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Home > Dogs > 10 Best Dog Foods for Jack Russells in 2024 – Reviews and Top Picks

10 Best Dog Foods for Jack Russells in 2024 – Reviews and Top Picks

jack russell terier puppy eating food from bowl

Jack Russell Terriers are, without a doubt, a unique breed. The small dog is full of energy, a marvelous digger, and has more love than its little body can hold. While small in size, Jack Russells need a balanced diet to give them the right amount of energy without causing weight gain.

Any dog owner knows the feeling of walking into the store and being bombarded by endless choices of dog food. Every dog food is different, but we’ve made a comprehensive list of the best dog foods for your Jack Russell companion. These reviews will help determine which brand best suits your canine’s needs.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
The Farmer's Dog Fresh Chicken Subscription The Farmer's Dog Fresh Chicken Subscription
  • Contains chicken, vegetables and organs
  • Developed by veterinary nutritionists
  • No unnecessary fillers or perservatives
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Purina ONE SmartBlend Small Bites Lamb & Rice Purina ONE SmartBlend Small Bites Lamb & Rice
  • Helps to maintain a healthy weight
  • Supports strong muscles and a healthy heart
  • Antioxidant-rich
  • Third place
    Blue Buffalo Small Breed Life Protection Formula Blue Buffalo Small Breed Life Protection Formula
  • High-quality protein
  • Glucosamine for joint health and mobility
  • Promotes an active lifestyle
  • Merrick Lil’ Plates Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Puppy Food Merrick Lil’ Plates Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Puppy Food
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • Includes omega fatty acids and glucosamine
  • Small kibble sizes for tiny mouths
  • Royal Canin Jack Russell Terrier Adult Dog Food Royal Canin Jack Russell Terrier Adult Dog Food
  • Specially crafted just for Jack Russel Terriers
  • Helps maintain healthy muscle mass with optimal protein content
  • Promotes dental health and oral care with specialized kibble
  • The 10 Best Dog Foods for Jack Russells

    1. The Farmer’s Dog Chicken Recipe – Best Overall

    The Farmers Dog Chicken Recipe

    Main ingredients: Chicken, brussels sprouts, chicken liver, broccoli
    Protein content: 11.5%
    Fat content: 8.5%
    Calories: Depends on your dog’s individual formula

    The Farmer’s Dog Chicken Recipe is our best overall dog food for your Jack Russell due to its customization and quality nutrition. This healthy recipe is packed full of flavor and hearty protein from the chicken and chicken liver, but it also is an excellent source of essential nutrients from fresh vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts. The Farmer’s Dog is suitable for dogs of any shape, size, or age.

    The Chicken Recipe supports healthy muscle growth, healthy skin, and a healthy coat for your Jack Russell. The vegetables also make the recipe rich in necessary vitamins, like vitamins A and C. You can guarantee your beloved pup is getting the essential energy and nutrients they need when you feed them this veterinarian-approved formula.

    All in all, we think this is a great option for your Jack Russell Terrier.

    Pros
    • Contains chicken, vegetables, and organs
    • Developed by veterinary nutritionists
    • No unnecessary fillers or preservatives
    • Fresh, quality food
    • Convenient subscription
    Cons
    • Expensive

    2. Purina ONE SmartBlend Small Bites Lamb & Rice – Budget Buy

    Purina One +Plus Small Breed

    Main ingredients: Lamb, chicken meal, rice flour
    Protein content: 28%
    Fat content: 17%
    Calories: 375 kcal/cup

    Purina ONE SmartBlend Small Bites is a good budget buy due to its high-quality animal ingredients that other discount brands lack. The true standout of the recipe is its inclusion of superfoods like carrots and peas. This special blend is perfect for any dog owner if you are looking for high-quality food to help your Jack Russell maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle while not breaking the bank.

    ONE contains real lamb as its first ingredient and even though it also uses chicken by-products, they are not the primary sources of protein in the food. If you’re looking for a healthy, affordable meal for Jack Russell, don’t skip out on this Purina recipe.

    Pros
    • Helps to maintain a healthy weight
    • Supports strong muscles and a healthy heart
    • Antioxidant-rich
    • Leaves dogs feeling fuller for longer
    Cons
    • Some dogs might not like the softer food bits

    3. Blue Buffalo Small Breed Life Protection Formula

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken fat, brown rice, oatmeal, barely
    Protein content: 26%
    Fat content: 15%
    Calories: 396 kcal/cup

    Blue Buffalo lives up to their reputation with the Small Breed Life Protection Formula. This recipe contains a carefully crafted mixture of chicken, grains, vegetables, and fruits to create a balanced meal for your Jack Russell. Jack Russells have a higher metabolism than some other breeds, and the higher calorie content will help support your canine on their adventures and replenish their energy.

    The deboned chicken is packed with pure animal protein while remaining low in saturated fats, and the inclusion of brown rice and oatmeal balances out the formula with easily digestible carbohydrates. The kibble size is specially designed for small breeds like the Jack Russell and will help remove tartar build-up. Blue Buffalo Small Breed gives your beloved dog an unbeatable, well-balanced meal.

    Pros
    • High-quality protein
    • Glucosamine for joint health and mobility
    • Promotes an active lifestyle
    Cons
    • Some pups dislike the LifeSource bits

    4. Merrick Lil’ Plates Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Puppy Food

    Merrick Lil' Plates Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned chicken, sweet potatoes, potatoes, chicken fat
    Protein content: 28%
    Fat content: 15%
    Calories: 394 kcal/cup

    Feeding your dog the best possible dog food is vital from day one, and Merrick’s Lil Plates Chicken and Sweet Potato food is an excellent choice for your puppy. Since it features real chicken as the first ingredient, the recipe is rich in protein. In addition to promoting joint health and muscle growth, this formula includes fruits and veggies to prevent essential nutrients. You can guarantee you’re nourishing your puppy with a recipe that has been specially formulated just for small-breed pups. Highly digestible proteins, healthy carbs, and probiotics help make this an ideal meal for any Jack Russell puppy.

    Pros
    • Real chicken is the first ingredient
    • Includes omega fatty acids and glucosamine
    • Small kibble sizes for tiny mouths
    Cons
    • Can be expensive for puppies

    5. Royal Canin Jack Russell Terrier Adult Dog Food

    Royal Canin Jack Russell Terrier Adult Dry Dog Food, 3 lb bag

    Main ingredients: Brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, wheat, corn, chicken fat
    Protein content: 28%
    Fat content: 14%
    Calories: 351 kcal/cup

    Royal Canin Jack Russell Terrier Adult Dog Food was developed specifically for the Jack Russell breed. This recipe was carefully crafted with your Jack Russell in mind, leading to a well-balanced meal designed to help your canine thrive.

    Since it’s rich in protein and antioxidants, Royal Canin may support your energetic dog’s activity levels and overall muscle mass. Even better, the higher levels of vitamin B and omega-3 fatty acids will help ease inflammation on your Jack Russell’s joints and promote healthier mobility. Royal Canin’s JRT blend is our veterinarian’s choice food due to its well-rounded nutritional profile.

    Pros
    • Specially crafted just for Jack Russell Terriers
    • Helps maintain healthy muscle mass with optimal protein content
    • Promotes dental health and oral care with specialized kibble
    Cons
    • Does not list real meat as the first ingredient

    6. Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

    Purina Pro Plan High Protein Small Breed Dog Food, Chicken & Rice Formula

    Main ingredients: Chicken, rice, whole grain corn, beef fat
    Protein content: 29%
    Fat content: 17%
    Calories: 448 kcal/cup

    Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food has everything your furry friend needs for a healthy and active lifestyle. Although much higher in calories than other foods on this list, it is still an excellent fit for any spirited Jack Russell. The shredded chicken and rice will provide essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals to keep your dog energized all day long. This higher calorie formula is ideal for small breeds like the Jack Russell with endless energy. However, Pro Plan is unsuitable if you are trying to maintain your pup’s weight.

    Pros
    • Enriched with calcium and phosphorus
    • Contains probiotics
    • Developed for highly active small dogs
    Cons
    • Higher in fats than most other dog foods
    • Higher in calories than most other dog foods

    7. Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice

    Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, whole grain barley, split peas, brewers rice
    Protein content: 24%
    Fat content: 16%
    Calories: 352 kcal/cup

    Whole chicken carries this Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed formula to a hearty 24% crude protein content. This high-quality, grain-inclusive kibble uses a balanced blend of fresh meat as its primary source of animal protein, paring well with its added calcium and dietary fibers. In addition, the formula includes ingredients like pumpkin to aid digestion and kale and spinach to ensure a healthy mixture of antioxidants. You can feel confident severing your pet this non-GMO food, but be mindful of any of your pup’s dietary restrictions since the recipe contains peas and pea protein.

    Pros
    • Made with non-GMO ingredients
    • Includes glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints
    • Designed with small breed dogs in mind
    Cons
    • Contains above average amounts of carbohydrates
    • Contains peas and pea protein

    8. Health Extension Grain-Free Salmon Recipe

    Health Extension Grain-Free Salmon Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned salmon, chickpeas, deboned whitefish, whole sweet potatoes, pumpkin
    Protein content: 25%
    Fat content: 15%
    Calories: 429 kcal/cup

    With real salmon as the first ingredient, you shouldn’t let this Health Extension Grain-Free Salmon recipe slip your radar. This recipe features a hefty mixture of fruits and vegetables to create a well-balanced meal for your active Jack Russell. It includes salmon and whitefish, fruits like pomegranates and raspberries, and vegetables like spinach and whole carrots. It also has a plentiful mix of vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. Before serving your dog a grain-free food, talk to your veterinarian to ensure the diet is suitable for your pet. This is still a great food overall, especially when you consider its inclusion of pumpkin and fish oil to help dogs with skin issues and food sensitivities.

    Pros
    • Rich in omega fatty acids
    • No artificial flavors, colors, dyes, or preservatives
    • Pumpkin and probiotics help with digestion
    Cons
    • Picky eaters may not like this food
    • Contains peas

    9. Canidae PURE LID Bison, Lentil, and Carrot Recipe

    CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Bison, Lentil & Carrot Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Bison, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots
    Protein content: 27.5%
    Fat content: 13%
    Calories: 445 kcal/cup

    With Canidae being one of the most respected dog food brands, it’s hard not to include this PURE Limited Ingredient Bison, Lentil, and Carrot formula on our list. Real bison meat is listed as the first ingredient, and the high protein count is rounded out with lamb meal and turkey meal. PURE LID is fortified with nutrients to promote healthy skin and a healthy coat for your Jack Russell, and it’s high in glucosamine to help with your dog’s joints and mobility. While it is a lot pricier than other foods on this list, this is still a good overall food for a Jack Russell.

    Pros
    • Hypoallergenic formula
    • Premium quality, limited ingredients
    • High in glucosamine and chondroitin
    Cons
    • More expensive than other foods
    • Contains peas
    • Higher in calories than other foods

    10. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Recipe

    Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, cracked pearled barley, brown rice, chicken meal
    Protein content: 20%
    Fat content: 13%
    Calories: 394 kcal/cup

    If your Jack Russell, like many others, suffers from a sensitive stomach, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin recipe may be worth a shot. It’s specifically designed to promote and maintain a healthy gut, and it’s a suitable alternative if you notice your canine having reactions to other dog food. The recipe includes a prebiotic fiber to support your dog’s healthy stomach and has vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids for your dog’s sensitive skin. While we wish this food had a higher crude protein content to fat ratio, it’s still a balanced meal catered to dogs with food sensitivities.

    Pros
    • Contains omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin
    • Contains prebiotic fiber for a healthy gut
    Cons
    • More expensive than other dog food brands
    • Least protein content overall

    divider-paw Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Dog Foods for Jack Russells

    Though all dogs generally have the same basic nutritional needs, your beloved Jack Russell needs more energy due to their faster metabolism. To give your Jack Russell the best possible diet, choose a brand that balances healthy proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. In general, your dog will need a minimum of 18% protein and 5% healthy fats in their diet to meet basic nutritional needs.

    It’s important to determine if the protein in the food comes from high-quality animal sources. Look for ingredients such as red meats, chicken, or fish. You’ll also want to check that the brand uses healthy animal fats like chicken fat or salmon oil paired with a good balance of omega fatty acids.

    Food with whole grains and vegetables can provide your dog with rich sources of fiber and other essential nutrients.

    Dietary Considerations for Jack Russells

    Maintaining a healthy body weight is essential for your Jack Russell. The breed is more at risk for obesity because of its size, and obesity can lead to musculoskeletal problems.

    You also need to keep in mind that a majority of Jack Russells are prone to skin allergies and food sensitivities. Your dog will need a carefully monitored diet to prevent triggering any food allergens that may be present. If your dog often has skin problems, they may be related to a food insensitivity. It is always wise to check with your veterinarian prior to any major dietary changes.

    Jack Russell Terrier hiking in mountains
    Image by: dezy, Shutterstock

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    Final Thoughts

    Standing in that massive aisle of dog food in a store shouldn’t be intimidating as long as you know what you’re looking for. If you’re after the best possible food overall, you won’t want to skip out on The Farmer’s Dog’s specialized formulas for your Jack Russell. If you’re after a non-subscription service and a more budget-friendly option, you can try a small breed recipe like Purina One Smart Blend.


    Featured Image Credit: Gladskikh Tatiana, Shutterstock

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