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Care (Top 10 Tips)

Boxer Dog Care

Top 10 Tips for Optimal Health & Happiness

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Layla (fawn) 3 years old & Fernand (brindle) 3 months old | Photo courtesy of Jeremy and Sara

Overview

There's a lot of elements that all come together in caring for a Boxer dog. The type of care you offer day by day not only affects your Boxer's current state of health, but also sets up a foundation that have long-lasting consequences. While it's always best to be organized and right on point in regard to all you do for your Boxer, it is important to note that it's never too late to start.

Any change you make, any increased attention to a specific care item will only be beneficial. Here, we'll look at the top 10 care tips that all owners should be following. 

Boxer Dog Care Tip #1 - A Great Diet

Go as high quality as you can afford. Inferior foods will be packed with chemical flavoring, preservatives and coloring. These can have both short term and long term effects, ranging from an unhealthy coat to skin issues to digestive upset. BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin are some of the worst chemical preservatives. BHA is a known carcinogens, but legall allowed to be in dog food. 

In addition, steer clear of meat by-products (those deemed unfit for human consumption such as fatty tissue, intestines, lungs), meat meal ( fillers (corn which can even be just corn dust, vegetable husks, even feathers). 

Be care with meat-meal. With lower quality brands, this can include meat from diseased animals, questionable out-of-date meat thrown out from supermarkets and the like.

If you want to see how the food that your feeding your Boxer dog ranks, a great site is DogFoodAdvisior

Some of the top ranked 5-star foods include: 
Snacks are just as important. Put as much thought into treats as you do for the main diet. These, as well, can be loaded with chemicals and dyes. Go for all-natural, made in the USA (or North America, as this means both the US and Canada). Keep away from raw hides; these are notorious for causing upset stomach and dangerous internal blockage. 

Not shy away from wholesome fresh foods. Adding veggies and fresh fruit to meals or to gives as snacks is great for Boxers. Carrots, peas, green beans, potato, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries are all great. These fruits are packed with antioxidants which is a great tool to help fight against cancer, a top concern for the Boxer breed. 

Boxer Dog Care Tip #2 - Do not Give Straight Tap Water

Take care in regard to the water you give to your Boxer. What is allowed to be in tap water is pretty outrageous. Known carcinogens and toxic metals are in tap water... hormones, pesticides, fluoride (toxic to canines)... the list goes on. There is a slew of regulated chemicals that, based on one 8-ounce glass, are deemed safe; long-term exposure is not tested. There are also hundreds of untested contaminants. 

Since our Boxer dogs drink water and only water day after day, for literally their whole lives, it's vital to find another alternative than straight tap water. The easiest method is to install a filter to your kitchen tap. These are moderately inexpensive and not that hard to install. Another option, most applicable if you have a Boxer puppy is to use gallon spring water. 

Also, be take note of how much your Boxer is drinking; you'll want to make sure that he meets his daily water requirements. That amount can vary depending on age, activity level and the weather (more in the summer); however, in general, a Boxer dog will need a bit over 1.5 cups for each 10 pounds of body weight. 
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Brutus, at 11 months old, "Hard at Work" | Photo courtesy of Regina

Boxer Dog Care Tip #3 - Proper Exercise

Boxers should be walked at least twice per day. For pups, this should be for at least 20 minutes, adults do good with 30. But don't stop there.

Though this is a brachycephalic breed and Boxers don't do well with super extended duration, shorter jaunts allow a Boxer to build up muscle, keep his metabolism regulated, and exercise is healthy for the heart. 

Go for hikes, let him run uphill, take him to the beach. While your Boxer will be more than happy to be chilling out with you by the TV, he also needs to get out of the house and release pent-up energy. 

Boxer Dog Care Tip #4 - Proof the House

Though it's often referred to as 'puppy proofing', this goes for a Boxer of any age. This is a very inquisitive, curious breed. Nothing is off limits to a Boxer. He'll open cabinets, reach up high on counters, nose through your gym bag... don't believe that anything is safe.

And remember, that it's not just food related items that will be mouthed and it's not even necessarily something that dogs would find enjoyable to chew on. Things are mouthed simply to answer the question of 'What's this?'. 

The list of things that have been found and surgically removed from dogs is crazy: needles, fishing hooks, shoe laces, band-aids, even light bulbs. There's virtually an endless checklist of things a Boxer can swallow that can lead to blockage, cause internal injury and even be fatal.

At least once a week, go over the house. Don't leave things on the floor; use shelves and hooks. Put child-proof locks on lower cabinets. And a household rules should be that if anything falls, it's immediately picked up. 

Boxer Dog Care Tip #5 - Keep Ingestion Slow

While it can seem amusing that dogs can wolf down their food faster than you blink your eyes, for breeds that are prone to bloat like the Boxer, you'll need to regulate how fast he eats and drinks.

The easiest way to do this is to use a slow-feeder bowl for meals. If your Boxer tends to go nuts with water, use this sort of bowl for a water dish as well.

You'll want to choose stainless steel dishes, since plastic are too light, scratch too easily and even BPA free plastics can cause a dog to have an allergic reaction.

Another option, aside from the slow-feeder, is to use a portion pacer. There are stainless steel balls that are placed into current bowls, that work in the same way to displace and force a dog to go slower. 

Boxer Dog Care Tip #6 - Coat Care

Keep it clean - Give your Boxer a bath once every 3 weeks. Of course, if he's gotten himself dirty before this, scrub him down. However, looking at this on a regular basis, bathing too often can lead to a dry coat even if you use great products. And if you wait too long, all sort of bad smells can develop, as well as yeast infection and other issues.

Keep it moisturized & protected - Use a high quality shampoo that won't strip the coat, make sure your Boxer drinks enough water, use a great leave-in spritz that will protect his fur from static, contract friction and outdoor elements including the sun and arid air. 

Keep it free of shedded hairs - The Boxer is a moderate shedder, so you'll want to go over the coat on a regular basis to pull out dead hairs from the coat. While some will fall to the floor, it is when you brush him over or use a de-shedding tool that you'll see just how much falls back into the coat.

If it's allowed to stay there, it can block normal air flow and pack up close to skin pores. 
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Bruno Mars | Photo courtesy of Alla Perelyayeva

Boxer Dog Care Tip #7 - Eyes, Paw, Nose Care

You'll need to keep up on eye, paw and nose care, or things can take a downward turn rather quickly.

With the eyes, a common issue is the buildup of eye gunk, also referred to as eye boogers. If you notice excessive discharge, this can be due to a small cut on the retina or even an eye infection. However, a minor yet chronic amount is often just natural discharge that can get trapped around the eyes. 

Routinely use a canine eye wipe to clean up around the eye area. This should be done anywhere from once per day to several times per week.

With the paws, while you want your Boxer to walk on a variety of surfaces to toughen up the paws, this by no means that paws can even come close to being invincible. Walking on small pebbles and both heat and cold exposure can really do a number on the pads. 

In addition, dry pads can quickly develop into itching, which leads to gnawing, and that can turn into peeling and cracking.

If your Boxer tends to develop paw issues, apply a quality paw wax 2 to 3 times per week. Look for a fast absorbing product that allows the paws to breathe. 

With the nose, small issues can spiral pretty fast. Keep an eye out for dry nose issues. If you do notice this, don't hesitate to use a good nose balm. A quality balm can protect from too much sun exposure, chapping from cold winter weather and general drying and peeling issues, as well as heal many problems. If, however, the nose is so cracked that that it is bleeding, this is your sign that the vet will need to treat this; most likely with a topical antibiotic. 

Boxer Dog Care Tip #8 - Seasonal Care

A Boxer dog's needs will change in accordance with the seasons, so certain care elements will need to be adjusted.

In the summer, super hot days means taking your Boxer out for exercise early in the morning and then later as the sun is readying to set, to avoid the hottest parts of the day.

If your Boxer is left home alone, if he's limited to one room (which is recommended), take care to set things up so that he's keep cool enough with AC, but not stuck right near a vent. Also, check on shades and curtains, so that he's not getting hit by strong rays at certain times.

You'll want to always bring along water when out and about, take frequent breaks and keep an eye out early signs of heat stress (red gums, heavy panting, rapid heartbeat, thick drool). 

In the winter, access his cold tolerance. Not all Boxers do great with freezing weather; a vest may be in order. And while it may be tempting to stay in less, his exercise needs remain the same so do try to take him out as normal. 

Boxer Dog Care Tip #9 - Car Safety

If you're wise enough to buckle up a child, show that same care for your Boxer dog. The force at which a person or animal or any object is thrown is based on both the speed that a car is traveling and the weight of that object. So, car seats are not just for pups. 

If a Boxer is not properly restrained in the car, here's what can happen:

With a vehicle that is traveling at 35 mph, crash force for a Boxer pup that weighs 20 pounds means that he will be thrown with the force of a 600 pound object; this is the equivalent of falling off a 6 story building.

At 35 mph, a 60 pound adult Boxer will be thrown with the force of a 1,800 pound object.

What about going 50 mph? A 50 lb. Boxer would be thrown with the force of a 2,500 pound object.

If your Boxer is a pup, use a certified canine car seat. If your Boxer is over 40 pounds, opt for a properly sized restraint belts. You may wish to opt for a ‘direct to tether’ accessory which connects from your Boxer’s harness to your car’s seat belt. Another option is a harness & connector all-in-one, which is both the harness and the short belt that connects that to the car’s seat belt. These are often padded and more comfortable than the harness that your Boxer would normally wear while being walked on leash. 

Boxer Dog Care Tip #10 - Mutual Respect

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Lily, at 5 months old | Photo courtesy of Chrsitina Magallanes & Roddy Rivas
Boxers are the quintessential companion. They blend so well into the household, that you'll sometimes forget your Boxer is a dog. You'll speak about him as if he's another person in the house... and that's not too far off.

While, of course, Boxers love to scent, can be great watch dogs and do all those fun canine things like marking and ripping things apart, when it's all said and done, your Boxer will want to be part of the family and will need you to reciprocate this strong urge to belong in order to feel at peace and at 'at one' with the 'pack'.

Boxers are pretty intelligent, are excellent at picking up on the non-verbal vibes of their humans and never let you down when you're looking for company... whether this is binge-watching Game of Thrones or taking a ride across town.

Be a good leader, expect respect and teach your Boxer with a loving hand. 

When you have a Boxer (or two, or three), this is something that reaches beyond just pet ownership. It really is a lifestyle. And of course, it's one that you (or your Boxer) wouldn't trade for the world. 
Did you find this article helpful? If so, check out The GIANT Book of Boxer Dog Care - Our book is the most comprehensive Boxer care book that you'll find. Jammed pack with everything you need to know, from puppy to adult. And it's available in both hard copy and eBook. 
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