Boxers are great companion dogs. Fun-loving, energetic, and extremely athletic. It’s easy to see why they’ve grabbed so many people by the heartstrings and making sure that you have the right foods and supplements in order to ensure their health, in the long run, is pretty much a necessity.
Boxers have their own set of needs and issues which set them apart from the average dog, so let’s dive right into what your boxer needs to stay healthy and what you can do to avoid the serious health issues that often plague this lovable and popular breed.
Special Considerations When Feeding Boxers
Because boxers are high energy dogs a diet high in protein and calories is ideal. They should also be exercising regularly, and those who are active and have had their boxers for a while know that a properly trained boxer is one of the best running companions out there.
Like bully breeds, boxers have an enormous appetite and can be quite gluttonous. This makes them prone to bloat which is a condition where the stomach gets twisted around and it can be quite fatal.
Bloat is mostly caused by large food intake followed by heavy exercise, so it’s definitely best to split your boxer’s feedings into two or three times per day and to wait a bit after before you take them for a jog.
It’s recommended that you invest in a slow feeder for any dog which is prone to bloat, as this can also help to avoid problems.
You should also avoid free feeding, and instead schedule their meals twice a day as adults, and more frequently as puppies.
Due to their high energy, athletic nature, it’s important to make sure that you’ve got high protein and fats in their food. This is especially important if you regularly put your dog through more than just your everyday walk.
The food should also be high in calories.
For the most part, your ideal nutrient distribution will look like the following:
Less than 30% carbohydrates, excluding fiber
Really, the food requirements for a boxer aren’t that much different than any other high energy, active breed. They’re almost identical to a pit bull, for instance, actually, you can use all these recommendations when choosing best dog food for boxer pit mix too.
Boxers are quite high energy dogs, especially those who haven’t been fixed. Your calorie counting can vary as much as 300 calories per day, depending on how hyperactive your dog is, before you even take into account different amounts of exercise.
The general rule is about 30 calories per kilogram of bodyweight for a sedentary dog, which is unlikely to happen with a boxer so you may wish to step things up to 40 calories per kilogram until they begin to wind down in their senior years.
More active dogs will require more. In general, a healthy boxer is going to look quite muscular and not have a lot of fat. If your dog is putting on pounds it may be time to dial things back a notch or two, or you may want to increase their exercise regimen.
As a general rule, puppies will have a much higher calorie intake as they grow but it’s important that you don’t go too high or it can cause joint issues as they grow too quickly. Seniors will naturally have a decline in metabolism which necessitates even less calorie intake than their lessened activity levels would indicate.
The only real issue with micronutrients provided you’re using high-quality food and a multivitamin for your dog, is the calcium and fiber levels.
Fiber should be at about 4.0% for puppies and adult dogs and can go as high as 7.0% for senior dogs to assist with bowel movements.
Calcium should be at about 1.0% for puppies and 1.5%-2.0% for adult and senior dogs.
Boxer Specific Advice
Boxers, even more than most breeds of dogs are prone to food allergies.
Most of these come from grains. Corn, wheat, oats, and other additives aren’t ideal for boxers at any rate since they often contribute to incomplete proteins. The skin and joint problems that occur aren’t fatal but they can definitely be uncomfortable.
This means going grain-free is one of the best ways to ensure the continued health of your canine companion.
In addition, there’s a hidden allergy that is common in boxers and people often overlook it. Many boxers are allergic to chicken. For that reason, we don’t recommend using chicken as the primary source of protein for a boxer and we’ve avoided mentioning it in our favorites. If you’re looking for the food for a boxer with skin allergies, it’s hard to find the appropriate food, budget options will be not the best for the health of your dog.
Top Foods for Boxers
Now that we’ve covered exactly what your dog needs in the long run, it’s time to get into the best food brands for this lovable, energetic breed. Since they stand as one of the most popular breeds there are actually foods available specifically for them, but it’s important to understand the why’s and how’s in order to make an educated choice for your pet. You can use our advices about this food even if you’re need dog food for boxer mix too.
When it comes to a healthy boxer, you don’t want to be cutting corners. Instead, you need to invest in high quality food, and for an adult boxer it’s hard to beat Blue Wilderness. With 28% protein and 13% fat it’s just about right for adult boxers who aren’t working dogs and it also has a ton of different additives which promote joint and heart health.
Best of all, it lacks any of the common allergens which boxers might have to contend with. The red meat variation is packed with venison, lamb, and bison which has been deboned. That’s quite a bit better than the meal you’ll often find even in high-quality brands. There are no chicken, which many boxers have allergies, so it’s great dog food for boxers with sensitive skin.
On top of that, it’s chock full of vitamin and antioxidant bearing fruits which also serve as a highly nutritious carbohydrate source.
Since it contains none of the foods which can set off food allergies in your boxer, we highly recommend it for anyone who has one of these lovable dogs in their home.
Grain free, high in protein and fats, and packed full of additives like glucosamine for joint and heart health, Blue Wilderness has outdone themselves with this excellent dog food.
Taste of the Wild produces some of the best dog food around, and their puppy chow is no exception. The protein sources come primarily from beef and venison in this one and the kibble is smaller so your boxer puppy can really dig in.
It comes out to 28% protein and 17% fat, as well as containing Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to aid with heart health. It’s a bit calorie light, coming in at only 364 calories per cup, but overall it’s a got an impressive array of nutrients which will help your pup grow up big and strong. This composition is great for your fuury friend, and it makes this the best food for boxer puppy.
This dog food for boxer puppies are grain and poultry free as well, so you shouldn’t have any issues with the food allergies this excellent breed often has. It’s the best dog food for boxers with allergies.
One other big plus: Taste of the Wild’s foods contain a ton of probiotics which will help your dog develop the gut flora they need to digest their food properly.
Taste of the Wild is the full package, coming in as our favorite for boxer puppies. Pick it up today and help your dog grow tall and wide.
Frankly, most of the senior dog foods out there are made from rice and chicken, which is a no-go for boxers as they tend to have some level of allergies no matter how healthy they are. Thankfully, this grain and chicken-free dog food is perfectly suited for senior boxers.
With crude protein coming in at 27% and a great 12% fat it remains fairly calorie dense, while also supplying an optimal 4% fiber. If your dog still has trouble with bowel movements, you may need to add a fiber supplement, however. It’s the one of the best dog food for senior boxers on the market, we can find.
On top of all of that, it seems to be great at promoting skin and joint health. There’s not a whole lot more you could ask for once your boxer starts getting up there in years.
While it’s not formulated specifically for senior dogs, this was the best food we could find for our beloved and allergy prone boxers and it just about fits the bill at the end of the day.
While most boxers find their way into family homes these days, they’re still a working breed. They find use as police dogs, service dogs, and are sometimes even used to herd cattle. Working dogs have different needs when it comes to their calories and nutrition and CRAVE has hit the nail right on the doggone head.
This is an extremely high protein food, coming in at 34% protein and being completely grain free. Coming in at an astonishing 34% protein it will provide the muscle and energy that your working dog needs while they’re in the field.
We recommend staying away from the chicken variety, of course, but there are a number of different varieties available and they all contain pretty much exactly what your dog is going to need at the end of the day.
Everything is just right for an active boxer who’s doing his job.
If you’re one of the lucky few to have a working boxer in their life, then you should definitely consider going with CRAVE high calorie dog food.
If you can afford any of the others on this list, we strongly recommend them but we also understand that not everyone has the budget for the super high-quality dog foods. Thankfully, Purina ONE SmartBlend is pretty good for dogs even if it does contain a couple of possible allergens.
It has an high protein content, coming in at 30% as well. The nutrient profile is pretty good overall, but there are a couple of problems with it.
The first is that turkey can be an allergen, although it’s less common than with chicken. The second problem is that it’s not grain-free.
On the other hand, a boxer isn’t guaranteed to have allergies to grains and if you’ve got one of those that have a high tolerance for those kinds of foods then you can save some serious dough by going with this food.
While it may not work for all boxers, Purina ONE SmartBlend is a good dog food for boxer breed for those with budgetary constraints. Just monitor your dog’s skin and coat carefully to ensure there are no issues with allergies, because in some situations cheap dog food for boxers can be good.
Unfortunately, they also have a lot of health issues which they’re prone to. While not all of them can be countered with diet and supplements, the following issues are often able to be countered with a high-quality diet and the right supplements:
We’ll cover both the supplements and the high-quality foods you need in order to counter these issues, and in many cases, you can help them out.
Boxers have an average lifespan of about 11 years, and sadly roughly a third of them die from cancers long before old age gets them. That means it’s important to frequently take your boxer to the vet in order to catch cancer or other health issues, such as cardiomyopathy, early in their cycle.
There are more disease prone breeds out there, but boxers seem to catch things pretty easy.
You should also look out for obesity in your boxer, and adjust their diet accordingly since quite often any problems which occur are a direct result of obesity.
As long as you do the following, you should have a good chance of avoiding many health issues, however:
Feed them a high-quality, grain-free diet with no chicken
Supplement with a multivitamin formulated for the breed
We don’t mean to scare you off, of course, boxers are amazing dogs and many of them will live full lives. But it is important to be aware of issues which may occur as your dog grows into healthy old age.
Best Supplements for Boxers
Boxers are prone to some health issues, as we noted at the beginning of this article. In addition to allergies heart health and joint issues can be real problems for this breed of dog, so buckle down and take a look at supplements in order to make sure that your dog ages smoothly and gracefully.
Containing exactly what your dog needs to ensure healthy joints, Healthy Breeds delivers with their perfectly formulated joint support soft chews. Dogs take readily to them, but the biggest thing is the ingredients.
These chews contain glucosamine, chondroitin, and Omega-3 fatty acids which are all a great way to ensure that your dog’s cartilage remains healthy even into old age. They actually come out pretty cheap too, when you consider that they’re ensuring your boxer’s health well into the future.
They also contain anti-inflammatory compounds which can relieve pain if your dog does run into issues in the future.
For your dog’s joint health, it’s hard to beat these excellent soft chews. Pick them up as soon as your dog is an adult and you can reduce joint problems well into the future.
Boxers tend to have heart issues as they get older, and K9-Power’s Young At Heart supplement is designed with a senior dogs health in mind. If you’re worried that your boxer is going to start having troubles in their old age, then this is the way to go.
This is a meat-based powder which can easily be added to your dog’s water or food if you choose to soften it first. There’s a whole lot to be recommended here.
In addition to having ingredients to support for their heart, you’ll also receive eye and joint support. It’s a fantastic way to ensure that your senior boxer remains healthy for as long as possible.
For heart support, as well as joints and eyes, this is the perfect formula to keep your boxer… Well, young at heart. It’s easy to use and dogs love it.
For dogs without any specific issues emerging, a multivitamin is a great way to go. This particular one was the best we found for boxers, and it comes with a wide array of vitamins and minerals they might not otherwise be getting from even a high-quality diet.
This one contains just about anything. It even contains enzymes in order to aid with digestion, making it an all-around great supplement for dogs.
We still recommend using a joint supplement once your dog reaches adulthood, but you can start them at a young age with this supplement since it comes in a powdered form and you can adjust the amount for the weight of your canine.
In order to maintain optimal health, we recommend a vitamin supplement for your dog. This one is pretty much complete and contains things that you won’t be able to get with even the best foods.
Unlike some of the other common “breeds”, we all know exactly what a boxer is. They’re a medium-large dog with a short coat, a broad chest, and a shortened snout. The AKC defines their snout as needing to be in approximately a 1:3 ratio of the length of their head.
They tend to be very agile and strong, especially in the jaws.
They’re extremely high-energy dogs, athletic and boisterous from a young age. Many people have found, however, that a properly trained boxer can be one of the best family dogs around.
Their incredible agility and strength makes them good guard dogs, especially when combined with their innate suspicion of strangers. However, they tend to be extremely loyal and quite gentle with children, especially if they’re trained properly from a young age.
They also tend to be quite intelligent, which has allowed them a wide range of uses.
The history of these dogs is actually quite recent. Their breeding began in the late 1800’s and they breed’s history is recent enough that there is actually a picture of the first bred boxer.
In general, their temperament differs between their family members and strangers. Boxers have been used both officially and unofficially as guard dogs pretty much since the first of them were bred. During World War I, they earned a reputation for being extremely versatile dogs, with some of them running messages, others working as sentry or attack dogs.
Due to their loyalty and athleticism, they’ve remained one of the most sought-after breeds of dog for decades now.
Our boxers mean a lot to us and maintaining their health can prolong both their lifespan and the amount of time they’ll be able to enjoy life. While diet and supplements won’t cure everything, they’re definitely up there when it comes to preventative measures.
So, try out a high-quality food and the right supplements. No reason to wait.
The sooner your boxer gets on the right diet and set up with the right extras, the sooner the two of you will be able to reap the benefits, so start with the right puppy food for boxer breed.
As a veterinarian practicing for 48 years, Dr. Cropper brings her priceless experience to all our readers. She is currently taking care of her two rescues, Ollie the Greyhound and Bryce the Pitbull mix, that is why she always sees things as a veterinarian and a pet owner simultaneously.
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