Best Dog Food for Jack Russells: Bold Isn't Always Big | Herepup
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Best Dog Food for Jack Russells: Bold Isn’t Always Big

Call them Jack Russell Terriers or Parson Russell Terriers, this breed is always known for their big personalities, despite their smaller size. They were originally fox-hunting dogs. The right dog food supports all that high-energy and tenacity, once needed for the hunt.

The National Research Council of the National Academies says adult Jack Russell Terriers need around 450 to 650 calories every day, according to their activity level, with an ideal weight of between 13 and 17 pounds. Dogs older than seven usually need calories at the higher end of that range, but puppies need even more, as much as 800 to 900 calories, until they’re a year old.

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Reviews of Best Dog Food for Jack Russells

Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct

I think this has to be the best dog food for Jack Russells on the market, when it comes to canned food. 

A good canned dog food for Jack Russells, or for any dog, is really important for healthy organs, especially the kidneys. Dogs evolved to get 70 percent moisture from their prey. Dogs on dry food alone, only get around 10-12 percent moisture, leaving them slightly dehydrated all the time, stressing the body and organs over time.

Wild Calling knows what dogs need to be healthy. It’s meat. That’s why it’s always the center of their recipes, with large percent of meat, fish or poultry in every can, without gluten or artificial ingredients. The cans are designed with a wide variety of protein sources, providing a balanced rotation diet ideal for Jack Russells, and all dog breeds, from puppies to seniors.

Regularly changing where our dogs get their protein is more natural too. It mimics how they live in the wild, making sure they regularly get each of the ten, different essential amino acids the need.

Acana Heritage Dry Dog Food, Light & Fit

60% Meat from: fresh chicken meat, chicken meal, turkey meal chicken fat, fresh chicken giblets (liver, heart, kidney) herring meal, fresh whole flounder, herring oil, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried turkey liver

Finding the best dry food for Jack Russells is possibly even more crucial because small breeds like them need that crunch for proper dental health, reducing plaque and tartar. The book "Jack Russell Terrier: Your Happy Healthy Pet" says they need 75 percent dry kibble, or more, so making sure it’s made with the best of high-quality ingredients is obviously really important.

One of the great things about ACANA’s recipes is their focus on local ingredients. ACANA Adult Small Breed and the rest of their heritage dog food line start with 60 percent meat that arrive fit for human consumption. Their small breed dry dog food formula is one third fresh meat from free-run chickens and wild, whole flounder, as well as chicken, turkey and herring meal for more concentrated protein.

ACANA uses what they call Biologically Appropriate™ ratios of meat, organs and cartilage, just like a dog’s natural prey, so everything is more digestible. There’s chicken fat, herring oil and organs too, like chicken livers, hearts and kidneys, with more freeze-dried chicken and turkey livers.

Fresh fruit, vegetables and berries are added with herbs like chicory root, turmeric, milk thistle, burdock root, lavender, marshmallow root, rose hips rosemary oil. The bones and cartilage provide calcium and phosphorus. Together, the natural ingredients supply so many natural vitamins and minerals, that there's no need for most artificial supplements, other than Zinc chelate and Vitamin E, as a preservative.

Lotus Oven-Baked Fish Small Bites Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

40% Meat from: fresh, wild-caught sardines and pollock.

Bio-Medical Services, a laboratory specializing in pet allergy testing, says that Jack Russell Terriers get certain skin problems, like atopic dermatitis, more than other dog breeds. Pollen, insect bites, molds and food allergies can cause red, dry, itchy skin, leading to excessive licking and biting. That only makes the problem worse, creating bald patches.

Veterinarians often recommend a hypoallergenic diet for such dogs with a single or unusual protein source and limited carbohydrate sources.

Fish might not be the first thing you think of as the best, main ingredient for dog food, but it might be just what the doctor ordered for sensitive dogs, allergies or skin issues, since fish are great for the skin. Most dogs actually love fish as much as cats. All that omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) benefits their brain too.

Lotus Fish Recipe is 40 percent fresh, wild-caught sardines and pollock, not fishmeal, which keeps ash low, at only 8 percent. Many grains cause dogs issues, but all of Lotus’s formulas are grain-free. Another advantage is that fish is a leaner protein to begin with, which might help control weight issues too.

All of the dry dog food made by Lotus is slowly oven-baked too. Most manufacturers use high temperature extrusion. Baking makes Lotus a healthier product with more flavor.

Best Senior Dry Dog Food: Orijen Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Orijen Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

85% Meat from: Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Yellowtail Flounder, Whole Atlantic Mackerel, Chicken Liver, Turkey Liver, Chicken Heart, Turkey Heart, Whole Atlantic Herring, Dehydrated Chicken, Dehydrated Turkey, Dehydrated Mackerel, Dehydrated Chicken Liver, Dehydrated Turkey Liver, Chicken Necks, Chicken Kidney, Chicken Cartilage, Herring Oil, Ground Chicken Bone, Chicken Fat, Turkey Cartilage, Freeze-Dried Chicken Liver, Freeze-Dried Turkey Liver

This is the best dog food for Jack Russell Terriers that are moving into their senior years or who are less active.
In the past, people often thought older dogs needed less protein. Ideas around that have changed though, with more up-to-date research. Too many carbohydrates, simple sugars and starches aren’t good for anyone, but especially not for older dogs that need to control their weight and blood sugar.

Your dog’s golden years are an excellent time to up your game when it comes to their diet with Orijen Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. It’s made for senior dogs of all breeds, but the kibble size is great for small dogs too.

This low-glycemic formulation is 80 percent meat, from cage-free chicken, turkey and wild-caught fish. There's more protein from nest-laid eggs too. The meat ingredients also arrive fit for human consumption.

Best Puppy Food For Jack Russell:  Acana Heritage Dry Dog Food

Acana Heritage Dry Dog Food

If you want your dog to have a long happy life, you'll want to feed your puppy the best food you can from the start. The best puppy food for a jack russellin, my opinion, is also from Acana. It’s ACANA Puppy Small Breed.

It uses the same kind of WholePrey™ ratio as the adult formula. Not only is it grain-free, but there aren't any fast carbohydrates either, like rice, tapioca or potato. There's only 25 percent carbohydrates overall.

The recipe is 60 percent meat. One third is fresh and the rest is dried. Fat might not sound like a healthy ingredient to you, but growing puppies need it. That’s why 46 percent of the calories in this puppy food comes from fat. With 32 percent of the calories coming from protein, that only leaves 22 percent to come from fruit and vegetables.

Final Thoughts​

There's a few things that of my selections have in common. They are all natural meat protein based, not from concentrated plant material. Remember, Jack Russell's only have a small stomach, so they should only eat so much at a time, and the quality needs to be high.

Look at the recommendations on the bag and give your dog the right amount for his weight, over two or three meals. Relying on free-feeding often leads to obesity, especially for Jack Russell Terrier’s who have a big appetite for their size.

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Dr. Laura Harris is our resident dog health expert. She started to fact-check dog health-related information for HerePup during her internship and contributes since then. Her expertise is in dog nutrition, senior dog care, especially critical care medicine and internal medicine.

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