Boxers are medium-sized dogs that are well recognized for their muscled appearance, tight-fitting coat, naturally floppy ears, somewhat droopy eyes, and a rather amusing squashed face. They are especially bred as guard dogs and for bull-baiting. Their energy levels are almost second to none. It is because of this unique combination of high energy, muscled appearance, and high social attention needs that Boxers require a diet that’s designed specifically for them. If you’re interested in learning what constitutes the best dog food for Boxers, then read on.
Dog Food for Boxers Buying Guide
Coming up with your very own selection of the best Boxer dog food is never going to be easy. However, we believe that with this dog food for Boxers buying guide we prepared for you, you will be more empowered into choosing the right doggie chow for your Boxer.
How Much Food Do I Feed My Boxer?
Knowing how much to feed your Boxer is equally important to knowing what dog food will suit it best. Unfortunately, there are no fast and hard rules that you can adhere to when giving your pooch its daily chow. Your Boxer’s age, stage of development, any existing medical or health condition, and even level of activity can play an important role in deciding how much to feed it.
Generally, lactating bitches and pregnant dams require more calories as well as nutrients to support the growing litter and puppies, respectively. As such, they will need to feed more. Puppies will require more protein, too, as they need this for optimum building and development of tissues. Elder dogs will not benefit that much from too much calories and protein as their level of activity usually starts to decline and their kidneys may no longer be that efficient in managing proteins.
While dog food manufacturers have their own recommendations on how much you can feed your Boxer, do understand that this is typically based on the general population and not on the specific case of your pooch. Given that the recommendations are based on a statistically sound generalization, only your veterinarian can help you determine the actual amount of dog food to give to your Boxer. This can only be done after carefully assessing the health status including activity levels and developmental stage of your dog.
Nevertheless, to give you an idea of how much food to give to your Boxer, here are some general guidelines. Please do keep in mind that these may not reflect the actual requirement of your pooch so you better talk it over with your vet.
- Puppies 2 to 6 months old
Puppies in this stage should have the following dietary compositions:
- 35 to 45 percent animal-based proteins
- 25 to 35 percent grain-free carbohydrates
Boxer puppies younger than 3 months old should eat 4 times a day. Until they reach the 6th month of their lives, their feeding can be reduced to three times per day. Ideally, puppies in this stage require about 320 grams of food per day, divided into either 4 or 3 meals, depending on the age. As such, for younger puppies, you will be giving them about 80 grams of food per meal while for 3-6 month old pups will require 100 grams of food per meal.
- Puppies 6 months to 1 year old
Consider this stage as the transition period between puppy feeding and adult dog feeding. Here, you will try to determine if your Boxer pup can already manage feeding only twice a day. You’d still have to observe the same 300 grams per day guideline though. So that means you’d be giving about 150 grams per meal. If your pooch happens to show distress because of the change in the frequency of its meals, then you can revert back to the thrice daily meals. Slowly, introduce the twice daily meal concept. If there’s one thing you have to guard against, that is bloating as Boxers are known to be quite predisposed to it.
- Adult Boxers
By the time your Boxer reaches adult age it is already ready for a more stable twice daily meals. If your pooch weighs about 50 to 75 pounds, experts recommend feeding it 4 to 5 cups of dry kibbles every day, split into two meals. If you happen to have a Boxer that is more on the heavy side, say between 75 and 100 pounds, then get ready to feed it 5 to 6 cups every day or about 2.5 to 3 cups per meal.
It is equally important to time the feeding. As much as possible make sure to allow at least 2 hours for your Boxer to fully digest its meal before taking out for its exercise or even before going to bed. It is also not wise to give your pooch table scraps as these are inherently high in calories which can lead to increased incidence of stomach upsets as well as bloating. We’ll have more of the foods to avoid giving to your Boxer towards the later section of this article.
What Kind of Diet is Best for Boxers?
Determining the best diet for Boxers requires an understanding of their unique physiology and temperament as a breed of dog. These are very energetic, very athletic dogs that require strong and powerful muscles as well as very flexible joints so they can move at ease. They are guard dogs, too, requiring a heightened sense of awareness of their surroundings but without causing alarm on its family. That said, we can take a look at the kind of diet that is best for boxers.
- High protein diet
It is without question that dogs are dependent on proteins for various cellular and histological processes. Muscles require proteins for optimum development. And while minerals such as potassium and calcium can play a role in the initiation of muscle contraction, it is protein molecules that provide the all-important building blocks for the synthesis or formation of individual muscle cells. It is for this reason that dog food rich in proteins constitutes the best diet for Boxers.
To optimize the tissue-building properties of proteins, it must be sourced from animals, not from plants. The reason is quite simple. While the building blocks of proteins can be found in both animal and plant sources, many essential amino acids can only be found in meats or animal based protein sources. As such, it is imperative that the very first ingredients in a product’s table must be animal-based proteins. This is of course in addition to the fact that animal proteins are more easily digestible than their plant counterparts. And one of the truly unique characteristics of Boxers is their proneness to bloating and stomach upsets.
- Moderate to high calorie diet
Calories should never be equated with carbohydrates alone as both fats and proteins also contain calories. However, what we would like to have is for your Boxer to get its calories for energy purposes from carbohydrates and not from proteins. If it gets its energy from proteins, then there wouldn’t be any protein left for the development of the muscles and other organs of the body. Let us just say that carbohydrates provide your Boxer with the energy it needs to play all day while saving proteins for more important tissue-building and immunologic purposes. Now, the amount of calories needed by your pet Boxer is dependent on its level of activity. While it is true that Boxers are highly energetic, poor pet parenting can somehow turn these otherwise active pooches into lazy dogs. If you give these types of Boxers too much calories, they will be storing the excess as fat, leading to overweight or obesity. Giving too few calories will favor the use of proteins as energy source. We don’t want this to happen, of course.
- Low to moderate fat content
Fat is important in a dog’s diet, especially a Boxer since this can be an excellent source of concentrated energy. Here’s the thing, you should always strive to check the fat and carbohydrate content of the dog food you buy. If it has already sufficient amounts of carbohydrates, then you can lower down the fat content. You don’t want your pooch growing obese.
- Diet rich in joint-friendly substances
Boxers are very active pooches. As such they require the full range of motion of their joints. It is for this reason that they, too, can benefit from glucosamine and chondroitin.
- Diet rich in gut-friendly organisms
One of the major health issues of Boxers is bloating. To help minimize the incidence of bloating and stomach upsets while also improving overall digestive functioning, it is sometimes important to look for dog food that contains probiotic microorganisms.
Special Nutritional Needs for Boxers
We already discussed above the best type of diet for Boxers. This has to be high quality high protein, low to moderate fat, moderate to high calories, and substantial amounts of joint- and gut-friendly substances. Of course, these are not the only things your pooch requires. Here are some special nutritional needs of this type of dog.
This mineral is perhaps the single most important substance needed to maintain the integrity of bones, keeping it strong and resilient against fractures. It’s also important in muscle contraction both in skeletal muscles and the muscles of the heart. Supplying Boxers with sufficient amounts of calcium in their diets help ensure optimum health. Remember, these dogs are very active and, thus require efficient oxygenation to all the tissues. This is made possible by the more efficient contraction of the heart, pumping more blood through the body. Additionally, skeletal muscle contraction is enhanced and the integrity of the bones is maintained.
L-carnitine is an amino acid that is well-known for its use in weight loss. It is primarily responsible for the transportation of fatty acids for energy utilization in the mitochondria of cells. Another function of L-carnitine is in the synthesis of nitric oxide which can help improve overall blood flow by dilating the blood vessels.
This substance is typically found in the brain, the heart, the retina of the eyes, and in platelets. Boxers need taurine for optimum brain development as well as healthy functioning of the heart, allowing them to be as active as they please.
What Food to Avoid Feeding Your Boxer
Boxers are prone to bloat as well as the development of stomach upsets. In some cases, they may tend to be overweight, too, especially if given high fat, high calorie foods such as human foods. That is why we have listed herein some of the foods that you should avoid feeding your Boxer.
- Caffeine – Caffeine is a natural stimulant which can adversely affect the capacity of the Boxer’s heart to pump at a much normal rate.
- Candies and gums – These food items are typically laced with artificial sweeteners that can lead to a significant drop in blood sugar, causing liver failure and possible seizures.
- Fat trimmings – These can cause bloating as well as problems in your dog’s pancreas.
- Garlic and onion – These mainstream kitchen spices are known to produce anemia in dogs. You don’t want your Boxer to be less energetic and less active.
- Chocolates – In general, all dogs are not supposed to be given chocolates, especially dark ones because of the level of theobromine that these contain. Additionally, caffeine is also present in certain amounts.
- Yeast dough – This can lead to substantial bloating as the dough can expand inside your Boxer’s stomach.
Devoted, loyal, friendly, and confident. These are just some of the apt descriptions of boxers. These dogs are also fearless, energetic, playful, cheerful, and even very brave. If you want your Boxer to lead its life to the fullest, then choosing the right kind of dog food for this breed of dog is a must.