Since Jack Russells are a very active but generally healthy breed, the most important thing about their diet is that it should support their go-getter lifestyle. That means plenty of protein to help your dog to grow and repair their muscles, and healthy fats to protect their joints and give them all the energy they need.
These terriers can be prone to getting a little porky, so finding a food that helps them to stay in shape is important as well as an understanding of how much your pooch needs to eat. Plus, a healthy diet will help to prevent common canine illness too, so your Jack Russell will be happier and healthier for longer, (and hopefully need fewer vet trips!)
So what sort of things make up the best diet for a Jack Russell?
Protect their joints
Help maintain muscle mass
Provide plenty of energy
But avoid fillers
Jack Russells are famous for their athleticism and incredible jumping abilities. However, that can all take its toll on their little knees and elbows. Not to mention Jack Russells, like many small breeds, are prone to dislocating knees and joint issues like Leggs-Perthes Disease.
Although you can’t do a whole lot to prevent these conditions, making sure your Jack’s joints are strong and supple should help. Pure recipes are all packed with healthy fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 which are important for maintaining healthy joints.
The vitamins from the vegetables we use are super too, as nutrients like vitamins A and C are not just great for the immune system, but they are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties too, which means they are useful for preventing joint pain and stiffness.
Those fatty acids aren’t just good for joints though. Fatty acids are important for growing and maintaining healthy skin and fur. So not only should their food help to keep your pup’s joints in good shape, they’ll start growing a glossier coat too.
Anyone who owns a Jack Russell knows these dogs are always on the go. These rambunctious rovers need plenty of protein to maintain muscle mass and to allow their body to grow and repair. Just like with humans, if you want your dog to keep lean, they need lots of protein.
And the best food for Jack Russells will have a single, whole protein source which is easy for them to digest and can provide all 10 essential amino acids they need from their food.
Plus, the more specific the protein is listed, the better. This is because you will then know exactly what meat they’re eating. Avoid dog foods that just list “meat”, "meat meal" or worse “meat derivatives”, because with such vague labelling you have no way of knowing what is actually in their food. Specific protein meals like “chicken meal” contain protein, but it is not as bioavailable and easy to digest as whole chicken meat like chicken breast.
It’s straightforward logic really, a whole lump of breast meat is a more natural protein source than rendered poultry meal, so it’s easier for your Jack Russell to digest. It also hasn’t undergone any harsh processing which would damage any of those precious amino acids and destroy the nutritional value of their dinner.
Be careful with kibble because the ultra-processed food may not always contain all 10 essential amino acids. That is because it has been found that extrusion methods using high temperatures reduce the nutrition available in food.
A dog’s nose is so powerful, some theorise that they can smell when their food doesn’t have every amino acid they need and this might cause some instances of fussy eating. Although there is no strong evidence yet.
Pure uses high-quality sources of whole protein, like fresh chicken thighs, and we make sure that none of its goodness goes to waste. (What’s the point using great ingredients if you’re going to destroy their nutrients?) All we do is gently air-dry our food to naturally preserve it while keeping all the nutrients locked in.
Jack Russells are busy and athletic little dogs, and it takes a lot of energy to fuel all that activity. Their energy should mostly come from healthy sources of fat as this is the most concentrated form of energy. Fatty acids are great muscle food for light exercise, while endurance work is fuelled by the metabolism of fat.
Carbs are useful because the glucose they provide tops up your dog’s glycogen stores in their body, which are stored energy sources. That means your pooch needs a balance of proteins, fats, and carbs to keep their bodies in good shape and provide plenty of energy for all that digging, jumping, and chasing your JRT has to do.
Your Jack Russell needs plenty of energy to fuel their busy days, which makes complex carbs a great addition to their diet because they provide slow-releasing energy. On the other hand, simple carbs and sugar are turned to glucose quickly by the body and can cause spikes in your pup’s blood sugar. Like a rambunctious toddler, eating too much sugar could send your JRT into a hubbub of hyperactivity.
To make sure you don’t have a terrier-sized tornado tearing around your house, check the label of their dog food to see where all the calories are coming from. As mentioned above, a good portion of their energy should be coming from fat. Another great ingredient to look out for is fibre. Fibre helps to regulate how quickly glucose is absorbed into the body, helping to slow things down and keep their energy levels more stable.
Eating a healthy dog food such as Pure will also provide plenty of other benefits for your Jack Russell. 91% of owners have seen a general improvement in their dog’s overall health since they started wolfing down their Pure dinners, which isn’t something to be sniffed at.
We use wholesome, balanced ingredients in all of our recipes, so you will always recognise exactly what your pooch is eating with absolutely no nasties. It also happens to be super for helping a pooch to maintain a healthy weight, so if you have a tubby terrier that needs to lose a few pounds, our healthy dog food could help to get them looking trim in no time.
How much dog food your Jack Russell should eat varies on several factors. The most important decider is their age. A Jack Russell puppy needs to eat about 800-900 calories a day, while an adult dog only needs between 450-650 calories per day. A senior pooch needs even less energy because their metabolism slows down even further, and they will only need about 450-550 calories per day.
Your pooch might have a health condition like pancreatitis which will impact their dietary needs. Or your pup might simply not be as active as other pooches and need less energy.
Rather than weighing food and balancing meal plans, Pure creates a personalised plan that is tailored to your dog’s individual needs. That means offering them a recipe that provides all the nutrition they need as well as the right portion sizes they should be eating.
Tell us more about your Jack Russell and we can advise you on the perfect tailored diet for a longer, healthier life.