Feeding A Jack Russell Terrier Puppy [The Correct Way]

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Suppose you recently adopted a Jack Russell Terrier or planned to adopt a Jack Russell Terrier in the coming days. You may be stressing out, wondering what to feed your new puppy and what other best practices you should follow.

While I’m not Vet by any means, I do have a 3-year-old Jack Russell Terrier and have been in the exact same situation you find yourself in now.

To make this process easier for you, I thought I should create a quick detailed guide and discuss best practices and how often to feed your Jack Russell Terrier puppy.

Feeding A Jack Russell Terrier Puppy

I understand the stress you may be feeling or the anxiety the feeding schedule and recommendations for your Jack Russell Terrier may be causing.

The good news is that it’s not overly complicated, and you do not need to overthink it.

Feeding a Jack Russell Terrier puppy is simple, but the process does change as your Jack Russell ages and matures (more on this later)

Before discussing the kinds of dog foods, you should be considering, I want to start with frequency because it is essential for a puppy at this age and size.

You may not know that a Jack Russell Terrier puppy will need to be fed 4 times daily.

This changes like I stated before as your Jack Russell matures, but, in the beginning, you want to stick to feeding your puppy 4 times.

This will allow your Jack Russell Terrier puppy to get in the swing of a consistent feeding schedule and enable them to get the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly.

Later in this discussion, we will discuss how to track your JRT’s growth and weight to ensure you are on the right track.

Feeding your puppy 4 times a day in a smaller amount, such as 2-3 ounces of puppy food, also presents another benefit.

Potty training frequency and repetition.

Even full-grown Jack Russell Terrier is considered a small dog and Jack Russell’s ages of 6-12 weeks are much smaller.

Puppy food will move through them fast, so you will want to make sure you are going outside and beginning your potty-training routines right out of the gates.

When it comes to what foods you should choose, you have tons of options.

I highly recommend dry puppy food, but we will discuss the actual brands and options in a few minutes.

First, I want to cover how the frequency will change with your feedings with your Jack Russell puppy as they get older and begin growing.

Frequency and Quantity Concerns When Feeding A Jack Russell Terrier Puppy

I mentioned a moment ago that feedings will change as your JRT grows and matures.

To be more precise with this statement, I want to point out what The American Kennel Club recommends and at what specific intervals they suggest the feeding schedule changes.

6-12 Weeks Old

This is your 4 times daily feeding period that we referenced previously and when you are relying on puppy food.

This is when your Jack Russell Terrier puppy needs to be receiving the nutrients they need to grow and develop strong muscles.

When you begin approaching 6 months, your feeding schedule will change.

12 Weeks- 6 Months Old

At 12 weeks old, you can now decrease your feedings to 3 times daily. 

However, you still want to ensure you are feeding roughly the same amount of dry puppy food at this age.

Growth is still at its peak, and nutrients are needed.

Discipline and consistency are also essential at this age, so you want to ensure you stick to a consistent routine and get your Jack Russell Terrier puppy into a rhythm with their feedings and the times of day they take place.

Don’t be relaxing on your potty-training efforts at this age, either.

Food will still be moving through your Jack Russell Terrier puppy fast at this age (it honestly never stops doing this), so stick to a routine but drop your feedings down to 3 at the period of 12 weeks old.

6 Months Old-1 Year Old

At this age, you can drop your Jack Russell Terrier puppy down to 2 feedings per day.

Since a Jack Russell is considered a small dog breed, you can typically transition to adult dog food around the 9-month mark.

Until this age, make sure you are sticking with puppy formulated food to make sure your JRT puppy is still getting the nutrients they need to support strong growth and development.

I also recommend switching to adult food with a slow, gradual change.

Start with switching 25% of the puppy food with adult food. 

Then, after 1-2 days, switch 50% of the food and do a blend.

This will help prevent loose stool and any upset stomachs.

Trust me, way back in time, I tried switching my dog all at once, and that was not a mess you will want to deal with.

A quick way to have some pooping inside issues to say the least.

1 Year Old+

This is when things get much easier and much more routine when feeding your Jack Russell Terrier.

At this age, you need to be feeding your JRT twice daily, and you can be on adult dog food.

Outside of this, you only need to worry about your Jack Russell not eating or potential issues with your JRT not enjoying the food you have chosen to feed them.

Next, I want to touch on further recommendations you can implement or ask your vet about to ensure your Jack Russell is remaining healthy and happy throughout the growing phase and getting the nutrients they need from their diet.

Monitoring Weight With Your Jack Russell Terrier To Track Progress and Health

One way that you can track your Jack Russell’s growth and weight is to chart it out.

While it is not 100% necessary, it can be a good way to ensure you are staying on the right track and getting your Jack Russell Terrier puppy the nutrients they need during the growing phase.

In my opinion, you have 1 super simple way to weigh your dog and track your progress while they are maturing and getting older.

First, weigh yourself on a scale.

Now, pick up your puppy and weigh yourself again and subtract the difference.

Write down these weights and print an easy online chart to document your Jack Russell’s puppy weight as they mature.

At your next visit, you can discuss with your vet the progress and make sure you are not underfeeding or overfeeding your JRT pup.

Diet Issues To Be Aware Of With Jack Russell Terriers

One of the last considerations you need to be aware of heading into adopting your Jack Russell Terrier puppies is the potential for issues that may arise regarding diet and nutrition.

The first is somewhat annoying, but it is a problem I encountered with my Jack Russell Terrier when she was a puppy.

Jack Russell’s Can Be Picky Eaters

Jack Russell Terriers are known to be picky eaters.

Not all JRT’s will have this issue, but some will.

You need to be prepared for this and adjust to make sure they get what they need to fully mature and grow strong.

I had to mix a minimal amount of wet food into her dry food to get more interested and motivated to eat in a more timely manner.

Instead of eating her food, she would prefer using her time to follow me around everywhere I go.

Even to this day, Luna (my JRT) will eat her Blue Buffalo dry food slow, and sometimes my larger dog will even try and eat it and take it from her, which is a BIG NO NO with JRT’s.

They can even get aggressive when it comes to their food.

It can be one of the reasons you notice your Jack Russell Terrier hiding things such as food, toys, or bones from other pets in the home.

Keep an eye out and make sure your Jack Russell Puppy is interested in the food your offering to ensure they don’t grow to have any issues and develop strong and healthy bodies.


Obesity is the flip side of the issue we just discussed and can occur if you are over-feeding your Jack Russell Terrier.

Using the methods, we previously discussed and tracking your Jack Russell puppy’s growth and weight will help you keep this in check and ensure that you are not feeding your dog too much.

Additionally, obesity can be a big problem for dogs if it is not recognized or fixed along the way.

If you are concerned this could be an issue or an issue that is beginning to occur, be sure to consult with your vet and follow their recommendations going forward.

The sooner you can catch an issue such as obesity with a dog such as a Jack Russell Terrier, the better.

What Foods Are Best For Jack Russell Terrier Puppies

When it comes to choosing the best dog food for your Jack Russell Terrier puppy, you will have many options.

I have a video that discusses this more in-depth that you can check out directly below.

Overall, as long as you are sticking with reliable food’s and sticking to the puppy food for the recommended duration, and then transitioning to adult dog food, you will be in good shape.

However, I do have my favorite pick regarding adult dry dog food for a Jack Russell Terrier.

I have been using it for 3 years with my Jack Russell Terrier and almost 7 years with my yellow lab.

I love the Blue Buffalo Dry Formula (Chicken and Rice).

You can read more about and check the details here (Link to Amazon).

In my opinion, when it comes to choosing the best dog foods for a Jack Russell Terrier puppy, you are much better off consulting with a vet or a professional.

My food recommendation is nothing more than what I trust and have used for almost a decade.

Compare your options, ensure it meets the nutritional guidelines for a Jack Russell Terrier puppy, and consult a vet if need be to put your mind at ease.

Outside of that, your options are nearly endless.

For more recommendations check out our Veterinarian Approved Jack Russell Feeding Guide.

My Take and Recommendations When Feeding Your Jack Russell Puppy

Hopefully, this far into the discussion, you are more at ease with the process and understand how to feed your Jack Russell Terrier puppy when you arrive home.

It is not that difficult, but it does take some adapting and possibly even trying a few different methods and tricks depending on if you get a picky eater or not.

Nonetheless, follow the guidelines I have laid out for you today, and you will be in great shape with your new JRT puppy.

Choose a food you prefer and that fits your budget, and never hesitate to consult a vet for secondary opinions if you are on the fence about which foods to choose for your new puppy.

Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your new Jack Russell Terrier puppy and the journey you have ahead of you.

What Further Recommendations Do You Have When Feeding A New JRT Puppy?

Do you have any further recommendations to provide the community about feeding a Jack Russell Terrier properly and ensuring they are getting the nutrients and feedings they need?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Luna and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today, and we will see you again next time.

Josh Martin- Founder and Creator of Terrier Owner

Josh Martin is the proud owner of a female Jack Russell Terrier Named Luna. Josh founded TerrierOwner.com to share the stories of owning a Terrier and to help all terrier owners with the struggles, excitement and common questions that come with being a new terrier parent.

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