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What to Expect With Older Boston Terriers

We wish they could live forever, and they certainly deserve to, but eventually, our dogs grow old, and we realize that we may only have a few short years left with them before they cross the rainbow bridge.

All dogs have different needs, but certain breeds are more susceptible to different conditions. As they get older, these conditions can become exacerbated or worsen. In pedigree dogs such as Boston Terriers, these conditions can crop up more frequently.

Related: Are Boston Terriers Good With Cats and Other Dogs?

It’s not always the case, though. Plenty of Boston Terriers live out their lives with very few health problems at all, so we’ll look at ways to keep your senior Boston Terrier in the best of health.

How Long do Boston Terriers Live?

A Boston Terrier lifespan is around 13-15 years. This is really a great age for a dog and means well over a decade of quality time with your pet. Boston Terriers are loving and friendly and retain a lot of their playful personality even when they’re in their older years.

Related: Can A Boston Terrier Swim?

A 10-13-year-old Boston Terrier is considered a senior dog, and while we can’t stop our dogs (or ourselves!) from going through the aging process, there are things that we can do to keep them as sharp and as happy as they’ve been over the years with us.

These involve different kinds of exercise, a more carefully thought-out diet, and other practical ways to take care of an older Boston Terrier.

Make Regular Veterinary Trips

It’s never the favorite place for a dog to go, but the vet’s office will be an important part of your dog’s life as he ages.

This isn’t just because your pup will be more susceptible to certain illnesses as he ages, but because the vet will want to keep an eye on how he’s doing, in order to prevent problems, not just diagnose them after they’ve happened.

From an early age, a veterinary trip should have been an annual event, so that your Boston Terrier could have a check-up, get any necessary booster jabs, and receive annual prevention treatments for such things as fleas and ticks.

As your dog enters his senior years, make the trips once every six months, instead of once a year. And of course, if you notice anything different that concerns you, be sure to book an appointment to get your dog the once-over.

Read Up on the Breed

In the early days, when you’re thinking of getting a puppy, you’ll no doubt pore over all kinds of websites, books, social media pages, and other resources so that you can find everything there is to know about the breed of dog you’re about to adopt.

As your dog gets older and they’ve become part of the furniture, you might think that you no longer have anything new to learn about them. But now you’ve got a senior Boston Terrier on your hands, you’ll want to brush up on all the learning, all over again.

This is because these dogs are prone to certain conditions, as we’ve discussed. And while vets know exactly what kind of issues to look out for, it’s always good for a dog’s owner to be able to recognize the signs, too.

So, what kinds of health problems does an older Boston Terrier tend to suffer from?

Back and Joint Problems

While musculoskeletal problems aren’t specific to Boston Terriers, or really any mammal reaching their senior years, these little dogs are more prone to suffering than most.

To help with your Boston Terrier’s joints purchase some Prancy Pets Advanced Mobility Chews on Amazon.

Even from being puppies, Boston Terriers are known for having joint and back issues. Much of the problem stems from them being closely in-bred, as is the case with many pedigree breeds.

As they pass middle age, these problems can become more pronounced because they’re made worse by issues like arthritis.

One such problem is hip dysplasia, which occurs when the hip joints fail to form properly. It’s usually picked up when an owner notices their pup can’t stand properly.

An x-ray will soon confirm if your Boston Terrier has such a condition. While hip dysplasia is often present in Boston Terriers from birth, they’re not usually affected too badly until arthritis, or joint disease, can begin to develop.

If he’s struggling with these kinds of problems, then your senior Boston Terrier won’t be as active as he used to be. It means that he’ll prefer to stay indoors rather than being taken out for long walks.

He’ll be less inclined to play fetch and play. But at heart he’s sure to be as happy as he ever was, as long as his pain is managed with medication from the vet.

Heart Disease

Boston Terriers are highly prone to heart disease and it’s sadly the leading cause of death of senior dogs of this breed. The valves around the heart gradually become weaker and this puts strain on the heart, so it doesn’t work as well as it should.

Medications are vital to keeping a Boston Terrier with heart disease healthy, but a good diet and regular gentle exercise are vital.

Brachycephalic Syndrome

We adore Boston Terriers for their short, snubbed noses, but sadly, their most distinctive feature can cause them real problems, particularly in old age. Brachycephalic dogs can suffer from respiratory problems due to an obstructed airway, which can lead to pneumonia.

Older dogs who aren’t as active develop more serious breathing problems as they get older. This is another issue that should be managed with regular trips to the vet, who will prescribe medication and recommend different exercises.

Other Health Problems

The above health issues are those that are more likely to affect a senior Boston Terrier than other breeds, but as your dog enters his golden years, he’s likely to develop the kinds of problems that come to all of us as we get older.

These include deafness, sight problems, loss of teeth, and cognitive issues. He may develop incontinence and will be taken out for walks more regularly if he struggles to hold his bodily functions.

An older Boston Terrier may have a personality change, becoming less fond of cuddles and a little more grumpy. So please have patience, as it’s not always easy to look after a beloved pet as they get older.

What Can You Do to Look After a Senior Boston Terrier?

The physical issues that an ageing Boston Terrier will experience can be greatly alleviated by the right combination of medication, diet, and exercise. When it comes to medication there’s little say that you might have in the matter, given that it should always be left to the experts. But with diet and exercise, that’s in your hands.

It’s vital that your Boston Terrier doesn’t gain too much weight. With arthritis and respiratory problems will naturally come a more sedentary lifestyle, but this means that your dog will need less food and fewer treats than he used to have because he simply won’t be burning off the excess calories as readily.

An overweight dog will struggle with more health problems, particularly as they get older, so getting your Boston Terrier’s diet right will be vital. Again, the vet will be able to advise on the right kind of food, especially if your pet’s losing teeth and needs a softer diet.

Cut Back on the Treats, but Never on the Love and Affection!

Be aware that as he gets older, your older Boston Terrier may have greater separation anxiety and won’t want to be left alone as often and for as long. It means that when you’re at home, be sure to give him plenty of attention and if you must leave the house for long periods, leave him plenty to keep him occupied.

An older dog doesn’t mean a boring dog, and Boston Terriers are forever intelligent animals who love the interaction. So, while you may take much shorter walks together than you used to, be sure to include interaction with other dogs where possible. Aging animals thrive around younger ones, as it makes them feel young.

Love Your Dog the Way He’s Loved You

It’s never easy to look after an older pet, and it can be a heartbreaking time. But your dog has been by your side ever since he arrived in your home and heart as a tiny little puppy, and he wants nobody else by his side but you, as he lives out his final days.

When the time comes to say goodbye, be sure to be there right until the very end, particularly if you’ve decided to put him to sleep. As hard as it is, never leave your dog to slip away with nobody beside him but the vet. Hold his paw as he’s held your heart during his life.

If you’re concerned about changes in behavior, health, or general demeanor in your senior Boston Terrier, be sure to get him to the vet as soon as possible so that you can be sure he’ll be with you, well and happy, for many more days to come.


Stephanie is a writer for She is a dog lover at heart and loves teaching and learning about terriers.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Have a 9 year old Boston territory and all of a sudden she refuses to eat and will spit out her food. She is loosing weight. Have had her to the vet, they did x-rays, blood work and looked her over real good and could find nothing wrong with her. Grabbing at straws to find out what could be going on with her. We love her so much and don’t want to loose her. Do you have any suggestions for us?

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