How To Tell If My Jack Russell Is Depressed?

How To Tell If My Jack Russell Is Depressed?

Jack Russell Terriers are adorable small-sized dogs packed with energy and liveliness. This dog breed is well known for its curious, playful, and a bit of mischievous personality. If you own a JRT, you have clearly witnessed how bubbly these pooches are. 

Knowing that Jack Russell Terriers are generally active, you might doubt if you feel like your JRT is lazy. If you find your JRT lacks more energy than usual, you may worry whether JRT is depressed or sick. 

So, how to tell if your Jack Russell Terrier is depressed? When Jack Russells are depressed, you can identify it by their sudden unusual behaviors, changes in dietary patterns, lack of enthusiasm, excessive chewing, excessive barking or unstoppable paws licking. At the same time, it could be some sickness as well. Therefore, it would be better to visit your vet as soon as possible.

Once you finish reading this post, you will be well aware about JRT’s depression, the reasons for Jack’s depression and some valuable home remedies for Jack Russell’s depression.

So, stay tuned with us!

How to tell if my Jack Russell is depressed? 

Dogs tend to be intelligent creatures, and they do have emotions. Just like human beings, they could also experience depression for several reasons.

If you ever feel insecure that your Jack Russell Terrier suffers from depression, here are some ways to figure it out. 

  • Sudden unusual behavior patterns 

One of the easiest ways to tell whether your Jack Russell Terrier is depressed is by observing its behavior patterns. If you own a JRT, I don’t have to stretch how playful they are in day-to-day life.

Suppose you notice sudden changes in its behavior, for instance, being less playful, sleeping than usual, hiding in corners. In that case, this might signify something.

Especially if your JRT keeps showing such unusual behavior frequently throughout a period that might be because of depression. 

  • Changes in eating patterns

You may have a fair understanding of the usual appetite of your JRT. If the dog is in a normal, healthy condition, it will follow the diet patterns as usual.

But if the dog is depressed, you can see evident changes in its appetite. To elaborate, your JRT might refuse to eat food subsequently and will lose weight.

Also, in some cases, it will consume a lot more food than usual and gain more weight. Both of the changes could happen when your JRT is depressed.

  • Unusual body language 

If your JRT is experiencing depression, it might indicate unusual body language. Jack Russell Terriers are friendly; they love companionship, so they always act enthusiastically when you are around.

But if they don’t wag their tail, avoid cuddling them, showing a lazy or a coward posture for some time; you should pay attention to this because such body language often takes place once they are depressed. 

  • Excessively chewing/ licking paws 

Chewing and licking paws is not a bizarre habit among dogs. As explained by vets, any dog would follow this behavior due to several reasons starting from skin problems to coping with anxiety as well as boredom.

So be careful not to misinterpret. However, if you realize that your Jack Russell Terrier keeps chewing and liking its paws more excessively than usual, perhaps the underlying cause is depression.

Is my dog depressed or sick?

Here’s the next concern. How can you differentiate whether your JRT is depressed or sick? If the dog is depressed, you can help cope and prevent it by taking proper actions that don’t involve any medical treatments.

But if your dog is sick, you may have to go to medical treatments as soon as possible. Here are some tips to understand whether your JRT is sick or depressed.

Either depressed or sick, your JRT might indicate somewhat similar changes. In both cases, you will notice changes in typical behavior, eating patterns, sleeping patterns, and so on.

But, if the dog is sick, you may notice more critical signs. Other than previously mentioned changes, if you see vomiting, unusual bowel movements, excessive drooling, changes in eye color, this alarms that your Jack Russell Terrier is sick.

How common is Jack Russell’s depression?

Depression isn’t necessarily an uncommon condition among Jack Russell Terriers. We know that pet dogs seek a lot of affection. Jack Russell Terriers are family-friendly, playful dogs.

Because of their high energy levels and enthusiastic behavior, they always prefer spending time with others.

Considerable changes in their lifestyle may lead them to depression. Generally, it tends to be a common issue that is curable. 

Reasons for Jack Russell’s depression

If you read up to this point, now you know how to figure out if your Jack Russell Terrier is experiencing depression.

So now, let’s have a look at some of the key reasons that cause depression in Jack Russell Terriers.

  • Changes in the household

Changes that take place in the household environment are a prevalent reason behind the depression of your pet JRT.

Your Jack Russell Terrier loves it when you show affection. All you have to do is cuddle your pet, run around and have some fun.

Suppose that you and your family eventually get extremely busy and barely gets time to spend with your JRT.

Once they lack socialization, Jack Russell Terriers experience boredom and anxiety, leading to depression.

  • Changes in the environment

Once your Jack Russell Terrier is trained for a routine, it sticks with the routine. The environment can be one such case.

Assume that your pet JRT grew up in your house for five to six and then moved to another house.

This might be a massive change for your JRT as the dog is not used to that environment. So this becomes another reason to cause depression.

  • Traumatic experiences

Traumatic experiences tend to be a critical reason that causes depression on your pet JRT.

Facing traumatic experiences such as losing the owner or being separated by the owner has a fair chance to make a JRT depressed, not just that this also could give them phobias. 

  • Physical illnesses 

Physical illnesses do not always end up putting your JRT into depression. But if your JRT is undergoing a physical illness that causes pain and you don’t pay attention to treatment, the dog might eventually get depression. 

How to treat your JRT’s depression?

Now we have come to the vital part; treating your Jack Russell Terrier’s depression. Depression is curable.

If your Jack Russell Terrier is experiencing depression for some reason, this is what you have to do. 

  • Give sufficient exercises

Exercises are crucial for pet dogs! Significantly if you are raising a JRT. Just because Jack Russell Terriers have hype energy levels that don’t give them exercises independently, you need to train your JRT for sufficient exercises as required.

Taking your JRT for a short walk and playing fetching would help get its daily dose of exercise. Getting an adequate amount of physical activity helps reduce the depression of your JRT.

If you need to know more precise information regarding exercises, you can talk to a vet. Also, there are plenty of resources to refer to online. 

  • Provide love and affection

This doesn’t mean that you should pet your Jack Russell Terrier 24×7. These dogs need love. More precisely, it makes them so happy when you show them love and pay attention to them.

So make sure that you show that compassion towards your dog. If you had a long day at college or work once you are home, spend a few minutes cuddling your dog. Your JRT adores it. 

  • Feed good food

Does food have anything to do with the depression of your Jack Russell Terrier? The answer is yes. What you feed your dog is a decisive factor in its health and happiness.

If your JRT doesn’t get enough nutrition from its appetite or face digestive issues due to what it eats, that could affect its mental health, so you must pay attention to your JRT’s meals.

Feed your JRT food that is rich in proteins and vitamins. Not only does this make your dog physically fit but also mentally fit.

  • Use essential oils

Essential oils made of herbs such as lavender, basil, thyme, and peppermint can act as remedies to reduce depression.

Essential oils have the ability to keep your Jack Russell Terrier calm and comfortable. But if you have not followed this step earlier, it will be good to get some advice from your vet and put it into action. 

This is what we discussed in a nutshell. Dogs have different characteristics, behavior patterns, and so forth. Jack Russell Terriers considered one of the dog breeds with high energy levels.

These curious little features love to explore things as they usually burst with liveliness. Any dog, including a Jack Russell Terrier, requires love, compassion, and companionship to have a happy, healthy life. For a Jack Russell Terrier showing love is essential because of their personality type.

Final thoughts about JRT’s depression

Jack Russell Terriers experienced depression on some occasions. And in most cases, it is caused based on how you treat your pet and interact with your pet.

This isn’t something complicated to do. Show some love to your dog, take your dog to the park, go for a stroll, play fetch, give a good appetite, and all these small steps help your JRT have an excellent and stable mental condition.

Hence, Jack Russells are generally active; you can quickly figure out sudden and frequent behavior changes.

If you sense that they are depressed, try to follow the tips mentioned earlier in the article. Though you follow those tips, your JRT doesn’t show any progress; it is advisable to take it to a vet.

Depression is not critical for a JRT, but it could be if you ignore it. As soon as you notice sudden behavioral changes in your Jack Russell Terrier, try to tackle the reason and then take appropriate actions. That way, you can easily solve the problem.

Thank you for reading and Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about your favorite dog breed.


  • George Brown

    George B. is the founder of the JRO Organization. He believes in creating a better world for domestic animals. He believes domestic animals are more vulnerable than other animals, especially dogs, since they have been used to depending on their owners for generations. So, he started JRO to share his ideas and insights while helping vulnerable dogs worldwide. George runs multiple projects on street dogs in developing countries, especially Sri Lanka.

    [email protected]

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