When you think about the Boxer breed you probably think about his wrinkled face, big eyes, and clownish personality. These dogs are one of the most playful, people-oriented breeds out there so it is no surprise that they are one of the most popular breeds in America according to AKC registration statistics. The Boxer is a medium- to large-sized breed that was originally developed to bring down large game but were later used to drive cattle. Today, the Boxer is frequently used for police work and they are also very popular as family pets due to their patient nature when it comes to children. This breed is smart and fearless, never hesitating to come to the defense of those he loves and always ready to play. When it comes to family-friendly breeds, the Boxer is definitely a good choice.
Originally developed to hunt large game, the Boxer breed incredibly strong – both in terms of his physical strength and his strong-willed nature. These dogs are very smart so they take quickly to training and they love being given a job to do. The Boxer typically stands between 21.5 and 25 inches tall at maturity and weighs somewhere between 50 and 70 pounds which puts him on the borderline between medium- and large-sized breeds. As strong and smart as the Boxer is, this breed is unfortunately prone to a number of serious health problems which results in a relatively short average lifespan of just 8 to 10 years. If you want to maximize your Boxer’s lifespan, making sure that you get to enjoy as much time with him as possible, it all starts with a healthy diet.
General Nutritional Recommendations
All dogs require a diet that consists of at least 18% protein for adults and at least 22% protein for puppies. You don’t just need to look at the protein content of dog food, however – you also need to determine where that protein comes from. As a mostly carnivorous species, dogs require animal-based proteins such as meat, poultry, fish and eggs. These kinds of proteins are called complete proteins because they contain all of the essential amino acids your dog needs (essential amino acids are those that his body is incapable of synthesizing). When evaluating a dog food product, look for a complete protein as the first ingredient. Some dog foods are made with multiple protein sources but, because the Boxer is prone to food allergies, you may want to stick to a single source – ideally a novel protein like duck, rabbit, or venison instead of chicken or beef.
After making sure that the product contains plenty of protein, you next want to look at the fat content. Like protein, dietary fat for dogs should come from named animal sources like chicken fat or salmon oil, not “poultry fat” or “fish oil”. The recommended fat content for adult dogs is a minimum of 5% and, for puppies, it is 8% but, in most cases, you want to see a fat content that is a little bit higher than the minimum. You need to tread carefully here, however, because you don’t want to give your Boxer a product that is too high in calories because it can lead to excessive growth in puppies and unhealthy weight gain in adult dogs. In addition to considering the overall fat content, you also want to check for a balance of omega fatty acids to support your dog’s skin and coat health.
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Dogs do not have any specific requirements for carbohydrate in their diet and you should choose a product that contains no more than 5% crude fiber. As a breed that is prone to food allergies, Boxers tend to do best with grain-free diets or Limited Ingredient Diets made with only highly digestible sources of carbohydrates like fresh fruits and vegetables. Things like sweet potato, green peas, and tapioca are all good choices for the Boxer breed when it comes to carbohydrate. If your dog isn’t sensitive or allergic, you may be able to get away with certain grains like whole-grain oatmeal or whole brown rice. Just be sure to monitor him in case he has a reaction to the food and make the necessary changes to his diet if he does have a negative reaction.
In addition to protein, fat, and carbohydrate you also want to make sure that your Boxer’s diet is complete and balanced in terms of vitamins and minerals. Synthetic supplements can help to balance out a dog food product but natural sources for key vitamins (from fresh fruits and vegetables) are always more biologically valuable for dogs. If the product does contain synthetic mineral supplements, chelated minerals are what you want to look for – these have been chemically bound to protein molecules which makes them easier for your dog’s body to digest and absorb. Probiotics (such as dried fermentation products) are also a great addition because they will help to regulate and improve your dog’s digestion. For all products, you also want to avoid corn, wheat, and soy ingredients as well as artificial additives like flavors, colors, and preservatives.
Special Dietary and Nutritional Considerations
When shopping for a new dog food for your Boxer, one of the things you need to think about is the calorie content. Calories are simply a unit of energy and you want to make sure that your Boxer’s new diet provides him with the energy he needs to maintain a healthy bodyweight without too much extra – extra calories for puppies can lead to rapid growth and, for adults, can contribute to overweight and obesity. All dogs need a high-protein diet because protein is necessary to support growth and development in puppies and lean muscle mass in adults – it also provides energy for your dog. However, fat is a more concentrated source of energy and it contains 9 calories per gram (compared to 4 calories per gram for protein) so you need to be careful strike the right balance between protein and fat content when shopping for your Boxer’s new diet.
As a medium- to large-sized breed, the Boxer doesn’t need as much fat in his diet as smaller dogs because his metabolism is a little bit slower. On average, a 50-pound adult dog needs about 1,350 calories and a 70-pound adult dog needs about 1,680 calories per day – this is the calorie range you want to stay between for your Boxer dog. Keep in mind that puppies will have higher calorie needs than adult dogs and protein is especially important while they are growing. As it has already been stated, however, you need to be careful about giving your Boxer puppy too much energy. Boxers take longer to reach maturity than smaller dogs and you want to make sure that he grows at a steady rate – if he grows too fast it can put excess strain on his bones and joints which will predispose him to musculoskeletal issues as an adult. Larger dogs can also benefit from slightly lower levels of calcium and phosphorus in their diet as well as higher levels of glucosamine and chondroitin.
The best way to make sure that your Boxer gets the nutrients he needs without going overboard on calories is to stick to a size-specific formula for medium- or large-breed puppies and adult dogs. In addition to considering your Boxer’s calorie needs, you may also have to modify his diet if he has certain health problems. Allergies, for example, are very common in the Boxer breed so you should seriously consider a Limited Ingredient Diet or grain-free recipe. Boxers are also prone to several hereditary conditions like cardiomyopathy and degenerative myelopathy. Cardiomyopathy is frequently correlated with deficiencies of the amino acids taurine and/or carnitine – making sure that your dog gets plenty of complete proteins in his diet can help prevent these deficiencies. Degenerative myelopathy in dogs has no known cause but it affects the spinal cord and other limbs, so a diet supplemented with bone- and joint-supporting nutrients is important.
What is the Best Dog Food for My Boxer?
As a medium- to large-sized breed, the Boxer needs a high-protein diet in order to maintain his lean muscle mass but, as a working breed, he also needs plenty of fat for concentrated energy. To make sure that your Boxer’s nutritional needs are being met, it is a good idea to start with a medium- or large-breed formula, depending on his adult size. Below you will find reviews for several high-quality dog food formulas that could be a good choice for your Boxer:
Solid Gold Wolf King Medium and Large Breed Adult Formula – If you are looking for a high-quality dog food formulated for medium- to large-breed dogs like the Boxer, this Solid Gold Wolf King Medium and Large Breed Adult Formula is a great option to consider. This recipe is made with fresh, deboned bison, a balance of healthy fats, and digestible whole grains – it also includes a unique blend of 20 different superfoods for nutritional balance. This recipe is specially designed to help build and maintain your dog’s lean muscle mass while also supporting healthy and regular digestion and skin/coat health. With premium ingredients like ocean fish meal, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and carrots this recipe is loaded with natural sources for key nutrients and plenty of natural flavor. As an added bonus, it is completely free from meat by-products, corn, wheat, and soy – it is also devoid of artificial additives like colors, flavors, and preservatives. What more could you ask for?
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Adult Formula – If your Boxer is sensitive to grains, this Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Adult Formula might be a good option to consider. Not only is this recipe naturally grain-free, but it is packed with premium proteins like deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal, all of which add up to a crude protein value of 34% – you won’t find many dog foods with higher protein content than that! This formula is specially designed for large-breed dogs which means that it has higher levels of glucosamine and chondroitin with moderate fat content around 12%. There are also plenty of natural sources for key vitamins and minerals as well as probiotics and healthy extracts. Plus, this recipe is nutrient-dense and free from by-products, fillers, and artificial additives.
Acana Singles Duck and Pear Adult Dog Formula – Because many Boxers have food allergies or sensitivities, a Limited Ingredient Diet like this Acana Singles Duck and Pear Adult Dog Formula is a great option to consider. Not only is this recipe made with a limited number of ingredients (which reduces the risk for triggering food allergies), but it is also made with novel sources of protein (duck) and carbohydrate (green peas and lentils). What truly sets this recipe apart from the competition, however, is the fact that it is designed to mimic the natural diet of wild wolves, featuring 50% free-run duck ingredients and 50% fruits, vegetable and botanicals – there are absolutely no grains, glutens, potatoes, or tapioca. Simply put, this recipe provides your dog with the nutrients he needs and nothing he doesn’t.
What is the Best Dog Food for Boxer Puppies?
The Boxer is a happy-go-lucky breed that tends to retain his puppy-like energy well into adulthood. Not only do Boxers take a little longer than some breeds to mature mentally, but as a medium- to large-breed dog they also take some extra time to physically mature. To make sure your Boxer gets the nutrients he needs without growing too quickly, choose a high-quality dog food formulated for medium- to large-breed puppies. Below you will find reviews for several high-quality dog food formulas that could be a good choice to consider for your Boxer puppy:
Artemis Fresh Mix Medium & Large Breed Puppy Formula – To get your Boxer puppy started off on the right foot, consider this Artemis Fresh Mix Medium & Large Breed Puppy Formula. This recipe is uniquely designed to support healthy digestion and developing bones and joints in medium- to large-breed puppies. It is made with fresh, natural ingredients like chicken, chicken meal, barley, brown rice, and oatmeal. There are also plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables which act as natural sources for key vitamins and minerals, though chelated minerals are also included. If your Boxer is sensitive to grains, this recipe might not be the best choice but it is one of few recipes that formulated for medium-sized breeds.
Orijen Large-Breed Puppy Dry Food Formula – The Orijen brand is known for producing high-quality pet foods made with fresh, regional ingredients in nutrient-dense formulas and this Orijen Large-Breed Puppy Dry Food Formula would be a great choice for your Boxer puppy. Made with premium proteins like free-run chicken, wild-caught fish, and nest-laid eggs, this formula features 85% animal ingredients and 15% fruits, vegetables and botanicals. With so many animal ingredients, this recipe is great for supporting your Boxer puppy’s growth and development as well as his lean muscle mass while being limited enough in calories to prevent him from growing too quickly. It is also designed with WholePrey ratios for optimal nutrition inspired by the natural diets of wild wolves so you can be sure that it offers high-quality nutrition.
Canidae Life Stages Large Breed Puppy Dry Food Formula – If you are in the market for a nutrient-dense dog food designed specifically for large-breed puppies like your Boxer, consider this Canidae Life Stages Large Breed Puppy Dry Food Formula. This recipe is made with duck meal as the primary ingredient which provides not only complete protein, but it is particularly rich in carnitine. Made with digestible carbohydrates like brown rice, oats, and peas, this formula also offers a balance of omega fatty acids with ingredients like ocean fish meal and flaxseed. It also contains probiotics to support your puppy’s healthy and regular digestion – this also helps with the absorption of nutrients from the food he eats. Overall, this dry food recipe provides complete and balanced nutrition for large-breed puppies in addition to plenty of natural flavor. Your Boxer puppy simply won’t be able to resist it and there is no reason why he should.
Shopping for dog food seems like it would be a simple task but, with so many options out there, it can be a challenge. When you are ready to start shopping for your Boxer’s new food, take the time to consider your dog’s unique nutritional needs and select a formula that will not just meet, but exceed those needs. In many cases, the best place to start is with a high-quality product formulated for medium- to large-breed dogs. You don’t necessarily have to spring for the most expensive product, but you should be prepared to spend a little more for a dog food made with fresh, natural ingredients that is also devoid of low-quality fillers and artificial additives. If you want to make sure that you get to enjoy as much time as possible with your Boxer, optimal nutrition is a must.