Choosing The Right Food For A Boston – Vets Perspective


Choosing The Right Food For A Boston - Vets Perspective

Choosing the right food for your Boston Terrier can be challenging!

There are so many food options available making it tough to know which one is right for your pup.

This guide will describe how you should choose your Boston’s dog food and my favorite dog foods for Boston Terriers.

A Veterinarian’s Suggestions on Choosing the Right Boston Terrier Diet

If you have ever read the back of the pet food bag, there can be a lot of overwhelming information. When choosing a dog food, you want to be sure that it is the right food for your specific dog. 

Every dog has unique health needs so consider these suggestions when choosing the right food for your Boston. 

And always consult your personal veterinarian about what food is best for your Boston Terrier.

Choosing The Right Food For A Boston - Vets Perspective

How Do I Choose The Right Dog Food For My Boston Terrier?

These are 7 things that you should consider when choosing food for your Boston Terrier.

1. Follow Your Veterinarian’s Recommendation

One of my first recommendations when choosing a food for your Boston Terrier is to talk with your veterinarian. 

Your veterinarian will know your Boston’s specific needs and health conditions. 

They will be able to provide the best recommendations for your Boston.

2. Choose A Food Appropriate To Your Boston’s Life Stage

How old is your Boston? You will want to find a pet food that is appropriate for your Boston’s age. Diets are formulated to fit certain requirements of each life stage. 

Below are the three stages in your Boston’s life you will need to be cognizant of and at your vets recommendation switch their food.

Life Stages That May Require A Diet Change
First Stage – Puppy 0 – 1 year old
Second Stage – Adult 1 – 7 years old
Third Stage – Senior 7+ years old
Choosing The Right Food For A Boston - Vets Perspective

First Stage – Puppy Food 

Boston Terriers grow rapidly in their first year of life. They will need a lot of calories as they are growing. 

Puppy foods are specially formulated to provide the extra calories and nutrients that your Boston puppy needs as it is growing.

Boston Terriers reach maturity around 1 year of age, and usually, at this point, they will be done growing and can safely be switched to an adult dog food.

Second Stage – Adult Dog Food 

Adult dog foods are specially formulated to contain ingredients that promote your Boston’s health. 

Usually, they are less calorie-dense. Because they contain fewer calories than puppy food, this will promote a healthy weight.

Adult Boston Terriers should eat a high-quality adult dog food until they are around 7 or 8 years of age.

Third Stage – Senior Dog Food

For Boston Terriers over the age of 7 or 8, you should look for a high-quality senior diet. Older Boston Terriers are not as active as young Boston Terriers so they will need even fewer calories.

Senior dog foods usually contain lower levels of calories to promote a healthy weight. They may also contain ingredients like glucosamine or fatty acids which may promote joint health.

Choosing The Right Food For A Boston - Vets Perspective

3. Choose A High-Quality Brand

One important consideration in choosing the right dog food for your Boston is to consider the brand. 

I recommend a high-quality brand like Purina, Iams, Royal Canin, or Hill’s. These companies are typically trusted by veterinarians and all have very extensive testing and quality control measures. 

These large companies frequently analyze their food and check for contaminants which is often not done by smaller dog food companies.

Smaller pet food companies may not have as extensive quality control as these larger pet food companies. When in doubt, you can call the pet food manufacturer you are interested in and ask questions like:

  • Do you have a veterinary nutritionist on staff?
  • Who is developing and formulating the diets, and what are their credentials?
  • Can I speak with these people to ask some questions?
  • Have your diets been through AAFCO feeding trials?
  • What quality control measures does your company use to ensure the safety of the food?
Choosing The Right Food For A Boston - Vets Perspective

4. Decide On Dry Vs. Wet Food

When choosing a dog food diet for your Boston, you will also want to decide on either dry kibble or wet food.

See more about home cooked and raw diets further below the article.

Dry Dog Food

I feed my dog dry kibble because it is not as messy, it is more affordable, and my dog seems to enjoy it. The kibble may also help keep the teeth slightly cleaner because when they bite down on the kibble it may act as a way to help keep some of the plaque off.

Wet Dog Food

If your dog is missing most of their teeth or if they have a hard time eating dry food, you may consider feeding wet dog food. Some owners choose to feed exclusively wet dog food because their dogs prefer it. Wet dog food is a little bit more expensive than dry kibble.

Older Bostons that become finicky eaters may be more enticed by wet food. If you are having trouble getting your Boston to eat food, wet food may be a good option to try.

Choosing The Right Food For A Boston - Vets Perspective

5. Consider Health Conditions

When choosing an appropriate diet, you will also want to consider your Boston’s specific health conditions. Certain diseases are best managed with prescription veterinary diets. 

It is important to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations on what food would be best for your dog based on their specific health conditions. Your veterinarian may recommend a special prescription diet for a number of conditions including: 

If you suspect your pet has one of these conditions, I recommend speaking with your veterinarian about their recommendations for possible diets to start your dog on.

Curious as to what health issues are common in the Boston Terrier breed? Read this article, 10 Common Boston Terrier Health Issues.

Choosing The Right Food For A Boston - Vets Perspective

6. Consider What Your Boston Terrier Prefers

If you can find a life stage appropriate food from a trusted brand, then the next step is finding a food that your Boston really likes. You should pick a food that your Boston enjoys eating. 

They will be eating this food multiple times a day for months or years at a time so you want to find a food that they like. If your Boston loses interest in one food after feeding it for a while, you could try slowly transitioning to a different flavor.

7. Consult With A Veterinary Nutritionist

If you want specialized recommendations on dog food or you are interested in home cooking, I recommend doing a consultation with a veterinary nutritionist. 

A veterinary nutritionist can help you formulate the best diet for your Boston that will provide all the nutrients necessary.

Here is a link to the directory for the American College of Veterinary Nutrition if you would like to find a nutritionist near you. Some of the veterinary nutritionists do remote consultations. Click here to learn more, ACVN Directory.

Choosing The Right Food For A Boston - Vets Perspective

Are There Key Elements In A Dog Food You Should Be Looking For?

When you are looking at the dog food bag, it can be confusing to know what to look for. There is a lot of information about ingredients and nutrients. These labels are the most important things you should look for on the bag of dog food.

Let’s break down two of the most important labels on the dog food bag, the AAFCO Feeding Statement and the Ingredients List.

AAFCO Feeding Statement 

You should try to find the Nutritional Adequacy Statement on your bag of dog food. This statement will tell you if a food is complete and balanced. 

The statement to ensure that the food is complete and nutritious will say, 

‘This product is formulated to meet AAFCO dog nutrient profiles for maintenance of adult dogs.’ For puppy diets, instead of maintenance, it will say ‘all life stages’.

The label may also state, 

‘Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that this product provides complete and balanced nutrition for growing puppies and gestating or lactating adult female dogs.’

If the food claims to have gone through animal feeding tests, this may provide you better peace of mind that this food is safe and healthy for your Boston.

A pet food may also state that it is, 

‘intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only.’ 

This type of food should not be fed long-term except if directed by your veterinarian. Foods that are only meant for supplemental feeding may not meet the nutrient requirements for long-term feeding.

AAFCO Statements to look for recap chart:

AAFCO Statements To Look For
This product is formulated to meet AAFCO dog nutrient profiles for maintenance of adult dogs.’ For puppy diets, instead of maintenance, it will say ‘all life stages.
Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that this product provides complete and balanced nutrition for growing puppies and gestating or lactating adult female dogs
Intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only.
Choosing The Right Food For A Boston - Vets Perspective

Ingredient List

According to Tufts veterinary school nutritionists, “contrary to popular belief, the ingredient list actually tells very little about the nutritional value of the food and may be used primarily for marketing purposes to appeal to customers.” 

Often, pet food companies will put ingredients in the food just to appeal to their customers. These ingredients are added just for marketing purposes so they may not provide much value to your pet. 

For example, it is a red flag if you see ingredients such as smoked salmon, parsley, onion skin, and mango juice. On the surface, these ingredients sound healthy, but often, it is just a marketing strategy to get you to buy the food.

Diet Suggestions For Boston Terriers From A Veterinarian – Puppy, Adult, & Senior Options

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of pet food options, you are not alone. There are so many pet foods available that it can be hard to decide which is the right one for your Boston. 

I will provide some of my favorite pet foods below.

Choosing The Right Food For A Boston - Vets Perspective

Boston Terrier Puppy Food

Because Boston puppies are growing rapidly, they will need puppy food until they are 1 year of age. 

My favorite Boston Terrier puppy foods include:

Boston Terrier Senior Food

Senior Boston Terriers will need food to help support their health as they are aging. 

My favorite senior Boston Terrier dog foods include:

Boston Terrier Home-Cooked Food

If you are considering home-cooked meals, I strongly recommend consulting with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist to ensure that the meals you are feeding are complete and balanced. 

For long-term home-cooked meals, you want to be sure that your dog is getting all the nutrients that it needs. Check your area for a veterinary nutrition specialist or ask your veterinarian for more information.

A helpful website for ensuring that you are feeding complete and nutritious meals is called BalanceIt. This source will help you balance the ingredients in your home cooked meals.

Choosing The Right Food For A Boston - Vets Perspective

Boston Terrier Grain Free Diet

At this point, I do not recommend feeding grain free diets. There have been some recent developments that suggest that there may be an association between feeding grain free diets, boutique diets, and diets with exotic ingredients and heart disease.

We are not yet sure why grain free diets are causing heart disease, but it is becoming more common. 

If your Boston is being fed a grain free diet or a boutique diet, I recommend switching to one of the diets listed above.

Boston Terrier Raw Diet

I do not recommend feeding raw diets. The FDA states that people feeding their dogs raw diets may be at high risk for developing salmonella or listeria infections. This is especially dangerous for households with children or immunocompromised individuals.


Raw diets are not complete and balanced diets and can lead to nutritional deficiencies in your dog. In addition, bones can cause damage to the intestinal tract.

Choosing The Right Food For A Boston - Vets Perspective

How Do You Recommend Transitioning Your Boston Terrier To A New Food?

To transition your Boston to a new diet, you should do it gradually over about a 1 to 2 week period. If your Boston starts having vomiting or diarrhea during the diet transition, return to feeding the original diet, and contact your veterinarian.

DaysNew FoodOld Food
Days 1 – 225%75%
Days 3 – 450%50%
Days 5 – 675%25%
Day 7100%0%

On days 1 and 2, begin gradually adding in the new food by feeding 25% new food and 75% old food.

On days 3 and 4, feed 50% new food and 50% old food. Your Boston should be able to handle the increase at this point.

On days 5 and 6, feed 75% new food and 25% old food. You are now feeding mostly the new food and phasing out the old food.

On day 7, you will feed only the new food. 

If your dog has a history of having a sensitive stomach, try lengthening this process out to 2 weeks. Essentially, you will follow the same instructions except double the time that you spend on each stage to give your dog plenty of time to adjust to the new food.

Want to learn more about transitioning your Boston’s diet to a new food? Read this article, How To Transition Your Boston Terriers Food In 7 Days.

Choosing The Right Food For A Boston - Vets Perspective
Happy Boston!

How Does Someone Know When They’ve Chosen The Best Food For Their Boston?

The best-chosen food is one that your veterinarian has approved, that your dog enjoys eating, and that keeps your dog at an ideal weight. The goal is to find a food that your Boston enjoys, but you also want to be sure you aren’t overfeeding.

Follow your veterinarian’s recommendation on how much and what to feed your Boston.

Use this guide as a starting point to identify which food you might like to feed your Boston Terrier. Once you have narrowed it down, speak with your veterinarian to ensure that this will be the best food for your Boston Terrier.

References

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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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