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Learn : Dog Allergies

Boston Terriers with Skin Allergies


Known as the “American Gentleman,” the Boston Terrier is an ideal family pet with large, soulful eyes and an even larger personality. Unfortunately, Boston Terriers also have a high chance of developing food and skin allergies that can manifest in a variety of ways.

Type of Coat

The Boston Terrier has a fine, sleek coat that can be brindle, black or seal colored with a white “tuxedo.” They are hypoallergenic and shed minimally. Weekly brushing with a soft-bristle brush or grooming mitt will help keep your Boston Terrier’s coat shiny and bright. Proper care also encourages the spread of skin oils throughout the coat and promotes new hair growth. 

Susceptibility to Skin Allergies

Allergic reactions may happen when your dog is exposed to environmental (contact or inhalant), food or medication allergens. Boston Terriers can also experience multiple allergic reactions simultaneously. Without appropriate treatment, your dog can suffer chronic itchiness, discomfort, infections and skin damage. 

Common Allergy Locations

Allergies often affect Boston Terriers’ skin first, which can become red, flaky and itchy (also known as atopic dermatitis). This first wave of inflammation then spreads, manifesting itself in areas around the belly, ears and legs. To find relief from itching, your Boston Terrier may lick or chew at hot spots or areas of frequent irritation. When left untreated, atopic dermatitis may lead to thickening of the skin, hair loss, and secondary skin infections. Other common allergy sites on the Boston Terrier include the ears (which can lead to chronic ear infections), eyes and nasal areas. 

The Connection Between Food and Skin Allergies

The Boston Terrier has a hypersensitive immune system, which can cause it to develop allergies from a wide range of sources, including: 

  • Medications 
  • Perfumes
  • Shampoos 
  • Cleaning products
  • Dust mites
  • Fleas
  • Grass
  • Pollen
  • Food and flavor additives 
  • Household molds

Of particular sensitivity are food allergies which often cause pruritus (itching) that may be accompanied by flatulence. Corn and soy are the primary culprits of food allergies in the Boston Terrier and these ingredients are frequently found in commercial dry dog foods.

Treatment Options

Treatment options for immediate relief are available both over-the-counter and from your veterinarian. Bathe your Boston Terrier with a hypoallergenic shampoo to calm the skin’s surface and provide relief from itchy skin and hot spots. Look for ingredients in shampoos that help reduce skin inflammation, such as tea tree oil, hydrocortisone and aloe vera. Medical options include over-the-counter antihistamines, prescribed corticosteroids and topical antibiotic sprays and ointments.

If you suspect that your Boston Terrier has a food allergy, follow these steps to conduct a food trial or elimination diet: 

  1. Feed him entirely new and generally pure food for a minimum of eight weeks. Feeding your dog a non-contaminated, simple ingredient diet for the entire trial period will provide the most accurate results. 
  2. The diet can be cooked or commercially produced. Dog food that has single sources of animal protein, vegetable protein, and carbohydrate calories is an ideal choice for Boston Terriers with allergies. Avoid foods that include other natural flavors as those can consist of unidentified proteins.
  3. During the food trial, do not feed your Boston Terrier any treats, table food, supplements or flavored medications (if possible). 
  4. After eight weeks, slowly reintroduce specific ingredients and take note of which ingredients cause a reaction.

Since food allergies and intolerances can be challenging to diagnose, your next step would be to partner with your veterinarian, an allergist or a board-certified veterinary nutritionist to develop a fresh food diet that can make life better for your Boston Terrier. Diets that rely on natural foods, especially ones that incorporate a protein source, varied ingredients and appropriate fat levels may be just what your dog needs. Additionally, including a dog probiotic supplement can have a significant impact on managing or reducing the severity of a dog’s allergic reactions. Studies have shown that probiotics successfully decrease the level of inflammation by bolstering the dog’s immune system.

How to Fight Food-Based Allergies

A diet that’s rich in healthy fats, certain omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid, gamma linolenic acid) and Omega-3 essential fatty acids like EPA and DHA can often alleviate a dog’s dry, flaky skin and in some cases resolve itching and discomfort. Sources of these oils can include sunflower oil, blackcurrant seed oil and fish oil. Other critical ingredients to look for in your Boston Terrier’s diet includes essential amino acids, B-vitamin complexes and zinc.

Consider the following suggestions for addressing the variety of allergic reactions that Boston Terriers may develop:


Coat Color Changes

Dietary Needs and Adjustments

Increase amino acids which can be found in  protein (>75 grams per 1000 calories); use our calculator to convert a label percentage to the caloric basis (grams per 1000 calories)

Concurrent GI Signs

Avoid foods with tryptamine and histamine such as dairy or fermented vegetables and meats (yes, this includes bacon); try a simple ingredient food trial

Chronic Itching and Dermatitis

Fortify the diet with Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Zinc, omega-6, and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil; add a probiotic; try a simple ingredient food trial

Dull Coat and Scaling

Adjust EPA and DHA levels in the diet (added fish oil being the most common way); try a food that has added zinc

Dandruff and Crustiness

Add Zinc and Vitamin A levels


About Nom Nom

Nom Nom’s pre-portioned, carefully formulated fresh dog food diets may provide an easy solution for your Boston Terrier’s skin allergies. Our fresh food arrives at your door in small batches that are created using human-grade ingredients with your dog’s wellbeing and happiness in mind.

The Nutrient Mix is included in every serving of our fresh foods. Our fresh food arrives at your door having been made in small batches using high quality fresh ingredients with your dog’s wellbeing and happiness in mind. It’s a great place to start turning the tide for your Boston Terrier’s skin allergies.

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