Canine Nutrition and Your Boston Terrier

Your Boston isn't thinking about canine nutrition when he's hungry. All he cares about is, "how does it taste?". As responsible pet owners, it is up to us to make sure our Bostons get food that is safe and nutritionally complete. All dogs are meat-eating animals and their diet should be based in animal protein. In addition, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals are needed to round out the diet and keep your Boston healthy.

Ask ten people what the best dog food is, and you're likely to get just as many answers. There are a plenty of options available, and you'll need to decide for yourself what best fits your dog, your lifestyle, and your budget. Basically, you can either buy a commercial dog food or prepare your own.

Following is some basic info on both canine nutrition options.

Commercial Foods:

Take a trip to the local grocery or pet supply store and you'll see hundreds of different dog food options. Commercial food quality varies widely from brand to brand. Commercial dog foods can be grouped into six basic categories:

  • Dry (kibble) - least expensive of all commercially available foods; very convenient.
  • Canned - generally more expensive than kibble. Canning process acts as a preservative.
  • Semi-moist - moisture contents between that of kibble and canned. Most often packaged in convenient pouches, but many contain high levels of preservatives to prevent spoilage.
  • Mixers - Foods designed to supplement other food sources with additional nutrients.
  • Specialty foods - targeted for specific ages (puppy, senior), lifestyles (active vs. sedentary), allergies, medical issues, or niches (breed-specific).
  • Treats - Chews and biscuits. Check out our homemade treat recipes, or share a dog treat recipe of your own.

Benefits: Drawbacks:
  • Convenience
  • A variety of options to choose from

Homemade Foods:

Homemade foods are simply those that you make yourself, just like you would for you and the rest of your family. Many people make their own cooked, homemade meals for their dogs. Another homemade option is a BARF diet ("bones and raw food" or "biologically appropriate raw food"). Foods in this diet are served, uncooked, in their raw state.

Raw Dog Food Diet

Benefits: Drawbacks:
  • It's freshly made
  • You know the exact ingredients your dog is getting
  • You can avoid artificial preservatives and colorings
  • You can use high quality ingredients
  • More variety for your dog
  • Understanding of how to make foods that are nutritionally balanced for a dog.
  • It takes a bit more time and discipline to make food than to open a can or grab a scoop of dry food.
  • Unless you freeze, and then defrost a bit as needed, it has to be freshly prepared every day or two.

How Much?

Once you decide on a food, how much should you feed your Boston Terrier? This will depend on the age and activity level of your Boston. If feeding a commercial food, start with the manufacturer's recommendations on the product package. You can then increase or decrease the amount based on your Boston's needs, and whether he is gaining or losing weight.

Special Considerations For Puppies and Seniors:

Canine Nutrition for Puppies:

canine nutrition

Puppies have different canine nutrition needs than adults, since they are growing. Boston Terrier puppies need extra protein - about 25 to 35 percent more than adults. Puppies have high metabolic rates and small stomachs, so feeding them several small meals each day is the best way to give them the canine nutrition they need.

Here are some suggestions:

  • 3 months of age or less: four to five meals per day.
  • 3 to 5 months of age: three to four meals per day.
  • 6 to 10 months: two to three meals per day.
  • 10 months and older: two meals per day.

Adjust based on your Boston's own needs and whether his weight is increasing or decreasing.

Seniors:

Senior Bostons have different canine nutrition needs due to age-related processes and health problems that arise with aging. Older Bostons may gain weight as their activity levels decrease and their metabolisms slow. If your Boston Terrier begins to gain weight, you may need to adjust their food intake or change to a food option that contains more fiber, less fat and fewer overall calories.

Some Boston Terriers may actually lose weight as they get older. There are many reasons an older Boston may lose weight including a variety of health problems, dental issues, heart conditions or cancer. Some dogs eat well, but lose weight anyway. This may be due to an inability to absorb the nutrients in their food. For underweight Bostons, add more high-quality fats to their diet. Protein metabolism decreases with age, so many senior dogs need additional protein to combat the muscle deterioration, weakness, and immune system damage that can result from reduced protein metabolism.