If a dog's prayers were answered, bones would rain from the sky. - Anon
How can one sum up a Jack Russell Terrier? A whirling dervish, a shaken can of energy, a mini brownish tornado? From their dashing yet mischievous brown or black eye-patches to their short and compact build, a Jack Russell Terrier is designed for an active life. These dogs are not meant for everyone as they need to be kept busy and can get a little too energetic for inexperienced dog lovers or people with small children.
JRTs are ancestrally hunting dogs, bred for the thrill and chase of the hunt, locating and catching prey and alerting their master to its presence. This in-bred attitude remains in most JRTs, so they tend to regard smaller animals and pets as prey and love to dig around in the backyard for potential victims. An integral part of caring for your JRT involves what it eats on a daily basis. In this article, learn some guidelines to planning a typical Jack Russell Terrier's diet.
Feeding Your Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terriers can be finicky when it comes to ready-made dog foods and brands. Some they like, some they turn their noses and tails at and walk away, all in a huff. They can even like a particular food for a while, only to express their boredom after 1-2 weeks. These little fellows are members of the picky eater club, so variety is the key to gaining their approval, when it comes to chow. Then again, their distinctive Napoleonic personality makes them feel like they need special treatment, so your JRT might demand a home cooked meal each time!
Look for specially designed and created Jack Russell Terrier dog food brands. These food mixes have special ingredients, designed for this breed's nutritional needs. But they can be expensive as compared to other foods and a bit rarer to find. Even dog food brands that cater exclusively to small dog breeds, are good food sources for your Jack Russell Terrier. Such brands take the picky nature of their consumers into consideration as well as try to mix the right nutrients that would suit a small dog's build and digestive system. One such dog food brand is Nutro® Natural Choice® Small Breed Adult Dog Food.
Jack Russell Terriers are bundles of energy and are always ready for a run. From their puppyhood to being an old-timer, these dogs are very energetic and love to run around, so their food should support their respective age and activity level. Unless your dog is unhappy or shows he's bored with the food, avoided repeatedly changing the food. Do feed a complete wet or dry food mix. For a balanced type of dog food, mix the two varieties together. Divide the feeding regime into twice a day, 2 complete meals. Do not feed a Jack Russell puppy cow's milk unless it is diluted with water. Ideally a bitch's substitute milk or goat's milk should be given.
Your JRT needs meat, real pure meat, as he/she needs food with a high protein content. Look for pure, complete meat in dog food brands. If you are cooking your JRT's meals, then go in for steaks and thick pieces, cooked with no seasonings. Meat such as chicken, turkey, beef, pork will do. Whole flesh or body parts such as ribs, wings, legs and organs (heart, tripe, liver) are choice meats. Avoid ocean fish.
Raw meat bones are good for your dog's teeth and gum development. Avoid chicken bones as they can be brittle and may chip or break, while chewing. Vegetables like carrots and some seeds like pumpkin and sesame are allowed. Actually most vegetables, except corn and wheat, are good for consumption. They should be cut and cooked in small-sized chunks and bits, for your dog to bite easily. If home-made, add some rice to the cooked meat.
Avoid ready-made dog foods that contain corn, wheat, soy and vegetable oil. These are not easily digestible and most dogs are allergic to such ingredients. A high grain content in the food is also undesirable. Added preservatives, dyes and artificial flavorings are other food ingredients, that are harmful. Check the sugar content. A Jack Russell will show skin disease and allergic reaction symptoms, if his/her food is not right, so when trying new brands or switching to other brands of food, see if your dog shows repeated itching, scratching, flaky skin or biting. The wrong food can also cause digestive system problems, such as loose or watery stool or no stool at all, loss of appetite and other signs. Do not feed your Jack Russell food scraps from your table, no matter how many appealing looks he/she gives you! Human food is not good for dogs in general, especially chocolates, junk food, bread products etc., as they can make your dog obese or introduce unwanted health problems like cholesterol and diabetes.
Ultimately the best dog food for your JRT is one that keeps him frisky and active with a shiny, bright coat and sparkly eyes.