Best Dog Food for Boston Terriers in 2024

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boston terrier

While we know now that dog fights are never okay, Boston Terriers were bred to do so. But these small, muscular, and agile dogs aren’t vicious — they’re actually extremely affectionate and intelligent. 

Due to their build and muscle tone, these dogs need a lot of protein. And, because they’re known to pass gas, they also need prebiotics and probiotics to help them digest their food better. 

If you’re looking for the best dog food for Boston Terriers, you’ve come to the right place. There are so many options out there, and Boston Terriers need special support. 

For me, the Purina Pro Plan Adult Small Breed dog food is what I would choose to feed my Boston Terrier. However, I’ve also included nine other dog foods to help you make the most informed decision for your furry friend. 

Our Best Dog Food for Boston Terriers  

  1. Purina Pro Plan Adult Small Breed Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Dog Food (Best for Adult Boston Terriers)
  2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy Dog Food (Best for Boston Terrier Puppies)
  3. Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Senior Recipe Dog Food (Best for Senior Boston Terriers)
  4. Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Boston Terriers Needing More Protein)
  5. Instinct by Nature’s Variety Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dog Food (Best for Boston Terriers with Food Sensitivities)
  6. Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Canned Dog Food (Best Wet Food for Boston Terriers)
  7. The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Dehydrated Dog Food (Best Dehydrated Dog Food for Boston Terriers)
  8. Iams Adult Small Breed Dog Food (Best Budget Dog Food for Boston Terriers)
  9. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light Small Bites Dry Dog Food (Best for Weight Control)
  10. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dog Food (Best for Boston Terriers with Gas)

10 Best Dog Foods for Boston Terriers Reviewed 

All of the formulas on this list meet the AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines for dogs. However, if you plan on switching your dog’s food, consult with your veterinarian. 

Purina Pro Plan Adult Small Breed Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Adult Small Breed Chicken & Rice Formula
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Poultry By-Product Meal, Beef Fat, Corn Gluten Meal
  • Key Feature: Great overall, high protein dry dog food 
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 29% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 373 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: High-Protein; Low Calorie 
  • Life Stage: Adult l 

Purina Pro Plan Small Breed formula is a crunchy kibble with tender bits of chicken and rice

The protein-to-fat ratio in this recipe will help keep your Boston Terrier lean while also supporting bone and joint health. 

Vitamin A is added for eye health, which helps since their eyes are slightly protruded, and  linoleic acid (an omega-6 acid) aids in a healthy coat and skin. Plus, the formula includes natural prebiotic fiber from wheat bran to promote good digestion.

This food also has real chicken as the first ingredient, along with egg and fish meal for extra protein and healthy fats. 

Before feeding your Boston Terrier this food, make sure to get them tested by their veterinarian. While chicken is completely safe to feed your pup, Boston Terriers can develop an allergy to it. 

As an added bonus, Purina Pro Plan dog food is also made right in the USA.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Puppy Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Barley, Menhaden Fish Meal
  • Key Feature: High calorie food for Boston Terrier puppies
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 29% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 415 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: No Corn, Wheat, or Soy 
  • Life Stage: Puppy

Blue Buffalo dog food is a specially crafted, grain inclusive puppy formula.

Made with real chicken, oatmeal for healthy fiber, and ingredients like kelp and blueberries for antioxidants, this is a nutrient dense dog food to help your Boston Terrier puppy thrive. 

This recipe also includes calcium, phosphorus, and B vitamins for strong bones and teeth, a healthy metabolism, and healthy skin. 

The “puppy-sized” kibble was made for a puppy’s smaller jaws, and it helps promote tartar removal. The formula also includes essential fats like DHA and ARA for healthy brain and eye development. 

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula includes no corn, wheat, soy, or poultry by-product meals. 

Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Senior Recipe Dog Food

Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Senior Weight Management
  • First 5 Ingredients: De-Boned Turkey, Potatoes, Peas, Potato Flour, Pea Flour
  • Key Feature: Grain-Free dog food for senior Boston Terriers 
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 24% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 5.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 375 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Grain-Free; Gluten-Free; Weight Control; Non-GMO; No Corn, Wheat, or Soy
  • Life Stage: Senior 

Now Fresh Small Breed Grain-Free Senior dog food is made with both your Boston Terriers weight control and health in mind. 

Made with turkey, salmon, duck, and coconut oil, this formula boasts a high protein and Omega-3 and Omega-6 percentage. 

It also features berries, peas, spinach, pumpkin, lentils, and carrots for healthy antioxidants and vitamins A, E, and K. These are essential for joint health, healthy heart function, and a healthy immune system. 

This food is free of grains, gluten, wheat, beef, corn, soy, rendered meats, by-products, and artificial preservatives. 

You can feel good about feeding your senior Boston Terrier high-quality nutrition and easily pronounced ingredients.

Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Small Breed Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Small Breed Recipe Grain-Free
  • First 5 Ingredients: Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Meal, Organic Sweet Potatoes, Organic Potatoes, Organic Peas
  • Key Feature: High protein dog food for Boston Terriers 
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 11% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 387 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Grain-Free; Organic; Gluten-Free; Sensitive Digestion; No Corn, Soy, or Wheat
  • Life Stage: Adult 

Castor & Pollux ORGANIX dog food is the only food on this list that is USDA certified organic. It’s also formulated and cooked in an organically certified USA kitchen. 

This formula is made with responsibly raised, organic, free-range chicken as the first ingredient. It is free of growth hormones, antibiotics, and chemical pesticides. 

Other ingredients include organic blueberries, organic flaxseed, and organic sweet potatoes for healthy probiotics and fats. 

The food is free of GMOs, artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors. 

And, this recipe is also made without grains like corn, chickpeas, lentils, and wheat, so it’s a great option for dogs with sensitive tummies.

Instinct by Nature’s Variety Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dog Food

Instinct LID Grain-Free Recipe Turkey Freeze Dried Raw Coated
  • First 5 Ingredients: Turkey Meal, Peas, Turkey, Tapioca, Canola Oil
  • Key Feature: Grain-free wet food for sensitive tummies
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 469 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Sensitive Digestion; Limited Ingredient Diet; Grain-Free; Gluten Free; Chicken-Free; Raw
  • Life Stage: Adult 

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet dog food is not only great for Boston Terriers with food sensitivities, it’s also great for the owner that wants to feed their dog a more raw diet. 

This formula has a super short ingredient list, made with just one animal protein and one vegetable, along with the vitamins and minerals that every Boston Terrier needs. 

The first and only meat is cage-free turkey for protein and essential amino acids. Instinct chose turkey as some Boston Terriers, and other dogs, may be allergic to proteins like chicken

With Omega 3 and 6 from canola oil, and antioxidants from peas and pumpkin seeds, your Boston Terrier won’t have a shortage of the nutrients they need for immune support, healthy digestion, and a shiny coat. 

Instinct dog food is made without grain, dairy, eggs, chicken, potato, corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, or preservatives.

It’s also made in the USA from natural and high quality global sources.

Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Sweet Potato Grain-Free Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Peas, Sweet Potatoes
  • Key Feature: Wet dog food 
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 10% Crude Protein, 7% Crude Fat, 1% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 295 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Grain-Free; Gluten Free; Low Glycemic; Chicken-Free; No Corn, Wheat, or Soy
  • Life Stage: Adult 

This grain-free formula includes turkey as it’s first ingredient, which is great for Boston Terriers that are allergic to chicken and want to eat wet food. It also has important amino acids to help support lean muscle mass and healthy heart function. 

Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free dog food is free of ingredients like white potatoes and tapioca, while offering complex carbs like chickpeas and carrots – helping aid in digestion and a healthy metabolism. 

Vitamins like calcium and phosphorus will also help your Boston Terrier maintain strong bones and joints. And, added vitamins like B12 and Vitamin A will support eye function and a healthy immune system.

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Dehydrated Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen Turkey Grain Free Dehydrated
  • First 5 Ingredients: Dehydrated Turkey, Organic Flaxseed, Dehydrated Potatoes, Dehydrated Spinach, Dehydrated Carrots
  • Key Feature: High protein dehydrated dog food 
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 29% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 9.6% Crude Fiber, 7.8% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 488 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: High-Protein; Grain-Free; Gluten-Free; Human-Grade; Pea-Free; Non-GMO 
  • Life Stage: Puppy & Adult 

This grain-free dehydrated dog food can grow with your Boston Terrier, since it’s made for both puppies and adults. 

Because it’s dehydrated and human-grade, it’s shelf stable and is an affordable solution to owners who prefer to feed their Boston Terriers a more raw diet

Honest Kitchen dehydrated dog food includes 100% real free-range turkey for protein. It also has coconut, cranberries, spinach, and carrots for healthy fats, and Vitamin A and iron — the essential vitamins your Boston Terrier needs. 

This formula is made without corn, wheat, or soy. It doesn’t include byproducts, preservatives, GMO ingredients, hormones, or antibiotics. 

It’s also made in a human grade facility, so you could even eat it (although I don’t recommend it). 

To prepare, you’ll need to follow the instructions on the back of the package, which includes measuring out the dehydrated food and mixing it with warm water. After three minutes, your dog’s dinner will be ready to serve!

Iams Adult Small Breed Dog Food

Iams Adult Small & Toy Breed Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Dried Plain Beet Pulp
  • Key Feature: Budget friendly dog food 
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 393 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: High-Protein
  • Life Stage: Adult 

On a budget? With Iams Adult Small Breed dog food, that won’t be a problem. This affordable food is still a good option, with the first ingredient being real farm-raised chicken

It is high protein, with chicken fat and chicken by-product meal added in for maximum absorption. 

It also features antioxidants from flaxseeds and carrots for a healthy immune system, and omega 6 fatty acids from chicken fat for a shiny and healthy coat. 

This dog food is made with no artificial preservatives, flavors, or fillers. It’s also fortified with biotin, vitamin D, and Vitamin E for a healthy and well rounded meal.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light Small Bites With Chicken Meal & Barley Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Light Small Bites With Chicken Meal & Barley
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Pea Fiber, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn
  • Key Feature: Weight control 
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 20% Crude Protein, 5.5% Crude Fat, 14% Crude Fiber, 10.5% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 271 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Weight Control 
  • Life Stage: Adult 

For Boston Terriers that have gained weight or are less active, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light Small Bites dry dog food is a great option. Boston Terriers have lots of energy (due to their breed’s history), but this doesn’t mean they can’t gain weight. 

This formula was created to have 18% fewer calories than the other dog foods that Hill’s Science Diet produces — but with the same tasty flavor and great nutrients. 

It’s made in the USA, and crafted with natural and high-quality ingredients. It doesn’t include any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. 

Along with chicken meal, it includes pea fiber for a higher protein content without the fat, and to promote healthy digestion.

Added taurine also helps with heart function, and vitamins A and E support a healthy immune system. 

At under 300 calories per cup, your Boston Terrier will still be able to enjoy their regular serving size without jeopardizing their toned and healthy figure.

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Small Breed Recipe Dog Food

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Turkey & Potato
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes
  • Key Feature: Limited ingredient diet for sensitive tummies
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 5.5% Crude Fiber, 11% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 430 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Sensitive Digestion; Limited Ingredient Diet; Grain-Free; Gluten Free;  Chicken-Free
  • Life Stage: Adult  

Does your Boston Terrier suffer from gas or digestion troubles? They’re known to have these, as well as flatulence, so you’re not alone. 

But Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient dog food can help with that. 

This grain-free dog food has a single source of protein and contains easily digestible carbohydrates. 

It’s made with turkey, which can be easier to digest and help lessen gas, since many canines can be intolerant or allergic to chicken or beef. Ingredients like peas and flaxseed also offer more protein and antioxidants to help your Boston Terrier process their food properly. 

It is fortified with omega fatty acids, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine — which work together to soothe the tummy and reduce flatulence. 

This recipe doesn’t contain any wheat, corn, soy, gluten, or artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

black and white boston terrier

Guide to Buying Dog Food for Boston Terriers

There are several important nutrition facts to look at for your Boston Terrier. 

Nutrients Your Boston Terrier Needs

Boston Terriers are fairly easy to care for, but they do have some nutrient needs you’ll need to meet. 

Higher Protein for Muscle 

Although Boston Terriers are small, they are naturally muscular and energetic. Because of this, your Boston Terrier may require slightly more protein than the average of 21%. Owners should aim for around 24% to 25%, and even up to 30%. 

Also, be sure to check your Boston Terrier’s muscles. If they’ve started to atrophy (decreasing in size and becoming stiff), you’ll want to up their protein intake. 

Most of the dog food options on this list meet the 25% requirement. The most important protein source is real meat, although other protein sources like meat “meals”, pea protein, and lentils can help as well. 

While they do have the capability of gaining weight, as long as you focus on higher protein and regular exercise, your Boston Terrier should have no issue keeping their trim figure. 

Higher Fat for Joint Health 

Boston Terriers need a slightly higher fat content than other dogs in their weight range to keep up with their activity level and joint health. Your Boston Terrier will need at least 8.5% fat, but upwards of 15% fat will still work well. 

Ingredients like fish oil, chicken fat, and flaxseed will not only offer fat content, they’ll also provide nutrients like Omega 3, Omega 6, and allow vitamins like vitamin E and D to be easily absorbed. 

Keep Carbohydrates Limited

Many dogs can handle carbohydrates, but it shouldn’t be the main focus of their diet. Aim for no more than 20% carbohydrates in your Boston Terrier’s food. 

Carbohydrates like lentils, potato, sweet potato, and chickpeas are a great complex carbohydrate option. They will offer sustained energy and have a slower absorption rate, making it easier for your Boston Terrier to digest. 

Because some Boston Terriers have difficulty with digestion and passing gas, your veterinarian may recommend a lower carbohydrate or grain-free diet as well. If that’s the case, there are many grain and gluten-free options on this list. 

Focus On Specific Vitamins & Minerals

Every dog, including Boston Terriers, need vitamins and minerals to function properly. 

For Boston Terriers, the most important vitamins and minerals that you should focus on are probiotics for gut health, Vitamin A and E for eye health, and omega fatty acids for their heart, joint, and coat. 

All of the dog foods on this list have these vitamins, as well as other essential vitamins and minerals, in their ingredient list. 

How to Choose Food for Your Boston Terrier

Your dog is special, and the food you choose for them should reflect that. Here’s what to keep in mind before choosing your Boston Terrier’s food. 

Your Boston Terrier’s Digestion 

Boston Terriers are more likely to drool and have flatulence. Because of this, focus on foods that are smaller in size and easier to eat, so your Boston Terrier doesn’t have to focus on chewing as much. 

If you notice they eat their food too fast, invest in a slow eating bowl. Flatulence can be increased when a Boston Terrier eats too quickly and swallows too much air. 

You’ll also want to focus on monitoring your Boston Terrier’s diet. If you find that they fart more right after eating, you may want to look at potential allergies or intolerances. You can also get a check up with their veterinarian to see what you should avoid. 

Activity Level

Boston Terriers are more active than many dogs their size, so they typically need more protein, fat, and calories. Their activity level will also mean that they need have more complex carbs in order to provide and sustain their energy throughout the day. 

However, if your Boston Terrier tends to be more sedentary, you can stick with the AAFCO recommended nutrition profile. 

Caloric Needs

As an adult, a Boston Terrier needs around 35 calories of food per pound of weight they have. 

With the average Boston Terrier weighing around 20 to 25 pounds, they’ll need around 700 to 875 calories a day. That’s a lot for such a small dog! However, these calories are important to help them maintain their muscular build, and to provide the energy they need to run around. 

brown boston terrier

Common Boston Terrier Health Issues 

The Boston Terrier is known to have more health issues than similar small to medium breeds — they’re prone to issues like heart murmurs, glaucoma, and more. 

Here are the most common health issues your Boston Terrier may face. 

Heart Murmurs 

Like many small dogs, Boston Terriers are more prone to heart murmurs and congenital heart disease. 

A heart murmur is found when there is an abnormal sound in the heart. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose this during a check up of your Boston Terrier if they have it. 

A heart murmur may not mean heart disease, but it is important to keep an eye on. And, if there is underlying heart disease, it’s important to manage your Boston Terriers diet. Lower fat food and healthier fats with omega fatty acids can be extremely beneficial. 


Glaucoma is an elevation in pressure in the eye that causes nerve and retinal damage. Because Boston Terriers have slightly larger, “buggy” type eyes than most dogs, they are more prone to this disease. 

Usually, the solution is prescribed drugs or even surgery. And while Glaucoma can’t be completely prevented, your dog’s diet can play a part in at least delaying it. 

Antioxidants and vitamins A, C, and E are especially good for eye health, so dog foods with concentration in these vitamins can be beneficial long term. 

Also, look for ingredients like kale, pumpkin, blueberries, fish, garlic, and eggs to promote eye health. 

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is a degenerative disease that makes a dog’s leg bone pop out of its knee cap. 

Due to their build, with longer, more muscular legs and stocky bodies, Boston Terriers are more susceptible to getting this disease. It can vary in severity, but can also affect your dog’s quality of life.

Of course, always pay attention to the way your Boston Terrier moves. If you notice anything strange, or if they seem in pain, see your veterinarian immediately. Earlier detection and even surgery can lessen effects that happen later in the progression of the disease. 

As far as their diet goes, focus on food that promotes joint health. Ingredients like chondroitin, glucosamine, and fish oil can help with joints and reduce inflammation. 

FAQ About Boston Terrier Food

Have questions about your Boston Terrier? Here are a few frequently asked questions with answers that you may want to know. 

How much can I feed my Boston Terrier?

Your Boston Terrier needs at least 700 calories a day if they’re average size. If you find that your Boston Terrier is extremely active, you can increase the limit by another 100 calories. 

How often should I feed my Boston Terrier? 

No one wants to only eat once a day. Break up your Boston Terrier’s dinner to include 2 to 3 smaller meals a day that equals up to their calorie limit. 

How can I make my Boston Terrier stop passing gas?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all solution to stop your Boston Terrier from passing gas. Digestive issues are a common problem amongst this breed. 

However, you can start with avoiding possible culprits like grains, beans, and soy. 

Smaller meals can also help your Boston Terrier absorb and metabolize their food better, thus also helping prevent flatulence. 

Last but not least, focus on making sure your Boston Terrier doesn’t eat or drink too fast. When they do, they’re gulping air down more which can cause gas. 

Our Verdict

Boston Terriers aren’t just a small breed — they’re a highly active and naturally muscular dog that needs the right combination of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to fit their running around. 

Because of this, the food you choose for your Boston Terrier is important. I highly recommend Purina Pro Plan Adult Small Breed dog food for this very reason. 

Not only does it include real chicken for protein, beef fat for essential omega fatty acids, and glucosamine, it also has the perfect protein-to-fat-ratio to protect their joints and bones while keeping their sinewy figure. 

Your Boston Terrier deserves the best, and with the foods on this list, that’s exactly what you can give them. 

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Kim Studdard is a freelance writer for many websites in the pet universe. When she isn't spending time with her family and pets, or saying "Look a dog" everytime she sees one, you'll find her reading a book or traveling the U.S.

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