A Jack Russell Terrier is considered a senior after he reaches the ages of 10 through 12. They typically live to be 15 or older. An older Jack Russell terrier is just as active as a younger Jack Russell, they stay active until the very end of their lives.
A senior Jack Russell terrier may develop arthritis and other health problems that may make him a bit irritable and less tolerant of younger dogs who want to play with him, that is, if he has been trained to socialize with other dogs earlier in his life because Jack Russell terriers naturally don’t like other dogs.
If he is afflicted with arthritis, it may affect his behavior. After getting up from a nap or coming out of bed in the morning, he may become stiff when he walks but after moving around and loosening up, he may want to play and run like normal. In time, the arthritis may worsen and he may not want to run around that much.
Talk to your vet at the first sign of arthritis in your Jack Russell terrier. He can prescribe some medications that can ease the discomfort of your Jack Russell to get him running and playing again.
Deafness can be a problem in senior dogs, including Jack Russell Terriers. If you notice that your Jack Russell cannot hear you when you call him, take him to the vet for examination. If your dog has lost his hearing, you need to start using vibrations to get his attention instead of your voice. When you approach him while he’s sleeping, stomp your feet on the floor so he can feel you coming and is not startled when you touch him.
A senior Jack Russell terrier may also lose his sight due to cataracts. Talk to your vet about the problem. When your Jack Russell becomes totally blind, you can help him by keeping furniture and other items in the house in the same place so he can learn to get around without knocking things off.
Some older dogs also lose their sense of smell which can result in a decreased appetite. Dogs use their noses to identify the food that’s being served to them, and if your older Jack Russell cannot smell his food very well, he is less likely to eat it. Adding some healthy, strong-smelling food, such as garlic, or fish to his meal can encourage him to eat. If his appetite continues to wane or drop off suddenly, call your vet. There might be more going on than a weakened sense of smell.