FACT: Did you know that Pups are born with their eyes and ears closed and that their ears open first, with eyes opening in about 10 days?
FACT: Did you realize that your breeder has “quickened” these puppies from the womb, to help awaken them to life and often has to give mouth to mouth resuscitation and heart stimulation to puppies after a c-section to assure their survival? Wonder why they are “expensive”? Now you know, they are worth far more than we charge. If we figured up our time by the hour in caring for our babies, we would be making about a quarter an hour.
FACT: Did you know that your responsible breeders will sleep in the same room as the puppies and at each squeak, make sure mom dog isn’t lying on a baby or sitting on a baby? AND that the breeder must plug the puppies onto mom’s “Spigots” about every two hours for the first 2-3 days (round the clock)? Often the puppies aren’t able to find the teats themselves without training from your breeder.
FACT: Puppies need to have their food and water elevated when they are small. Why? Because their heads are so heavy vs their bodies that if they put their heads down to eat, their butts go into the air forcing their face into the food or water. Yes, I know. It looks funny, BUT, they can inhale the food and/or water and get particles in their lungs causing pneumonia.
Before you bring a Boston Terrier home and make them part of the family, you should be familiar with the health issues and concerns of these dogs. Health problems are one of the key reasons that so many dogs are surrendered to rescues. Another is the time, money, and effort it takes to care for dogs properly. Many people don’t truly understand the level of commitment that these dogs require. Please keep in mind that dogs age much more rapidly than humans, so wear and tear will show earlier on them and should be considered normal. Arthritis, slowing down of activity, cataracts, loss of hearing…basically all the things we humans experience dogs can experience as they age too. They can become diabetic because they are overweight, inactive, they can get allergies, kidney stones, and on and on…this is just a part of aging and natural body processes. They cannot be screened for nor can we predict the future and see how your pet will age.
Boston Terriers are a Brachycephalic breed, meaning that they have a short nose. Because of this, they have greater chances of having breathing problems such as elongated soft palate, pinched or undersized nostrils, and other respiratory ailments.
Boston Terriers should always be kept inside the house with their family or in a kennel where there is air conditioning for the summer and heat for the winter. Air conditioning in the summer months is essential. Signs of heat prostration are common in Pugs and Boston Terriers and include difficulty breathing, wheezing and heavy panting. Dogs in heat distress should be cooled with water and taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Dogs sweat through the pads on their feet so cooling their feet with water or putting a small child’s size wading pool outside where they can splash in the water really helps in the summertime.
Large eyes can develop many problems. It is important to get in the habit of checking your dog’s eyes and if they seem dirty or wet, put an eyewash in and clean them whenever necessary. Eyes can get scratched easily and they can have eyelid or eyelash abnormalities.
Trichiasis is ingrown eyelashes of the upper eyelid, which causes irritation of the eye and can be surgically corrected.
Distichiasis is a double row of eyelashes that normally are on the lower lid and cause irritation. This condition also requires surgery.
Entropion is an inward rolling of the eyelids which usually causes the eyelashes or hairs to rub against the surface of the eye, causing scratches, irritation, and ulceration. This is most critical and needs to be caught early and surgically corrected to prevent complications.
Dry Eye is an eye condition resulting from a lack of tear production. The eyes will appear dull and textured instead of lustrous and shiny. Treatment will depend on the cause and severity of the condition. Watch your dog’s weight!
Bilateral Cataracts will appear as opaque spots on the lens of the eye. These spots can cause partial or full loss of vision. Sometimes surgery can help. Often occurs in older dogs, probably due to exposure to the sun, much like human eyes.
Corneal Ulcers can occur after any scratch or injury to a Dog’s eye. Ulcers need to be treated immediately or there will be some loss of sight.
Generalized Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary eye disease causing the gradual breakdown of cells of the retina and causing blindness. Dogs can be screened for this condition.
Pigmentary Keratitis can first appear as a small black or dark brown blob on the white of the eye in the inside corners. It will gradually spread across the eye, completely covering it and blocking the Dog’s vision so that the Dog is blind. This can be caused by an ingrown eyelash or eye injury that went untreated, sometimes even undetected.
Stenotic Nares is a condition often found in short-nosed dogs. It is a narrowing or restriction of the nostrils. This puts a strain on the dog’s system and can sometimes lead to an enlarged heart. Signs of this condition are that the dog tends to mouth breathe or have a foamy nasal discharge. Surgery can enlarge the nostrils and fix this problem.
Elongated Soft Palate is when the palate is too long and it restricts airflow into the lungs. It can be surgically corrected. The majority of short nose dogs have elongated soft palates to some degree. Most never require surgery.
Short-nosed dogs, because of their slightly undershot jaw, can also develop tooth and gum problems. You need to check the mouth for any signs of problems, mouth tumors, retained baby teeth.
Boston Terriers have a high incidence of Demodectic skin mites (often called demodectic mange), especially when they are still puppies. It is often called “teenage mange” by vets who have been practicing for a number of years. Mange does require a veterinarian to treat it. In regards to the localized form, it usually occurs when the dogs are under one year old and you may notice small patches of hair loss exposing healthy-looking patches of skin. Often they appear on the face or forelegs. It appears gradually and after the patches reach their maximum size, the hair begins to regrow. It is important that if you see these signs that you get your pup to a vet immediately. The generalized form of this condition can occur in dogs of any age and the exposed skin often becomes infected. This type can be very difficult to treat. Again, it is very important that you seek treatment at the first indication that your pup may have any type of this condition. The best treatment is injections of Ivermectin which should be given under the supervision of your vet only. It is an inexpensive and very effective treatment. Don’t let the vet’s talk you into expensive “dips” and baths. That is a moneymaker for them. Tell them you would prefer the Ivermectin treatment if they look like they don’t know what you are talking about – get another vet.
Boston Terriers don’t shed that much and are easy to groom! A good diet and weekly grooming can help control the amount of hair that ends up in your house, on your clothes, etc. But, there is no way to stop a dog from shedding. Comb/brush your dog at least once a week, as well as bathing them once every 3 to 4 weeks. This will also help control parasites and keep their skin healthy. If your dog really hates the comb/brush, and just will not tolerate it… you could always use your fingers and give them a massage, scratching all around to remove the dead hair.
Many short nose dog owners have experienced their dog having what appears to be a “breathing attack”. It can be quite frightening to see for the first time. Reverse sneezing is characterized by a series of forced inhalations, and snorting through the nostrils (gasping inwards). It may last for a few seconds or up to 1 minute or more. These attacks often occur on a sporadic, unpredictable basis.
Boston Terriers usually have the head extended forward and stand still during the attack. There is no loss of consciousness or collapse. Many Pugs and other dogs have these attacks throughout their lives. The exact cause of reverse sneezing is unknown, but it may be associated with sinusitis and other upper respiratory disorders. Many believe affected dogs are consciously removing mucus from the nasal passages. In fact, many dogs swallow at the end of the attack. Attacks are most commonly brought on by the dog wearing a collar and pulling on the leash. Your dog will have very, very few attacks if you use a harness with them instead of a collar.
Occasionally another possible cause is a foreign body lodged in the nostril or it could be an allergy to something causing/exacerbating the problem. Whatever the cause, the condition is usually not serious. If the condition appears suddenly in an older dog or if episodes become more severe or frequent, the nasal passages and throat should be examined by a vet. Treatment is not necessary when the episodes occur infrequently on a random basis. Calming your Pug/Boston during an attack may shorten the episode. Massaging the dog’s throat gently may help. Worsening episodes may need to be treated medically. Consult your vet for advice if you are worried.