13 Jack Russell Old Age Problems

Jack Russell Old Age Problems

Jack Russell old age problems are concerns for some owners and that is exactly what this post will address!

You love your Jack Russell Terrier, but you want to know what’s going on with her.

You’ve noticed that she has lost some of her independence and is not as playful as usual.

Perhaps she’s not eating or drinking as much as she used to, and when you ask her about it, she tells you that she’s fine.

But how can you tell if something is wrong without knowing what might be causing the problem?

This post will address some common Jack Russell old age problems you should know and look out for!

Common Jack Russell Old Age Problems

Here are some of the most common Jack Russell old age problems you should know:

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (Dry Eye)

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is a condition that affects Jack Russell’s vision and causes him to have dry eyes.

It’s associated with a lack of tears in the mucous membranes of the eye, which makes it difficult for them to blink and moisten their eyes.

The symptoms are:

  • Less blinking than normal (especially when they’re sleeping)
  • Tearing after crying/blinking too much
  • Constant tearing (no matter what)

Arthritis and Joint Issues

Arthritis is a common old-age problem, affecting dogs of all sizes and breeds.

It can affect joints in your dog’s body, including its paws, knees, and hips.

Jack Russell terriers with arthritis may develop swelling or pain in one or more joints of their body.

This could result from injury or illness such as an infection or joint disease (such as hip dysplasia).

The symptoms of arthritis are often similar to those found with other types of chronic pain in older dogs.

However, it’s important to note that some breeds are more susceptible than others depending on their genetic makeup.


Jack Russells are more likely to develop bone cancer, especially in old age.

This type of cancer is common in dogs and can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

It’s a painful condition that may require amputation if left untreated for long enough.


Dementia is a brain disease that causes symptoms of memory loss, confusion, and lack of judgment.

It also affects how you think and feel about yourself, your environment, other people, and the world around you.

Dementia can develop slowly over time or rapidly at any age.

In some cases, it may be caused by a stroke or other injury that damages the brain’s ability to communicate with itself (called neurodegeneration).

If left untreated, dementia can progress into full-blown Alzheimer’s disease which is terminal.

However, there are treatments available to slow down its progression if caught early enough.

It’s important that anyone who shows signs of developing dementia get tested as soon as possible so they can start treatment before things get worse.

Cognitive decline

Cognitive decline is a normal part of aging. It’s not a disease, but rather a change in the way your dog’s brain works.

This can cause memory loss, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, and slowed thinking and learning new things.

Your Jack Russell may have trouble learning new things or remembering old ones (especially if you don’t spend much time training them).

You’ll want to make sure that he gets plenty of exercises every day so that he stays healthy overall!

Skin problems

Skin problems are a common Jack Russell old age problem.

They can be caused by an underlying health issue, such as cancer or thyroid problems.

Skin problems include dry skin, hair loss, and itchiness.

These symptoms may be accompanied by other signs of aging such as joint pain and blindness in some cases.

If your dog has any of these symptoms it’s important to see your veterinarian immediately, so they can determine what’s wrong and treat it accordingly.

Loss of energy

Loss of energy is a common problem for Jack Russell terriers, but it can be difficult to recognize if you don’t know what to look for.

A dog that suddenly seems to have “nothing left” can be caused by many factors including illness or even old age.

Here are some signs your dog may be experiencing loss of energy:

  • Your dog has slowed down in his or her habits and activities (e.g., playing fetch).
  • You notice a change in sleeping patterns (e.g., sleeping more often at night).
  • The person doing housework notices that your pet is not using stairways as much as usual—and this may be due to his/her unwillingness/inability to climb stairs due to diminished strength or coordination issues caused by old age!

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Jack Russell terriers and can be detected by your veterinarian.

If you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior or energy level, it’s important to get them checked out as soon as possible.

Heart disease is common among older dogs, so if you have a Jack Russell who has been getting older for several years, it’s important to monitor their health closely.

Dental Issues

Dental issues are common in dogs and cats, particularly those with long lifespans.

While it’s important to keep your dog’s teeth clean, you also need to be aware of the signs of dental problems, so you can take action when they arise.

Jack Russell terriers with dental issues may show signs such as a lack of appetite or lethargy, which could be due to pain or discomfort caused by gum disease.

Jack Russell terriers tend not to show external signs like drooling or excessive licking, but they might lose interest in food or water if their teeth aren’t healthy enough for chewing and biting foods properly (and often).

As with humans who have bad oral hygiene habits themselves—such as never brushing their teeth after every meal—your pet will most likely experience more health problems if left untreated over time.

These include gingivitis (inflammation around the gums), and periodontal disease (a condition where bacteria build up within pockets between bones inside an animal’s mouth).

Tartar buildup on teeth surfaces due to lack thereof cleaning routine regularly scheduled times throughout each week/month year etcetera ad infinitum


Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye, which can cause vision loss.

They are caused by aging, genetics, and UV exposure. If you have noticed your Jack Russell’s eyes becoming cloudy or even opaque at times, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Cataracts are commonly seen in older dogs and can affect their ability to see clearly as well as make them more susceptible to eye infections like conjunctivitis (pink eye) or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye).

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy is a disease that affects the spinal cord. It causes weakness, loss of coordination, and difficulty walking.

This condition is more common in older dogs, but it can also occur in younger ones as well.

The cause of degenerative myelopathy isn’t known for certain, but there are several theories that may help explain why this condition occurs:

  • Infectious agents such as viruses or bacteria may cause demyelination (loss of nerve cells) in your dog’s spinal cord leading to weakness and paralysis below the hips (lumbosacral instability).
  • Toxic chemicals found in some foods can damage nerves leading to dysfunction at the base level of your dog’s brain stem where control impulses pass through before reaching other parts of the body.

Seizures and Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition in which seizures are recurrent, unprovoked, and may be triggered by certain stimuli.

Seizures can be characterized by sudden, brief periods of altered consciousness or muscle contraction (convulsions) followed by complete relaxation, which lasts 60 seconds to 15 minutes.

Seizure is one of the common reasons why Jack Russell terriers shake uncontrollably.

The symptoms of epilepsy include:

  • Convulsions (sudden jerky movements of the body) lasting 10-30 seconds
  • Loss of awareness during the seizure – this is called a “coma” and can occur immediately after the seizure has occurred or even up to several hours later.
  • If you have never experienced this before then it means that your dog has had some form of brain damage caused by an earlier accident or injury which resulted in partial paralysis on one side only.
  • Usually left side is due to their dominant nature meaning they would tend towards further injuring themselves so would rather not move around too much!

Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

Autoimmune thyroid disease is one of the most common causes of old age problems in Jack Russell terriers.

It occurs when an animal’s immune system attacks its own thyroid gland, causing it to produce more hormones than normal.

The disease can lead to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, which can be diagnosed through blood tests and confirmed by imaging such as ultrasound or X-ray.

If you notice any symptoms such as excessive thirst and urination; weight loss; increased appetite without gaining weight; increased energy levels without feeling tired; rapid heartbeat; nervousness or excitement around people (including other dogs); depression/anxiety/irritability/aggression towards others.

How to handle Jack Russell old age problems

As Jack Russell terriers age, they may experience a variety of health problems, most of which can be managed with some common sense.

Here are some tips to help you care for your dog as he ages:

  1. Make sure your dog has regular vet check-ups. Jack Russells are prone to a variety of health problems, some of which may not show up until much later in their lives. Regular vet check-ups can help catch any problems early, and may also help manage any existing ones.
  2. Keep your Jack Russell physically active. Although Jack Russells are known for their energy and agility, too much sitting and not enough exercise.
  3. Make sure Jack Russell has plenty of human interaction, both physical and verbal.
  4. Provide plenty of stimulation and mental exercises to keep Jack Russell entertained and mentally challenged.
  5. Get Jack Russell used to his new routine as early as possible. This will help him adjust better and avoid potential conflicts.
  6. Make sure Jack Russell has a comfortable and safe place to rest and relax.
  7. Provide emotional support and understanding to help Jack Russell cope with his old age.
  8. Take measures to prevent injuries, such as providing a safe and comfortable environment and providing appropriate exercise.

Ways to care for older Jack Russell

  1. Regular exercise – Jack Russells need a lot of exercise to stay healthy and happy. A good way to provide this is by having them run around or play fetch.
  2. Feed them a balanced diet – A Jack Russell’s diet should include plenty of good quality protein, carbs, and fats.
  3. Give them plenty of fresh water – Jack Russells are particularly prone to getting thirsty, so make sure they always have plenty of fresh water available.
  4. Provide them with a comfortable bed – A Jack Russell’s bed should be big enough for them to stretch out and be comfortable, but small enough so they don’t get too much space.
  5. Keep them warm – A Jack Russell’s coat can be quite thin, so they can get cold very easily. Make sure they have a warm place to sleep and stay warm.
  6. Monitor their health – Jack Russells are delicate animals and can get sick very easily.
  7. Make sure they have a comfortable bed and plenty of blankets.
  8. Make sure they have plenty of toys and chew toys to keep them occupied.
  9. Provide them with regular veterinary care.


Most Jack Russell owners can expect their dogs to live a normal lifespan of 15-20 years.

However, certain problems can occur as the dog ages and these can affect your pet’s quality of life significantly.