Why Is My Jack Russell Terrier Not Eating?

why is my jack russell terrier not eating

I won’t blame you for getting concerned when your Jack Russell is not eating. After all, we just want what is best for our furry friends and we want them to live a long happy life.

We all know that dogs love to eat, so when they don’t, something has to be wrong, right?

Well, yes, that is true. But, there are various reasons why your pup might not be eating, and not all of these reasons are severe or life-threatening.

Join me as I take a look at why a Jack Russell is not eating.

Why Is My Jack Russell Terrier Not Eating?

Jack Russell Terriers may not eat food if they are not hungry. Other factors that can affect a Jack Russell Terrier’s food consumption include its health and energy level. A Jack Russell Terrier will also not eat if they do not know the schedule and routine of mealtimes or do not like the options you are serving.

Let’s explore this in more detail

1.) Your Jack Russell is a picky eater

Jack Russell Terriers have been known to let owners know when their food is not to their liking. If a Jack Russell is not eating, it may be that they are not hungry or are being picky.

Picky eaters usually get this way when they are fed the same thing over and over again without variety. Letting your Jack Russell Terrier try new foods and bringing variety to their diet will help them become more relaxed about the food that they are being served.

2.) Your Jack Russell is sick or injured

If your dog is not eating because they are sick or injured, they may not be able to eat for 1-3 days and then catch up on their strength. Keep an eye out for any changes in your Jack Russell’s behavior and ask a vet to perform a thorough checkup.

3.) Your Jack Russell is stressed

Stress can cause Jack Russell Terriers to lose their appetite. A stressed dog will sometimes naturally lick their lips and chew on things that are hard to digest such as wood or cardboard because it becomes something that it can handle.

4.) Your Jack Russell is pregnant

Jack Russell Terriers that are pregnant may stop eating when they are first pregnant, but then start eating again when the litter gets bigger as late as the third week of pregnancy.

Take your dog to a vet if she does not eat her food altogether or if she starts to lose weight over the course of her pregnancy. There could be complications with the delivery and you want to keep your dog healthy and strong during this time.

5.) Your Jack Russell has not learned an eating schedule

Some Jack Russell Terriers have not yet learned how to eat on a routine schedule. If your dog has not learned the habit of mealtimes, it may be that they are not hungry. Keep mealtimes and walk times consistent so your dog knows when you will be serving food and walking them.

6.) Your Jack Russell is Dehydrated

Jack Russell Terriers are known for their love of water. If they are not drinking enough water, it can cause a Jack Russel Terrier to stop eating as well. Keep an eye on your dog’s drinking habits and if he or she stops drinking, take them to a vet.

7.) Your Jack Russell has dental problems

A Jack Russell Terrier can be affected by serious dental issues. One of the most common causes of a loss of appetite in a dog is pain from their teeth and gums.

A tooth infection can cause your Jack Russell to stop eating for days at a time and you may see them eating grass, ice cubes, or other “weird” things because they can’t stand the pain anymore.

How can I get my dog’s appetite back?

jack russell terrier appetite

The answer to why Jack Russell Terriers are not eating can be a complex one. After all, just as with any dog breed, each individual pooch has its own unique preferences, needs, and health issues.

What works for one pet may not work for the next, but there are several things you can try that just may help coax your furry friend into chomping down their next meal.

1.) Rotisserie Chicken

There are several kinds of appetite stimulants that can be given to a Jack Russell Terrier that can help increase their appetite. You should discuss this option with your vet before trying it, but Rotisserie Chicken can help stimulate your dog’s sense of smell and therefore entice them to eat more.

2.) Change Their Diet

If you have been feeding your Jack Russell Terrier the same food for quite some time and they just recently started turning their nose up at it, you may want to try switching brands or flavors. Not only can flavor be off-putting, but different types of kibble often contain different nutritional values.

3.) Consistency Is Key

While consistency is important when it comes to feeding your dog many different foods on a daily basis, it can also be a factor in their eating habits.

If you make mealtime a bit of a ritual, making sure that the food is always served in the same spot and at the same time each day, your dog may begin to associate these specific activities with eating and get excited about it. Make sure to never give up on using treats for training purposes.

4.) Try A Little Water

You can always try adding a bit of water to your pet’s food. Many dogs have sensitive stomachs and drinking plenty of water (from their bowl, not the toilet) can help restore their appetite. You may also want to consider a small bit of apple cider vinegar as it is said to help restore the PH balance in your pet.

5.) Get Some Fresh Air

Fresh air can be a great appetite stimulant, and that goes for your dog too. If you think that being outside and getting some exercise would help restore your pet’s hunger, then you may want to take them out for a walk or have a play session with them.

6.) Take Your Dog To Your Vet

Always keep in mind that if your dog’s lack of appetite continues for longer than a few days (or if it seems to be linked to other symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy), then there is likely something wrong with them, and you should not hesitate to visit your vet.

7.) Get Them Socialized

Socializing your dog at an early age is a great way to prevent them from becoming afraid or shy of other people, and if you think they may have become afraid of mealtime, you can help get their appetite back by involving them in meal preparation. Make it a fun activity where they are sure to be rewarded with food.

8.) Use Health Treats To Keep Them Eating

While your Jack Russell Terrier should meet their nutritional requirements with their regular dog food, you can always give them some tasty treats as long as they are good for their health.

Prescription Appetite Stimulants For Jack Russells

jack russell terrier veterinarian

If your dog’s appetite is reduced or lost entirely, your veterinarian may prescribe a number of different appetite stimulants. By interacting with chemicals in the brain and central nervous system, appetite stimulants are intended to act on areas that cause a dog to experience hunger.

Let’s have a look at some of the most commonly used prescription appetite stimulants for dogs, including tips for identifying appropriate pain-free options.

1.) Mirtazapine

Mirtazapine is the most commonly prescribed appetite stimulant for dogs. All dogs have a fundamental need to eat, and Mirtazapine can help prevent your dog from losing its appetite during a serious illness.

Mirtazapine can also help to encourage weight gain in a dog that is struggling with their weight due to an underlying disease that causes a lack of appetite.

2.) Entyce

If your Jack Russell isn’t eating as much as he should be, Entyce may be the perfect product to help you combat this problem. Designed as a fast-acting appetite stimulant, Entyce will go to work extremely quickly, with most users seeing results within 2 hours of it being administered.

When it works, dogs are known to start eating again soon after taking Entyce and continue eating after the initial period of use.

3.) CBD

Did you know that CBD for dogs can help your pet feel better? Used as an anti-inflammatory and pain reducer, CBD is thought to soothe dogs with anxiety and stress issues, preventing them from resorting to destructive behaviors when they’re feeling overwhelmed.

Offering broad-spectrum health benefits for a wide range of animal health issues, CBD for dogs also helps boost the immune system and stimulates an appetite in sick animals.

How Long Can A Jack Russell Go Without Food?

A Jack Russell can go 3 to 5 days without food, however, you should not become complacent and you should talk to a vet if your Jack Russell has not eaten for 2 days in a row. While your Jack Russell is not eating, make sure that he is at least drinking some water. 


A Jack Russell Terrier’s eating habits are dependent on the dog’s health, energy level, and routine. A sudden decrease of interest in food or no appetite at all is a drastic sign that the dog is not healthy.

A high-energy Jack Russell Terrier may not eat if they have too much energy to burn off. A Jack Russell Terrier owner must read his or her dog’s body language to determine if their pet is hungry.


  • Jan Pretorius

    Meet Jan Pretorius, the passionate dog lover and proud owner of the popular canine haven, JackRussellTerrierDog.com. 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.