Why Is My Jack Russell Not Eating?

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Food is one of the bare minimum essentials needed to sustain the well-being of any living creature. It is, therefore, a concerning matter if you own a pet that seems to be disinterested or unable to feed properly. Let me now look at some possible answers as to why is my Jack Russell not eating.

Why Is My Jack Russell Not Eating?

Your Jack Russell may not be eating for several reasons ranging from ailments, a lack of interest, or simply because it is not feeling hungry.

More so, a Jack Russell, a small dog breed, has minimal metabolic requirements and may only need to eat little food to sustain its essential body functions.

A tri-color Jack Russell Terrier lying on black tiles in the kitchen

It is, however, essential to distinguish when your dog is not feeding and will not cause any problems and when it is abnormal and will require intervention before harm is done. Below I discuss some of the reasons that would cause your dog not to eat and solutions where necessary.

When your JRT is not eating, it could be due to the following reasons:

  • It may be ailing: Disease and sickness can cause your dog to have challenges regarding feeding. This can be physical in nature, such as dental problems, early pregnancy, bacterial, fungal, or parasite stomach infections, or psychological, such as stress or anxiety.
  • The dog might have a peaky personality: JRTs, like humans, vary in personality and thus have distinctive food tastes and preferences. And just like you wouldn’t eat food you do not like or want, so will your dog.
  • Irregular feeding routine: It is easier for dogs to feed well if the food is offered differently than it was used to or at a different time.
  • Poor diet options: If you were given contaminated, spoiled, distasteful, or overly spicy food, you would struggle to eat it. This is similar to a dog that will not eat food that is improper to it.
  • The mere absence of hunger: In some instances, when a JRT lacks hunger, it will be disinterested in food until such a time when it does and will willingly eat well without being compelled.
  • Sudden change in diet: Your dog, much like any other animal, will not immediately adapt to strange, unfamiliar tastes and will likely be picky towards such. This is simply because of the discomfort that comes about when I no longer get that which is familiar to me.

How to Improve a Jack Russell’s Appetite

If your Jack is not eating enough food, you must put measures in place to try and get it to it. They can include:

  • Exerciseregular moderate exercises such as walks and swimming will increase your JRTs metabolic requirements and thus make it have a better appetite for food in order to get the energy required.
  • Warm your dog’s food – Do this, especially with your trusted canned or refrigerated dog food, as this will bring out its aroma. When your Jack smells, it will likely start to salivate in anticipation and eventually eat more of it.
  • Mix the food with tasty additives – In cases where your dog seems to be picky towards food that is good for it, try adding a preferred flavor to it, such as meaty ones such as chicken or beef, to get the dog to take down the food more readily.
  • A hands-on approach having some tender love and care effect-This affects the dogs psychologically and goes a long way to getting your dog to have a better attitude towards meals as it pairs feeding time with spending time with you and having an opportunity to please you and thus have a better appetite.
  • Get prescriptions from your vet – This entails drugs such as mirtazapine, meclizine, and dronabinol, which help with nausea, pain, discomfort in the abdomen, and vomiting while increasing your dog’s desire to eat.
A close-up brown and white Jack Russell Terrier lying on a pink bed sheet in the bedroom

A combination of the methods above can achieve the best results for your Jack. If they do not, consult your vet so they can carry out tests and find out what is wrong with your dog.

Related Questions

Other questions you may have are answered below.

How Long Can a Jack Russell Go Without Eating?

A healthy Jack Russell can go up to five days without eating comfortably if it’s still getting water in some way. However, any period longer than that may be fatal, and you should contact your local veterinarian to give it a medical check-up beforehand.

What Is the Best Way to Feed a Jack Russell Puppy?

The best way to feed a JRT puppy is with moisture-filled foods rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals compared to carbohydrates. Avoid human foods such as cow’s milk, porridge, and processed foods that are overly sweet and salty or spicy which may interfere with digestion.


The first thing to do when your Jack is not feeding well is to establish the actual cause, whether it’s poor appetite, ailment, disinterest, handling, or just the absence of hunger. This will then direct you to the right course of action, which might be as easy as doing nothing, depending on why.