The Boxer is a medium-sized to large-sized dog known for its smooth coat and distinctive head shape. This breed was originally developed to hunt large prey like wild boar, deer, even bears – it was bred from the Mastiff and the Bulldog to give it a strong jaw and a powerful bite. Despite its hunting background, the Boxer is a very friendly and social breed – in fact, it is consistently ranked among the top 10 most popular breeds in the United States according to AKC registration statistics.
In addition to being a very friendly and loyal breed, the Boxer is also playful and energetic. Because this breed loves to be active it needs a commercial diet that can support its energy requirements. To make sure that you provide for your Boxer’s nutritional needs, you need to take a few minutes to learn about what those needs are. Below you will find some basic information about the nutritional needs for medium-sized dogs as well as some special considerations for the Boxer breed in particular.
Nutritional Needs for Boxers
The Boxer is somewhere between a medium-sized and a large-sized breed, largely depending on breeding. Adult males can stand anywhere between 22 and 25 inches tall and females can grow up to 24 inches tall. Male Boxers typically weigh 65 to 70 pounds at maturity and females can weigh up to 60 pounds. While you may be able to feed your Boxer a medium-sized adult food formula while it is young, a full-grown Boxer will do better on a large-breed adult formula. Large-breed dogs have slower metabolisms than small-breed dogs so they require a commercial diet that is nutrient dense but not high in calories. Feeding your Boxer puppy a large-breed puppy formula will make sure that he gets the nutrients he needs to be healthy without giving him too many extra calories that will cause him to grow too quickly, putting excess strain on his developing bones and joints.
Before considering the specific nutritional needs of large-breed dogs you need to understand the basics about dog nutrition. All dogs require a blend of protein, fat and carbohydrate in their diets as well as various vitamins and minerals. Protein is the most important component of any dog’s diet and it should come from high-quality sources of animal-based proteins like fresh meat and fish. Meat meals are also a good addition to a dog’s diet because they are a highly concentrated source of protein. Fat is another very important consideration for a dog’s diet because fats are the most highly concentrated source of energy for dogs – they too should come from high-quality, animal-based sources. Carbohydrates provide a dog with vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber. Dogs do not require a specific amount of carbohydrate in their diet, but the carbs they do get should come from healthy, highly digestible sources like whole oats and brown rice.
When it comes to feeding your Boxer you should select a high-quality commercial diet that is specially formulated for large-breed dogs. These formulas are made with high-quality sources of protein to support your dog’s lean muscle mass without providing too much extra fat or calories that could cause your dog to become obese. Because the Boxer is a fairly active breed, if you train your Boxer for hunting or other dog sports you might be able to feed him an active or working-breed formula. Just monitor your dog’s weight closely to be sure he isn’t gaining too much weight. If he does, reduce the amount you are feeding him or switch back to a standard large-breed adult formula.
Special Considerations for Boxers
Again, while your Boxer puppy is young you will need to feed him a commercial diet specially formulated for large-breed puppies. Large-breed puppies grow more slowly than small-breed puppies and it takes them longer to reach their adult size. If they grow too fast it could put strain on their bones and joints which will increase the risk for musculoskeletal problems as an adult. Large-breed dogs have a high risk for bone and joint problems like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Feeding your Boxer puppy a large-breed puppy formula will make sure that he gets the protein he needs to maintain lean muscle mass with enough fat for energy but not too much. You should keep your Boxer puppy on a large-breed puppy formula until he reaches about 80% of his adult size – then you can switch to a large-breed adult food.
Once your Boxer reaches his adult size you can feed him a commercial diet formulated for large-breed adults for the next few years. As your Boxer gets older, however, you may need to switch him to a senior dog formula to make sure he gets the supplements he needs to maintain healthy bones and joints. Large-breed dogs have a high risk for developing musculoskeletal problems as they age, so an older Boxer (six years or older) will benefit from a dog food that is supplemented with things like chondroitin and glucosamine. At all ages you need to be careful not only about how much your Boxer eats, but about how quickly he eats as well. Large-breed dogs have a high risk for gastric dilation volvulus, or bloat, which can occur if your dog swallows too much air as he eats or if he drinks too much water after a meal. This condition is very serious and can quickly become fatal so you need to be very careful.
Top Recommended Dog Foods for Boxers
If you need some help in finding the right food for your Boxer, consider one of the commercial dog food brands discussed below. Be careful when considering a breed-specific formula for your dog – do not just assume that the formula will meet your dog’s needs without evaluating the product for yourself. Consider the ingredients list to make sure that the product is of high-quality before offering it to your dog.
Nutrience Adult Large Breed
The Nutrience pet food company offers several different formulas for dogs as well as cats. The Original line of dog foods contains three different formulas – one for small-breed, one for medium-sized, and one for large-breed dogs. Once your Boxer has passed the puppy stage but has not yet reached his full size, the Nutrience Original Adult Medium Breed formula might be a good choice for him. It is made with chicken meal, brown rice, and chicken fat in addition to a number of other beneficial ingredients. It also contains valuable antioxidants for immune system support and a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. The Nutrience Original Adult Large Breed formula is also made with chicken meal and brown rice, supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin as well as a healthy blend of fatty acids. Simply put, both of these formulas would be a good choice as a commercial dog food diet for your Boxer.
Acana Classics Dog Food
The Acana pet food company is known for producing biologically appropriate diets for dogs and cats. These diets are inspired by the natural diet of the dog’s wild ancestor –the wolf. All of Acana’s products are made with fresh, regional ingredients and they are prepared in award-winning kitchens. Acana offers three different lines of dog foods – Classics, Regionals, and Singles. The Classic line of dog foods contains a variety of different formulas specially designed for large-breed puppies, large-breed dogs, senior dogs, and even sporting/active breeds. The Adult Large Breed formula is made with 60% chicken, fish and eggs, as well as 20% regional fruits and vegetables plus 20% low-glycemic Alberta oats. The Acana Regionals line of pet foods contains four different products, any of which would be a good choice for your Boxer. These formulas contain 60% to 70% fresh meat along with 35% to 40% fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure well-balanced nutrition.
EVO Large Bites Dog Food
The EVO pet food company provides dogs with ancestral diets – commercial diets that are inspired by the natural diets of their ancestors, the wolf. EVO offers two different formulas which are specially designed for larger dogs – the Turkey & Chicken formula and the Red Meat formula. The Turkey & Chicken Large Bites formula is high in protein, made with turkey, chicken, chicken meal, salmon meal, and menhaden meal as the top five ingredients. This formula is also completely free from gluten, grains, and potatoes –it contains fresh fruits and vegetables instead to provide your dog with vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber. The Red Meat Large Bites formula is made with beef, pork meal, and salmon meal as the top three ingredients – this formula is also free from gluten, grains and potatoes. Either of these formulas would be a good choice for your Boxer.
Your Boxer will be a devoted friend for life as long as you provide him with the nutrition he needs to remain happy and healthy. If you aren’t sure where to start in shopping for your Boxer’s food, consider some of the high-quality dog food brands reviewed above.