Identifying and Addressing Health Issues in Senior Boston Terriers

Suzie Cyrenne
Authored by Suzie Cyrenne
Suzie is a Certified Homeopath and Co-Founder of Zumalka
, specializing in natural and holistic remedies for pets.
- Aug 2, 2023

If we're being honest, health concerns will become more prevalent as your Boston Terrier ages. Just like other dog breeds, older Boston Terriers require the right care and attention to live out the quality of life they truly deserve during their senior years.

Make sure you follow along because we will walk you through the common Boston Terrier health problems that you need to keep in mind. And while we're at it, we'll also touch on some helpful tips that will help you manage the health and wellness of your senior dog through natural means.


Why You Should Take Note of Common Health Issues in Senior Boston Terriers

A man reading with his Boston Terrier.As a Boston Terrier owner, being on top of your senior dog's health is not just about ensuring that he's getting regular exercise and a good diet. It also includes being familiar with the fairly common health issues that can affect these small-breed dogs so you can easily keep them at bay.

Regardless of dog breed, our canine friends that are in their middle age and beyond tend to be more vulnerable to certain illnesses and wellness problems. It's not uncommon that your Boston Terrier will be at risk of ear infections, optic nerve damage, corneal ulcers, dental diseases such as tooth decay, joint problems, and even Cushing's disease in some cases.

Besides getting you in on the indicators of these senior Boston Terrier health concerns, we'll also provide you with useful pointers on how to properly support your aging dog when these wellness issues get in the picture. It's crucial to remember that unpreparedness is a leading cause of serious health problems among Boston Terriers in their golden years.


Understanding the Health Problems of An Aging Boston Terrier

A Boston Terrier out for a walk.Small dog breeds like Boston Terriers have rather specific health problems when they reach old age. Notwithstanding if you've got your fur baby from a reputable breeder, or perhaps a trusted animal shelter or local rescue, your older dog will still be possibly prone to the following:


Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD)

This behavioral health problem is typically characterized by sudden bouts of disorientation, altered sleep schedules, mood swings as well as severe changes in socialization with other dogs and pets. It is often likened to dementia. A common indicator of CCD is that playful dogs tend to become suddenly detached and reserved.

Additionally, some symptoms of CCD are quite similar to those of anxiety in senior dogs. Knowing how to calm an anxious dog is crucial, especially if you've got an aging canine friend because it can potentially lead to more serious problems sooner or later.


Skin allergies

Akin to other older dogs, aging Boston Terriers are also very likely to experience some sort of skin issue as they go through the aging process. Besides being indicated by irritation and itching in the affected areas (usually in the skin folds), severe cases of skin allergies maybe even accompanied with tummy upsets and ear infections.


Breathing problems

A Boston Terrier belongs to a breed of brachycephalic dogs. This means that your senior dog has a specific bone structure that gives him a short-headed skull with a compact muzzle. It is an inherited condition that may lead to brachycephalic syndrome, which often involves the development of a very soft palate and predisposition to breathing problems for the rest of a dog's life.

Other breeds that display the same attribute are the Shih Tzu, Pug, and Bulldog. Some cases of brachycephalic syndrome already require an urgent visit to the vet and possibly a surgical operation to correct the issue.


Eye issues

A Boston Terrier playing with his dog parent.Due to a senior Boston Terrier's inherently compressed features, your dog may also be prone to health concerns affecting the eye. These often include cherry eye or prolapsed nictitating membrane gland (PNMG), excessive ocular pressure as well as cloudy eye lens that can progress to glaucoma or corneal ulcers.

Interestingly, some of these eye issues may be linked to food allergies that can potentially trigger balance problems and temporary deafness—Boston Terriers with their brachycephalic bone structure are highly at risk.

It's very important to consult with a vet as soon as you notice these health issues. Most of these problems often begin with a case of dry eye that's left unchecked. Having eye drops or a similar natural eye remedy in your home pet care checklist will really help a lot.


Cardiovascular disease

Heart disease is very common among dogs in their old age. Boston Terriers in their golden years have an increased risk of cardiovascular issues like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, ventricular septal defect, dilated cardiomyopathy as well as mitral valve disease. If not given immediate care and attention, these health problems can result in congestive heart failure in the long run.

While sudden fatigue and breathing difficulties are considered some of the most common symptoms of heart disease, it can also manifest in aging Boston Terries through tissue swelling, fluid retention, and excessive coughing.



Compared to his younger counterparts, an older Boston Terrier has a significantly slower metabolism rate. This can make your pet vulnerable to going over his healthy weight, especially if he has a generally sedentary lifestyle or doesn't get exercise as regularly as he should.

Besides making your senior Boston Terrier prone to health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, low thyroid hormone production, urinary tract infection, and possibly even cancer, obesity can also aggravate underlying conditions such as chronic kidney disease and arthritis.


Joint problems

Problems with the joints are one of the most common senior Boston Terrier health concerns and older dogs in general. These will usually affect the knees, hips, intervertebral joints, elbows, carpus, and shoulders of your four-legged friend.

While most joint problems are set off by deteriorating bones and cartilage, it can also be caused by trauma. An example of this is a wobbly knee cap that gives your dog an irregular or abnormal walk, which may become worse if not urgently seen by the vet.


Dental health concerns

As brachycephalic dogs, golden-aged Boston Terriers have tightly spaced teeth that can be prone to bits of food and similar debris sticking. If not regularly cleaned and maintained, this can result in tooth decay before you know it.

Moreover, it's not just the teeth and gums that can be affected when dental health concerns get in the picture. They can also trigger other wellness issues like infections in and around the mouth, breathing difficulties, as well as systemic inflammation that can trigger heart disease.


Hormonal issues

Another common Boston Terrier health concern your aging dog will be at risk of is hormonal imbalance. There are two (2) particular conditions to take note of, namely Cushing's disease and hypothyroidism. While the former is usually triggered by the formation of a benign tumor on the pituitary gland, the latter is caused by the very low production of hormones by the thyroid gland.

With respect to symptoms, these Boston Terrier health problems share indicators like hair loss, weight gain, lethargy, and behavioral changes. Surgery and regular hormone replacement therapy sessions are often resorted to in extreme cases.


Various Factors That Can Lead to Health Problems in An Older Boston Terrier

A Boston Terrier on a car ride.Unlike what a lot of people mistakenly think, it is not only aging per se that brings about Boston Terrier health issues. There are actually specific factors that can set off health concerns in these dogs, either by disrupting their immune systems or affecting their quality of life in some other way. Let's go over what these factors are:


Improper diet and nutrition

Most common Boston Terrier health concerns are often set off by the lack of nourishment and nutrition. This significantly affects your aging dog's overall immune response to disease and other wellness issues. Besides giving your four-legged companion the right diet and nutrition he needs, boosting his immune system is also highly recommended.


Lack of regular exercise

Boston Terriers belong to a dog breed that requires a steady amount of exercise. Not having a regular workout makes your pet prone to obesity, which can even potentially give rise to other health concerns like joint pain, diabetes, and even heart disease.


Poor hygiene

A Boston Terrier looking out the window.Just like in humans, ideal hygiene is essential in keeping disease and sickness at bay. Apart from making your canine companion vulnerable to parasites, poor hygiene practices can also lead to coat, digestion as well as respiratory ailments given your pet's soft palate.


Lack of stress management

Keeping golden-aged Boston Terriers in tiptop shape isn't just about taking care of their physical needs. Looking after their mental health is also a priority or else they will be susceptible to anxiety, aggression, and even destructive behavior before you know it. Having a go-to natural anxiety support is also highly recommended if you've got an older Boston Terrier.


Environmental factors

If we're being honest, you may be unknowingly exposing your senior canine pal to harmful environmental factors—even inside your home. A commonly overlooked example among pet parents is household cleaning products like harsh bleaches and detergents. This can also include exposure to cigarette smoke and vapes.


Preventing Health Issues A Senior Boston Terrier Can Be Prone To

A Boston Terrier playing in the snow.In this part of our discussion, we'll get you in on some useful tips on how to ward off health concerns in aging Boston Terriers. Having these in your checklist will help you give your golden-aged dog the quality of life he deserves in his senior years:


#1. Go for low-impact exercise.

Giving your dog a regular low-impact workout not just helps maintain joint flexibility, but also prevents the loss of muscle mass. While you can easily go for leisurely walks and balance exercises with your older pet, swimming and gentle games of tug-of-war are also nice options.

A quick reminder, though. Given the advanced age of your pet, make sure you closely monitor his movement and behavior during these low-impact workouts. A half-hour of these exercises per day will already have a significant effect to your older dog's health and well-being.


#2. Choose a balanced diet for your dog.

Compared to their younger counterparts, aging Boston Terriers need a high-quality diet that provides them with their daily nutritional requirements, but is much gentler on their tummies. Making sure to have lots of protein and healthy fats is a must when preparing your aging pet's meals.

In case you're looking to take your senior Boston Terrier diet know-how up a notch, here's your ultimate guide on what foods dogs can and cannot eat. Moreover, a few treats here and there won't hurt, so long as you don't give them to your dog every day.


#3. Regular grooming is a must.

Grooming is essential in keeping your Boston Terrier healthy and happy, especially among older dogs. It's not as complicated like a lot of people mistakenly think, too. When it comes to grooming, all it takes is a lot of patience and elbow grease and you're good to go.

Did you know that a simple brushing of your senior Boston Terrier's coat at least twice a week can already get rid of lumps, tangles, and mats that can be hiding places for parasites like ticks, mites, and fleas? And using a toothbrush daily can help deal with food debris that can possibly lead to tooth decay in the long run.


#4. Provide a safe and healthy pet space.

Boston Terriers are inherently curious and won't hesitate to display their nosiness once something catches their fancy. Make it a point to properly store stuff that you don't want your aging dog to get his paws on like household chemicals that can potentially have a negative effect on his health.


#5. Be mindful of your dog's emotional and mental wellness.

A Boston Terrier playing outside.Regardless of breed, age, and sex, not taking care of your dog's emotional and mental health can have devastating effects before you know it. These usually include sudden destructive behavior, aggression, mood swings as well as excessive chewing, particularly on pieces of furniture.

Below are three (3) simple things you can do to keep your dog emotionally and mentally healthy:

  • Maintain regular meal times and avoid sugary sweets.

  • Give your dog plenty of cuddles and massages.

  • Increase his playtime or exercise sessions to use up pent-up energy.

You can check out this blog post 9 Simple and Natural Ways to Help a Dog with Anxiety for more information.


#6. Have an emergency pet care kit ready at all times.

Let's face it. Pet emergencies can take place at any time. And while you can just worry about them happening, you can also get the peace of mind you've always wanted by giving your senior Boston Terrier his very own natural emergency kit.

Always remember that serious health problems are often averted when they're properly taken care of as soon as you notice them. Moreover, giving your aging Boston Terrier the quality of life you've always wanted is mostly about nipping these health concerns in the bud.


We'd Love to Hear From You

Please do drop a comment if you'd like to share your own experience and tips on identifying and addressing health issues in older Boston Terriers. Also feel free to share this blog post with other pet parents so they can benefit from it, too. Naturally with you and your pet, every step of the way!


About the author

Suzie Cyrenne
Suzie Cyrenne


Suzie Cyrenne has dedicated more than 20 years of her life in making and improving natural animal health solutions in the global setting.

Being the co-founder of Zumalka, Suzie is a forerunner in enhancing the lives of pets through natural and homeopathic options using the knowledge she has gained from the Classical Homeopathy School in Quebec.

Through the guidance of her mother-in-law and fellow natural health expert, Denyse Lessard, Suzie constantly devotes herself to create premium pet products that are aimed at dealing with the root causes of wellness problems and not just their symptoms.

Besides immersing herself in books, personal development and visiting new places, Suzie also enjoys keeping herself in tiptop shape by snowboarding and taking daily hikes with her husband and Zumalka co-founder, Matt Lessard, and their Golden-Doodle, Westin.

Find out more about Suzie when you click HERE.

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