Best Dog Food for Jack Russell (Review & Buying Guide) in 2019

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:

best dog food for jack russells
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Merrick Limited Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Merrick Limited Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Purina ONE SmartBlend Beef & Rice Dry Dog Food

Purina ONE SmartBlend Beef & Rice Dry Dog Food

Best Dog Food for Jack Russells 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.

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 puppy eating

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 the 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.

jack russell eating dog food

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. Foods You Shouldn’t Give Your Jack Russell, Jack Russell Advice
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