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Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers are wonderful family dogs. They are small but sturdy dogs with an abundance of energy. They are very social dogs and get along well with other dogs and people of all ages. Their eagerness to please makes them easy to train. Boston Terriers are primarily black and white but can be red and white.

Caring for Your Boston Terrier

Boston terriers have a short and silky coat that requires minimal maintenance. They are highly social dogs and with a lot of energy. Regular walks are a must. Without proper exercise, they are prone to obesity. However, due to their smaller and flattened face causing breathing issues, Boston terriers are more at risk for heat stroke. Use caution when exercising in warmer weather and never leave unattended in a car. 

Common Health Issues in Boston Terriers

Boston Terriers are brachycephalic dogs, meaning they have a shorter face and a domed head, giving them a “squished face” appearance. Although adorable, the brachycephalic traits can lead to some health conditions.

Brachycephalic airway syndrome: The flattened face of brachycephalic dogs have all the same structures in the airways as non-brachycephalic dogs, but they are compacted into a much smaller space. This can lead to some or all of the following and affect their breathing:

  1. Stenotic nares – the nasal opening is much smaller and the tissue around the opening doesn’t expand when the dog breathes in.
  2. Elongated soft palate – the soft tissue in the roof of the mouth is too long and partially blocks the airway opening in back of the throat
  3. Hypoplastic trachea – the trachea, or windpipe, doesn’t properly develop. It is more narrow and may collapse on itself, closing off the trachea.
  4. Everted laryngeal saccules – The laryngeal saccules are little pockets of tissue deep in the throat. With changes in pressure as they breathe, these pockets may turn inside out, partially blocking the airways.

Minor symptoms of brachycephalic airway syndrome include snoring and loud breathing. In these dogs, it may be just a minor inconvenience. In more severe cases, the dog may have severe breathing issues leading to respiratory distress. Depending on the severity of the airway disease, surgery may be necessary to correct these airway problems.

Eye issues: The flattened face of the Boston terrier creates a more shallow eye socket, giving them bulgy eyes. Although adorable, the bulgy eyes are at risk for proptosis (falling out of the socket) if enough pressure is applied to the head. The eyes are less protected so corneal ulcers are more likely to occur, especially if the eyelids are not able to fully close over the entire eye. Boston terriers may also develop cataracts. Boston terriers can also develop Cherry Eye because of their prolapsed 3rd eyelid glands that will often require your dog to have surgery to repair. 

Dental Issues: Dogs have 42 adult teeth in their mouth. Brachycephalic dogs, like the Boston terrier also have 42 teeth, but they are squished into a smaller area. Their teeth often rotate and may be crowded together, making it easier for tartar to build up. Over time, tartar can cause gingivitis and tooth root infections. Good oral health and regular dental cleanings are needed to keep the mouth healthy and to keep the breath fresh.

Medial Patellar Luxation: Medial patellar luxation ((MPL) is very common in the Boston Terrier. The patella is the kneecap. In many smaller dogs, the groove that holds the patella is too shallow causing the kneecap to slip out of place. In most cases, it is medially, or toward the inside of the knee. When the kneecap is out of place, the dog cannot bear adequate weight on the leg. In some dogs this is an occasional skipped step, but in other dogs it can lead to severe pain and lameness. Depending on the severity of the luxation, surgical correction may be needed.

Nutrition for Boston Terriers

There are no specific nutritional requirements for Boston Terriers. A well-balanced commercial pet food should be adequate as long as your pet is healthy. Because of their smaller face, Boston terriers swallow more air when they eat. This can cause increased flatulence and odor as their food digests. To reduce this, an elevated feeding dish can help. Also look for diets lower in insoluble fiber.

Pet Health Insurance for Boston Terrier

If you are looking for pet health insurance for your Boston Terrier, you should ensure that many health issues that are commonly seen in Boston Terrier are covered. You will also want to find insurance with short waiting times for treatment and surgery. If you prolong these procedures, your dog could have permanent health issues.

Many times, certain health conditions are considered genetic or are a pre-existing condition and they may not be covered for your Boston Terrier. 

You could also consider enrolling in Mint Wellness, a pet wellness plan that also includes membership in Pet Assure, a low-cost pet insurance alternative and veterinary discount plan. This plan has no exclusions due to age, breed, or hereditary conditions. Even pre-existing conditions are covered! Get a quote today. It's perfect a BostonTerrier!

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Shepherd, DVM


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