10 Signs Your Boston Terrier May Have Diabetes


Boston Terrier Diabetes

Are you concerned that your Boston Terrier may have diabetes? 

Diabetes is a common disease in dogs, so it is essential to monitor for diabetes symptoms in your Boston Terrier.

10 Signs of Diabetes in Boston Terriers

Boston Terriers can develop diabetes, especially as they get older.

Diabetes occurs when the body is not making enough insulin, so the sugar in the blood cannot enter the cells like normal. This leads to a high blood sugar level in the blood.

The most common diabetes symptoms in your Boston Terrier include drinking more, peeing more, eating more, and losing weight.

If you are concerned your Boston Terrier may have diabetes, you should consult with a veterinarian regarding your Boston’s symptoms. Regular veterinary check-ups and annual blood work can help catch diabetes early.

These are the 10 most common symptoms of diabetes in Bostons…

Boston Terrier with diabetes drinking lots of water.

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1. Your Boston Terrier Is Drinking A Lot Of Water

One of the most common signs of diabetes in Boston Terriers is drinking excessive amounts of water. 

You may notice that you are filling the water bowl more frequently, or your Boston seems to be visiting the water bowl more than usual.

Drinking a lot of water can be the first sign of diabetes in your Boston Terrier. If you notice changes in your Boston’s drinking habits, you should consider contacting your veterinarian.

2. Your Boston Terrier Is Peeing More Often

If your Boston Terrier has diabetes, they will likely ask to go outside to pee more frequently and may even start to have accidents in the house.

In diabetic dogs, the blood sugar level is excessively high, which leads to a spillover of sugar into the urine. Excess sugar in the urine will cause your dog to pee more frequently.


Peeing more frequently can also be a sign of other illnesses such as: 

  • Urinary tract infection 
  • Kidney disease
  • Cushing’s disease

If you notice changes in your Boston’s urination habits, you should speak with your veterinarian about checking a urine sample or running a blood test to check for diabetes.

A sign of diabetes in Boston Terriers is hunger.
Bella the Boston Terrier drooling while waiting for more food.

3. Your Boston Terrier Is Eating More Than Normal

Has your Boston Terrier been eating more than usual? If so, this may be a sign that your Boston Terrier is diabetic.

When the body has insufficient insulin levels, it cannot bring sugar from the blood into the cells to be used for energy. If the cells are not getting any energy, your dog will feel hungry all the time.

If it seems like your Boston Terrier is begging for food and treats more frequently than usual, this may be an early sign of diabetes.

4. Your Boston Terrier Is Losing Weight

Weight loss is a common sign of diabetes. Weight loss can be a sign of many diseases and is not specific to diabetes. However, coupled with the other symptoms described here, weight loss may be a sign of diabetes.

With diabetes, the body is unable to get the energy needed to maintain a healthy weight.

If you notice that your Boston has been losing weight, your Boston may have diabetes.

5. Your Boston Terrier Is Going Blind

One of the most common complications of diabetes is cataract formation. The majority of dogs with diabetes will develop cataracts and eventually go blind.

If you notice your Boston Terrier suddenly losing vision or bumping into things, this may be a sign that your Boston has diabetes. 

Diabetes leads to cataract formation in the eyes. Cataract formation in the eyes can cause your dog to go suddenly blind. 

If your Boston Terrier appears to have vision problems, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian. If the cause of the vision problems is due to cataracts from diabetes, cataracts can be removed by a veterinary ophthalmologist.

6. Your Boston Terrier’s Eyes Look Cloudy

One of the early signs of cataract formation is cloudy eyes. If your Boston’s eyes appear cloudy, this could be a sign of diabetes.

While cloudy eyes can also occur from old age, anytime, you notice a change in your Boston Terrier’s eyes, have them checked by a veterinarian.

A tired Boston Terrier
A tired Boston Terrier

7. Your Boston Terrier Is Tired

Lethargy or sleepiness can occur in Boston Terriers with diabetes.


With diabetes, the body is not getting the energy it needs, and there may be electrolyte imbalances. You may notice your dog sleeping more than normal or not greeting you at the door when you get home.

8. Your Boston Terrier Is Weak

If your Boston seems weaker than normal, this may be a sign of diabetes because the muscles are not getting the energy they need to function properly.

You may notice that your Boston is having a harder time getting up. You may also notice your Boston does not want to jump on the couch.

9. Your Boston Terrier Is Vomiting

Vomiting is a sign of uncontrolled diabetes. Dogs with diabetes can develop a serious life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

If you do not notice the early signs of diabetes, your Boston Terrier may develop DKA. The symptoms of DKA include vomiting, weakness, lethargy, and not wanting to eat.

If you suspect your dog has DKA, you should immediately call a veterinarian because it is a life-threatening emergency condition requiring prompt treatment, including hospitalization.

10. Your Boston Terrier Does Not Want to Eat

If your Boston’s diabetes goes unchecked for too long, it can lead to severe illness from diabetes.

One sign of severe illness is if your Boston does not want to eat. You should speak with your veterinarian if your Boston has missed more than one or two meals, especially if your Boston has other symptoms of diabetes.

Boston Terriers with diabetes

Other Questions & Facts About Diabetes

Can Boston Terriers Develop Diabetes? 

Yes, Boston Terriers can develop diabetes. All dogs have a risk of developing diabetes at some point in their life, especially in their older age.

As a small animal veterinarian, I have diagnosed diabetes in several Boston Terriers.

Many different factors lead to the development of diabetes. Most likely, there is a genetic component.

Other possible causes of diabetes include pancreatitis, obesity, and other hormonal diseases like Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism.

Is Diabetes Common In The Boston Terrier Breed?

Boston Terriers appear to be at less risk for developing diabetes than certain other dog breeds. However, diabetes is a common disease in dogs. Some estimates suggest that as many as 1 in every 100 dogs may develop diabetes. 

While Bostons may be at a lower risk of developing diabetes than other dog breeds, in my experience as a veterinarian, I have seen many diabetes cases in Boston Terriers.

Always Be On The Lookout

Because diabetes is a common disease in dogs, it is vital to monitor for symptoms of diabetes in your Boston.

This way, you can consult with a veterinarian and get prompt treatment for your dog before diabetes gets out of control.

10 Dog Breeds With Higher Risk Of Developing Diabetes

According to the Veterinary Internal Medicine Handbook, these dog breeds appear to have a higher risk of developing diabetes.

  • Australian Terrier
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Miniature Poodle
  • Bichon Frise
  • Spitz
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Fox Terrier
  • Maltese
  • Lhasa Apso
Boston Terrier diabetes

10 Dog Breeds With Lower Risk Of Developing Diabetes

The Veterinary Internal Medicine Handbook states that these dog breeds appear to have a lower risk of developing diabetes.

  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Collie
  • Golden Retriever
  • German Shepherd
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Boston Terrier
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Rottweiler
  • Labrador Retriever

What Should I Do If My Boston Terrier Has Diabetes? 

If your Boston has been diagnosed with diabetes, it is imperative to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for treatment.

Your veterinarian’s recommendations could include the following.

1. Give Insulin As Directed By Your Veterinarian

It is crucial to always give the prescribed dose of insulin as directed by your veterinarian and use a consistent schedule. 

Also, it is important to give insulin around the same time every day to keep the blood sugar as regular as possible.

2. Exercise Your Boston Terrier

Exercise is critical in the treatment of diabetes, especially for Boston Terriers that are overweight. While it is important to exercise your Boston, avoid strenuous exercise.

One way to promote exercise is to take your Boston on a walk every day around the same time. The exercise will help the insulin better absorb and be more effective.

3. Put Your Boston Terrier on a Diet

Your veterinarian may also prescribe a special diabetic diet that will help your Boston lose weight if they are overweight.

monitor your Boston Terriers closely for diabetes

4. Monitor Closely

It is important to regularly bring your Boston to the veterinarian for rechecks and let your veterinarian know if you notice any new symptoms in your Boston.

A Few Final Important Considerations

If you think your Boston Terrier has diabetes symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian.


It is important to diagnose diabetes early before it becomes out of control. As a veterinarian, some of the most well-controlled diabetics were the dogs that were brought in early when symptoms first appeared and were noticed by diligent pet parents.

By monitoring for the symptoms of diabetes in your Boston, you can ensure that you will catch diabetes early. With prompt and diligent care, you can make sure that your Boston lives with the longest and best quality of life as possible with diabetes.

References

  • Ettinger, S. J., & Feldman, E. C. (Eds.). (2010). Textbook of Internal Veterinary Medicine: Diseases of the Dog and the Cat (7th ed.). Elsevier Saunders.

Addie Reinhard, DVM

Addie Reinhard, DVM- Dr. Addie Reinhard is an experienced small animal veterinarian. She is a Boston Terrier lover and always enjoys caring for her Boston patients at the veterinary clinic. She is passionate about providing helpful educational resources to pet parents regarding animal diseases and preventative care. She lives in Lexington, KY with her husband, greyhound, and four cats.

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