dog food products, this recipe features no allergenic cereal grains as well as worrisome poultry byproducts. Its calorie-dense and the protein-rich formulation is just what your JRT needs to ensure a level of wellness that includes stronger bones and muscles, healthier skin and coat, and generally healthier body organ systems.

Calorie content: 434 kcal per can

Crude protein content: 8%

Crude fat content: 6%

Crude fiber and moisture content: 1.5% and 78%

Ingredients listed as top 5: water, beef, liver, chicken, and dried egg whites

Amino acids, vitamins, minerals, biotin

  • Brand: Purina Beyond
  • Model: 17026
  • Weight: 11.4 pounds


Featuring the rich and savory goodness of fresh duck and chicken and slathered with the most decadent sauce you can ever imagine added to a Jack Russell dog food, this wet dog food formula from Blue Buffalo is like giving JRTs the kind of meal that they would be begging for right at your feet. Intended for the maintenance of healthier and stronger muscles, shinier and healthier coat, and a more effective immune system, this Duck and Chicken Grill recipe is grain free and is filled only with the choicest ingredients to ensure the safety of your pet while guaranteeing the optimum delivery of all the nutrients needed for health maintenance.

Calorie content: 496 kcal per can

Crude protein content: 10%

Crude fat content: 9%

Crude fiber and moisture content: 1.5% and 78%

Ingredients listed as top 5: duck, chicken, broth from chicken, potato protein, and potatoes

Linoleic acid, amino acids, vitamins, minerals

  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • Model: 840243104864
  • Weight: 9.4 pounds


The Puppy X-Small is Royal Canin’s take on what a good Jack Russell puppy food should be, that is if you don’t mind giving your young JRT chicken byproduct meals. On a more positive note, the X-Small is specifically designed for your JRT’s unique anatomy, providing the right shape and size of kibbles in a savory aroma, satisfying texture, and truly amazing flavors that JRTs around the globe will love. You can expect all the remarkable goodness that targets your young JRT’s immune system, digestion, and heart. It’s always good to know that Royal Canin never fails to surprise even the most avid critic.

You may also like our review of Royal Canin Dog Food.

Calorie content: 412 kcal per cup

Crude fat content: 18%

Crude fiber and moisture content: 3.4% and 10%

Ingredients listed as top 5: chicken byproduct meal, corn, brewer’s rice, corn gluten meal, and chicken fat

Prebiotics, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, omega fatty acids, taurine

  • Brand: Royal Canin
  • Model: 512103
  • Weight: 3 pounds


Does your pet have Jack Russell food allergies? Considered as the best food for Jack Russell terriers that have food allergies is this recipe from celebrity chef Rachael Ray’s Nutrish. It’s called “Just 6” because it only contains lamb, brown rice, beet pulp, chicken fat, ground rice, and pork flavor. Just because there are only 6 ingredients doesn’t mean it’s nutritionally deficient. You’d be surprised at the generous amounts of calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and other minerals found in this recipe together with linoleic acid, ALA, and vitamins. At the very least, it doesn’t use a known allergen – chicken – in its formula. Rachael Ray Nutrish Lamb Meal & Brown Rice is one of 5 dog food recipes presented in our Rachael Ray Dog Food Review.

Calorie content: 321 kcal per cup

Crude protein content: 20%

Crude fat content: 13%

Crude fiber and moisture content: 4% and 10%

Ingredients listed as top 5: lamb meal, ground rice, brown rice, chicken fat, and beet pulp

Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, choline, omega fatty acids

  • Brand: Rachael Ray Nutrish
  • Model: 007119000675
  • Weight: 28 pounds


Don’t know what to feed a Jack Russell terrier that has allergies? How about getting Merrick’s Limited Ingredient Diet that consists only of 6 ingredients that include chicken, peas, chickpeas, lentils, flaxseed, and sunflower oil? These easily digestible ingredients should be very friendly to the little hound’s small tummy while the richness of nutrients found in such ingredients is enough to ensure optimum health for your JRT while trying to figure out what’s causing its immune system to overreact.

You may have noticed the use of chicken which is a major allergenic protein. It really is kinda odd why this ingredient is used in a Limited Ingredient Diet. Nevertheless, it still is a great Jack Russell dog food.

Read in-depth Merrick Dog Food Review.

Calorie content: 390 kcal per cup

Crude protein content: 30%

Crude fat content: 16%

Crude fiber and moisture content: 4.5% and 11%

Ingredients listed as top 5: chicken meat, chicken meal, lentils, peas, and chickpeas

Amino acids, glucosamine, chondroitin, omega fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, biotin

  • Brand: Merrick
  • Model: 39031
  • Weight: 22 pounds


Purina says its Small Bites formulation of the SmartBlend is 0% fillers yet a review of its ingredients show that it uses corn gluten meal and whole grain corn in its top 5. Surprisingly, a lot of pet parents don’t seem to mind, bringing this Jack Russell terrier food to their homes. The rich taste of beef should be a welcome treat for JRTs while the blend of natural antioxidants is sure to keep its coat and skin relatively healthy. Glucosamine sourced from natural ingredients is also present which should keep those little limbs as nimble and agile as they could be.

Calorie content: 388 kcal per cup

Crude protein content: 26%

Crude fat content: 16%

Crude fiber and moisture content: 3% and 12%

Ingredients listed as top 5: beef, corn gluten meal, rice flour, chicken byproduct meal, and whole grain corn

Omega-6 fatty acids, minerals, glucosamine, vitamins, L-lysine

  • Brand: Purina ONE
  • Model: 46417
  • Weight: 8 pounds

Best Dog Food for Jack Russell Buying Guide

Ingredients to Look for in Best Food for Jack Russell

The best dog food for Jack Russell terriers should always provide the correct balance of calories and proteins that are necessary for small dog breeds like JRTs. These breeds have very high energy levels that require more calorie-dense ingredients in their dog food. And while it is easy to pick a carbohydrate-rich dog food as the principal Jack Russell terrier diet, this should never be the case since dogs are not really primed for eating carbs as their main source of nutrition. Always go for a dog food that contains high-enough calories and high-enough proteins to help ensure your pet gets the energy it needs plus the building blocks for muscle and tissue development.

Check out our guide on Dog Food for Weight Gain.

Fats are also important. However, it is imperative to look for healthier versions especially the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. We don’t necessarily recommend going for ALA as this fatty acid is technically useless in the dog’s body. What your JRT may benefit from, however, is linoleic acid and arachidonic acid, two of the most important omega-6 fatty acids that dogs need.

Glucosamine and chondroitin, while these are not necessarily essential for your pet’s optimum development, can help reduce the impact of certain orthopedic conditions known to affect Jack Russell terriers. The same is true with vitamins and minerals especially calcium and phosphorus as well as zinc and selenium as these can help promote stronger bones and joints and a better-functioning immune system, respectively.

Jack Russell Food Portions (Diet and Nutrition)

When it comes to Jack Russell food portions, most dog food manufacturers already come with their respective recommendations on just how much dog food you need to give to your pet JRT. Some Jack Russell food guide and info sheets say that you should give your JRT about 1.25 to 1.75 cups of dog food every day. This can be divided into 2 meals.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t take into account your JRT’s age, size, build, activity level, and even metabolic rate. Small dogs like JRTs have very fast metabolic rates. As such, they can easily consume the calories present in their food. For instance, if other dogs can use all of their calories within 10 to 12 hours, the JRT can use up its energy reserves within 6 to 8 hours. The point here is to give a Jack Russell food amount that is commensurate to its metabolic rate and activity level as well as other factors.

Obviously, the more active your JRT is the more food it needs. If it is a couch potato, then you should also expect to reduce its food intake; otherwise, you will be courting another problem which is canine diabetes.

Always make it a point to feel for the ribs of your JRT. If you can no longer easily feel the ribs there’s a good chance your pet is already obese. In that case, you’d definitely have to institute some food control measures.

Food to Avoid Feeding Your Jack Russell

We are guilty sometimes for giving our pets human foods that are so oily, full of trans-fats, and are considered as absolute no-nos for any dog. Whether you have a Jack Russell terrier or any other breed of dog it is imperative to avoid giving the following foods.

  • Chocolates
  • Caffeinated drinks and food items
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Garlic and onions
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Yeast and hops
  • Cooked bones

Common Health Problems in Jack Russell – How Diet Can Help Them

One of the most common health problems of Jack Russell terriers is Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease which is often confused with hip dysplasia because of the similarities in the presenting signs and symptoms. In LCPD the hip joint is seriously deformed, leading to unusual wear of the hip joint capsule and arthritis. Choosing Jack Russell diets that contain glucosamine can help minimize the symptoms of arthritis and allow your pet to improve its mobility. Other nutrients can also help in the reduction of inflammation associated with the joint disorder as well as provide the necessary building blocks for the repair and regeneration of the joint capsule.

Patellar luxation is quite common among small dogs such as the JRT. In this condition, the thigh bone, kneecap, and the calf bone are not in their proper alignment. Because of this, degenerative arthritis can develop. Again, just like in Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, certain dog foods can help address some of the signs and symptoms of patellar luxation such as inflammation and pain.

Congenital eye diseases, as well as hearing problems, are also quite common among JRTs. Glaucoma, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy are very common. While diet cannot really prevent these inherited diseases, it can nonetheless lessen the severity of such conditions so that your Jack Russell terrier can still live a more normal life.

Wet Food vs. Dry Food for Jack Russell Terriers

Most Jack Russell terrier pet owners recommend dry dog food for such breeds for a variety of reasons. First, the rough texture of kibbles acts like a doggie toothbrush in removing food debris and particles from the space between the gum and teeth. This can help improve oral and dental health for your JRT. Second, it contains more calories compared to wet dog food. Unfortunately, because it contains the lesser proportion of proteins, a significant amount of the bulk is taken up by carbohydrates in the form of fillers. So, you’ve got to be careful. Third, it doesn’t spoil easily, making it more economical.

For those who prefer wet dog food for Jack Russell terriers, be prepared to shell out more money than usual since these often have shorter shelf-life. Once opened, the contents of the can have to be consumed within several hours; unless it is refrigerated. The good thing about wet dog food is that it contains a significantly higher proportion of proteins on a dry matter basis. You will need to do some math, though to arrive at the dry matter weight of proteins. Wet dog food is more flavorful, too, treating your pet to a smorgasbord of aromas and tastes.

It doesn’t really matter which between dry and wet dog food you want to give to your JRT. As long as your pet is receiving the right amounts of calories for energy and the correct amounts of proteins, fats, and carbs for whole-body processes, then either of the two dog food variants should be fine.

Young Jack Russell Terrier

Our Top Pick

Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula for Adult Small Breeds is the best dog food for Jack Russell terriers because of the right combination of energy-dense ingredients, premium-quality animal proteins, easily-digestible wholesome grains, and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. There are essential amino acids and fatty acids that ensure the optimum functioning of all the different organs of your Jack Russell terrier, allowing it to enjoy life just the way Nature designed it for your pet.

Picking the right Jack Russell dog food can be tricky. With this list of the best dog food for Jack Russell terriers, you should feel more empowered in making the right decision.


  1. Jack Russell Terrier, PetMD
  2. Jack Russell Terrier, Vetstreet

Food for Jack Russell FAQ:

Like humans, Jack Russells can get an upset stomach if they eat something they shouldn’t, but they’re also prone to a medical condition called pancreatitis. Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, happens when your dog’s digestive enzymes attach the pancreas organ. This can be caused by certain diseases, diets that have a high fat content, obesity, and biological heritage.

There’s a number of reasons that your dog could be eating grass. They could like the taste, or they could be trying to vomit to clean out their stomach’s content. If your dog gets an upset stomach or frequently vomits, keep an eye on them near grass.

When it comes to human foods dogs can and can’t eat, making a mistake could be really bad for your Jack Russell or any other breed of dog that you have at home. There’s a huge list of human foods that dogs can eat, but you need to do some research and make a note of those safe foods. These include lactose-free milk and cheeses, uncured bacon, chicken and eggs, pumpkin, and watermelon! This list is in no way exhaustive.

Because the Jack Russell is a smaller dog breed, they reach maturity faster than larger breeds. As such, you can start the transition from puppy food to adult food from as young as 10 months old. Once they reach one year old, they should, preferably, be fully transitioned. Consult your vet if you’re unsure.

As a smaller breed, the Jack Russell is considered to reach senior age anywhere from 11 to 12 years old. Around this time, you should start the transition over to senior dog food so that your pup is getting the right nutrients that they need as they get older.

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