What Health Problems Do Boston Terriers Have?

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Boston Terriers are great dogs for first-time owners because of their fun, caring, and loving personality. However, being a responsible owner means understanding what health problems do Boston Terriers have and what I can do when such issues arise. 

What Health Problems Do Boston Terriers Have? 

Boston Terriers are prone to some hereditary eye, hearing, breathing, digestive, and bone diseases. Meanwhile, skin and mental issues come from upbringing, diet, grooming, and other environmental factors. 

Graphic image of a Boston Terrier and a hospital with a text explaining what diseases Boston Terriers are prone to have

Let’s look at common Boston Terrier health issues, along with how I can recognize and avoid them. While some are hereditary problems, it doesn’t mean that your pet will automatically get them. What’s important is that I am aware of them so I can respond accordingly. 

Eye Issues

Boston Terriers tend to have these genetic eye conditions because of their prominent eye shape.

  • Cataracts: Cataract is an inherited condition that can manifest as early as 8 weeks of age. This forms a cloudy film over the eye lens, preventing light from reaching the retina. 
  • Conjunctivitis: Also known as pink eye, this eye condition happens when the tissues around the eye get infected. This may result in puffy redness around the eyeballs or colored discharge.
  • Glaucoma: A malformation or damage that leads to blockage in the eyeball’s drainage system. When fluid builds up in the eye, there can be damage in the optic nerve due to increased ocular pressure.
  • Cherry eye: A condition that affects a Boston Terrier’s third eyelid in the corner of one or both eyes. 
  • Corneal ulcers: Open sore on the eye’s outer layer.  
Sick Boston Terrier

Hearing Problems

Boston Terriers have cute, perky ears, yet they may still experience some hearing problems.

  • Otitis: A common ear infection caused by an overgrowth of fungal or bacterial organisms in the external ear canal. 
  • Deafness: Boston Terriers are attentive and responsive to calls, so if you notice they don’t respond to you right away, there may be hearing impairment that may lead to deafness. 

Breathing and Heart Problems

As dogs get older, 75% of senior dogs experience heart disease in their lives. Boston Terriers tend to have these breathing and heart conditions.

  • Brachycephalic syndrome: Includes an elongated soft palate, small nostrils, and everted laryngeal saccules. These features result in excess of soft tissue in the airway, causing Boston Terriers to have breathing problems. 
  • Heart failure: Heart failure often comes from a weakened or deformed valve. This is among the leading causes of death among old Boston Terriers.

Bone and Joint Problems

While Boston Terriers look adorable in their small bodies, their bone structures may also result in health problems. 

  • Hemivertebrae: Even though Boston Terriers look like they have docked tails, they have a congenital condition called hemivertebrae that causes them to grow screw or nub-like tails.  
  • Patellar luxation: This is a common health issue in small breeds like the Boston Terrier. A patellar luxation means there’s a slipped kneecap that causes an abnormal walk. 
  • Epilepsy: Epilepsy is another inherited disorder due to the bone structure. In some cases, there can be an underlying issue in the brain that triggers the seizures.
  • Periodontal disease: Dental disease is a chronic problem in dogs, affecting 80% of dogs by age two. Usual issues include tartar build-up, tooth decay, and gum infections. 
Boston Terrier

Digestive and Urinary Tract Infections  

Boston Terriers are also prone to these stomach and urinary problems. 

  • Colitis: Inflammation of the colon or large intestine, resulting in loose stools or diarrhea.
  • Megaesophagus: A congenital abnormality in the esophagus of Boston Terriers, making them regurgitate undigested food.  
  • Gastritis: Another genetic problem for Boston Terriers that results in irritation, inflammation, or erosion of the stomach lining.
  • UTI: Any dog breed can get a urinary tract infection because of uncleaned feces or debris in the urethral opening which can develop bacteria. 
3 Common Boston Terrier Health Issues

Skin Allergies

Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that may come from food allergies, cleaning materials, or pollen. Skin allergies may prompt your Boston Terrier to do excessive licking, chewing, and scratching. 

Mental Health Concerns

Like humans, Boston Terriers can also suffer from mental health disorders that can affect their overall health. Unfortunately, they can’t explicitly tell me what they feel, so I can only watch out for symptoms.

  • Separation anxiety: This is a common condition for Boston Terriers, particularly puppies when they feel you will leave them alone. Bostons with separation anxiety may frantically bark, exhibit destructive behavior, and even suffer from housebreaking accidents.
  • Noise anxiety: Loud noises can be startling for dogs, especially since they won’t understand what’s happening. For example, thunderstorms or fireworks can cause Boston Terriers to shiver excessively, feel stressed, or attempt to flee.

What to Do if Your Boston Terrier Has Health Problems

Much of what I can do is keep my Boston Terriers happy, healthy, and live a longer life.

Boston Terrier puppy being tested for what health problems he has
  • Set a meal plan: Plan a consistent diet for your Boston Terrier consisting of high-quality dog food, supplements, and water.
  • Do obedience training: Teach your Boston Terrier what things it shouldn’t play with or when is the only time it can eat. Since Bostons tend to be sensitive, make sure to train positively, and avoid punishments.
  • Exercise: Allot time for daily walks, mental stimulation games, or playtime using dog toys. Remember to clean your dog’s paws after exercise so they don’t bring any germs of bacteria with them.
  • Grooming: Brush the coat as needed or at least once a week. Keep the ears, as well as facial and tail-base folds, clean and dry to avoid infections.
  • Oral hygiene: Even though Boston Terriers generally have good teeth, you still need to brush them at least twice a week to keep them perfect.
  • Consult your veterinarian: Follow the recommendations of the vet for vaccinations, grooming, and diet. Tell your vet if you notice health symptoms or anything unusual on your pet. Likewise, consult if your pet requires surgery or medications.  
  • Be cautious about weather exposure: Bostons are sensitive to extreme temperatures, especially during colder seasons. Be sure to provide warm clothes and bedding.    
  • Give them attention: Boston Terriers are affectionate, and they show this through petting or snuggling close to you. 
What are the 10 Most Common Boston Terrier Health Problems


By learning about what health problems do Boston Terriers have, I can create a preventative health plan for my pets to avoid suffering from such issues. As long as I combine a good diet, proper grooming, exercise, and general checkups, I can combat even the genetic health problems.

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