Best dog food for Jack Russell Terriers to keep them healthy and well-fed

Make sure your lively and spirited Jack Russell has the right food to keep them happy and healthy.

best dog food for Jack Russell

by Rosie Floyd |
Updated on

When it comes to choosing the best dog food for Jack Russell Terriers, it’s not just about finding food that will fill their bowl and satisfy their tastebuds. You’ll want to find a recipe that will give them all the vital nutrients and minerals to grow up happy and healthy. The right dog food will support their immune system to ensure your pup has everything they need to thrive both physically and mentally from puppyhood into adulthood and beyond.

While the Jack Russell may be small in size, they have a big personality. They're generally happy and spirited dogs with high intelligence levels, a love for mischief and plenty of energy, and what do they need to fuel that energy? A good quality dog food, of course, that is rich in essential nutrients, proteins and healthy fats.

Best dog food for Jack Russell Terriers at a glance:

Best dog food for Jack Russell Terriers overall: Royal Canin Jack Russell Terrier Adult Dry Dog Food, 1.5kg – View on Viovet
Best wet food for Jack Russell Terriers: Forthglade Chicken & Lamb Natural Wet Dog Food Variety Pack for Small Dogs, 24 x 150g – View on Amazon UK
Best dry food for pure breed and mixed Jack Russell Terriers: Eukanuba Complete Dry Dog Food for Adult Jack Russell Breed Types, 2kg – View on Amazon UK

A well-balanced diet that is tailored to the specific needs of your Jack Russell can help improve certain health problems that are quite common to the breed. JRTs are prone to dental problems, such as tartar buildup and gum disease, due to their small mouths and crowded teeth. That’s why opting for a crunchy kibble for small dogs, designed in the right shape and size, can help promote oral hygiene and prevent dental issues through its crunchy texture. Jack Russell dogs also have a tendency to gain weight easily, which can lead to obesity-related health problems like diabetes and joint strain, so you may want to consider food with adapted calorie content to suit the needs of their size to stop them from piling on the pounds.

When it comes to choosing the best dog food for Jack Russell Terriers, you have two main options: wet dog food or dry. You may even want to feed them a mixture of them both. Some Jack Russells may prefer the texture and taste of wet food but dry food has plenty of dental benefits for them as we’ve discussed and it’s often more convenient for you to store. Whatever type of food you want to feed your JRT, we’ve rounded up the best of the best below that will keep their tummy full and satisfied and their tail wagging.

Best dog food for Jack Russell Terriers

Best dog food for Jack Russell Terriers overall

Royal Canin Jack Russell Terrier Adult Dry Dog FoodRoyal Canin/Viovet

What could be a better food for a Jack Russell Terrier than a food that's literally tailored to the nutritional needs of a Jack Russell? The Royal Canin Jack Russell Terrier Adult Dry Dog Food formula is enriched with antioxidants that are designed to maintain muscle mass and support the lively and energetic temperament the breed is known for. It has an adapted kibble shape, size and texture so it's just right for your little JRT's mouth with added calcium to support your pup's dental hygiene while slowing down tartar formation.

Customer review: "I bought this one as I have a Jack Russell and found that she really liked the taste and size of the biscuit."


  • Specifically made to meet the nutritional needs of a Jack Russell
  • Enriched with antioxidants that help maintain muscle mass
  • Added calcium to support your pup's dental hygiene


  • Rice, maize and wheat are among the main ingredients so may not be ideal for JRTs with wheat/grain allergies

Best wet food for Jack Russell Terriers

Forthglade Chicken & Lamb Natural Wet Dog Food Variety Pack for Small DogsForthglade/Amazon

Whether you want to give Forthglade Chicken & Lamb Natural Wet Dog Food Variety Pack for Small Dogs as a standalone meal, mixed in with dry food or as a topper, the 150g trays are the perfect size for Jack Russell Terriers. What we love about Forthglade wet food is the amount of protein in the recipes. This variety pack has 75 per cent chicken or lamb in each tray alongside essential vitamins and minerals to ensure your pooch grows up strong and healthy. The recipes are free from grains and fillers and are naturally hypoallergenic too.

Customer review: "If I was a dog, I’d want to eat this! My 12-year-old (guesstimate – she’s a rescue) Jack Russell simply loves this and literally wolves it down without pause for breath. The portion size is perfect. Of course, there are cheaper brands but if your budget can stretch to it, your dog will thank you for feeding it the food it deserves."


  • High percentage of protein/meat in every recipe
  • Recipes are free from grains and fillers so great for JRTs with grain allergies
  • Pack sizes are the perfect size for Jack Russells


  • Some customer reviewers felt it has a strong smell, which while humans may not like, dogs will love

Best dry food for pure breed and mixed Jack Russell Terriers

Eukanuba Complete Dry Dog Food for Adult Jack Russell Breed TypesEukanuba/Amazon

While this Eukanuba Complete Dry Dog Food is made to be a breed-specific Jack Russell food, it's also designed for Parson Russells, Fox and Border Terriers so it doesn't matter whether your JRT pup is a pure breed or a mixed, they'll be getting the right mix of essential nutrients with this food. This food has a high level of prebiotics in it to promote healthy digestion and a tailored level of L-carnitine, which is an amino acid nutrient, to help your pooch naturally burn fat so you don't have to worry about them gaining too much weight.

Customer review: "Vets have always chopped and changed my dog's food. So, I soon started researching myself, I am so happy I've found this product! My old Jack Russell now keeps a great weight, she's excited for her Meals, doesn't leave her bloated feeling and also never now struggles to go 'toilet'. She has so much more energy too at 15 years! Love this stuff, and now buy it monthly. Thank you so much and for the next-day delivery! Awesome, would 1000% recommend."


  • A 100 per cent complete and balanced recipe with no artificial preservatives, flavours or colours
  • Tailored recipe and kibble to the needs of Jack Russell Terriers but also other terrier breeds, making it a good option for both pure breed and mixed breed Jack Russells
  • Added L-carnitine to help your pooch naturally burn fat


  • One of the main ingredients is chicken, which is a common allergen for dogs

Best small dog dry food for Jack Russells

Lily's Kitchen Small Breed Chicken & Duck Dry FoodLily's Kitchen

Lily's Kitchen Chicken & Duck Dry Food has been a favourite with doggos and their owners for years but they've recently released a version for small dogs with a smaller kibble so they can get their tiny mouths around it more easily, which is why we think it's a good option for Jack Russells. It's made with natural ingredients and proper meat and offal so you know you'll be feeding your pup quality stuff. As it can be fed to hounds from four months old, this is a great choice if you're after a food that will see your Jack Russell from puppyhood into adulthood and beyond.

Customer review: "Perfect-sized kibble for my small dog who struggles with larger nuggets."


  • A popular recipe made in a smaller size
  • Made with natural ingredients and proper meat and offal so you're giving your pup good quality food
  • Can be fed from four months so can be used for both puppyhood and adulthood


  • Regularly goes in and out of stock as it's so popular

Best breed size dry food for Jack Russell Terriers

Royal Canin Mini FoodRoyal Canin/Viovet

Designed to cater for small dogs that are over 10 months old and weigh up to 10kg, Royal Canin Mini Food has all the right ingredients to satisfy the typical Jack Russell. Like other dry foods on our list, the kibble size has been adapted to suit the size of mini-breed dogs so it's not too big or too crunchy for their little mouths and teeth to get around. It also has an adapted calorie content to suit Jack Russells and other smaller dogs so you can be assured they're getting all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals they need to meet their energy needs while also keeping them at a healthy weight.

Our review: "While Gina isn't a purebred Jack Russell (she's a Yorkie X JRT cross), she has a lot of Jack Russell traits and this food suits her to a tee. She isn't a fan of overall crunchy food as she struggles to get through it with her teeth and if she feels like a piece of kibble is too big for her, she simply won't even attempt to put it in her mouth. The Royal Canin Mini Food is just the right size for her and she'll happily munch it down at mealtimes - no more turning her nose up."


  • Made for dogs up to 10kg (which is more than ideal for Jack Russells as their average weight is between 6-8kg)
  • Adapted kibble size to suit the size of a Jack Russell's mouth and teeth
  • Adapted calorie content to make sure they maintain a healthy weight while still having everything they need to meet their energy needs


  • Not suitable for dogs under 10 months but Royal Canin do a puppy version of this food

Best breed size wet food for Jack Russell Terriers

Royal Canin Mini Adult Dog Food Wet PouchesRoyal Canin/Amazon

The perfect accompaniment to any of the dry food we've included on the list or a satisfying meal served on its own, the Royal Canin Mini Adult Dog Food Wet Pouches are sure to tempt the taste buds of your little Jack Russell. Just like the mini breed dry food, these wet food pouches also have a specially adapted calorie content that will help your JRT keep to a healthy weight while also keeping their bones strong and healthy through its specific balance of nutrients. If your Jack Russell has a tendency to be a little fussy with their food, the aroma of the gravy that these meaty chunks are in should be enough to lure them to their bowl at mealtimes.

Customer review: "My Jack Russell loves this, he always licks the bowl clean & never leaves any, perfect!"


  • Great option for a purely wet food diet or can be mixed with dry food too
  • Keeps dogs at a healthy weight while still ensuring they're getting everything they need nutrients-wise through its adapted calorie content
  • The smell of the gravy will be enough to lure fussy dogs to their bowl


  • Ingredients include cereals which is a common allergen for dogs

Best dog food for Jack Russell Terriers with joint problems

Pooch & Mutt Joint Care Dry FoodPooch & Mutt

As we've mentioned earlier, Jack Russells are prone to weight-gain-related issues and one of those is strain on their joints. This Pooch & Mutt Joint Care Dry Food can aid with improving your pooch's joint wellbeing if you've started to notice they're under a bit more strain. It's high in Omega 3 fatty acids that will help reduce inflammation and stiffness of the joints. As well as being good for your JRT's joints, it can also get your hound's coat looking in tip-top condition, reduce the smells coming from their stool and make their digestion better as it contains NUTRA-BIONIC. This supplement is made with natural ingredients including glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, Omega 3, 6, zinc and biotin for skin and coat condition and prebiotics and probiotics for a happy tum to name but a few. We love that you can feed this food from puppyhood into adulthood and beyond to their twilight years.

Customer review: "My dog loves the flavour, and I love that it cares for his joints now he is getting a little older"


  • Suitable from four months old up to senior years so a good option if you're after a food that can be given to your dog all throughout their life
  • High in Omega 3 which is particularly good for reducing inflammation and stiffness around joints
  • Contains a unique NUTRA-BIONIC supplement which contains lots of key ingredients for improving coat condition, stool odour and digestive health


  • As the food is salmon-flavoured, it may be a bit smelly for us humans but your JRT will love it

Best value dry dog food for Jack Russell Terrier

Harringtons Advanced Science Diet Complete Small Breed Adult Dry Dog FoodHarringtons/Amazon
Price: £32

Finding the balance between good quality food and food that is also kind to your wallet can be tricky but we think this Harringtons Advanced Science Diet Complete Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food is a great option for a value dog food for your Jack Russell. You can 8kg of food for under £35 so it should last you a while, just make sure you’ve got plenty of room to store it properly so it doesn’t go stale. It offers a smaller kibble for smaller mouths, Omega 6 & 3 oils which will keep their skin and coat feeling soft and looking lush and increased levels of protein compared to standard Harrington’s dry food recipes to ensure your Jack Russell is getting all the energy they need for their size. Not to mention the food is cooked in a mouthwatering chicken gravy so it’ll certainly whet the appetite of even the fussiest of terriers.

Customer review: "My Jack Russell is a picky eater. Unexpectedly, she likes this! Worth giving a try if you are like me - have a picky eater prince/princess."


  • Great value for money as you get 8kg of food for the price
  • Smaller kibble size for their smaller mouths
  • Cooked in a tasty gravy to entice fussy Jack Russells and small dogs


  • As you get 8kg of food for the price, you'll need to make sure you've got room to store it properly to avoid staleness

How we chose the best dog food for Jack Russell Terriers

All of these dog foods have been hand-selected by our team of Take A Break Pets shopping experts. We carefully considered quality, taste and value in our selection of the best. Our team has spent hours investigating and researching the best dog food for Jack Russell Terriers to make it easier for you to find the very best, and we'd never recommend a product we don't believe in.

With pets big and small on our team, where possible we'll share the best products that have been tried and tested by our own furry friends who have given their paw of approval. And, with help from veterinary experts, we share their knowledge to ensure everything we choose is paw-fect for your pet.


We asked PDSA vet nurse, Gemma Renwick, all your burning questions to do with feeding your Jack Russell. She comments, “Although small in size, Jack Russell Terriers are lively little dogs and are well known for their high energy levels and exercise needs. To match these needs, we recommend (as with all dogs) that they are fed a complete, balanced, commercially prepared diet suitable for their age and lifestyle, which includes a combination of high-quality protein, vitamins, healthy fats, minerals, and fibre.

What is the best type of food to feed Jack Russells?

“Just like all dogs, Jack Russell’s nutritional needs will vary depending on their age, health and lifestyle, so speak to your vet about which diet is best for your dog. We recommend looking for a dog food from a reputable company that is labelled complete, as this will contain the correct balance of nutrients needed to help keep your dog healthy.

“As the breed is often energetic and active by nature, consider a food for active dogs – but only if you know you’re able to provide them with the exercise they need to avoid weight gain! Look for a food that provides high-quality ingredients but remember to also check the nutritional analysis of the food, which is a better indication of the food’s nutritional quality and digestibility. Some foods may be marketed as being high in meat content, but remember, just because a meat ingredient is first in the list of ingredients, doesn’t necessarily mean the protein provided is of high quality.

“To maintain their skin and coat health, consider recipes that include healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids – these may be listed as EPA or DHA in the nutritional analysis. These promote a healthy coat while also supporting your Jack Russell’s overall well-being.

“Also consider the life stage of your Jack Russell – are they a puppy, adult or senior dog, and select a food formulated for that age, as age stage has different nutritional needs.

“To support healthy teeth, try feeding a complete dry dog food or combination diet to help keep teeth clean, on top of regular tooth brushing. Smaller breed dogs like Jack Russells are more likely to suffer from dental disease than their larger canine friends."

What should I not feed my Jack Russell?

“Regardless of the breed, we strongly advise pet owners to always purchase food from a manufacturer who is a member of ‘UK Pet Food’. Members of this organisation produce food guaranteed to meet all your dog’s nutritional needs, and also comply with additional quality standards than the legal minimum.

“To ensure your Jack Russell is receiving a balanced diet, you should also feed a diet labelled as ‘complete’ as this means it will contain all the nutrients that your Jack Russell needs, in the correct amount. We do not advise feeding your pet a home-prepared diet without the advice of a specialist veterinary nutritionist, as it is incredibly hard to provide the correct balance of nutrients in this way."

How often should you feed a Jack Russell?

“We usually recommend splitting a dog’s daily allowance into two equal meals at similar times each day. Each meal should be half your dog’s daily food amount: feeding twice a day doesn’t mean giving twice the amount! However, if you give your Jack Russell the occasional treat or use treats for training throughout the day, remember to take this into account and reduce their daily allowance accordingly. Treats shouldn’t make up more than 10 per cent of their daily food intake as otherwise, your dog’s diet could become unbalanced nutritionally.

“Be careful not to overfeed treats as this could cause them to become overweight, leaving them at risk of health problems such as arthritis. The same is also true for leaving food out all day as in many dogs this can lead to overeating. When meal times arrive, always weigh each portion and contact your vet if you need help tailoring your dog’s feeding plan to maintain their perfect weight."

Do Jack Russells have sensitive stomachs?

“Like all breeds, Jack Russells can get upset stomachs for various reasons, but they are no more prone to these than other breeds. Gastroenteritis is commonly referred to as a stomach upset, and just simply means there is inflammation in the stomach and digestive tract. The classic symptoms of gastroenteritis include being sick, having diarrhoea, tummy pain, and not wanting to eat. This is often caused by picking up a bug from another pet out on a walk or eating something that has upset them.

“Less commonly, food allergies can be another cause of the symptoms of a sensitive stomach which Jack Russells, can suffer from. Speak to your vet if you think your pet may be suffering from food allergies."

Are Jack Russells fussy eaters?

“Jack Russells aren’t especially known as fussy eaters, but like all other dogs, and humans too, food preferences are individual and may change with age. If your Jack Russell has suddenly taken a dislike to the food they previously enjoyed, it’s important to make sure they don’t have a medical condition such as a sore mouth that requires veterinary attention. Look out for any changes in your pet’s appetite and eating habits and speak to your vet if you’re concerned as they can be early indicators of a problem.

“Once you’ve found a food that suits your dog, it’s a good idea not to switch it about too often, and avoid adding your own leftovers, as this can risk your dog developing a taste for less healthy foods!”

This article contains advice from vet nurse, Gemma Renwick from the PDSA. As the UK’s largest veterinary charity, PDSA strives to improve pets’ lives and they believe that every pet deserves a happy and healthy life.

Rosie Floyd is a Pets, Homes and Garden Product Writer for Take A Break Pets, specialising in all things dogs. She grew up always having at least one dog as part of the family and has experience in owning a variety of breeds, including Labradors, Cockapoos and Yorkshire Terriers.

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