Boxers are intelligent and loyal dogs. They love their owners and will fiercely guard their family and home.
Male dogs grow to about 25 inches and weigh 65 to 80 pounds (30 to 36 kilograms). Female dogs grow from about 21 to 25 inches and weigh 50 to 65 pounds (22 to 30 kilograms).
Boxers are considered as large breed dogs. The Boxer breed was born in Germany.
The primary food sources in the Boxer’s native environment were whole oat, rye, pork, and poultry.
Let’s find out what is the best food for Boxers.
- Adult dogs
- Senior dogs
Puppies Feeding Guidelines
The nutritional requirements of puppies can be 6 to 10 times more than adult maintenance requirements.
The reason for this is because puppies are growing every day.
A normal Boxer grows from 16 oz to over 60 pounds within twelve to fourteen months.
While he’s growing his joints are being exposed to nutritional mistakes.
Remember that puppies are very vulnerable to higher weight stresses.
The main nutritional factors that influence the developmental orthopedic disease (DOD) are caloric intake and dietary calcium amounts.
Most nutritionists recommend that large, fast growing puppies should eat diets containing:
- 30% protein and 9% fat on a dry matter basis
- Calcium content around 1.5% (or 3 grams/1,000 kcal)
- Phosphorus content around 0.8% to 1%
- Calcium:phosphorus ratio between 1:1 to 1.3:1
You should check for this information on your dog food label.
Remember that treats augment calories to the global diet and make sure that treats are small, and do not contain calcium.
Body Condition Score
The body condition score (BCS) is a valuation of the body fat content.
It is perfect to monitor your puppy’s weight.
In puppies, it should be monitored weekly, since the calorie requirement constantly increases to adulthood.
For Boxer’s puppies, you should maintain a body condition score of 4/9.
How Often to Feed?
After weaning, a puppy needs a high fat and carbohydrate diet in small meals 5 or 6 times per day.
When your puppy is 40 to 50 percent of its adult weight, around 28 pounds (13 kilograms), you can change feeding schedule to twice daily.
Feeding Thin Puppies
If you are worried because your puppy is underweight you should consult your vet.
There are many reasons for your puppy to be thin.
It can be simply related to the food quality you are offering him, but it can be a result of a health problem like intestinal parasites or congenital diseases.
Feeding Hungry Puppies
Boxer puppies seem to be hungry all the time, but they should eat at specific times.
The key is the regularity.
You shouldn’t leave food available all the time because they may eat too much at one time.
Eating too much and too fast can end up in an emergency visit to your vet due to bloat or gastric volvulus.
Feeding Puppies Milk
After weaning, almost all puppies lose the ability to digest lactose.
Therefore, while small quantities may be tolerated, feeding milk can induce intestinal upset and diarrhea.
Adult Feeding Guidelines
During adult stage of life your Boxer should eat a maintenance diet that will supply its dietary needs.
Boxers reach adulthood around 12 to 14 months of age.
At this age, they reach 90% of its estimated adult weight.
Changing to Adult Food
At the adult age, your dog’s energy and protein requirements decrease, it’s time for a food that is lower in caloric density.
You should change your puppy food to the adult food gradually over a week to avoid an intestinal upset.
Adult dogs need nutrients to meet energy requirements and to preserve and repair body tissues.
The amount you feed your adult dog should be based on:
- Activity level
Energy requirements vary greatly between dogs.
However, protein needs are relatively constant, with adult dogs generally needing at least 1 gram per pound.
Remember that the metabolic rate, and therefore the caloric requirement, drops after neutering.
So you should reduce the amount of food after surgery to maintain BCS of 4/9 or 5/9.
How Often to Feed?
The feeding times should be twice a day and the amount should remain constant.
Seniors Feeding Guidelines
Boxers are considered senior dogs around 7 years old.
When your dog becomes senior it’s more difficult for him to convert protein to energy.
Generally, they are also more sedentary dogs.
Senior dog food formulas often have lower calories, lower sodium, lower protein, and higher carbohydrates.
Many also contain supplements such as prebiotics, omega fatty acids and other antioxidants, glucosamine and chondroitin.
Three important guidelines to Senior Boxers nutrition:
- It is essential to feed senior dogs formulas that contain optimum levels of highly digestible protein to help uphold muscle mass.
- It is also important to feed a diet with a lower caloric density to avoid weight gain.
- Older dogs should be fed smaller meals, 3 to 4 times a day just like puppies.
2. Calorie Requirements for Boxers
Dog’s energy needs to preserve a healthy weight for their life stage is very variable.
The following daily calorie estimations are based on an average weight for this breed (33 Kg) and on calculations based on Basic Calorie Calculator from Ohio State University, Veterinary Medical Center.
|Adult Dogs (neutered)||Puppy (4 month old)||Sport Dogs|
|1,542 calories/day||1,926 calories/day||2,889 calories/day|
These calculations can only give a rough level of your dog’s Calorie needs (and so how much to feed), which can modify with time and circumstances.
Every dog is unique.
3. Our Top Dog Food Choices for Boxers
4. Feeding Your Dog on Kibble
The majority of dogs are fed on dry dog foods.
These diets don’t need any preparation and don’t have any special storage methods.
If you decide to feed your Boxer with dry dog food, try to choose a premium dog food brand.
Like all methods of feeding, kibble has its pros and cons:
- Different dog food formulas depending on the life stage of the dog
- It’s much easier to measure
- Easily found in pet shops or online
- Easy to store
- The heating process can often cause some important nutrients to be lost
- Fresh water must always be available
- Diets high in carbohydrates can cause allergy and digestive problems
- Many dogs require high amounts of protein and nutrients that are often lacking in dry foods
- Not as attractive as wet food
What Should You Add to Kibble?
Many owners are worried about the fact their furry friends are eating the same dish every day.
If you wish to add variety to your Boxer’s diet, here are some safe tips:
- Choose different main ingredients: chicken and rice diet, duck and pear, salmon and sweet potato.
- Introduce different dog foods gradually
- You should estimate the appropriate calorie quantity and portion for the new food
- Change the dog food on a regular basis
- You can change brands if your wish
- Sometimes, just adding something different (carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, cooked eggs, plain yogurt, apple) to a dog’s daily meal will give him the diversity he’s craving
How Much Should a Boxer Eat?
If you’re using a commercial dog food, you should start at the low end of the recommended guidelines for the age and weight of your dog.
At the same time you should monitor:
- Body condition
|Age||Weight||Amount per day||Meals per day||Quantity per meal|
|Puppy 2 months||8 Kg (18 lb)||140 gr (5 oz)||4-6||23-35 gr (0.8-1.2 oz)|
|Puppy 4 months||18 Kg (40 lb)||190 gr (7 oz)||4-6||31-47 gr (1.1-1.7 oz)|
|Puppy 6 months||25 Kg (55 lb)||240 gr (8.5 oz)||3||80 gr (2.8 oz)|
|Adult||36 Kg (79 lb)||300 gr (10.5 oz)||2||150 gr (5.3 oz)|
|Senior||31 Kg (68 lb)||300 gr (10.5 oz)||2||150 gr (5.3 oz)|
This feeding chart is only a very rough guide, it was based on the daily portions preconized by the brands recommended above.
The quantity you need to feed your dog will vary according to your dog’s features, and the brand of food you are feeding him.
How Often to Feed?
My advice is that you should feed your Boxer twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
Remember that puppies under 6 months of age should be fed 4 – 6 times a day.
What Time to Feed?
You should establish regularly scheduled feeding times.
It allows you to monitor your dog’s health and your dog will also poop on a schedule.
5. Raw Food for Boxers
There is a lot of debate about raw dog food diets.
The popularity of these diets, containing raw meat, bones, fruits, and vegetables, is rising.
So if you decide that your Boxer’s diet will be based on raw dog food you should do a little investigation about its advantages and disadvantages.
Here are some pros and cons about raw dog foods:
- Higher moisture content
- Higher protein content
- Very low in carbohydrates
- Very tasty
- High quality ingredients
- Owners report: fewer allergies, glossier coats, healthier teeth
- Contamination with bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella. Remember that when handling raw foods, either in preparation for human consumption or for the dog’s dinner, the cook must be meticulous in hygiene.
- Can be expensive to larger dogs. Nevertheless, if you decide to feed your dog raw food you can find more cost-effective ways to accomplish that goal. For example, you can cook your dog’s meals. My recommendation is that the diet should be balanced by a veterinary nutritionist.
- Possible airway obstruction or choking from uncooked bones.
- Preparation can be time-consuming. Sometimes you just need to get used to it!
- Needs to be stored in a freezer. You just need to make room for your dog’s meal.
Researchers advocate that preparing homemade dog food isn’t a bad idea for owners.
However, it should be done under the supervision of experts.
Owners should avoid recipes from books and the internet and consult with a certified veterinary nutritionist.
M.L. Chandler, DVM, from The Royal Dick Veterinary School, University of Edinburgh claims:
“One of the major risks is that of bones becoming stuck in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. There is a conception that feeding raw bones are safer than feeding cooked bones. While I know of no studies on this, it does seem more of the bones that I have removed from dogs’ esophagus have been cooked, there have certainly been raw ones as well. Bones that become stuck in the stomach, or more likely in the intestine, may perforate the gut causing a potentially fatal peritonitis or abdominal infection.”
6. Treats for Boxers
Remember that treats are part of your dog’s daily diet just like its kibble.
Make sure to review the ingredient list of treats.
Raw fruits and veggies, fruits, boiled deboned meat and natural peanut butter are perfect treats for your dog.
The incidence of lactose intolerance is substantially lower in dogs when compared to cats, but some dogs actually suffer from the disease.
So, if you want to feed your dog yogurt as a treat, you should first offer him only a small spoon and monitor your dog’s reaction.
Plain, nonfat yogurt is the best choice.
If your dog presents diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, bloating or flatulence, shortly after eating yogurt, then dairy products should be avoided in his diet.
7. Fruits & Vegetables for Boxers
Fruits (e.g. kiwi, apple, and pear) and vegetables (e.g. peas, potatoes, green beans, cauliflower, and zucchini) are excellent sources of fiber.
Dietary fiber is represented by the complex carbohydrates that are resistant to dog’s digestive enzymes.
Although fiber is indigestible and has low nutritional value, it is essential in the digestive process.
The existence and kind of fiber in the digestive tract regulates how fast food passes through.
So fiber aids both diarrhea and constipation.
Wild canines have no physiologic necessity for plant fibers.
The only fiber wild dogs ingest is found in the stomach digested matters of their prey and in the coat, tendons, and ligaments they consume from ingestion of the entire prey.
However, this isn’t realistic for domestic dogs.
Sometimes dogs may require extra fiber for effective elimination.
If your dog is eating commercial kibble or a raw food diet and you believe he needs a little bit more fiber you can add some vegetables and fruits to his diet.
8. Choosing The Brand
If you decide to feed your Boxer a commercial dog food formula, it’s crucial that you learn how to read and interpret labels.
Here are some rules of thumb:
Ingredients in Best Dog Food
- Meat should be the first ingredient
- Vegetables and fruit should be part of the ingredient list
- Few carbohydrates sources
Ingredients to Avoid in Dog Food
- Fillers are empty ingredients with zero nutrients and zero calories
- Coloring and additives can cause allergic reactions
- Avoid foods that contain soy
- By-products are a very low quality ingredient
- Avoid foods that contain BHA and BHT
- Avoid foods that have fish that is not listed as ethoxyquin free
9. Switching Between Brands
Dog’s digestive tracts requires time to adjust to a new food.
Therefore you should introduce a new food gradually, over several days, mixing the new food with the old food.
Try to analyze the feeding topic from different points of view, before you decide what is the best choice for your Boxer dog.