Best Dog Food For Boston Terriers
The Ultimate Boston Terrier Food Buyer’s Guide
One of the few breeds that was actually developed in the United States, the Boston Terrier is known as the “American Gentleman.” The breed is easily distinguished by its tuxedo-like markings – black, brindle, or seal with a white front.
Bostons are small, compact dogs with a short, smooth coat. They are known for being friendly, amusing, and easy to train. Owners say they are very intelligent and make excellent indoor pets. They are usually quiet and don’t bark very much. They are affectionate dogs and love to be with their people. They can be protective toward their owners. Bostons tend to be clean dogs.
They generally get along well with children and other pets. Despite being a small breed, Boston Terriers are quite versatile and enjoy agility, rally, obedience, and make good therapy dogs. The Boston Terrier was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1893. Bostons are in the Non-Sporting group.
The Boston Terrier was the most popular dog in the U.S. in the 1920s, though numbers declined in the ‘30s. The breed has continued to be steadily popular over the years. Today the Boston Terrier is the 22nd most popular breed in the United States, according to the AKC.
Quick Look : Top 4 Best Dog Foods for Boston Terriers
Boston Terrier Diet & Nutrition
Boston Terriers actually come in several sizes, though none are very large. Weight is divided as follows: Under 15 pounds; 15 pounds and under 20 pounds; 20 pounds and not to exceed 25 pounds. These distinctions matter most for breeders and people who show dogs. Otherwise, the dogs are exactly the same. Because of these weight ranges, you can find males that weigh between 8 and 25 pounds; and females that weigh between 6 and 22 pounds, but these are approximations. Bostons are usually around 15 inches tall at the withers but they can range from 9 to 17 inches tall.
Even though they are small dogs, Boston Terriers tend to be lively. Although Boston Terriers were originally bred as fighting dogs, for the last century they have been bred with one primary purpose – to be gentle companions. They don’t require vigorous exercise but they do need regular daily exercise. As already mentioned, the breed is quite versatile and easy to train. Some owners enjoy participating in different dog sports with their Bostons. If your Boston Terrier is taking part in a sport like agility, for example, you should take this into account when figuring his caloric needs.
According to the National Research Council of the National Academies, an active adult Boston Terrier weighing 20 pounds requires an average daily caloric intake of 660 calories. Dogs that have been spayed/neutered, or that are older, may need slightly fewer calories. Some dogs may need more calories depending on their level of activity and their individual metabolism. Growing puppies, for example, consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young Boston Terrier puppy (4-12 months) weighing 10 pounds needs an estimated 436 calories per day.
Depending on the size of your Boston Terrier, you can probably opt to feed him a food made for small breeds or medium-sized breeds. Very small dogs typically burn more calories per pound than larger dogs so food formulated for small dogs usually contains more calories and nutrients per ounce. If you have a larger Boston Terrier – one that is around 25 pounds, for example – you may prefer to feed a food for a medium-sized dog. There are fewer foods made specifically for medium-sized dogs. Most foods that don’t specify a size (small, large, giant) would be suitable for a medium-sized dog.
Smaller dogs such as the Boston Terrier generally grow faster than large breeds. You can expect your Boston to reach his full size while a Great Dane will still be growing for another two years. Puppy foods formulated for small breeds are often a good choice for Boston Terriers since they provide the calories, vitamins, and minerals needed for this early growth. You can switch to an adult formula when your dog reaches about 90 percent of his adult size.
Feeding Your Boston Terrier
According to many owners, Boston Terriers are inclined to be gassy, especially if they eat foods that contain a lot of grains or other plant material. Many Bostons seem have less gas if they eat a diet without corn and wheat. You may wish to feed a diet that is totally grain free, though some people say that the dogs can eat oats and barley.
Some owners also recommend feeding Boston Terriers kibble instead of canned food. They claim that canned food seems to increase bad breath in these dogs. They also claimed that Boston Terriers had better digestion when fed kibble.
As with any dog, you should feed your Boston Terrier a good quality dog food. Food that is high in animal protein is a good choice.
Some Boston Terriers can have food allergies and sensitivities so you may have to avoid certain ingredients depending on your dog. The most common dog food allergens, in order, are: beef, dairy products, chicken, lamb, fish, chicken eggs, corn, wheat, and soy. However, every dog is a unique individual. If your dog has a food sensitivity, he might be fine with these ingredients but he could have a reaction to some other item in a food. Or a dog could be sensitive to several of these common ingredients. Boston Terriers can have hot spots, rashes and other skin problems that are not related to food allergies so if your dog is having a skin problem, it’s a good idea to take him to the vet to get a diagnosis.
Boston Terriers have small relatively short jaws and some of them can have crooked teeth, a longer soft palate, and other mouth issues. For these reasons, you should look for dog foods that have smaller pieces of kibble to make chewing easier for them. For the same reasons, you should be very careful about giving your Boston Terrier bones. If you give your Boston a bone to eat, only give smaller, raw bones such as chicken necks, backs, or wings. Anything larger could pose difficulties. And you should never give cooked bones to dogs because they can snap and leave dangerous jagged edges.
Boston Terriers often have quite ravenous appetites. You should measure food, divide meals, and monitor how much your dog is eating. It can be easy for a Boston Terrier to gain too much weight and become obese. Since Bostons are a brachycephalic breed, obesity can be especially harmful to their breathing and overall health.
Adult Bostons generally eat two meals per day. You can feed Boston puppies 3-4 meals when they are very young, then move to three meals per day as they get older. By they time they are about a year old they should be eating two meals per day.
Boston Terrier Health Problems
You can find out more information about Boston Terrier health issues by visiting the web site for the Boston Terrier Club of America, the AKC parent club for the breed. You can find studies and research involving Boston Terriers on this page. Some studies are currently seeking Boston Terrier participants.
According to information found on the BTCA site, there are some 20 different eye diseases that can affect Boston Terriers. Juvenile cataracts and cataracts occuring in old age are the most common problems. Corneal ulcers also occur with some frequency. Mitral Valve Disease can occur, as well as heart murmurs. Epilepsy is found in the breed, as well as allergic dermatitis. Finally glaucoma occurs in Boston Terriers, coming in as the 7th most common problem in the breed. It is usually diagnosed in dogs over 7 years of age. The data comes from the Purdue Database which collects information from every veterinary school in teh U.S.
Other health issues that can occur in Boston Terriers include patella luxation, which affects the patella in the rear leg. There is also a condition called hemivertebrae which refers to a malformation of the dog’s spine that is present from birth. Demodectic mange also occurs in Boston Terriers. It is believed to be due to a weak immune system that may have a genetic component.
And, as a brachycephalic breed, Bostons can experience brachycephalic syndrome. With this set of symptoms, the dog can have some serious problems related to having a short nose and shorter air passages. Owners have to be careful with high heat and humidity for brachycephalic dogs and over-exertion.
There is also some thought that small dogs such as Boston Terriers are more prone to having adverse reactions to vaccinations. (See the link to studies and research above.)
Snoring, snorting, gagging, and reverse sneezing are all normal noises for a Boston Terrier and do not indicate health problems.
Despite these possible health problems, as a breed Boston Terriers are generally very long-lived. Many dogs live to be 11-13 years old or older. It’s not uncommon for some Boston Terriers to live into their late teen years.
Ingredients to Look for and Some to Avoid
As with most dogs, when choosing a food for your Boston Terrier you should look for a food that has good sources of protein and fat.
Ideally you will select a dog food that features two or three meat proteins in the first several ingredients listed. Both whole meats and meat meals are good sources of protein. Whole meats refer to foods such as whole chicken, beef, fish, and lamb. Some people don’t like meat meals as much as whole meats but they are a concentrated form of the meat in which the moisture has been removed. They contain several times as much protein as a whole meat. Meat meals are usually quite acceptable as one of the first ingredients in a good quality dog food. They are used by many good dog food brands.
Many dog foods today, even some of the most expensive and highly touted, use lots of plant proteins such as lentils and peas. These foods often have high protein percentages on the label. When you read the guaranteed analysis it’s important to consider how much of the protein in the food comes from meat and how much comes from plants. Your dog is able to digest meat protein more easily than plant protein. Meat protein is a much more natural source of protein for your dog than plant protein.
Dogs also need good sources of fat. You should look for named fat sources such as chicken fat. Other named fats also provide needed nutrients such as fish oil which can provide omega-3 fatty acid to help keep the skin and coat healthy. Puppies can benefit from DHA which is Docosahexaenoic acid. This is a specific form of omega-3 fatty acid that helps with brain and eye development. Older dogs seem to benefit from medium chain triglycerides which feature medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). These have been found to help older dogs feel and act younger. They are often made from a combination of coconut oil and other oils.
If you want to avoid corn, soy, and wheat in your dog food, your Boston Terrier may still be able to eat an alternative grain such as barley or oats. Or you can feed a grain free dog food that uses an alternate source of carbs that is low glycemic such as sweet potatoes. You don’t have to feed a dog food with an excessively high percentage of protein but it’s a good idea to keep the carb percentage low to moderate.
If your Boston Terrier has a food allergy or food sensitivity, you may need to work with your veterinarian to identify the food triggers unless they are very obvious. There are lots of good foods with alternative meat proteins today as well as limited ingredient diets which we will discuss below.
Recommended Dog Food For An Adult Boston Terrier
We’ve already discussed some of the special food issues you may need to consider for your Boston Terrier such as avoiding grains to reduce gassiness and watching for food sensitivities. Every dog is an individual, of course. Each dog has different needs based on his age, activity level, and his metabolism.
Small breed dog foods will usually have kibble pieces that are smaller and easier for Boston Terriers to bite and chew but remember that they are usually also slightly higher in calories compared to non-small breed foods from the same brand.
We are suggesting a variety of foods here for Boston Terriers. We have selected foods without corn, wheat, and soy unless otherwise noted. You may have to try a couple of foods to find which one is best for your dog. You should also keep in mind that your dog’s diet needs can change as he grows and ages so you may have to change foods to suit him.
Best Dog Foods for Boston Terrier Adults
There happens to be a Boston Terrier on this bag but that’s not why we chose it. Nulo has only recently become a nationally-known brand and we’re happy to include it here. Their foods have 80-84 percent animal-based protein, meaning they have one of, if not the highest, amount of animal-based protein of any dog food. Nulo is also one of the few companies using probiotics that seem to actually survive the manufacturing process. (Check their site to read more.) Their foods are also low carb and low-glycemic. They don’t use corn, wheat, soy, no potatoes, tapioca, glutens or GMO’s. And no poultry or meat by-products and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. The first five ingredients in this food are: Deboned Salmon, Turkey Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Whole Peas, and Sweet Potato. It has 30 percent crude protein, 16 percent crude fat, 4.5 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. It has 424 kcal/cup. This food is AAFCO-approved for maintenance. We think the ingredients look good and many dogs will love Nulo Freestyle foods. You can also check out their Medal Series of foods – also grain free.
Fromm small breed dog food is a popular choice for owners on a budget. You get a good quality food for much less than other premium small breed dog foods. The first five ingredients include Duck, Chicken Meal, Chicken, Oatmeal and Pearled Barley. Anytime you see named meats or meat meals in the first few ingredients that’s a good sign. You’ll actually get a little more protein content out of the meal as it’s a condensed and concentrated version of the product. Duck and chicken will lose a lot of water in processing. Fromm is also made in small batches and makes an effort to remove wheat from their products as it’s a known allergen.
Merrick has some great foods for dogs. The first five ingredients in this food are deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, and potatoes. The recipe is 70 percent meat and fish-sourced ingredients; and 30 percent fresh produce. and This is all-natural pet food made from high quality ingredients. No by-products, no artificial preservatives. They also use local growers from Texas, where the food is made and there are no ingredients from China. This is an all life stage food. It has 38 percent crude protein, 17 percent crude fat, 3.5 percent crude fiber, and 11 percent moisture. It has 460 kcal/cup. If chicken is a problem for your dog, check out some of Merrick’s other grain free foods.
If you’re tempted to see if your Boston Terrier likes the taste of a raw diet, you can try feeding Nature’s Variety Instinct. The food has a freeze-dried raw coating. Most owners say their dogs love the taste. The kibble pieces are also so small, so easy for Boston Terriers to chew. The food is grain and gluten-free. It has glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints, omega fatty acids for healthy skin and a glossy coat. And it has antioxidants for a healthy immune system. Protein and fat are balanced for small dogs. This food has 33 percent crude protein, 15 percent crude fat, 3 percent crude fiber, and 9 percent moisture. It has 400 kcal/cup. The first five ingredients in this food are: Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Tapioca, Peas, Chickpeas, and Chicken. AAFCO information not provided. Other similar Instinct kibbles on the site are listed as approved for all life stages.
Best Dog Foods for Boston Terrier Puppies
Small breed puppies like the Boston Terrier grow quickly. They typically reach adult size early. This means that they usually do best on a small breed puppy food that contains more calories than ordinary puppy foods. However, it’s still important that the calcium to phosphorus ratio be correct for small breeds. The recommended ratio should be about 1.2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus, though there is some slight room for variation such as 1.5:1.2. (Dry Matter Basis) Most puppy foods should have a calcium to phosphorus ratio in this neighborhood. It’s also important that dog and puppy foods do not have an excess (or deficiency) of calcium since this can affect bone growth, especially in larger dogs.
Here are some of the puppy foods we like for Boston Terrier puppies. Note that an All Life Stage food can also be fed, as long as the nutrients are appropriate for your puppy.
Canine Caviar Limited Ingredient Diet Puppy food has no corn, no wheat, no soy. It’s grain free, gluten-free, and it’s GMO-free. It contains no by-products, tapioca, or potatoes. It has a single protein (dehydrated chicken) and carbohydrate source (split peas). The meat is hormone-free, pesticide-free, and antibiotic-free. It also has the proper calcium level for puppies. There’s more, but you get the idea. It is specifically formulated for small breed puppies. If you are trying to be very careful with your Boston Terrier puppy, then this LID holistic puppy food from Canine Caviar is definitely a food you may want to consider. Canine Caviar also has several other formulas so you can rotate the proteins.
We like this food for puppies. Canidae Grain Free Pure Foundations Puppy Formula is a limited ingredient food with nine ingredients plus vitamins and minerals and probiotics. It’s grain free with probiotics to help digestion; antioxidants for a healthy immune system; and omega 3 and 6 to support healthy skin and a beautiful coat. The first five ingredients are chicken, menhaden fish meal, lentils, peas, potatoes. The recipe is supposed to be especially good for puppies with sensitive digestion. The food has 30 percent crude protein, 12 percent crude fat, 4 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. This food checks in at 520 kcal/cup, so it’s high in calories but active, growing puppies can usually burn them off. Just remember that you don’t need to feed a lot of food with these very nutrient-dense foods. If your Boston Terrier puppy does well on this puppy food, Canidae has some good adult foods – both grain free and foods with grains.
Best Dog Foods for the Senior Boston Terrier
It’s not unusual for many Boston Terriers to live into their teen years. Thirteen years or older is not uncommon. This means that you will probably need to consider what kind of food to feed your Boston Terrier as he gets older. As your dog ages it’s a good idea to plan an annual senior check-up with your vet. Many older dogs begin to put on pounds as they become less active. For this reason, most senior dog foods have fewer calories and they can skimp on protein. You should watch your older dog’s weight as he gets older to make sure he doesn’t become overweight. In some cases you can simply cut back on the portions of his regular dog food to help him stay fit or increase his exercise.
On the other hand, some very old dogs often start to have some problems metabolizing nutrients, including protein. It can become hard for them to keep good muscle tone and weight as they age. For this reason, you may wish to avoid many dog foods labeled “senior.” These foods are often formulated for older dogs that have gained weight. Instead, look for a senior dog food that we like which has lots of protein. As long as your older dog doesn’t have any problems with his kidneys or with phosphorus, there is no reason to avoid higher protein levels.
Orijen Senior provides plenty of excellent quality protein for your older Boston Terrier. This food features fresh chicken meat (13%), fresh whole eggs (7%), fresh turkey meat (7%), fresh whole herring (7%), and fresh chicken liver (6%) as the first five ingredients. It helps keep older dogs in good muscle even as they become less active. Made of 85 percent poultry, fish and eggs, the food is low-glycemic and has low carbs (only 19 percent) to help keep your older dog’s blood sugar steady. The food also contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to keep your dog’s joints healthy. This is a grain free food so it should be helpful for Boston Terriers who may be prone to gassiness or other digestive problems or food allergies that come from eating grains like corn. The food is 38 percent crude protein and 15 percent crude fat. It has 8 percent crude fiber and 8 percent crude ash. It checks in at 435 kcal per 8 ounce cup. We think this is a very good food for senior dogs who often need extra protein as they get older. Orijen Senior is now made in Kentucky. There have been some changes in the ingredients but we do not see any loss of quality in this food. (We know Orijen is expensive but this food really stands out for senior dogs.) This food is AAFCO-approved for maintenance.
Another food you may want to consider for older dogs is Weruva’s Caloric Harmony Venison and Salmon Meal Dinner with Pumpkin. This food (and several others in this product line) is potato-free with no corn or wheat, easy to digest, and low-glycemic. It contains pumpkin and oatmeal for healthy gut motility. The first five ingredients are: Venison, Venison Meal, Salmon Meal, Herring Meal, and Oatmeal. Meat protein comes from grass-fed venison. The dry matter basis for this food is an estimated 37.8 percent protein;14.4 percent fat; 3.9 percent fiber; and 35 percent carbs. The calorie count (calculated) is Metabolizable Energy (ME) 3320 kcal/kg; 348 kcal/cup. Those look like good figures for senior dogs that need more protein without extra fat.
Best Dog Foods for Boston Terriers with Skin Problems/Allergies
Boston Terriers can have some skin problems. Many of these issues seem to be related to glutens in dog foods, though they can also have hair loss due to stress, hot spots, parasites, rashes, and other common skin problems. Avoiding dog foods that contain glutens may help some dogs. If your dog needs to avoid common proteins, you can try this food.
Any dog suffering from skin problems or food allergies may benefit from Wild Calling!’s Xotic Essentials recipes. Formulas like their rabbit meal recipe use exotic meats that are rare in today’s pet food market so your dog hasn’t eaten them before – less chance of having an allergic reaction. The foods are also highly digestible. Wild Calling! also uses what they call LITe (limited ingredient technology). They don’t use any of the ingredients commonly found in most dog foods such as chicken, grain, gluten, egg, yeast, corn, wheat or soy. If your Boston Terrier has a food allergy, he may benefit from Wild Calling! The foods are formulated for rotational feeding and they offer several Xotic Essentials recipes, such as kangaroo and bison, so your dog doesn’t get over-exposed to one kind of meat protein. This is an All Life Stage food. We think that dogs with skin problems and food allergies can definitely benefit from these recipes.
Best Dog Foods for Boston Terriers with Sensitive Stomachs
We’ve already mentioned that some Boston Terriers are susceptible to food sensitivities that affect their digestion and excretion. If your dog has a sensitive stomach it can be an indication of a food sensitivity, which is different from a food allergy. A dog with a food sensitivity will have gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea. Or it could be something more serious.
A dog with a sensitive stomach can often be helped by feeding the right dog food. Sticking to a limited ingredient diet food with as few ingredients as possible can reduce the chance of your dog having a bad reaction to something in the food.
We recommend Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Fish Formula Small Breed Bites Dry Dog Food. This food is grain free with limited ingredients. It has good quality, alternative ingredients that are easily digestible for a dog with a sensitive stomach. And it contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. The first five ingredients are: Sweet Potatoes, Salmon, Salmon Meal, Canola Oil, and Potato Fiber. It has 21 percent crude protein, 10 percent crude fat, 4.5 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. It has 380 kcal/cup and it’s an all life stage formula. If your dog can’t eat some of the ingredients in this food, Natural Balance has other recipes that you might check.
Best Dog Foods for Overweight Boston Terriers
If your Boston becomes overweight (which is entirely possible with Boston Terriers), it may be due to overfeeding and not enough exercise. You can help your dog lose weight by cutting back on his portions and encouraging him to get more exercise.
If your Boston Terrier needs to lose more than one or two pounds, however, you may need to consider a weight control dog food.
We do not recommend a weight control dog food for a puppy or a very old dog. These foods generally have fewer calories and may have some other differences in nutrients that make them inappropriate for growing puppies or older dogs who need special nutrition.
If you have a Boston Terrier who needs to lose weight we recommend Merrick Grain Free Healthy Weight Recipe. We like the fact that this food has 32 percent crude protein. The crude fat percentage is between 8 and 11 percent with 5 percent crude fiber so your dog should not feel like he’s starving. It is AAFCO-approved for a maintenance diet. The food has 3,210 kcal per kilogram or 360 kcal per cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis (calculated). It is grain free and made from 55 percent beef and poultry. And it contains no corn, wheat, or soy and no ingredients from China. The first five ingredients in this food are: Deboned Beef, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Peas, and Sweet Potatoes.
If your dog needs to lose weight, you should proceed slowly. No crash dieting. You should aim for your dog to lose no more than 3 to 5 percent of his body weight per month or about one percent each week.
Boston Terriers make wonderful family pets. They are gentle, intelligent, lively, and they love to please you. This is a breed that loves to be snuggled at the heart of your family. They are easy to care for, requiring little grooming and only moderate daily exercise. They are one of the most devoted and loyal breeds. We hope that the information provided here helps you choose the best food for your Boston Terrier so he or she can live a long and healthy life.