Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Boston Terrier puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in Boston Terriers, the best dog food diet for feeding Boston Terrier puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

Boston Terrier dog breed

Boston Terrier Health Problems and Raising a Boston Terrier Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in Boston Terriers:

Unfortunately, the deformed structure of this sweet-natured little breed causes a LOT of health problems.

The Boston Terrier Club conducted a health survey that included 1900 Boston Terriers. They report that 86% of over 675 litters were C-sections because Boston Terrier puppies have such large heads. About 9% of the puppies died soon after birth and about 14% were born with birth defects. The average age of death was 10.4 years old – a very short lifespan for a small breed.

Even worse, when the survey looked specifically at 109 Boston Terriers who had died, only 9 of them died of old age. 20% died of cancer (most commonly mastocytoma). Another 10% died of epilepsy.

Because of their short face, all Boston Terriers suffer from some degree of brachycephalic syndrome, which causes all kinds of health problems.

Boston Terriers are susceptible to many eye problems:

  • The most common eye problem is corneal ulcers that occur when the breed's prominent eyes are scratched.
  • Corneal dystrophy causes another form of corneal ulcer which is especially painful and difficult to treat.
  • Cataracts can be very severe in Boston Terriers. If they appear in a Boston Terrier puppy (2-12 months old), cataracts usually lead to blindness. If they appear later in life (after 4 years old), they may or may not cause blindness – and these late-onset cataracts occur in up to 35% of middle-aged/elderly Bostons.
  • Other eye diseases that affect Bostons include cherry eye, dry eye, glaucoma, entropion, and eyelash abnormalities. Occasionally progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) occurs in the breed.

Skin problems include allergies (which cause itchy skin and can lead to pyoderma), demodectic mange, and mast cell tumors.

Some Boston Terriers have pattern baldness, a gradual thinning or complete loss of hair around their temples and ears, underneath their neck and abdomen, and on the backs of their thighs. It's not itchy and the skin and coat are otherwise normal. Since it's a cosmetic condition, there's no treatment required other than adding supplements that are good for the skin and coat, such as fatty acids (The Missing Link).

Orthopedic health problems include luxating patella, hemivertebra, and surprisingly for such a small dog, hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 102 Boston Terriers and found 8% dysplastic – that's high for a small breed.

Heart diseases (patent ductus arteriosus and mitral valve disease) are a serious concern in Boston Terriers.

Inherited deafness can occur in Boston Terrier puppies with a lot of white on their head.

Other health problems in Boston Terriers include pyloric stenosis, megaesophagus, Cushing's disease, craniomandibular osteopathy, hydrocephalus, and hernias.


You probably want to know if you can prevent those health issues from happening to YOUR Boston Terrier.

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Boston Terriers today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Boston Terrier puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental, which means they're caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Boston Terrier puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Boston Terrier puppy or adult dog:

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Boston Terrier lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Boston Terrier
The best diet for feeding your Boston Terrier is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Boston Terrier. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Boston Terrier
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Boston Terrier. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Boston Terrier puppy really need? Does your adult Boston Terrier need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed. Find out what some vets aren't telling you....


Information on choosing the best vet for your Boston Terrier. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Information on spaying your Boston Terrier. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female Boston Terrier.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.