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My Boston Terrier Needs To Go On A Diet

  • June 16, 2021
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My Boston Terrier Needs To Go On A Diet

When I put my Boston Terrier Orbit next to the other Boston Terriers at the Boston Terrier Nationals, it became evident that she was slightly overweight.

She was the chubbiest one in the bunch. She’d lost that lean athletic look.

And then the guilt sank in.

Of course, I blamed myself. I’m the one feeding her, and I took full responsibility.  

I’m not a vet but I am a caring dog mom and I share my story because if you have a chubby Boston at home, our story might help you.

How Did She Gain Weight?

Three months ago, I switched my two dogs to a raw diet. I faced a few challenges in formulating what I was putting in their bowls:

  • I wasn’t exactly sure how to adjust the portion I was feeding them. Previously they were eating cooked food which has about 30% less weight due to moisture loss. So I ended up feeding just a little bit more each day.
  • I also upped their oily fish intake because it was allergy season.
  • And they were getting chews more regularly on the raw diet.
  • This coupled with only walking 2 miles a day (down from four), caused my dog Orbit to gain weight.
My Boston Terrier Needs To Go On A Diet

How Much Weight is Too Much?

In Orbit’s case, her rib cage was no longer well defined.  

It wasn’t too apparent to me because she entered that weird phase as an adult where her chest had filled in, and I thought that her body shape had to be more square.

But after comparing her to the other Boston Terriers at the Nationals, I realized she could lose a little weight.

When I measured her at home, I realized she was about a pound and a half overweight.

You might not think that’s a lot, but on a small dog, it would mean she needed to lose 10% of what she currently was.

I didn’t waste anytime. If you have an overweight Boston Terrier at home, then here’s a weight loss plan that worked for Orbit and could work for your own dog.

Decreased Portion Size

The first thing I did was decrease her portion size. She was being fed 3% of her daily weight, but I reduced it to 2.5%.

I also changed the ingredients I used for their meals to include leaner meats such as pork heart and turkey.

I raw feed, so changing “brands of kibble” was not an option for me.

WEIGHT LOSS SUGGESTION: If you currently kibble feed, consider decreasing the amount of food you place in your dog’s bowl.  

Shortened Their Chew Sessions

Both Maggie and Orbit get an edible chew every day or every other day. I was letting them chew for up to 30 minutes. 

I’ve since shortened their chew sessions so that they only get their chews for 10 to 15 minutes.  

Examples include a trachea, aorta, pig foot, backstrap, and more. And although these chews are healthy, anything Orbit ate simply added up the calories she consumed for the day.  

WEIGHT LOSS SUGGESTION: If you feed your dog edible chews, keep chew sessions no longer than 15 minutes.  

My Boston Terrier Needs To Go On A Diet

Gave Smaller Piece Treats

I will admit I’ve been generous with the size of their treats. We do a lot of training and go to agility and scent work class. 

At home, we’re always working on engagement or obedience lessons.

My point being, is we train … a lot. This means Orbit and Maggie get a lot of treats.

Luckily, I use single ingredient air-dried treats with no fillers, additives or preservatives from Real Dog Box, so I wasn’t so worried about the quality or caloric count of the treats, just the size I was feeding them.  

WEIGHT LOSS SUGGESTION: Switch to minimally processed, single-ingredient treats and keep the treat sizes small.  

Walk More

The foxtails grow ferociously in San Diego from mid-spring to early summer. Unfortunately, this meant that a lot of the off-leash areas we used to walk were temporarily off-limits. 

So I put my head together with my friends and we started meeting at the beach boardwalk several times a week where we could get long walks in together.  

WEIGHT LOSS SUGGESTION: Walk four miles a day at least three days a week. Buddy up with a friend and walk your dogs together. On your non-long walk days, make sure you get at least 1.5 miles.  

Feed More On Active Days

Four miles for an active adult feels like a moderate workout, but to a small dog like a Boston Terrier, it’s a BIG day. On the days that we walk four miles, they get half a scrambled egg split in half between them.  

My Boston Terrier Needs To Go On A Diet

Why Keeping My Boston At A Healthy Weight is Important

Here are all the reasons to keep Orbit at a healthy weight:

  • Prevent joint damage: Boston Terriers are known for being extremely active. This causes a lot of pressure on their joints. Being overweight further exacerbates it.  
  • Prevent decreased stamina: Carrying extra weight is tiring. And in the long run, might lead to exercise intolerance.  
  • Prevent respiratory compromise: Smooshy face dogs overheat more easily than dogs with longer snouts. Keeping her at a healthier weight will mean she can breath easier.  
  • Prevent diabetes or insulin resistance. “Being over weight causes an increase in the secretion of insulin in response to the increased blood glucose level in the overweight dog. Insulin is also more in demand simply because there is a greater amount of body tissue in an overweight dog. When requirements for insulin exceed the ability of the body to produce insulin, diabetes mellitus develops. If the need for insulin increases over a long period of time, the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin can actually ‘burn out,’ again resulting in diabetes.”
  • Prevent liver disease or dysfunction 
  • Prevent Osteoarthritis
  • Prevent being an increased risk of developing malignant tumors (cancer)

Obviously, it’s in my best interest and my responsibility as Orbit’s owner to put her on a plan to drop a pound.

My Boston Terrier Needs To Go On A Diet

Is A Vet Necessary To Get On a Weight Loss Plan?

I didn’t feel the need to consult with my vet.

At the end of the day – I knew that the way to my dog losing weight was to feed her less food and to exercise more.

I thought this was easy enough to manage. I also didn’t want to talk to my vet and have them recommend a prescription diet.  

I’m not a fan of kibble and I would never feed it to either of my two girls.

So Did The Plan Work?

Three weeks later, I’m happy to report we are almost at Orbit’s goal weight. The good thing is that she is so tiny that incremental changes to her diet can be seen within a month or two at the most.  

This photo was taken today. I can see her tuck is back and I can see her waist. She has a small layer of fat to shed and I’ll post an updated photo once that happens. The date of this photo is June 17, 2021.

My Boston Terrier Needs To Go On A Diet

When I assess my Boston Terrier’s body condition, I can see a noticeable tuck in her belly when viewing her from the top and side.

Additionally, I can see an outline of her ribs, and if I try to feel them, I can feel them but she still has a thin layer of fat.

Interestingly enough, she doesn’t snore as much, and I’ve noticed that she’s looking much leaner and just down to one chin now.  


Liked this Article? Here are a few more that you might enjoy:

  1. Why I don’t feed my dogs kibble
  2. Deciding to feed my Boston Terriers Raw Food
  3. Knowing which Omega 3s to add to my dog’s food
  4. How to help my rashy Boston Terrier
  5. One month after transitioning to raw
  6. 7 Things Switching to Raw Food Taught Me About Fear


Hannah Zulueta and her two dogs Maggie and Orbit

Hello, my name is Hannah and learning about Boston Terriers and canine nutrition has become my life’s work. 

First and foremost I am a dog owner, a Boston Terrier breed enthusiast and a seeker of the truth.

I started this blog because there isn’t enough space to write on our Instagram.

My mission is to equip Boston Terrier owners and dog owners alike with the knowledge I have so that your dog will live a longer life and better health.

I have two dogs.  Maggie is my socially awkward one; which I find highly relatable because I am completely out of place in large groups myself.  And Orbit is the freebird. She used to have terrible allergies but since she started eating fresh food she’s been symptom free.

You won’t read about cats here… but you will get a fairly large dosage of articles dedicated to the Boston Terrier.   Read more about us. 

Photos above compliments of The KatKu Photography

By, June 16, 2021
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