With their big eyes, flat faces, and built-in tuxedo jackets, the Boston terrier is certainly a unique breed. But where they may lack in size, they make up big time in personality, and it's no surprise that the Boston Terrier consistently ranks in the American Kennel Club's list of 25 most popular dog breeds.
If you have a Boston terrier or are thinking about adding one to your family, you'll quickly notice that these dogs are far from picky eaters. Still, this enthusiastic eating doesn't mean you should feed your pup just any dog food.
Below, we’ll explore some of the most common health afflictions among Boston terriers and how you can avoid them through proper diet and nutrition. We’ll even give you our top picks to help you confidently choose the best food for your dog, their life stage, and their unique nutritional needs.
Health Considerations for Boston Terriers
Some dog breeds are more genetically prone to certain health problems than others, and the Boston terrier is no exception. This isn't to say that your pup will automatically develop these conditions at some point in life — just that they are predisposed. If you suspect your dog is suffering from any of these common health issues, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss things further.
Boston terriers are known to have more sensitive stomachs with digestive tracts that can easily become upset, especially when they consume lower-quality foods. This can result in symptoms like gas, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Because of this, it's even more important to ensure your dog eats a high-quality diet to support healthy digestion.
Prone to Obesity
Obesity is another common problem among this breed — especially in adult and senior Boston terriers. This occurs when a dog consumes more calories than they need, causing weight gain that can quickly add up and strain the body, joints, and organs. This is a common problem among any smaller breed, where it's easy to accidentally overfeed.
Prone to Food Allergies
In addition to having sensitive stomachs, Boston terriers are also more prone to food allergies than some other breeds. Most often, the allergens that cause the most problems are corn, soy, and gluten.
If you've noticed that your dog suffers from stomach issues or other physical signs of allergic reaction (such as skin rashes or patches of irritated skin), then it may be time to talk to your veterinarian. They may recommend an elimination diet to hone in on food allergies.
To prevent obesity and the other complications that can come along with it, Boston terriers should be fed based on their activity level rather than being free-fed. These are generally small dogs, with most adult Boston terriers needing anywhere from a half cup to about 1.5 cups of food per day.
If your dog is energetic (goes on plenty of walks and does lots of running around), you may feed closer to 1.5 cups per day. Less energetic dogs, on the other hand, should receive less. Generally, dogs do best with a consistent eating schedule where they are fed twice per day (once in the morning and once in the evening).
What To Look For in Dog Food for Boston Terriers
Now that you have a general idea of what kinds of health conditions Boston terriers are prone to and how much to feed them based on their activity levels, what exactly should you be looking for in dog food? Here are a few things to prioritize.
Choosing a pet food with quality animal protein as its first ingredient is a must. According to guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), adult dogs need 22% minimum protein for growth and reproduction and 18% for maintenance.
However, not all protein sources are ideal for a Boston terrier. Be on the lookout for pet foods that list "meals" and "by-products," such as chicken meal or fish meal, as their first ingredient. Similarly, look out for dog foods with soy as the first ingredient. Although these ingredients may be high in protein, they are low in quality and may aggravate your dog's sensitive stomach or cause allergic reactions.
Instead, choose a pet food with real animal protein as its first ingredient. Wild caught fish, cage free chicken, and ranch raised beef are all examples of quality ingredients that will meet your Boston terrier's protein needs while being easily digestible and packed with essential amino acids to support lean muscle.
In general, Boston terriers should be fed a diet that is relatively low in fat to reduce the risk of unwanted weight gain and obesity. Some examples of ingredients high in protein and low in fat include turkey, chicken, lean beef, fish, and eggs. Quality animal fats will also provide amino acids and fatty acids that your dog needs to support immunity, heart health, and skin health.
Another important thing to keep in mind when it comes to weight management in a Boston terrier is carbohydrate intake. Ideally, dogs should be getting the majority of their calories from protein and fewer calories from carbs.
Like proteins and fats, not all sources of carbs are of the same quality. In particular, reach for dog foods that include complex carbohydrates, which contain natural fiber and are packed with vitamins and minerals.
Some examples of complex carbohydrates to look for in your dog's food include wheat, brown rice, lentils, oats, barley, and sweet potatoes.
Meets AAFCO Nutritional Requirements
No matter which dog food you choose for your Boston terrier, make sure that it meets or exceeds the food nutrient profile requirements set forth by AAFCO. You can read more about AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles here, but essentially, there are a few things you should be looking for:
- At least 22% protein content for adult growth (18% for maintenance)
- 8.5% fat content for adult growth (5.5% for maintenance)
- Vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E, thiamine, B12, and choline
- Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium
If a dog food has been developed with these requirements in mind, you should see something on the label like, "This food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles."
Ultimately, the best dog food for Boston terriers meets the above requirements and is human grade. Human grade dog food is considered human-edible from the sourcing process to the production process. It's produced in a facility that meets the same high standards as one that makes food for humans.
It's not easy (or cheap) for a pet food company to earn the designation of human grade, which is why most offer feed grade recipes instead. However, there are many benefits to feeding your Boston terrier a diet with human grade food, such as:
- Quality, nutrient-dense ingredients
- Contains only what your pet needs to thrive with no fillers, artificial flavors, artificial colors, or other artificial ingredients
- Free of artificial preservatives that are not approved for human consumption, such as BHA and ethoxyquin
Feeding Boston Terrier Puppies vs. Adults and Seniors
As with any dog breed, a Boston terrier's feeding requirements will change as the dog grows and ages. Boston terrier puppies with lots of energy and daily activity will need more nutrients and calories to support their growth, whereas less energetic adults and senior dogs will need fewer calories.
According to PupVine.com, feeding recommendations for Boston terriers are as follows:
- Puppies 3-6 pounds: Roughly 450 calories per day
- Adult dogs, 10 pounds: 400-435 calories per day, depending on activity level
- Senior active dogs, 10 pounds: 325 calories per day
- Senior inactive dogs, 10 pounds: 300 calories per day
If you're not sure how much you should be feeding your Boston terrier, talk to your vet for a more personalized recommendation.
Best Food for Boston Terriers: The Honest Kitchen's Picks
A quick search for Boston terrier dog food brands will yield no shortage of results, with popular brands you'd find at most stores where pet food is sold. If you're looking to branch out from these brands and explore options made in a human grade kitchen with the absolute highest quality ingredients, The Honest Kitchen has some excellent picks for your tuxedo-clad friend!
1) Dehydrated Limited Ingredient Fish
If your Boston terrier suffers from food sensitivities or allergies, this limited-ingredient formula contains just six whole foods to keep things simple. Available in four- and 10-pound bags, this human grade dog food is gently dehydrated to maintain flavor and nutrients. All you have to do is add water to serve up delicious food that tastes like homemade.
- Dehydrated white fish
- Dried organic coconut
- Dried chickpeas
- Dehydrated pumpkin
- Dehydrated celery
- Dehydrated spinach
This is a limited-ingredient food made with just six ingredients to minimize the potential for stomach problems and food allergies.
Why It's Great for Boston Terriers
Because Boston terriers are known for their sensitive stomachs and predisposition to food allergies, some find success with limited ingredient diets. Meanwhile, with dehydrated white fish as its first ingredient, your Boston terrier will benefit from this lean protein that's low in fat but high in essential amino acids and fatty acids (including fish oil).
2) Pumpkin Pour Overs
Looking for a tantalizing topper that your Boston terrier will go wild for? Our Pumpkin Pour Overs offer the delicious flavor that pups love in the form of a pourable stew.
This recipe comes in a convenient three-pack and is available in chicken, turkey, and fish flavors to add some variety to your dog's diet. Plus, with fiber-rich pumpkin as a main ingredient, this topper is a great choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Grab a pack today and see for yourself!
- Bone broth
- Real meat (chicken, fish, or turkey depending on the recipe)
- Butternut squash
This food topper is designed to be poured directly over your dog's everyday dry food or served up as the occasional treat.
Why It's Great for Boston Terriers
Boston terriers are prone to sensitive stomachs, but fiber-packed ingredients like pumpkin may help relieve some common digestive issues.
3) Whole Grain Chicken Clusters for Small Breeds
Looking for convenient dry dog food for your Boston terrier? Our Whole Grain Chicken Clusters for Small Dogs contain 100% human grade food clusters and was developed with a veterinary nutritionist, so you can feel good about serving this up. This small breed blend is available in three sizes, so grab one today.
- Cage free chicken
- Chicken liver
- Ground flaxseed
- Salmon oil
This whole-grain dry food is ideal for convenient portioning and serving.
Why It's Great for Boston Terriers
Our Whole Grain Chicken Clusters for Small Breeds are made with a small kibble size, making it easier for Boston terriers to enjoy. Meanwhile, with cage free chicken as the first ingredient, you can be sure that your pup is getting the lean protein they need to thrive.
4) Parmesan Pecks: Chicken and Cranberry
What about a daily treat for your beloved Boston terrier? The Honest Kitchen's Parmesan Pecks: Chicken and Cranberry offer the mouthwatering taste your dog will love without a ton of calories. Pick up a bag today and treat your pup to a human grade reward!
- Real chicken
- Rolled oats
- Ground flaxseed
- Coconut oil
- Parmesan cheese
This is a bite-sized mini treat that can be served up as an occasional snack.
Why It's Great for Boston Terriers
This treat is designed with a miniature size ideal for Boston terriers, delivering delicious flavors with minimal calories. In fact, each whole-grain and wheat-free snack contains just seven calories and it's designed to be easy to break in half, making it an ideal training treat!
Support Your Boston Terrier's Health With The Honest Kitchen
Choosing the right food for your Boston terrier's diet isn't a responsibility to be taken lightly. With the right ingredients and nutrients, you can support your dog's health and wellness for many years to come while treating your Boston terrier dog to the delicious flavors they love.
At The Honest Kitchen, we believe that human grade food should be accessible to all dogs regardless of size, breed, or life stage. With wet food, dry food, and dehydrated food options to suit your pup's needs and natural ingredients to support your dog's wellness core, our recipes are top notch.