What to Expect From Your Senior Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is one of the most easily recognized dog breeds – it has a black-and-white coat, perky ears, and a short stubby tail. These dogs have an average lifespan between 11 and 13 years which is fairly standard for a dog of its size. As your Boston Terrier ages, however, he may begin to experience certain health problems. Keep reading to learn about what you can do to help maintain your Boston Terrier’s health as he ages.

Health Problems in Senior Boston Terriers

As a small-breed dog, the Boston Terrier is prone to certain musculoskeletal issues like back problems and joint problems. While these conditions sometimes develop in younger dogs, your Boston Terrier is more likely to develop them after he passes middle age. Keep an eye out for changes in your dog’s gait and changes in behavior such as avoiding jumping, climbing or running. Depression, lethargy, and changes in eating habits can also be an indication of health problems in older dogs.

In addition to joint problems, Boston Terriers are prone to osteoarthritis as they age. This is a degenerative joint disease which can wear down the cartilage in the dog’s joints and it can be very painful. If you suspect that your Boston Terrier is suffering from arthritis or another health problem, consult your vet for treatment options.

Nutrition Tips for Older Dogs

Boston Terriers of all ages are known to have sensitive stomachs so you need to be careful what you feed your dog to ensure that his nutritional needs are being met. Small-breed dogs have higher needs for calories than large-breed dogs, but your terrier’s metabolism will slow down as he ages.

Once your dog reaches six or seven years of age you should consider switching him to a senior small-breed formula. These formulas tend to be lower in fats to reduce the overall calorie count but they should still provide plenty of protein to help your terrier maintain his lean muscle mass. Avoid senior dog food formulas that contain too many carbohydrates because these can lead to food allergies and other digestive issues.

Behavioral Changes in Senior Dogs

Some Boston Terriers develop changes in their behavior as they age – it is fairly common for these dogs to develop separation anxiety. If your Boston Terrier whines excessively when you are about to leave or if he defecates, urinates, or becomes destructive while you are gone, separation anxiety could be the culprit. Making sure your dog has plenty of toys to occupy him while you are gone and making an effort to help your dog relax before you leave the house can minimize these issues.

Some dogs also become aggressive as they age, frequently as the result of a medical problem or as a defense mechanism if they start to lose their sight or mobility. Some older dogs develop incontinence as well – sometimes it is a result of aging and other times it may be caused by a medical issue that you should have looked at.

In addition to being mindful of your Boston Terrier’s health and feeding him a healthy diet, you should also try to keep your dog’s mind sharp as he ages. Taking your dog for a walk once a day is a great way to meet his physical needs for exercise but Boston Terriers are very smart so they need plenty of mental exercise as well. Engage your senior dog in games and give him plenty of interactive toys and puzzle toys to play with. Just because your dog is getting older doesn’t mean he can’t still live a full life!

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