A healthy Boston Terrier lives longer and happier! And as dog parents, that’s all we want.
In today’s fast-paced world and busy lifestyle, it’s easy to get lost with so much advice or fall behind on the promises you once committed to as a dog parent (one common challenge here is that you lack time).
This happens more often than you or I would like to admit; no one is perfect.
That’s why I wrote this beginner’s guide, so you can get a complete picture about how to care for a Boston Terrier.
My experience and research have taught me that it’s very important to know and cater to a dog’s need.
So, when caring for a Boston Terrier, I will be addressing their 5 basic needs:
These 5 points meet the dog’s welfare needs, which are included in The Animal Welfare Act.
Believe it or not, your dog’s environment plays an important role in dog care. But, what does this actually mean or look like?
Dogs have the right to a safe environment that is free from hazards and dangers.
So, it’s time to dog-proof your house and garden! Here’s how:
Before your new pooch arrives at your home, one of the first things to do is go through your house and identify any possible hazards. Then with that, you can start considering where your doggy is going to be spending most of the time.
The easiest way to dog-proof your home is to go through this room-by-room checklist:
Depending on your home plan, you might want to keep the door closed or install a dog gate to keep the kitchen inaccessible at times, especially when you or someone else (an adult preferably) isn’t there.
Keep the bathroom doors closed at all times, especially when you’re not in there, to limit your dog’s access since there’s no need for your pooch to be in there alone.
Since this is the main room of the house, as a rule of thumb always tidy up toys after playing. This rule applies to both your dog and your kids. This is also the simplest solution to avoid confusion and to avoid hazards.
Unless your dog sleeps in your room, bedrooms can be another off-limits space for your pooch.
If you’re planning to install a dog door, the hall entry is a great place to put it to restrict your dog from the rest of the house, especially if you have multiple floors.
Finally, get familiar with toxic products for your pooch that you find at home.
Once your home is dog-proof and dog-friendly, there’s one last thing you can do to make it comfortable for your dog.
A dog safe zone isn’t hard to create, but it does require some thought.
First of all, decide where you have room to create a permanent area just for your dog. It should be a place that your pooch has free access to since the goal is that he sees it as the BEST PLACE ever!
Think of it as an extended space of your dog’s sleeping area.
That’s why you should choose a quieter area of your house. Your furry friend will go to his dog-safe zone when he needs to rest or if he’s feeling nervous.
Next step is to make it comfortable. So, what does your pooch need?
Also, establish a feeding area where you are going to be placing your Boston Terrier’s bowls for food and water.
You probably want to remove the food bowl after your doggy finishes eating, so you have some control over the feeding schedule. But, always keep a water bowl around a corner so your furry friend always has fresh water available.
For ideas on what you can get, my Dog Safe Zone Kit list on Amazon shows you a list of dog beds and other basic necessities you should have for your pooch.
The last step is to introduce your Boston pup to his space and gradually teach him that it is okay to stay there by himself.
Dogs, like us, are social creatures and need company. Not only that, but they also enjoy and value human companions.
Your Boston Terrier needs companionship and to spend quality time with you daily. Bostons are companionship dogs after all!
Although cuddle time might come naturally to some people, dogs need us to spend quality time with them:
Spending time with your pooch is another responsibility for dog owners and this opens up the question of how leaving your pooch alone at home for too long affects them…
According to PSDA, the maximum amount that you should leave your dog alone is 4 hours.
There’s no dog that enjoys being left alone. Some are able to handle the alone time better than others, but that doesn’t mean that they like it. Boston Terriers can develop separation anxiety when left alone long hours and often. It’s important to gradually teach your pup that staying alone for a while is okay.
Boston Terriers should eat a species-appropriate balanced diet to make sure your dog gets all the nutrients needed for a healthy and long life.
When determining the right diet for your Boston Terrier, consider the following factors:
Boston Terriers are small-breed dogs that have a fast metabolism with high energy needs. However, depending on their life stage (puppy, adult or senior dog), they need to consume different food quantity.
Generally, adult Bostons eat two meals per day, while puppies should consume between three to four meals. This means that you divide their daily food quantity in “x” number of meals.
Before thinking of what to give your dog to eat, let’s look at what nutrients dogs need in their diet to be healthy.
Whether you buy your dog food or make it yourself, your Boston needs a balanced diet which is species-appropriate to stay healthy. This kind of diet includes a mix of:
A species-appropriate balanced diet for a Boston Terrier will include:
Plus, your furry friend should be well hydrated.
Once knowing what nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy, the next step is to choose what types of foods you will feed your pooch.
There are five types of food that you can give your pooch:
In the commercial or processed dog food category:
And for homemade dog food:
Every dog needs both physical and mental stimulation to be optimally healthy and well-balanced. That’s why training, exercise, and playtime should be a part of your Boston Terrier’s care routine.
Plus, these activities benefit both you and your dog! 😉
One of the reasons is this…
Humans release oxytocin, also called the “love hormone,” when interacting with their dogs. This can be playing, cuddling, looking at each other, going for a walk, etc.
Studies show that:
So, here’s what you should know about training, exercising and playing with your Boston Terrier:
Training starts on day one, i.e., when your pooch enters your front door for the first time! Dogs are constantly learning, so make sure to be ready!
The first step towards training, which is usually skipped, is to understand your dog breed’s temperament.
This is the foundation for successful training. And during the training sessions, you will start discovering your pup’s own personality too!
Here are some characteristics about Boston Terriers:
Also, no matter your Boston Terrier’s age, all dogs need continuous training to keep their mind stimulated and to prevent unwanted behaviours mostly due to lack of training and boredom.
Since they are sensitive to punishment, reward-based training method works best for them.
Reward-based training is not only more successful than other training methods but also means you and your dog can work towards a positive relationship that will serve as a good foundation for future training.
This method consists of rewarding your dog’s good behaviour immediately after it happens: with praise, a caress or a healthy treat. The big takeaway of this method is that it encourages your dog to repeat good behaviour.
Reward-based training also involves generally ignoring any ‘unwanted’ behaviours. If dogs are not rewarded (i.e. receives no attention or treats) for a certain behaviour, then they tend to stop doing or repeating it.
Start by house-training your Boston Terrier, which will lay the foundation and also prepare your pooch for a lifetime of good behaviour.
Housebreaking (or house-training) consists of:
Training should be fun. But it can easily become pretty overwhelming, especially if this is your first dog.
If you are having some trouble… I may be able to help with that. Click here to visit our Better Dog Behaviour JumpStart, where you will get a 3-part mini audio series + the everyday resource used by a well-known dog trainer.
Beyond potty break walks, your Boston Terrier needs longer walks. These keep your pooch mentally and physically healthy.
Without enough exercise to stimulate their mind, most dogs become anxious or destructive (or both!)
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, the one-on-one time spent on walks can help deter attention-seeking behaviours like whining or barking. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with your dog.
Your Boston Terrier’s exercise needs depend on:
Boston Terriers have high energy levels and adults require an hour of daily exercise, although some are happy to go longer.
Remember that Boston Terriers are a brachycephalic breed, so you need to be extra careful when exercising. This breed doesn’t tolerate well extreme temperatures, so they are prone to overheating during hot weather and suffering from frostbite during cold weather.
Also, due to their respiratory problems, avoid pulling on your dog’s collar.
What I recommend is using a harness (Amazon link) instead of a collar when exercising your Boston to prevent any injuries.
Read also: How Much Exercise Do Boston Terriers Need? Age-Specific for exercise needs according to age and safety tips when exercising this breed.
Boston Terriers are very playful. So, I encourage you to introduce some fun games into your dog’s daily routine.
Here’s a list of activities that can help your dog stay healthy and have fun:
Keeping your Boston Terrier engaged and busy has never been easier! Check my favourite dog toys guide for some indoor and outdoor ideas.
For your pooch’s optimal health, prevention is key.
This is where nutrition, exercise, grooming and a dog-friendly environment makes a difference in your dog’s life quality.
However, this doesn’t rule out the chances of your dog getting sick.
Plus, as with all dogs, the Boston Terrier is prone to certain health issues based on their breed.
Bostons are a brachycephalic breed (flat-faced). They often have trouble breathing, are prone to overheating.
Here are the health problems related to this breed:
Regular visit’s to your vet is a fundamental part of maintaining your Boston Terrier’s health and preventing further problems, thanks to an early diagnosis.
Insiders Tip: Visiting your vet before summer and early fall (before winter) starts is a good way to ensure that your Boston Terrier is healthy before the weather changes.
Also, annual check-ups are a great way to prevent any health issues, especially for seniors, and to monitor breed-related problems.
Regular check-ups also help to:
Find a veterinarian that shares your values; it’s important to know which treatment approach you prefer for your pet.
In veterinary medicine, there are allopathic practitioners, holistic practitioners, and integrative practitioners.
You’ll also want good insurance cover that will help with any unexpected expenses…
This is where Petplan Pet Insurance shines, as they give you the right cover you need without the worry of say settling a claim quickly or paying your vet directly. They try to make insuring your pet as easy as possible.
If you decide that pet insurance is out of the question, or out of your budget, I highly encourage you to set money aside for your pet’s expenses. Just like bringing your pup into your life, that’s a decision you’ll never regret!
Dog parasites such as worm, fleas, ticks, mites and lice should be eliminated as soon as possible.
There are many commercial products for different parasite treatments. However, there are also natural parasite treatments and prevention tips that you can use.
Parasites cause high discomfort, including skin rashes and irritation, itchiness, fever, diarrhoea, etc.
Read also: Dog Parasite Prevention and Treatment – Worms, Fleas, Ticks blog post for a more insightful information.
As part of maintaining your pup’s health routine, you can follow this checklist to complete a thorough examination of your dog, once a month. This way you could help pick up any early signs of illness or injury.
This dog health examination at home consists of checking your dog’s:
Grooming your Boston Terrier is not a difficult task after getting to know the basics.
It’s not mandatory to take your pooch to the groomers, especially if you rather do it yourself.
Boston Terriers are not a high maintenance dog breed when it comes to grooming. However, regular grooming will ensure your dog’s health and will keep infections at bay.
Plus, a grooming routine is a great exercise to gain your dog’s trust and build a strong bond with your pooch (rather than another chore). Reward your Boston’s patience constantly during a grooming session with affection and some treats!
The goal is to make grooming a positive, stress-free experience for both you and your pooch.
Here’s what grooming a Boston Terrier implies:
P.S. Here’s my Boston Terrier grooming shopping list for a happy and easy grooming routine!
Dogs thrive on routine. The daily schedule helps your Boston Terrier to know what to expect and when. Also, it helps you to take better care of your pooch.
When planning to establish a dog schedule, here are the things you need to make time for on a daily basis (all related to the 5 steps for Boston Terrier care):
Once you establish a daily routine, remain consistent on both weekdays and weekends as much as possible, since dogs can find erratic changes in their schedule stressful.
Before jumping into an example of how your day could look like, your dog’s schedule will really depend on yours.
For example, I have found that for a low-energy dog, a longer walk later in the morning works great to burn energy, which then leads to them having a nap in the afternoon when I might pop out and leave my dog at home.
If I can only fit one long walk in the morning, then I schedule playtime in the evening.
You can also decide on feeding times knowing when you could take your pooch to release himself.