Diet and Nutrition for Boston Terriers

Best Dog Food For Boston Terriers

Boston Terriers are amazing little pups. From their lively, often boisterous temperaments to their very distinctive 'pointy' ears and beautiful big eyes these dogs - often called the 'American Gentleman' - both because of their tuxedo like markings and their usually great manners - are hard to mistake for any other dog breed.

With so many different dog food options available it can get overwhelming for Boston Terrier pet parents to make the right choices.

To help, here's a look at some of the best dog food for Boston Terrier adults, puppies, seniors and those with a sensitive stomach based on reviews and opinions from breeders, vets and other Boston owners.

Best Dog Foods for Adult Boston Terriers

We are not a veterinarian, so always check with your vet before switching your Boston Terrier’s diet, especially if he has a health condition. When it comes to your pet's health, nothing can replace your veterinarian's advice, including this article.

Let's analyze what's unique about these foods, ingredient selection and why they should be part of your Boston Terrier's everyday diet. This list is continually revised and updated to contain the latest in dog nutrition.  

Diamond Naturals Small Breed Chicken and...

First Five Listed Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, ground white rice, grain sorghum. 

A small-kibble sized formula with chicken and chicken meal protein fortified with healthy grains (quinoa rice and barley), vegetables (kale, pumpkin spinach and carrots), fruits (papaya, blueberries, and oranges), vitamins and minerals.

Chicken is listed as the first ingredient which delivers the protein your Boston Terrier needs for cell growth, maintenance and repair. It also contains probiotics to help with digestion. We also like the addition of flaxseed, eggs and chia seeds. 

Calories per cup: 345 kcal/cup

Pros: small-sized kibble, vet recommended food, meets AAFCO nutritional standards, grain-inclusive, trusted brand, guaranteed probiotics, affordable

Cons: because of the grains in this food it may aggravate some dogs allergies

Instinct Be Natural Real Chicken & Brown...

First Five Listed Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley.

A delicious formula with chicken as the first listed ingredient followed by chicken meal. It addition, this recipe contains other protein sources including turkey meal, menhadden fish meal, freeze dried chicken liver and chicken heart.

Aside from being rich in protein, this recipe contains healthy wholesome grains that are easy to digest and contains no fillers, artificial colors or preservatives. The rest of the ingredients are made up of fruits, veggies, added omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and prebiotics.

We also love that they coat the kibble with the juice from the freeze drying process, so it’s highly palatable even for the pickiest of dogs.

Calories per cup: 428 kcal/cup

Pros: trusted brand, highly palatable, wholesome ingredients, rich in protein (70%), low in carbohydrates, healthy fiber, grain-inclusive, made in the USA

Cons: pricey

Grain-free dry dog food

First Five Listed Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes.

Boston Terriers tend to be a little gassy (or in some cases a lot). In order to keep their digestive system healthier, and your home a little sweeter smelling, a grain free food like this recipe can be a great choice. 

Salmon is the first listed ingredient and offers a very high quality source of protein to help keep your pup's bodily systems strong and healthy and promote brain health and healthy coat and skin. It's palatable, uses plenty of good proteins and veggies and is the most affordable option on our list.

This grain-free and gluten-free diet also reduces the risk of food allergies and is free from soy, wheat or corn. In addition to sweet potato the formula includes blueberries, a great source of antioxidants, and flaxseed, that provides optimum omega fatty acids ratio.

Calories per cup: 390 kcal/cup

Pros: affordable, nice bite sizes for a Boston Terrier, owners praise it for reducing flatulence, affordable, made in the USA, suitable for all life stages

Cons: grain-free 

Purina Pro Plan With Probiotics, Small...

First Five Listed Ingredients: Chicken, rice, poultry by-product meal, beef fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, corn gluten meal.

Chicken is listed as the first ingredient, a rich source of protein. Protein is essential for the maintenance of fur and hair which alone can use up to 30% of a dog’s daily protein intake.
The rest of the formula is made of other rich proteins (poultry by-product meals, fish meal), eggs, fiber (rice, corn, gluten meal etc.), vitamins and minerals.

Calories per cup:  397 kcal/cup

Pros: vet recommended food, designed for small dogs, AAFCO approved, quality proteins, has the right combination between proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, grain-inclusive

Cons: owners are disappointed with the newer updated formula (more kibble less chicken pieces), kibble is now a little bigger than before

Taste of the Wild with Ancient Grains...

First Five Listed Ingredients: Buffalo, pork, chicken meal, grain sorghum, millet.

Grain-inclusive dog food advocated by groups, vets and trainers containing roasted bison and roasted venison and fortified with vitamins and minerals. Nutrient dense and packed with plenty of quality proteins!

To boost the vitamin and mineral content the formula also features tomatoes, blueberries and raspberries - all great sources of powerful antioxidants - as well as a proprietary probiotic supplement designed to help increase doggy gut health. The addition of chicory root also reduces risk of worms in your Boston Terrier.

Calories per cup: 422 kcal/cup.

Pros: made in the USA, rich in protein, meets AAFCO standards for all life stages, trusted brand, uses ancient grains such as grain sorghum, millet, quinoa and chia seed which is better than your typical corn meal

Cons: pricey

Eukanuba Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food,...

First Five Listed Ingredients: Chicken, chicken by-product meal, corn, chicken fat, wheat.

A balanced formula of protein, fats and formula designed for small dogs with active lifestyles.

High quality chicken is the first listed ingredient and primary protein source for energy and immune system health, followed by fiber, fats, minerals and vitamins. It also contains glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate to help preserve joint function. 

Calories per cup: 425 kcal/cup

Pros: contains biotin which helps with dry skin, chicken is an excellent source of protein, grain-inclusive formula, the composition of the first five listed ingredients are heavily made up of proteins and fats,  grain-inclusive formula. 

Cons: there are no fruits and veggies in the list of ingredients, low fiber count

IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Small & Toy Breed...

First Five Listed Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Dried Beet Pulp.

Primary listed ingredient is chicken, the secondary and tertiary ingredients that follow in the recipe is made up for grains and digestable fiber.

Finally, the recipe has also added prebiotics, vitamins and minerals. Since it lacks in fruit and veggies, we suggest adding some sweet potatoes, blueberries and pumpkin puree for optimum nutrition.

Calories per cup: 393 kcal/cup.

Pros: vet recommended food, trusted brand, grain-inclusive, small kibble size, affordable.

Cons: no fruits and veggies in the ingredient list

Purina Beyond Natural Dry Dog Food,...

First Five Listed Ingredients: Salmon, rice, whole barley, chicken meal, whole oat meal.

Wild-caught salmon is listed as the first ingredient in this grain-inclusive dog food recipe. Followed closely by healthy grains (rice, whole barley and whole oat meal) nutritious fats (chicken meal), minerals, vitamins and probiotics.

Salmon is an oily fish and rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This will help give your Boston healthy skin and a soft, shiny coat.

Calories per cup: 437 kcal/cup

Pros: vet recommended formula, fish is a safe ingredient compared to other proteins sources which can trigger allergies, has an array of key minerals and vitamins to boost immunity, meets AAFCO quality standards

Cons: contains pea-protein, can be gassy for your Boston.

Hill's Science Diet Adult Dog Dry...

First Listed Ingredients: Chicken, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Oats.

This recipe starts with chicken as the first listed ingredients followed by healthy whole grain oats, barley and brown rice.

The rest of the ingredients are made up of fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, fruit and veg, vitamins and minerals including taurine and prebiotics.

Calories per cup:369 kcal/cup

Pros: vet recommended food, lean protein source listed as first ingredient, trusted brand, wholesome grains, made in the USA

Cons: overall protein levels are low, filled with grains

Best Dog Food For Boston Terrier Seniors

Occasionally older Boston Terriers, those recovering from recent surgery, picky Bostons, pregnant females or Bostons on special diets may require a moist or canned food. 

Cooked refrigerated dog food

First Five Listed Ingredients: Chicken, chicken gizzard, carrots, peas, chicken liver.

Ollie fresh dog food is made with human-grade ingredients, quality proteins and comes packed with fruits, vegetables, added vitamins and minerals. 

Serve it on its own or use as a topper on dry kibble.

Every Ollie recipe (turkey, beef, chicken or lamb) is vet-formulated and is nutritionally balanced. Their pre-packaged meals are cooked at low heat to preserve the nutritional value of their ingredients. 

Their homemade dog food is customized based on your Boston's weight, age, activity level, breed and allergies.

Pros: quality human-grade food, appealing taste, no fillers, no by-product meals, wheat, corn, soy or rice nor any artificial ingredients or flavors, comes in 4 other yummy flavors, use high-quality meat from human-grade farms in the U.S. and Australia.

Cons: pricey

*Use this link to get 50% off your first Ollie box AND 25% off your second and third boxes this month only!

Best Dog Food For Boston Terrier With Health Issues

Royal Canin Small Digestive Care Dry Dog...

First Five Listed Ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, corn, chicken fat, brewers rice, corn gluten meal

Chicken-by product meal is listed as the first ingredient in this grain-inclusive recipe designed for small dogs with a sensitive stomach including poor-quality stools. Although we would have preferred to see real meat as the first listed ingredient, poultry by product meals which are clean parts of slaughtered mammals can be an excellent source of nutrients

The rest of this formula is made up of dietary fiber, other proteins and prebiotics.

Calories per cup: 485 kcal/cup

Pros: Vet recommended food, grain-inclusive, many dog owners reported it’s excellent for loose stools, others found it helped with gas, affordable, grain-inclusive

Cons: not our first choice since it doesn’t have meat as the first listed ingredients, contains pea fiber, only available in 3.5 and 17 lb bags.

Best Dog Food for Boston Terrier Puppies

Diamond Premium Recipe Complete And...

First Five Listed Ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, whole grain ground corn, wheat flour, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried beet pulp.

The primary protein is chicken by-product meal - a rich and great source of lean protein, something that is especially good for ensuring that Boston Terrier puppies develop the strong muscles they need to keep their slightly stocky bodies on track.

The addition of DHA and other Omega 3 fatty acids from salmon oil helps your furkid's brain development as well as ensuring their coat grows healthy and shiny. 

The recipe contains added essential vitamins, minerals and gut-boosting prebiotics which aids with digestion. 

Calories per cup: 438 kcal/cup

Pros: affordable, well-known brand, balanced puppy food, owners report it leads to a reduction in flatulence, they also report it is palatable, grain-inclusive

Cons: because of the grains in this recipe, it may aggravate some puppies' allergies

What To Keep In Mind When Choosing Food for Adult Boston Terriers

What to feed Boston Terriers

Each dog is unique and therefore there is no one dog food which works for all dogs. In general, feeding a premium brand is a safe bet for Boston Terriers. There are several premium brands of dog food that are good choices for your BT.

We highly recommend considering a raw diet, however we understand that kibble may be only choice for some owners.

When choosing dry dog food for your Boston consider the following:

1. Rich in animal protein. This should be listed as the first ingredient. Proteins are complex molecules made up of amino acids, the building blocks of cell growth, maintenance and repair.

2. Limited ingredients. This is to avoid fillers and other harmful ingredients that can trigger allergies.

3. Grain vs. Grain-Free. Every dog needs grains including small breed dogs. Grain should be considered only if your Boston has a grain intolerance proven by an allergy test. While grain-free foods help reduce flatulence, allergies and inflammation, there is a growing concern that there might be a potential link associating grain-free foods and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a heart condition that decreases the heart’s ability to pump blood. Although the research is inconclusive, most experts are using a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach and recommend feeding your dog a grain-inclusive diet. 

Some Boston owners have also expressed their concern and thinking about changing their dog's diet from grain-free to grain-inclusive dog food.

4. Meets AAFCO standards.

5. It is a "balanced" formula. The fundamental keys to canine nutrition is proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.  The combination of these components are based on your dog's age, weight, physical and/or medical condition including lifestyle, hence why there are so many dog foods on the market. 

6. It is made in the USA

If you notice your Boston has a food intolerance consider switching him to hypoallergenic dog foods - these generally contain novel proteins as the sole source of protein such as venison, duck, kangaroo and salmon. These foods may also use complex carbs like sweet potato or chickpeas to replace wheat.

The protein and fat requirements for an adult Boston dog are: between 15-30% and between 10-20% respectively.  Keep in mind these are only guidelines: your Boston may need more or less based on its individual needs, activity and health status.

Ultimately, the best choice of Boston dog food is up to you, the pet parent. Check the packaging, to find out if it in fact is USDA approved and meets AAFCO specifications. If he enjoys the food, doesn't trigger allergies, has regular and firm stools - then you have found the perfect food for your pooch. 

Pointers on Choosing Boston Terrier Food for Puppies

Puppy foods are formulated to provide twice the number of nutrients found in adult kibble.

Good nutrition is important at every stage of a Boston Terrier's life, but that is especially true when they are puppies. Growing baby Bostons need a good mix of lean proteins and essential vitamins and minerals,

Their growing bones and muscles crave proteins. A good puppy food for Boston Terriers should contain no less than 30% protein as well as carbohydrates and fatsIn addition the formula should have certain minerals and vitamins, namely vit. A, B, C, D, E and K.

Check food labels for "AAFCO approved" and balanced and complete nutrition - this ensures your puppy food is free from fillers and artificial preservatives that can trigger allergies in your Boston puppy.  AAFCO stands for Association of American Feed Control. They regulate the quality and safety of animal food products.  Feeding your Boston an AAFCO approved diet will provide the 40 essential dietary components recommended for dogs. You can begin slowly transitioning your Boston puppy to adult food when he is one year old.

How Much Food Should I Feed My Boston?

If you're unsure how much food to feed your Boston, your vet can help you estimate how many calories he needs based on whether he is active or sedentary and his body score. The general formula for calculating an adult Boston's energy requirements is as follows:

30 X Weight in kg (or pounds divided by 2.2) + 70 = Daily caloric needs

This is just a guideline and should be increased or decreased based on the needs of your dog.

Foods Boston Terriers Can and Cannot Eat

A Boston Terrier Puppy Eating Kibble From Bowl

There are some human dog foods that are seen as safe to feed dogs as an occasional treat or added as a topper to dry kibble to fortify the meal further. 

Some foods are toxic for dogs and should be avoided all times. 

Safe foods for Boston Terriers

  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Watermelon
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Sardines
  • Bananas
  • Eggs
  • Coconut oil
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Salon
  • Sweet potato

Toxic foods for Boston Terriers

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Avocado
  • Lemons
  • Nutmeg
  • Xylitol
  • Chives
  • Leeks

Health Issues Affecting Boston Terriers

On the whole, the hardy Boston Terrier is a breed that is largely unaffected by genetic health problems. The breed came to be in Liverpool, England in the 1860s, to meet one man's demand for a dog who was both a good ratter and could hold their own in a dog fight. After crossing a bulldog with the now extinct white terrier such a dog was born.

The dog's name was Judge, but he never did any fighting, as he was sold to a visiting American, who promptly took him back to Boston. He was bred to a local white bulldog and the standard for the Boston Terrier breed began.

Eye Problems

Although very sturdy dogs the one thing that breed experts agree that pet parent must take special care of with Boston Terriers is their big, beautiful eyes. The prominence of their eyes means that they are very easily irritated and Boston Terriers are prone to developing, conjunctivitis, dry eye, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), cataracts and glaucoma in later life.

While these things cannot be completely prevented, making sure that your Boston's diet includes plenty of antioxidants can be helpful in preventing eye deterioration. Vitamins C and E are especially good for eye health, as are Omega 3 fatty acids, so choosing a food that is rich in these is an especially good idea.

Brachycephalic Syndrome

As a brachycephalic breed, a Boston Terrier may have a range of anatomical abnormalities that cause obstruction of the upper airways - causing difficulties in breathing. Symptoms such as a narrowed or collapsed trachea is very typical to Brachycephalic breeds like Bostons. It’s only one of many symptoms typical to Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome.

Other issues commonly seen in Bostons include:

***

We’d love to hear your experiences with these foods with your Boston Terrier. Let us know how they’ve worked out for you in the comments below.

Like this? SUBSCRIBE for more actionable tips!
Join our free mailing list for: Giveaways + Deals + Exclusive Content + Sneak Peeks, Reviews + More

Leave a Comment: