Jack Russell Puppy Feeding Guide

Imagine this tiny, squirming 6-pound Jack Russell pup you’ve just brought home. He’s so small and delicate! It’s hard to believe this tiny guy will grow an adult roughly three times that size. 

What in the world will you feed him? Is puppy food really more important than adult food, and what kind is best? How many meals should he have, and will this change over time?

Jack Russell Puppy Feeding Guide

You’ve just brought your Jack Russell puppy home! While he becomes accustomed to this new environment, you’ll need to figure out how meals will go. This is probably a sinch if you’re a veteran dog owner, but first-timers might be a little confused.

Importance of Puppy Food

If you compare a puppy and adult dog food of the same brand, it might be hard to tell the difference. Why in the world would you buy puppy food anyway? Why not just go with great adult dog food?

Your puppy is growing fast. He or she will need specific nutrients to support that growth. Specifically, your little one will need more protein to support that growth.

Most puppy foods are formulated to provide a higher percentage of protein, compared to their adult counterparts. According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials, you’re looking at 22% or more protein in puppy food vs. 18% in adult food.

There also needs to be a higher percentage of fat in puppy food, along with more calcium and less sodium. The percentages above are minimum requirements, and you’ll probably find higher protein percentages in good puppy food brands.

Puppy food bites will also be smaller and easier to digest.

  • Make sure you’re feeding your pup standard or small breed puppy food. You don’t want to give your Jack too much calcium at this stage.

Pro Tip: Mash your puppy’s food up with some water to make wet food so it is easier to eat and digest.

7-8 Weeks

To avoid any GI upset, you’ll want to keep your little guy on the same food his breeder was providing before. If you are absolutely convinced something else is better, slowly transition to the new food by mixing portions over time. 

You’ll want to give your pup 3-4 small meals a day! Many human children eat at least three meals a day, so this should be easy. 4 meals are ideal. Remember to set a consistent feeding schedule!

Though they may be a small breed, Jack Russell Terriers have a lot of energy and very fast metabolism.

12 weeks (3 Months)

You can begin to decrease your puppy’s meals from 4 to 3 daily soon. Keep feeding three meals until your pup is 6 months old. At that point, you can switch to two meals daily. 

Your Jack’s meals will add up to an average of 1.5 cups daily. Be sure to look at your dog food package’s feeding instructions!

You can move to one meal per day at 12 months, but it isn’t recommended for such a high-energy breed. 

Transitioning to Adult Food

Though many breeds are considered puppies until hitting the two-year mark, you can probably begin transitioning your Jack Russell to adult food around a year. Most Jack Russell Terrier puppies will reach their full growth at around 12 months.

It can be hard to settle on a good puppy food formula with all of the options available to you at your local pet store. Advertising is often deceptive. Many people don’t know what to do, so they settle for the least costly brands they can find.

There’s no need to worry because we’ve done the research for you. Take a look at three of the best Jack Russell puppy food brands available on the market today!

ORIJEN Puppy Dog Food

Orijen is by far one of the highest quality manufactured dog food brands you’ll find! About 85% of their formulas are composed of animal products, which is exactly what you should see. They don’t neglect fruits and vegetables either. You’ll also get high quallity organ meats as well as various types of fish!

  • 38% protein
  • 18% fat

Farmina Natural And Delicious Chicken/Ancestral Low-Grain Puppy Formula

Most of the animal protein here is derived from chicken, although you’ll see several high quality ingredients! About 60% of this formula is composed of animal-based ingredients. Farmina is listed as the number one puppy food with dogfoodadvisor, receiving 5 stars.

  • 38% protein
  • 22% fat

Wellness Complete Health Dry Puppy Food

Most of your protein here comes from both deboned chicken and chicken meal. Wellness complete attempts to better balance your protein, fat, and fiber ratios! Not only will you find fantastic macronutrients here, but Wellness Complete offers omega fatty acids, antioxidants, essential vitamins, and probiotics!

  • 32% protein
  • 20% fat

Human Food?

While many of us are guilty of giving in and treating our adults with the occasional scrabs and leftovers, don’t do this with your puppy. Don’t feed your Jack Russell pup anything but puppy food designed for him.

Your puppy is especially vulnerable to intestinal illnesses, which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Because the little one is so small, he or she needs every little bit of that circulatory volume.

Interesting Fact: Countless puppies succumb to Parvovirus, causing them intense fluid loss until they lapse into hypovolemic shock and ultimately pass. Without treatment, recovery rates are extremely low. Vaccinations are crucial for your puppy!

Treats and Chews

This will depend on the type of treats, as long as they were designed for dogs and healthy. You’ll want to limit the number of treat rewards you offer while ensuring proper nutrition. Many store-bought dog treats are not nutritious!

You’re in the middle of potty training, for example. You want to reward your puppy for successful outdoor eliminations. It’s ok to treat your puppy! The praise you shower your pup with will also probably be just as effective at this early age and is always recommended.

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