How To Care For An Older Jack Russell Terrier

how to care of an older jack russell terrier

It’s heartbreaking for any pet owner to see their dog degenerate with age. Jack Russell Terriers are a small, vibrant breed that owners do not expect to lose their vitality until they are quite old.

However, like all dogs, Jack Russells will develop old age problems and you will need to modify your care routine so that your dog is able to live out the remainder of his life with as much comfort and happiness as possible.

Join me as I take a look at how you can take care of an older Jack Russell.

How to take proper care of an older Jack Russell

It is important to extend life for your older pets especially your Jack Russell Terrier. I want to give you some tips on what you can do for your older Jack Russell that will keep them both happy and healthy.

1. Prevention is the best medicine

Prevention is always better than treatment. Before you know it your dog may suffer from disease or other health issues that will require more care and attention.

Through proper care, you will make sure that your Jack Russell has a long, happy, and healthy life. If you have a puppy or older dog, then be sure to spend time with your dog and take care of its health needs when necessary.

2. The first signs of problems

Be aware of your dog’s health and don’t ignore any symptoms. Your dog might not show all the symptoms at once, but if you watch for signs that something is wrong you will be able to take care of them before they become severe.

In this case, your dog could suffer from everything from obesity to a heart condition, but it could still live a long and healthy life if the issues are treated early.

3. Diet is key to good health

If you want your Jack Russell to be healthy and live a long time there is one thing that you must consider; diet. Be sure to feed your dog a diet that is high in protein and low in carbs.

If you don’t you may end up with a dog that is overweight and suffers from diabetes. Diabetes can cause blindness, but there are treatments to prevent or reverse the effects of the disease.

4. Aging gracefully

As a Jack Russell gets older, it will be more susceptible to ailments and conditions such as arthritis, thyroid problems, heart conditions, eye problems, and more.

When this happens the owner will need to adjust their routine with their Jack Russell. When a Jack Russell is ignored and not given the proper care it will be harder to recover.

5. Heart problems

Jack Russells have a very strong heart that will overcome most issues, but small problems such as a heart murmur can present themselves to lead to fatal conditions if care is not taken.

It is important to take your dog to a veterinarian if there are any signs of heart problems to prevent further complications. Although your dog may live long enough without heart problems, they will be living a shorter life than normal because of it.

6. Infections

Infections are the main cause of death for older dogs. If your Jack Russell becomes infected with disease, then the vet may have to prescribe antibiotics to cure the problem.

Antibiotics can be very harmful to your dog’s body if they are abused and overused. Be sure to follow the instructions of how often you should give your dog antibiotics and what not to do while using them.

7. Eye problems

Another common issue that people don’t pay attention to in their dog is eye issues. Conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and dry eye can lead to blindness if not taken care of quickly.

This is why it is so important to take regular trips to the vet so that they can check your dog’s eyes and make sure that there are no problems or signs of a potential problem developing.

Signs your Jack Russell is getting old

As your Jack Russell ages, you will be able to tell by the changes in his behavior and attitude. You may not always notice these changes at first, but after a while, you start to notice that your dog is not as energetic, active, or alert as they once were.

It is important to be aware of the signs your Jack Russel is getting old so you can start taking care of them accordingly.

1.) Sleeping more

Older dogs will start to show signs of fatigue and that they need more sleep. As your Jack Russell gets older, he will be less active and tire out easier. Don’t think that this is an indication that there is something medically wrong with your dog.

Your dog may just need a comfortable place to sleep, but make sure you are taking your dog outside so he can do some physical activity. It’s important to make sure that you do not put extra weight on your older Jack Russell as it may cause hip problems down the road.

2.) Not being as social as usual

Older dogs will start to shun social interaction. They will not be as interested in playing with you or wanting to go out with you. This is not an indication that your dog is in pain, but it does mean that he wants to be alone and relax.

3.) Less tolerant

Older Jack Russells will not be as tolerant of the daily hassles that come with living in a house. They will be less tolerant of noise, kids, and other animals. This may cause your older dog to have some behavioral issues that you need to address immediately.

4.) Less active

As your Jack Russell gets older, they will not be as active in general. They will start to lose some of their energy and enthusiasm. This could be something that you are starting to notice, but it may also be a symptom of your dog getting old.

Jack Russell old age problems

As with any other dog breed, Jack Russells can suffer from certain old age problems. The following list will help you understand these problems, and hopefully, you would be able to take appropriate action when you identify one of these issues.

1.) Deafness

I’m listing this first as this was the first sign I noticed as my Jack Russell, Charlie, got older. Jack Russells can go completely deaf or only partially.

2.) Blindness

Jack Russells are prone to eye problems, and they can also go blind when they get old.

3.) Dental Issues

We all try to take good care of their teeth, but Jack Russells will eventually experience dental issues like gum diseases and decayed teeth when they get old.

4.) Weight Problems

A Jack Russell will get less active as he gets older, and this can lead him to gain weight if his diet is not adjusted properly.

5.) Arthritis

We all know that Jack Russells are very active dogs. Since they need exercise on a daily basis, and because they often run, jump, and do tricks, this can, unfortunately, lead to joint issues when they get old.

6.) Constant Shaking

Jack Russells can suffer from Wobbler Syndrome, constant shaking episodes, when they get old.

7.) Epilepsy

Our furry friends can suffer from epilepsy when they get old. This has happened to Charlie, my Jack Russell, but luckily we were able to treat it with medication.

When is a Jack Russell considered a senior dog?

A Jack Russell is considered a senior dog when he is over 10 years old. Although he might live up to 16 years of age, he will start to show signs of aging at 10 years, and at 12 to 13 years he will start to slow down and will not be as energetic as usual.

How long do Jack Russells live?

A Jack Russell’s life span can realistically be 13-16 years and some having the potential to live as long as 17. Depending on the specific characteristics of an individual dog, it is theoretically possible for them to live up to 17 years of age. This is rare, however, and not very common.


There comes a time in life when your dog won’t be as perky, energetic, patient, and healthy as it used to be. Sometimes this is the result of age; sometimes it’s the result of disease or injury, and sometimes it’s a combination of all three.

Whatever the case may be, it’s important to ensure that you make special considerations for your elderly Jack Russell in order to ensure a happy and healthy life.


  • Jan Pretorius

    Meet Jan Pretorius, the passionate dog lover and proud owner of the popular canine haven, Born and raised in a small town known for its love of animals, Jan’s journey into the world of dogs began at a young age, fueled by an innate connection with our four-legged companions.