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The great news for Jack Russell owners is that they tend to live longer than the larger breeds. Plus, they reach seniority later than larger breeds too. While many of our large breeds of canine companion start to slow down as early as eight years old the Jack Russell as a breed generally remain in the “adult” rather than “senior” category until they are aged 10-12.
Being robust, active little dogs the Jack Russell in particular tend to enjoy good health and longevity.
Signs that Your Jack Russell is becoming a senior dog
Eyes: You notice that the eyes develop a blue tinge. This is something called Nuclear Sclerosis, it’s a normal part of aging and the terrier can still see. Nuclear Sclerosis is easily confused with cataracts which lead to blindness, so if in doubt get it checked by your vet.
Colour: There dark patches fade through adulthood and this will suddenly accelerate as they become paler, less distinct and even replaced by grey hair.
The Senses Decline: As your Jack Russell goes into seniority his or her senses of hearing, sight and smell gradually decline. You will notice that these senses get weaker over time.
Stiff When Getting Up: Instead of bounding up with enthusiasm, your terrier now gets up slowly and stretches before greeting the day or the opportunity for a walk.
Less Active: He or she may jump and leap about less, they may even seem to want shorter walks. Or you find yourself walking more slowly so that they can keep up.
Cognitive Disease: You may experience noticeable signs of declining cognitive function as they age. They may be easily confused, stopping and looking around as though lost or staring into space. Your Jack Russell might not seem to instantly recognise you. These are all potential signs of canine dementia, it’s a good idea to get him or her checked by the vet. Confusion can often be a sign of urinary tract infection.
Sleeping More: They sleep more and sleep more soundly.
Here are some tips of how you should you care for your Jack Russell as they slow down into their twilight years.
Slow down and shortening the walks for your senior Jack Russell, exercise is important, but so is not overdoing it. Try and keep walks to the same length every time and devise away to carry them some of the time when going on longer walks.
Consider switching to a diet especially for senior dogs. This is especially important if they suffer any tummy upsets or joint stiffness. Check that the new diet has added joint supplementation.
They may not find it so easy to jump into their favourite chair. Place a stool or similar in a suitable place to help them get up and down.
As they age they may feel and suffer from the cold more. Make sure they have somewhere warm and comfortable to sleep at night.
Talk to the vet if you have any worries about their health.