Are Boston Terriers prone to allergies?

Q: I’m thinking about adopting a Boston Terrier from a nearby rescue, but I heard they’re prone to allergies. Is that true, and if so, what type of allergies? How do I care for him?

A: Like humans, many dog breeds are susceptible to allergies. Boston Terriers have shown an increased risk for allergies to wheat gluten, soy, and some food additives, as well as to pollen, smoke, perfume, mold, dust mites, and even human dander. Spotting signs of an allergy early can help you manage your pet’s symptoms and increase their comfort during flare-ups.

Signs of Allergies in your Boston Terrier

Allergic reactions in Boston Terriers often manifest through skin rashes and irritations (also called atopy or atopic dermatitis). Allergens such as pollen, mold, and dust can cause itchy, irritated patches of skin on the belly, belly folds, paws, and even ears.

Behavioral signs to watch for include:

  • Increased licking or over-grooming of the affected area
  • Licking the paws
  • Rubbing the face
  • Persistent ear infections

In severe cases, your vet can conduct tests to identify the allergens to which your pert is most sensitive.

Boston Terriers and Contact Allergies

Bostons are also prone to contact allergies—allergic reactions resulting from things they touch, such as household plants, lawn grasses, fleas or other parasites, household cleaning products, and even certain dog shampoos. Symptoms again are likely to be most evident on the skin, so check the belly folds, paws, and ears for signs of redness, flakiness, or rash. Sudden or severe allergic reactions (such as those affecting breathing or digestion) should be reported to your vet.

Antibiotics & Allergies

Some Boston Terrier puppies that receive antibiotics to treat bacterial infections as puppies have shown an increased tendency to develop allergies later in life. It’s believed that this occurs because antibiotics affect the natural ecosystem of the gut, and can damage the helpful bacteria that help support the immune system. If your Boston received antibiotics as a puppy and is showing current signs of allergies, see your vet.

Creating a Hypoallergenic Environment

One way to help minimize your pet’s symptoms is to create a hypoallergenic environment. That may mean removing some allergy-inducing items from your home, changing what plants you cultivate in your garden, or switching to hypoallergenic cleaning products.

  • Vacuum rugs and wash bedding often
  • Use a proven flea and tick preventative to address parasites
  • Use pet-friendly household cleaners
  • Refrain from using perfumes or fragrances that may irritate your pet

Boston Terriers are lively, gregarious companions deserving of our love and care. If your Boston is showing signs of allergies, see your vet. They can test your pet to determine which allergens produce the most severe reactions, recommend which products to use (and those to avoid), and can prescribe medicines to help control flare-ups—so your pet can have a happier, allergy-free life.


Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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