Grooming your Boston Terrier is not a difficult task, but that’s usually the case after getting to know the basics.
In this guide, I go through these basics so you know what to pay attention to and how often you need to groom your pup.
This will be especially useful if you can’t afford to take your pooch to the groomers (for financial or other reasons), or you’d 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). Just remember to continuously reward your Boston’s patience during a grooming session with affection and some treats!
How to Groom a Boston Terrier
Without further ado…
Here’s how to groom a Boston Terrier from head to
How to Brush a Boston Terrier
Since Boston Terriers have a thin coat, it’s a good idea to avoid bristle brushes and use a rubber brush instead. This is a great tool to get rid of dead hairs and to also give your pooch a gentle massage whilst you are at it.
First, you can start massaging your dog’s coat in circular motions. Apart from getting rid of loose dead hairs, this will help to stimulate the release of oil (which gives a clean sheen to the coat).
Then finish by brushing in the direction of your dog’s hair.
If your dog is dirty, start by brushing in the direction of the hair’s growth, from your dog’s head to tail. Dirt and dry mud can easily be brushed off without having to bathe your pooch.
While you are brushing your doggie…
Check your dog’s body by gliding your hands over the:
- And feet.
This is a great practice to spot lumps, cuts, parasites, or other issues before they cause further harm.
How often: Once a week. Regular brushing will remove dead hairs from your Boston Terrier and keep shedding at a minimum. In the Do Boston Terriers Shed? guide, you’ll discover more about brushing, shedding and how to reduce it.
What do I need: I use a rubber brush (available on Amazon).
P.S. Bostons don’t need haircuts. Their short hair is never going to grow to the point where it needs a trim.
How to Bathe a Boston Terrier
Boston Terriers have a short, fine-textured coat that doesn’t attract much dirt – unless your pooch likes to roll in the dirt, that is! Even if he does, most surface dirt can be wiped away with a damp towel or a dog wipe.
Sometimes, a paw bath is more than enough. Soaking your Bostons paws at the end of the day or after a walk will reduce the chemical burden on your dog’s pads, as well as the potential for irritation.
Insider Tip: You can reduce the amount of time your dog spends licking and chewing at his feet by 50% with a fast, easy paw soak.Dr Becker
As a rule of thumb, baths should be given only when needed.
Why? Because frequent bathing strips the natural oils out of their skin and dogs need those oils in their fur to keep their coats and skin healthy.
Also, Boston Terrier puppies don’t need to have a bath until they are 3 months old unless they are visibly dirty or smelly.
Use a shampoo that is free of harsh chemicals (i.e. no sulfates and fragrance) and ideally it contains certified organic ingredients (like organic coconut oil).
Certain ingredients can irritate your dog’s skin and it’s best to stay away from them. Plus, due to their short coats, over-bathing your pooch may lead to dry and itchy skin, which will cause him to scratch more than usual causing sores and irritation.
So especially if your Boston Terrier body odor doesn’t sit well with you, choose carefully the shampoo or body wash so that your dog’s health is not sacrificed for him smelling rosy!
How often: Boston Terriers should only be bathed when they are dirty, itchy or stinky. This means that some can go between 4 to 8 weeks without a bath. Check out How Often to Bathe a Boston Terrier? for more details and a step by step guide on bathing your Boston Terrier (puppies and adults).
What do I need:
- A bathing space: Kitchen sink, laundry tub, walk-in shower, regular bathtub… Or my prefered place, a small foldable pool in the garden (I got mine in Amazon).
- A big enough towel: for drying your doggie.
- Shampoo for dogs: The type of shampoo you use will depend on your Boston Terrier’s needs as well as your personal preferences.
- Conditioner for dogs: I don’t use dog conditioner. However, I rub some coconut oil on my dog’s skin after he’s dry. It works great to avoid dry and itchy skin!
- A washcloth: For drying your Boston’s face, nose wrinkles and ears. Personally, I use dog wipes with anti-bacterial properties, but free of parabens, alcohol, and harsh chemicals.
- A rubber brush: I like using a rubber brush (available in Amazon) to brush him before the bath and also afterwards, to remove the excess of water.
- A helper/2nd person: Especially if your Boston is nervous or you are new to this process.
How to Cut a Boston Terrier’s Nails
Nail trimming, although essential, can be scary and stressful for your pooch.
So, the first thing you should do is get your Boston used to his paws being touched and handled – this should happen long before you try to trim his nails.
Nails must be trimmed very carefully to avoid cutting into the pinkish quick (the area of the nail that contains the blood vessels). A nip there is painful and your dog will bleed. For a step by step guide, use the How to Cut Boston Terrier Nails guide.
How often: As a rule of thumb, you should trim your Boston Terrier’s nails as often as it takes to prevent his nails from touching the ground when he’s standing. This could be once a month or every two weeks.
What do I need:
- Styptic powder to stop the bleeding if you cut your dog.
- A nail clipper like Bochel nail clipper or a nail grinder such as Dremel nail grinder, depending on what your dog can tolerate and your own preference.
How to Clean a Boston Terrier’s Ears
Cleaning your Boston’s ears regularly will allow you to spot any infection in the early stages and prevent further pain and discomfort for your pooch. Also, it will allow you to get rid of the wax buildup that always occurs over time.
You can either do both ears simultaneously – going back and forth between each ear until you’re done, or fully finish cleaning one before you start on the other one.
Just make sure not to get water down into the ear canal or leaving it moist, as this results in the growth of bacteria. How to Clean Boston Terrier Ears gives a step-by-step guide and will help you with this.
How often: You can clean your Boston Terrier’s ears every two weeks or every month, depending on how dirty they get or how much wax your dog produces. For instance, if you bath your pooch every month, it’s usually best to clean his ears afterwards.
What do I need:
- An alcohol-free ear cleaner.
- Cotton balls or pads.
- Talc-free baby powder or coconut oil to prevent itchiness and dryness.
How to Clean a Boston Terrier’s Eyes
For Boston Terriers, the face is the most sensitive part as it is the area most prone to bacterial infections, particularly the eyes.
Your Boston Terrier’s eyes need special care because of how prominent they are. Also, they are prone to tear stains or dog eye gunk (medically referred to as “eye discharge”).
So keeping your American Gentleman’s eyes clean is important to prevent eye infections, tear stains on the facial hair and other issues.
A daily eye examination is key to keep his eyes healthy and to determine if they need cleaning.
How often: At least once a week, you should take the time to look at your dog’s eyes and clean any specks of dirt around them. (easy task as you probably can’t resist looking into those adorable eyes anyway ;))
If your dog gets tear stains, you could simply wipe away the tears as they develop. Alternatively, you could wipe his face in the morning and night. Keeping your dog’s face clean goes a long way!
What do I need: I use grooming wipes (these ones are free of alcohol, parabens and harsh chemicals).
P.S. Does your Boston Terrier have red, rusty tear stains? Find out what you can do to clean them and prevent it in How to Clean Boston Terrier Eyes and Tear Stains.
How to Clean a Boston Terrier’s Nose Wrinkles
Regardless of your Boston’s skin folds being soft or deep, they can pose health issues for your pooch if not tended to properly.
Wrinkles retain moisture and skin oils, which are a breeding ground for bacteria that can end up causing infection.
The goal is to keep your doggie’s nose wrinkles clean and free of moisture. For a detailed guide about cleaning nose wrinkles, visit the How to Clean Boston Terrier Nose Wrinkles blog post.
How often: You can clean them daily, especially if the wrinkles are deep, or as often as you clean your dog’s eyes. I prefer to do both at the same time (in the morning) – easier to remember.
What do I need: I also use grooming wipes for the nose wrinkles since they have antibacterial properties. Also, I recommend applying coconut oil afterwards to nourish your dog’s face folds (especially if there are noticeable chapped areas or excessively dry skin).
How to Brush a Boston Terrier’s Teeth
Brushing your Boston Terrier’s teeth (alongside dental chews and toys) is probably the most effective way to prevent tartar build-up, dental disease, bad breath and tooth decay.
Regular brushing, plenty of fresh and filtered water, a high-quality diet and the occasional dental chew could be enough to ensure a healthy set of teeth for years to come.
The key to teeth brushing is to break the process down into steps and gradually work up to the actual brushing! For a step by step guide, visit How to Brush Boston Terrier Teeth.
How often: Ideally, you want to brush your Boston Terrier’s teeth every other night, or at least two times a week. Bostons with dental problems may need more frequent dental care. So, check with your vet to determine the best practice for your pooch.
What do I need:
- A dog toothbrush or a dog finger toothbrush, whichever is more suitable.
- Dog toothpaste (avoid using human toothpastes, since most contain fluoride, which is extremely toxic for dogs).
Remember that the best time to establish a solid grooming routine is when your Boston Terrier is young. However, it’s never too late to get started. 😉