Jack Russel

Basics of Jack Russell Terrier Care 

jack russell terrier care

Jack Russell Terrier care is so important. By being prepared before you bring your Jack Russel home, and then by following some of the tips on this page, you'll be off to a strong start in helping your Jack live a health and illness free life.

What You Should Buy Before Bringing Home Your Jack Russell Terrier Puppy 

You'll need a couple of items before you bring your Jack Russell home.  Being prepared is key. Also, buy stronger products as Jacks are energetic and curious, so buying more durable items make sense.

Suggested new Jack Russell Terrier care puppy products include:

  • Prepare places for your Jack to feel secure: Buy a dog crate where your Jack can sleep and start his or her training program.  An alternative would be a confined space where you Jack can eat on one end and urinate with pee pads on the other.  Orvis Dog gates or baby gates are also helpful to create a confined space and a sense of safety. 

  • Food bowl: get something sturdy like stainless steel dog bowl instead of some that can be chewed apart such as cheaper plastic options.  

  • Head halter or collar and leash: Look for a buckle, head or matingdale collar made of a soft material or a leather.  Avoid anything that can cause harm or infuriate your Jack (they take it personally) such as a spike or shock collar.  The leash should be at least 6 feet.

  • Bitter Apple Spray: Use Bitter Apple Spray on any item you don't want your Jack to chew .  Works great on furniture (check to make sure it doesn't stain).

  • Grooming Supplies: Jack Russell grooming supplies with vary based on the type of coat your Jack has. 

    • Brushes: If you have a smooth hair, broken or rough coat Jack Russell try brushing everyday.  This will minimize shedding.  For Smooth coat Jack Russell Terrier care use a natural bristle brush, a metal comb and scissors (to cut any out of place hairs).. For a broken coat use a slicker brush on the outer layer, and then to strip the coat of dead hair use a wide toothed comb, wire brush, and two short knives (one dull, one sharp), or a thinning shear. We suggest using a professional groomer, at least at first, who can show you what to do.

      Ask your groomer about other tools to trim the undercoat and to cut dead hair.  Monthly bathing with a natural shampoo such as Perfect coat will also help to keep down shedding.  

      A natural homeopathic supplement such as Skin and Coat Tonic can help to boost the appearance of your Jacks coat while supporting healthy skin.

    • Toothpaste and toothbrush - a daily dental routine started when your pup is young will get your Jack used to this as part of the daily routine. This will add years to your dog's life.

  • Dog Bed: You need a bed that can't be chewed apart.  We like the quality options available from Orvis.

  • Reading material or on line puppy training: As part of your Jack Russell Terrier care program, try the on line training course offered by The Online Dog Trainer.  You can view the first lesson free by clicking here to see if this will work for you. You can also work with a professional dog trainer in your area by finding one on the Association of Pet Dog Trainers site (APDT).  This is important as bad behavior can set in early unless expectations are clearly demonstrated to your Jack.

  • Toys: Our favorite Jack Russell Terrier toy is called a Kong Toy, it can keep a Jack occupied with  individual play.for a long time since it has hidden compartments where you can find treats. Since it is a puzzle it is perfect for an intelligent dog like a Jack.  Jack's are intelligent dogs, so be sure to use interesting tosy as part of your Jack Russell Terrier care program.

  • Natural Treats: These can help keep your Jack's teeth clean and busy at the same time. Consider bully sticks which provide the perfect texture to keep teeth clean, are odor free and all natural..  Always check with your Vet before feeding your Jack anything to avoid any dietary issues and stomach upset.

To keep your dog healthy, it's important to develop a Jack Russell Terrier care plan regarding wellness and illness prevention.  This includes:

1. Spaying and Neutering - this occurs at about 6 months of age and before the first heat in females.  There are several known Jack Russell Terrier care benefits including helping to control the population of unwanted dogs not to mention in males benefits such as reducing the risk of perineal hernias, penile tumors, prostate cancer and canine testicular cancer. In Jack Russell Terrier females neutering benefits include mammary cancer prevention.  Neutering in general helps to reduce aggressive Jack Russell behavior.

2. Food and nutrition: Our rule of thumb is the first only buy AAFCO approved dog foods that state that the food was "tested and found to be adequate" Do not buy AAFCO dog food that states the food is  "formulated to meet AAFCO standards" as this is the lowest level of certification.

If a food meets the "tested and found to be adequate" standard it is find for your Jack Russell Terrier regardless of cost.  Puppies eat a kibble 4 times a day that is softened with warm water.  Reduce the number of feedings to 3 at age 4 to 6 months. Feed 2 times a day at 6 months.; At one year, 1x a day or 2x a day per your veterinarians instructions.

3. Teething and dental care: A Jack Russell will have 30 baby teeth by 8 weeks old. These teeth will start to fall out at 6 to 7 months. Avoid habits such as having your pup jaw your hands to avoid problems late (a washcloth might be a better substitute).  Be sure to buy a toothpaste that has enzymes and fluoride.

4. Regular Veterinary Visits - ask your Vet, but 2x a year for preventive care is normal  Ask about vaccination schedules and dental care such as teeth cleaning.

5. Microchip insertion - when you have your dog neutered have a microchip implanted.  This way if you Jack gets lost, it can be returned to you by any shelter.

6. Get Dog Health Insurance: Dog medical care is getting as expensive as human care, be sure to get a good pet health insurance policy.  To compare rates we suggest looking at pet health insurance policies from Pets Best (the first company to ever offer dog health insurance in the United States).

7. Put together a Dog First Aid Kit.  Your Jack Russell Terrier care emergency kit should include:
    • Emergency information (ask Vet for 24 hour emergency care hot line information)
    • Medical records
    • Soft Dog Muzzle just in case an injured Jack is tempted to bite (occurs in dogs under stress)
    • Pediatric rectal thermometer (do not buy glass) and petroleum jelly so that you can insert the thermometer.
    • Small round tip scissors so you can remove dog hair around injuries
    • Triple antibiotic ointment and gauze pads and antibiotic soap
    • Hydrogen peroxide (to induce dog vomiting) and activated charcoal to absorb poison
    • Rubbing alcohol to clean wounds
    • Benadryl for allergic reactions
    • Eye wash
    • Toenail clippers
    • Kwik stop powder (great for bleeding from nails when they break) or Styptic Powder
    • Dog eye wash
    • Turkey baster to provide medication
    • Thermal blanket to keep the dog warm
    • Tweezers
    • Vinegar or aloe vera (helps with burns)
    • Witch hazel (for insect bites, minor cuts)
We recommend the First Voice First Aid Kit for pets, which contains just about everything you need in one kit.

8. Plan for External Parasite Control for Dog Fleas, Ticks, Worms and other Internal Parasites

There are many parasite control products for pets, including once-a-month topical products, sprays, powders, dips, shampoos, and collars.  

Once-a-month Topicals: are applied to a small area on the back of the pet, are probably the easiest product to use, and generally, last the longest.

Some kill fleas and ticks, and others just fleas, so check the label carefully. Ingredients generally include permethrin, pyrethrin, or fipronil.

Examples of these products include Bio Spot for Dogs and Frontline.(check package, for example Frontline cannot be used on dogs under 8 weeks of age).

Sprays: Flea and tick control spray can come as aerosols or pump bottles. When using a spray, you do not have to soak the pet with the spray, but be sure to spray all parts of the animal.

Spray a small amount on a cotton ball to apply the product around the eyes and ears. Do not get any of these products in the eyes.

Follow your veterinarian's and the manufacturer's directions on how often to spray, and spray in a well-ventilated area. Sprays often contain permethrin or pyrethrin. Do NOT use products containing permethrin on cats, as it can be deadly.

tick control Powders: Dog Flea and Tick Powders are generally easy to apply but can create a mess. If you or your pet has asthma, powders may not be the best choice of product since the powder could be inhaled. Be sure to use powders in well-ventilated areas for the safest Jack Russell Terrier care. Powders often contain pyrethrin.

Medications: There are several advantages to using a flea table on dogs, particularly those brought home from a rescue that might have been exposed to fleas:

  • Fleas will die within 4 hours for dogs using a single dose
  • Kills adult fleas
  • Almost all adult fleas will die

Shampoos: Flea and tick shampoo help to primarily rid the pet of the ticks it already has on it, although some have residual activity.

To properly use a flea and tick shampoo as part of your Jack Russell Terrier care program, you must be sure to work the shampoo in over the entire body and then leave it on at least 10 minutes before you rinse it off. This is true of almost any medicated shampoo. Again, remember to protect the eyes and ears of the pet for the best Jack Russell Terrier care.

tick collar Collars: Flea and tick collars can be effective, but must be applied properly. To get the right degree of snugness, you should just be able to get two fingers between the collar and the neck of your pet.

Be sure to cut off any excess portion of the collar after you have properly applied it. Otherwise, that animal, or other pets may try to chew on the end.  

Check the package for information on duration of effectiveness since many collars lose effectiveness when they get wet, e.g., if your dog swims a lot.

Watch carefully for any irritation under the collar. If this occurs, you may need to use a different product. As mentioned above, the Preventic Tick Collar does an excellent job controlling ticks.

While flea and tick products do a very good job of preventing infestations or controlling an existing problem, none are 100% effective all of the time.

It's always a good idea to check your pet for ticks occasionally, especially after a trip to the woods or grassy field. If you do find an attached tick, read How to Remove a Tick before going it on your own.
lyme disease

One last point: If deer ticks and Lyme disease are present where you live, you may want to consider visiting a veterinarian for a dog Lyme disease vaccine to provide that extra Jack Russell Terrier care and protection.

Your veterinarian can tell you if this extra precaution is a good idea for your area.

Dog Ticks:

Ticks can cause a variety of medical problems for your dog, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. In large enough numbers, ticks can cause dangerous amounts of blood loss, especially in young animals.

An effective tick control program is essential to your best Jack Russell Terrier care and health, and always involves treating both the environment and the animal.

Environmental Tick Control

Tick control in the environment generally involves treating the yard and kennel areas. I prefer an environmentally-safe spray containing fenvalerate for this purpose.

Follow product directions carefully. You may need to spray every 7 to 14 days during peak tick months. Remember that cold, frosty fall weather does not kill ticks (in fact, that is when deer tick numbers are usually at their peak), so treat your yard well into the fall and early winter to provide for the best Jack Russell Terrier care.

Regardless of the product used, remember not to spray where run-off could go into lakes or rivers. Removing leaves and clearing brush and tall grass from around the house and kennel areas can also help reduce the number of ticks and provide the best Jack Russell Terrier care.

The Brown Dog Tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus is the most troublesome tick in kennels and yards and is found almost everywhere. It can complete its life cycle in about 2 months, and although uncommon, it can become established indoors. flea and tick fogger

If you do encounter an indoor tick problem, use a flea and tick fogger, spray or powder. Fog as you would for fleas.

In the house, ticks tend to crawl to a higher area (like they do in grass). They may be found in cracks around windows and doors.

Because of this tendency and the fact that ticks crawl, and do not jump or fly, another option is to apply a 1-foot barrier of insecticide such as a flea and tick spray or powder where the carpet meets the wall around the entire room.

As a result, ticks moving to the walls to climb higher will come in contact with the insecticide and be killed. And, finally, remember to wash your pet's bedding regularly for the best Jack Russell Terrier care.

Please share your Jack Russell Terrier Care tips by filling out the form below.

Have a Jack Russell Terrier Care Related Question for our Vet or Readers?

Do you have a Jack Russell Terrier care problem or question. We'll select one question each week for a response from our staff veterinarian.

Please be sure to include information that can help with the quality of the response, such as the current Jack Russell care problem, behavioral issue or health condition, age, sex, medical history, diet, medications, symptoms, and changes in behavior. For conditions such as skin problems, or to help us get to know your dog, please include a picture if possible.

We receive many requests, so if you need immediate help, we suggest using this online veterinary service that can answer your Jack Russell Health questions now.

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