How to Know if Your Boston Terrier Is Overweight

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Boston Terriers are very energetic, and they love running around. This makes it difficult to understand how they turn overweight. However, gaining weight is a gradual process. In this article, I look at how to know if your Boston Terrier is overweight and how you can help it lose weight.

How to Know if Your Boston Terrier Is Overweight

An overweight dog can encounter many health problems. This is why you have to be on the lookout for signs that your Boston Terrier is overweight. There are also a few things you can be able to do to know if it has gained weight.

A boston terrier walking outdoors with read leash

Feel Its Ribs

Run your hands along the sides of your furry friend. If it feels like it is balanced, it means that your dog is not overweight. It is overweight if you cannot feel the ribs and feel a layer of fat, it means the dog is overweight.

However, your dog is underweight if you feel the ribs and do not feel any muscle or fat. The bones of the ribs will also feel like they are protruding from the skin when it is underweight.

Ensure that your dog is standing up when you are checking for its ribs. When it is lying down, it can be difficult to know if the ribs feel the way they do because of their position.

Check Its Waist

Looking at your dog from above, you should be able to see that the area before its hind legs is slimmer. That is its waist, which should give you an idea of where your dog’s ribcage ends and where its hips begin.

Your furry friend is overweight if you cannot see the contour that defines its waist. Because its waist is not defined, its shape will resemble a barrel’s.

You can also look at it from the side while it stands. If the waist is raised and does not appear to be hanging down, or its abdomen is not on the same level as the chest, it is alright.

Look at Numbers

Numbers don’t lie, right? Every time you take your dog to the vet, it is weighed. Some people also weigh their pets at home. The easiest way to know how much it weighs is to weigh yourself first and then weigh yourself while holding your dog.

Subtract the two, and the difference is what your dog weighs. This is much easier than weighing it alone, as it cannot stand still and usually wiggles around.

Any American Gentleman, as this breed is commonly called,  that weighs over 25 pounds is said to be overweight. When you have weighed yours, you can tell if it falls under healthy weight or is above the standard.

Tires Easily

If your dog gets tired easily from doing the same activities it used to do, it may be because it has added a few pounds. Because of the extra pounds, it will get tired more often and quickly than before. So if you used to go on runs with it for about thirty minutes every day, it would start slowing down when it gets to about 20 minutes.

With time, it will stop from wanting to participate in any exercises as they drain its energy. You will think that it is just becoming lazy. Sometimes, if you are not aware of it, you will not be able to notice how tired it has gotten, and you will want to push it to finish because you do not want it not to be unfit. However, that will only do more damage to it.

Watch how your dog behaves before, during, and after exercises so that you can detect any changes early enough and do something about it.

Dog treats coming out of a paper bag

Experiences Trouble Breathing

It is normal for your furry friend to start panting after exercises such as running or jogging. Some dogs may even become reluctant to climb stairs or climb on the sofa. However, the situation is different when it starts experiencing trouble breathing.

This indicates it is above normal weight, and you should put precautions to ensure it loses a few pounds.

Like Brachycephalic Syndrome, if your Boston has trouble breathing it is a serious issue; if not handled correctly and soon, it can lead to serious consequences.

How to Help Your Boston Terrier Lose Weight

Once you have looked for the above signs and done some of the methods, you can know where your dog falls under. You must help it lose weight and maintain a suitable weight if it is overweight.

Regular Exercise

When a Boston terrier is obese, there tend to be layers of fat surrounding the muscles and body organs. When you engage the dog in intense exercises, the body burns this fat to produce the required energy.

The burning of fat also helps to boost the metabolism rate and eventually stabilizes to normal levels. Although you can engage your Boston in a wide range of exercises, some of the common exercises for small dog breeds include:

  • Playing fetch
  • Running
  • Agility training
  • Swimming

Due to its size, you can reduce the time it has to exercise and increase the number of times it does it. With time, you can increase the time it does the exercises. This way, you ensure that it does not get tired quickly and develop a bad attitude towards exercise.

You should, however, keep in mind that Boston terriers are brachycephalic breeds. When exercising with your dog, ensure you do it when the day has become cooler as you want to avoid doing it when it is still hot and risk getting heatstroke.

Vet Recommendations

Apart from increased food intake, there are other factors such as age, genetic disorder, or disease that might make your dog overweight. Talking to your vet will help you know the best action to take. 

For instance, your vet can prescribe something to aid your dog in losing weight. You should not buy these types of medicine over the counter as it can have compounds that may harm your dog. What the vet usually recommends is tailor-made for your dog.

Diet Review

This entails looking at what kind of food you’ve been giving your Boston Terriers. Although the right diet depends on the dog’s age, exercise levels, and overall health condition, the following diet tips can help your Boston terrier lose weight.

Reduce the Amount of Food Per Meal

The average weight of a Boston terrier ranges from 11.02 pounds to 15 pounds. According to pet nutritionists, the amount of food intake for a Boston depends on its weight. The heavier the pet, the more food intake it will be for it.

Boston Terrier with a brown and white coating sitting on a sandy beach

It’s advisable to keep a check on your pet’s weight once in a while and feed it accordingly. Ideally, for an 11 to 15-pound dog, you should serve 1/3 to 1 1/3 cup of dog food. However, avoid cutting the portion by half or more in one go as it might feel unsatisfied and stressed. 

The nutrition loss might also be huge, and after a short time, the dog might look malnourished. Instead, reduce the portion gradually. For instance, if you are feeding the dog one cup, you can consider reducing it to ⅞.

Avoid Giving the Dog High-Calorie Treats

There are high chances you will introduce your Boston terrier to treats right from a young age during training. Treats are also an excellent way to keep your dog motivated during heavy workouts. As a result, you might not be able to avoid giving your Boston treats altogether. 

However, treats come in varying sizes, ingredients, and calorie values. Avoid giving your dog treats that are high in calories, especially if it’s not engaging in intense exercises. For instance, you can limit calories to 5 to 10 per treat and 10 to 12 during workouts.

You can also consider switching the treats from protein-based to fruit and vegetable-based. Typically, treats made of vegetables and fruits such as carrots, apples, and unsalted beans are low-calorie and contain essential antioxidants and minerals.

Don’t Feed the Dog With Human Leftovers

It’s common to find new dog owners feeding their dogs with table scraps. However, human feed tends to be fatty and high in calories and salts, which can significantly increase your dog’s weight even if you feed it in small amounts. 

Feeding your dog with human leftovers might also change your behavior over time, and you might end up giving the dog the leftovers even immediately after feeding it with the right dog food. There are also chances that you won’t consider the amount of table craps you are feeding the dog.

Adjust the Number of Meals per Day

Usually, obesity results from the accumulation of fats over time, resulting from the amount of food you give the dog per day. That means apart from reducing the food you are giving your Boston per meal, consider reducing the number of times you feed it per day. 

For instance, if you are feeding your Boston three or four times per day apart from the treats, you can consider reducing it to two times per day. It’s advisable to adjust the feeding time, such as feeding the dog in the morning and evening. 

Why You Need to Keep Your Boston Terrier at a Healthy Weight

Although you might need to buy different low-calorie foods for your Boston or even get in touch with a vet for medical intervention to help your dog lose weight, the following are some of the dangers of obesity in Boston and why you need to help your dog maintain a healthy weight.

Boston terrier outdoors with mouth open
  • Keeping in mind that Boston terriers are brachycephalic dog breeds, accumulation of fat around the smooshy face exposes it to serious respiratory compromise. Losing weight helps burn this fat and reduce the risks.
  • Small dog breeds like the Boston terriers are prone to diabetes as the pancreas struggles to secrete more insulin in response to the high blood glucose. Over time, the pancreas cells might burn out, causing diabetes. 
  • Unhealthy weight gain might result in abnormal growth and development of cells, increasing the chances of cancer. 
  • Excessive weight can easily exhaust your Boston, and you might not be able to play or even accompany you for exercises, breaking your bonding. 
  • Considering that Boston terriers are prone to patellar luxation, where the kneecap moves from its groove, excessive weight puts more pressure on the joints, increasing the risks.
  • Again, excessive pressure on the joints resulting from obesity can cause osteoarthritis, a painful degenerative joint disorder. 
  • Since the liver stores fat, obesity results in an excessive fat build-up in the liver, which, in turn, limits liver function or even causes liver problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the Overweight Boston Feel Hungry When I Reduce the Meals?

Boston terriers have strong appetites and will feel abnormally hungry when you start reducing the meals. It’s advisable to separate the pets when you start reducing the means as Boston might start eating the other pet’s food. 

How Much Should a Boston Terrier Weigh?

A healthy male Boston Terrier weighs around 15 to 25 pounds, while a female Boston terrier is slightly lighter, weighing around 10 to 20 pounds. However, the health weight might still vary depending on the genetics of the dog. 

7 Ways To Help Your Boston Terrier Lose Weight (Tips)


Gaining weight for Boston terriers is the leading cause of diabetes, pancreatitis, and cardiovascular diseases. When you realize your Boston is gaining excess weight, consider engaging it in regular exercises and feeding it with the right amount of a healthy diet.