As a boxer owner, nutrition is something that should always be top of mind. This is a special breed, and they have special nutrition requirements. In this guide we are going to provide you with all the information that you will need to help you to decide which natural dry dog food is the best for your Boxer from puppyhood through their golden years.
It is estimated that just over 90% of dog owners do not fully understand their dogs’ nutritional needs, so articles like this are really important to get your head around. Not only do they help you to decide what to feed your Boxer so that he gets the nutrition he needs, but so that you understand what to look for in good dog food.
If you want some more background on the boxer breed, check out our breed guide to the Boxer, or this primer on boxer mixes. There are many different mixed breed boxer pups that have similar nutritional requirements to purebreds. A couple of popular mixes with similar nutrition requirements are the boxer APBT mix, or the Boxador.
Of course, the Boxer does not hunt wild animals now, and he is better known for being a family pet who has assumed the role of family comedian. But he still needs 60 minutes of exercise a day to be healthy, and to support this activity he needs good-quality food that will keep him energized throughout the day, and this is where nutrition comes in.
The Boxer puppy will need different kibble compared to an adult as he has different nutritional needs. He will need food that has a higher protein content, which will enable him to grow, and higher fat content. Additionally, growing is a tough job which requires a lot of calories; therefore puppies need food that will be more calorific than adult food. Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are also beneficial as they have been proven to promote healthy development of brain and eye tissues.
Don’t be tempted to feed your puppy adult food, as they will suffer from nutritional deficiencies and their growth will likely be stunted, and of course this will cause further complications throughout their whole life.
When your Boxer puppy reaches the age of 12 to 16 months, he will have almost reached his full-grown size, and it is at this point that you can gradually make the switch to adult food. But be sure not to feed him puppy food for longer than necessary, otherwise those extra calories will make him obese. Of course, every puppy will be different, so it is best to consult your Veterinarian for tailored nutritional advice at this point.
Nutrients For Adult Boxers
Adult Boxers require slightly different nutrients than puppy boxers, as at this stage he is fully grown, and his nutrition is solely about maintaining his energy and health. Boxers need high quality protein rich foods that are going to provide him with the nutrients for muscle repair and cellular regeneration. Ideally, adult Boxer foods should contain at least 20% to 30% of protein.
He also needs natural carbohydrates that are going to provide him with the energy that he needs to be able to exercise up to 60 minutes every day, as well as provide him with the stamina to keep him going throughout the day. Complex carbohydrates such as potatoes and peas are the best carbohydrates for any dog, and not only do they give your dog the energy, but they also help to prevent a buildup of plaque on their teeth.
Because Boxers suffer from a lot of cardiac health complaints, more so than the average dog, it is really important to feed him food that is going to compliment his heart. Nutrients such as Taurine and L-carnitine are essential to his cardiac health; Taurine is an amino acid that is found in his heart tissue and L-carnitine is a substance that enables cells to carry fuel to the heart for normal function.
In addition to diet, having the right Boxer-specific toys on hand can also help him maintain a healthy weight and heart.
Nutrients For Senior Boxers
Senior Boxers require a different distribution of nutrients than puppies and even adults. At this stage of life, most boxers start to really mellow out, almost becoming couch potatoes as they hit their golden years. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure you manage their weight carefully so they don’t become overweight. Light walks are going to be a must to keep your Boxer active. 30 minutes per day should be enough as they age over 7 human years in age, although every boxer is different.
Just like the dietary needs of Senior Huskies, you’ll want to make sure that you have them eating food with a higher distribution of protein and fats with lower carb ratios in order to maintain lean muscle mass and keep the fat off. It’s also good to feed them foods that contain glucosamine in an effort to keep their joints functioning properly and prevent injuries. Having antioxidants that enhance alertness and keep the brain sharp is also an added bonus if the food you select contains it.
Best Food For Boxer Puppies
Our recommendations are based on dry food that is aimed at puppies, that is both natural and has the best overall nutritional content. We have also considered the overall product rating as well as the reputation of each brand, so that you know you are choosing the best products from expert companies. Puppies need high levels of protein, moderate fat content with an appropriate nutritional value.
Royal Canin PuppyWAG Puppy FormulaWellness CorePurina Pro PlanBlue Buffalo Puppy Protein28%36%36%28%27% Fats16%16%17.5%13%16% Fiber3.7%5%5.5%6%5% Moisture10%10%10%12%10% KCal/Cup335346417417366
This puppy kibble is made using rich protein content, with real chicken being the number one ingredient. Fish oil is also a key ingredient which helps with the development of joints and cartilage, as well as normal brain development. Purina has been in operation since 1894, and it is the largest pet food company in America, and so it is a brand that you know you can trust.
Royal Canin have created this dry food with the puppy Boxer in mind, specifically from the age of 2 months up to 15 months. The main ingredients are chicken by-product meal, that provides protein rich nutrients which is great for muscle growth and cellular regeneration for the ever-growing Boxer puppy. The ingredients also list taurine, which is an amino acid that promotes the health of his heart, as well as EPA and DHA nutrients.
The smaller wave-shaped biscuits make it easier for the puppy Boxer to grasp the food with his flat face and underbite, and it also encourages chewing and slower eating which is better for his digestion. Royal Canin is a well-known and established brand that was created in 1968. It produces dog food across the world, and prides itself on using only the best scientifically researched food.
This dry food is protein rich, made with only the best quality chicken, turkey and salmon products, and it is 100% grain free. It has a higher calorie content which is important for puppy growth, as well as the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, which enhances joint health and assists brain development. The kibble size is smaller for puppies, and is suited to their smaller mouths. It also boasts an ideal calcium and phosphorus ratio to help support bone growth.
The Wellness family pride themselves on using only the best and natural foods for your pooch. They have been working with dog nutritionists since the 1990s and provide food that is 100% grain free.
Real chicken is the first ingredient in Wag’s puppy formula, so this rich protein content means that it is great for muscle growth. It includes nutritious vegetables such as peas and lentils to provide vitamins and antioxidants, as well as omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon oil and DHA which enhances joint health and healthy development.
Wag is Amazon’s own brand of dog food which is a relatively new venture for them, however, as you can see from the comparison chart below the nutritional value fares well alongside the more established brands, and has a high protein and fat content which is always a good sign of a good quality kibble.
The first ingredient in this puppy kibble is deboned chicken, which is rich in protein important for muscle growth. It also contains DHA and ARA which is found in the mother’s milk, which is important for body growth and brain function. It includes ‘Lifesource Bits’, which is a blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants chosen by Veterinarians and Dog Nutritionists to support immune health and puppy development.
Blue Buffalo pride themselves on using only the finest natural ingredients and real meat in every recipe, and whilst they are a relatively new firm on the dog food scene, their website boasts that their Protection Formula food is the number 1 natural pet food in America and is also one of our favorites for mastiffs.
Best Food For Adult Boxers
In order to avoid dietary upsets it is important to gradually transition your pup from dry puppy food to dry adult food. It is particularly crucial for puppies with a sensitive stomach. It is important not to rush this process, even if you are feeding him the same brand, as the food value and nutritional content will be different.
When feeding your Boxer his puppy to adult meals, l follow the table below which will allow for a suitable transition period. Again, like the puppy food, our recommendations are based on dry food that is natural with the best overall nutritional content aimed at adult dogs.
The Farmer’s DogWhole Earth FarmsRoyal Canin BoxerPurina Pro AdultBlue Buffalo WildernessACANA Heritage Protein40%26%24%26%34%30% Fats28%14%18%16%15%42% Fiber6%3.5%4.5%3%6%6% Moisture10%11%10%12%10%10% Kcal/Cup435348335382409388
We are not saying you want to eat this dog food from The Farmer’s Dog, but you certainly could because it includes only human-grade ingredients. This ensures that your Boxer’s coat stays shiny and his large muscles are kept strong and healthy. And the customized plan, designed by vets and recommended based on your dog’s specific needs, supports him in maintaining healthy body weight and condition. And to get more bang for your buck, mix in homecooked rice if your Box does not require a grain-free diet.
In addition to high-quality meats, your dog will enjoy the gentle fibers, such as sweet potatoes and lentils, that encourage digestion and healthy gut flora. Prepared in a USDA-certified kitchen, these recipes are sure to please even the most discerning palate.
We love that these grain-free meal plans are customized for your Boxer’s weight, activity level, level of pickiness, and any special dietary needs. It’s an excellent option that guarantees your dog is eating the freshest, highest-quality, well-balanced meal available.
Whole Earth Farms have created this grain free dry food using multiple protein sources, vitamins and minerals, using only natural and nutritious ingredients from the earth. The main ingredients are pork meal, beef and lamb for all your Boxer’s protein needs. Potatoes and sweet potatoes provide your Boxer with the energy that he needs with these natural carbohydrates.
Peas and apples provide your Boxer with antioxidants and fiber to keep his immune system healthy and to keep his digestive system in tip top condition. Salmon oil also assists the health of your Boxer’s heart and joints which he is known to suffer with. Whole Earth Farms prides itself on using American ingredients using the earth’s goodness.
Royal Canin have created this dry food with the adult Boxer in mind. The wave shaped biscuits make it easier for the Boxer to grasp the food with his flat face and underbite, and it also encourages chewing and slower eating which is better for his digestion. The main ingredients are chicken meal and pork meal, which provides protein rich nutrients which is great for cellular regeneration. Similar to the Boxer puppy food, the ingredients also list taurine, EPA and DHA nutrients which are key for the health of his heart.
Purina have created this dry food which has a combination of crunchy kibble and shredded meaty pieces, which provides a textural combination which your Boxer will love. The first ingredient is real chicken, which is a great source of protein. It is fortified with live probiotics to support his immune system and his digestive system.
Blue Buffalo only use real meat as their first listed ingredient, and this high-quality protein means that the Boxer will maintain his healthy muscles and cell regrowth. It also contains both mega-3 and 6 fatty acids that will promote joint and hair health, promoting a healthy coat from the inside out. It is grain free and has Blue Buffalos special ‘Lifesource bits’, which is a specially designed formula containing antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that will promote a healthy immune system.
Foods For Senior Boxers
Do you have an older boxer pup? It shouldn’t come as any surprise that older dogs have different nutritional needs from younger dogs. Older pups typically burn less calories and should stay away from more nutrient dense food that younger puppies need while they are growing. Here are some of our favorite foods you can feed your senior boxer. If you are looking for a high fiber option, check out this list.
Orijen Senior FormulaBlue Buffalo SeniorsPurina Pro Seniors Protein42%18%29% Fats37%10%14% Fiber6%7%5% Moisture10%10%12% Kcal/Cup414357451
If budget isn’t an issue and you only want the best for your pup in their golden years, then Orijen should be your pick. Created out of 85% animal ingredients, this formula is specifically produced with seniors in mind, satisfying all their daily nutrient requirements if used correctly.
This food uses fresh and raw ingredients, which include organs, bones, meat, and cartilage. This food is made in Kentucky and ingredients are sourced locally for the blend. While there is only one flavor, it’s created with chicken, turkey, fish, and cage-free eggs. You can ensure that food this fresh is something that every senior pup will enjoy.
Older dogs should have a different blend of nutrients. Blue Buffalo makes our list for puppies, adults and seniors. Their food lines are extremely diverse and they cater to the needs of different ages of dogs. They feature real meat as the first ingredient on every single one of their food lines, cutting back on the excess fillers that other dog food manufacturing companies use.
Blue Buffalo is all-natural, and contains no by-product in any of their formulas. This senior dog food contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help support joint health, which is important as your boxer ages. Blue Buffalo is also known to be great food for picky eaters, when Boxers are notorious for getting even pickier in their senior years.
Purina has already been mentioned on this list, but the Bright Mind formula has been created specifically for older pups. The ingredients include enhanced botanical oils that are engineered to promote mental alertness and sharpness in older dogs. It comes in multiple flavors and carries a 29% to 14% fat ratio to maintain lean muscle mass and prevent weight gain in less active dogs.
It also includes omega fatty acids and glucosamine to ensure your senior’s joints stay pain-free long term. It comes in multiple flavors, which means you are sure to have plenty of options that your senior pup can enjoy in their golden years. This is an all-around great food for older dogs and does a great job balancing quality with costs.
Food For Boxers With Special Needs
Does your Boxer suffer from sensitive skin or a sensitive stomach? Maybe your boxer is overweight and needs to go on a diet? Catering to special needs is something that gets difficult with dogs, but it’s not unlike taking care of a human that needs extra care.
For sensitive stomachs, it’s usually an easy fix by changing foods. But for losing weight, simply feeding your dog less isn’t always the best choice. Weight management becomes important and that should be taken into consideration. Let’s look at our favorite foods for boxers with special needs.
Boxers with skin allergies and sensitive stomachs can usually be fed one formula that targets both problems. It targets skins that are either sensitive or allergic to various allergens, and it provides a boost of omega-6 fatty acids and Vitamin E which assists in nourishing his skin from the inside out, as well as promoting a healthy and glossy coat. It is aimed to be highly digestible and simple for your Boxer’s gut, as well as supplying him with prebiotic fiber to support a balanced digestive system.
Is your Boxer overweight? This natural dry dog kibble is specially formulated to have less calories and less fat content so that your Boxer can achieve and maintain a healthy weight if he is prone to obesity, or simply loves a snack, or ten. Be sure to read the instructions of this food and remember that you must help him by still monitoring his food intake and treat consumption. Be sure not to feed him fatty human food and achieve a healthy weight with his recommended exercise.
Never Feed Your Boxer These
A Boxer should never eat the following food or drink products:
- Alcohol – it only takes a little alcohol to start having a poisonous effect on your pup’s liver and brain.
- Grapes and Raisins – these are dangerous for dogs and can cause kidney damage in a short time.
- Chocolate – this contains theobromine which is particularly potent in dark chocolate, and toxic to dogs.
- Candy and Gum – these contains xylitol which dangerously increases dogs insulin levels.
- Onions and Garlic – eating these in any form will cause anemia.
- Tomatoes – these can cause heart tremors and palpitations in some dogs.
- Avocado – the chemical persin found in the avocado is poisonous to dogs.
- Caffeinated Drinks such as Coffee and Soda – caffeine can be deadly to a dog, enough said.
Be wary of companies that do not have a well-documented history or any reviews online. It is always best to stick to tried and tested food that you can be sure is healthy for your Boxer, and all of our above recommendations are tried and tested, and definitely trusted.
Overall, the Boxer should be fed a high-quality dry kibble that has between 20% and 30% protein, and anything extra is just an added bonus! Natural ingredients are always best, and omega fatty acids will benefit his bones and joints, which will help his potential dysplasia issues, as well as maintain a healthy heart which he is known to struggle with. He should be fed age-appropriate food, so be sure to feed him puppy food as a puppy, and adult food from around 12 – 16 months.
Nutrition is the easiest way to ensure that your Boxer stays as healthy as possible, and remember that you get what you pay for, so stick to top-quality kibble!
Please remember that we are not Veterinarians, so if you are in any doubt or have any questions, then please consult with your Vet who will be more than happy to give you a definitive answer about the right food for your dog. But we hope this article has given you food for thought, and that we have helped you on your way to choosing which food is best for your Boxer.
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