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Boston Terrier Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Boston Terrier

Start your Boston Terrier off on the right foot by feeding the right food, giving the right vaccinations, finding the right vet, and if you're going to spay or neuter, don't do it too early.

Jump down to this list of
Boston Terrier Health Problems

Or check out my advice for raising a healthy Boston Terrier puppy or adult dog:

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... [read more]

numeral 33 Best Ways To Feed Your Dog Healthy Food
You can dramatically increase your dog's chances of living a long, healthy life by feeding the right food. Cutting right to the chase, the best foods for your Boston Terrier are... [read more]

Real homemade dog food A Quick Way To Make Homemade Dog Food
Your Boston Terrier will love real chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, yogurt, broccoli.... this is not just "people food" and I'll tell you why... [read more]

Dry kibble and canned dog food 5 Best Kibble and Canned Dog Foods
Some are better than others, but I must be honest – I'm not a huge fan of dry or canned dog food. Here are my concerns... [read more]

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

Information on spaying Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Should your female Boston Terrier be spayed? Current research says, "The AGE at which you spay can be vitally important to your dog's future health." So what's the best age? [read more]

Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Have you been told that you must neuter your male Boston? Current research shows that the issue is not so simple. Pet owners are not being told about some risks associated with neutering male dogs, especially neutering too early... [read more]

Information on choosing the best vet Make Sure Your Vet is the Best!
Is your current veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Here's how to tell... [read more]

Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review
Does your Boston Terrier suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to reduce inflammation and pain. [read more]

Boston Terrier

Complete list of Boston Terrier health problems

Unfortunately, this good-natured breed is deliberately bred to have a deformed structure (domed skull, shortened muzzle, protruding eyes) that causes a lot of health issues.

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 short lifespan for a small breed.

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 270 Boston Terriers and found 12% dysplastic – that's very 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.

Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if your dog inherits from his parents the genes for an eye disease called PRA, he will go blind and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Dog feeding and health book by Michele Welton But most health problems can be prevented by the ways you raise your dog.

My best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to raise your Boston Terrier in all the right ways that help prevent health problems. Become your dog's health care champion!

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.