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Boxer Dog Water and Drinking Issues

Lolah is 3 years old  | Photo courtesy of Lina & Larry Lepore


While giving your dog water may seem like one of the easiest items on the care checklist, there are actually several elements that owners should be aware of. 

When we think about our Boxers having a balanced diet, we don't always think about the fact that what they drink plays a huge role in this.

Just as for humans, water has many purposes. 

It helps the body absorb nutrients and carries those nutrients through the cells of the body. It aides in the digestion of food. 

Adequate amounts will allow the intestines to work as they should to produce healthy stools. It lubricates everything from joints to the spinal cord to internal tissues. And it also serves to help regulate a dog's body temperature.

Essentially, water is the life force of all living mammals and a dog can only last 3 days without it. 
And of course, you give your Boxer water. But the amount that a Boxer drinks along with the quality of that water will have a huge effect on his/her health.

In this section we are going to cover:
  • How much water a Boxer puppy or dog needs to have
  • What it means if a Boxer drinks excessive amounts of water 
  • The dangers of drinking too fast and how to help a Boxer drink slower 
  • Very valid reasons why tap water is horrible for your Boxer  
  • Methods to ensure that your Boxer's water is safe to drink

How Much Water a Boxer Dog Needs

The amount of water that a Boxer puppy or dog needs will vary depending on several factors including his activity level, age and the weather (both temperature and humidity). However, in general it is safe to say that a Boxer will need approximately 13 ounces (13.53 Imperial ounces) which equals 1.62 cups (.38 liters) for each 10 pounds (4.53 kg) of body weight.

* Note: This amount can vary by up to 30%. Dogs that ingest foods that have high levels of water may drink a bit less. Dogs that are active and/or live in areas of warm/hot weather may need more.

Here's a quick chart going by the weight of the Boxer dog:

10 lbs. (4.53 kg) = 1.62 cups (.38 liters) per day

20 lbs. (9.07 kg) = 3.24 cups (.76 liters) per day

30 lbs. (13.6 kg) = 4.86 cups (1.14 liters) per day

40 lbs. (18.1 kg) = 6.48 cups (1.53 liters) per day

50 lbs. (22.7 kg) = 8.1 cups (1.91 liters) per day

60 lbs. (27.2 kg) = 9.72 cups (2.29 liters) per day

70 lbs. (31.7 kg) = 11.34 cups (2.68 liters) per day

80 lbs. (36.2 kg) = 12.96 cups (3.06 liters) per day

This may seem like a lot of water and this is one of the reasons why owners often think that their Boxer is drinking too much when in fact, the puppy or dog is adequately hydrating himself.

Why a Boxer May Drink Huge Amounts of Water

1) It may actually be the right amount - The first thing to keep in mind is that looking at the above chart, an adult Boxer needs just about as much water as a typical adult human. It wasn't too long ago that we were told to drink 8 cups a day. That's changed now and the recommended amount is about 13 cups (3 liters) for a male and 9 cups (2.12 liters) for a female.

A 70 lb. (31.7 kg) Boxer needs around 11.34 cups (2.68 liters) per day and that's almost exactly the median amount for us, which is 11 cups (2.60 liters).

We must add to this the fact that a Boxer needs even more he's exercising, being more active than usual or is being walked on a hot day in the summer, etc. So, what may seem like a lot to us is in fact the perfect amount for our dogs.

The element that often makes us take a step back is when a Boxer is drinking water too fast, (which we'll hit on in a moment)

2) A health issue - If a Boxer begs for more water or makes attempts to drink from other sources such as puddles in the yard, etc. this can point to a medical condition. It is important to note that many of these health issues can strike puppies.

Owners often overlook these possible health concerns since there is a belief that only older dogs are at risk. However, excessive thirst (Polydipsia) on a continual basis despite being given an adequate amount often point to one of the following conditions:

Diabetes - Increased thirst is often the very first symptom. Others signs include: change in appetite, weight loss, fruity smelling breath, weakness, a thinning or dullness of the coat, and/or vomiting. Left untreated there may be UTI's, skin infections, eye problems including cataracts and blindness.  This disease strikes 1 in 500 dogs. This is not just a concern for older, senior Boxer dogs; puppies can develop this as well and it is often referred to as Juvenile diabetes mellitus.

Liver disease - Increased thirst for water is among the leading sings of liver disease. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, confusion, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, a yellowing of the eyes, weakness and/or blood in the urine. Left untreated there may be fluid buildup in the abdomen (Ascites) and/or seizures.

Kidney disease - Increased thirst is one of the first signs of problems with the kidneys. Other signs include change in urination (with an increase or decrease), urination at night, uncontrolled dibbling of urine, blood in the urine, decreased appetite, dulled coat, weakness, diarrhea and/or vomiting.

Left untreated, it will lead to kidney failure at which time there may be a buildup of waste products in the body that manifests as uremia (a distinct ammonia smell), mouth ulcers, severe weight loss, loss of muscle mass, anemia (a deficiency of red blood cells presenting as pale skin and weakness), dangerously high blood pressure, difficult breathing and /or seizures.

Cushing's disease - The most prominent signs of this in dogs is drinking excessively which leads to excessive urination and also incontinence issues; a Boxer may urinate at night in his bed or have trouble holding his bladder during the day. 

Over time, approximately 90% of all dogs with Cushing's will develop a pot-bellied appearance which is due to a redistribution of body fat coupled with a a breakdown of abdominal muscles, caused by hormone fluctuations. Left untreated, there may be hair loss, a darkening of the skin (most often seen on the underbelly) and/or skin infections.

Cancer - Many types of cancer can cause a dog to drink more water than normal, including adrenal and pancreatic cancer.

Stomach / Intestinal ailment - Any time that a Boxer is eating less than normal due to illness, the body may try to make up for this by drinking more. In addition, any sort of stomach ailment that causes vomiting and/or diarrhea will cause a puppy or dog to quickly become dehydrated. 

Some dogs need encouragement to hydrate - and may need a supplement such as Pedialyte, while others will actively seek out more water.

3) Too long of a period without adequate hydration - You might have taken your Boxer out with you to run errands or left the house for a walk without bringing water.  In any case, if a dog goes for too long of a period without water, he'll make up for it later by emptying his bowl super fast once he does have access. 

Why It's Bad for a Boxer to Drink Fast 

Many owners wonder if drinking too fast can cause a Boxer dog to get bloat and the answer is yes. There are actually 2 reasons why:

1) If a Boxer drinks too much and too fast right before or after eating a meal, this is thought to cause a dilution of gastric fluids. And this is one of the causes of bloat.

2) While most owners equate bloat with food, gulping down water too quickly means that air is swallowed which can cause bloat.

How to Help a Boxer Dog Drink Slower

Making sure that your Boxer drinks enough to stay properly hydrated but also drinks at a slow pace to prevent the life-threatening condition of bloat is vitally important. 

There are a few things that you can do:

1) When out for a walk or outdoors exercising, bring along a travel bowl and some fresh water. Take a break about halfway through the session to allow your Boxer to take a rest and have some water. This way, he won't be ultra thirsty when you bring him back inside. 

2) Don't use a raised bowl. For both food and water, the best bowls for a Boxer are those that are at floor level.

3) Use a bowl designed for slow consumption. Use the same type of slow-feeder bowl that you use for your Boxer's food for his water dish. We recommend a stainless steel , non-skid bottom bowl. While there are some decent plastic designs, plastic scratches too easily (which then allows possible bacteria to develop in the miniature cracks) and most are not heavy enough. 

Alternatively, you may wish to place a food-pacer ball into the water bowl which will work in the same way.

4) If you do not using one of the two methods above to force a Boxer to slow down how fast he's gulping his water, you will want to offer small amounts of water, allowing him to drink 1/2 a bowl at a time. However, using the right bowl is much easier and you won't have to supervise him.

Why Tap Water is Terrible for Your Boxer

What is actually in most tap water is shocking and it's amazing that it's legal. The federal law regarding tap water in the States is outrageous. Only 91 contaminants are regulated - and even many of those are allowed to be in the water at 'small' amounts. There are over 60 K contaminants that aren't regulated at all. 

Doctors and scientists agree on one thing: The elements in tap water can cause cancer and a wide range of disease and ailments even with minimal consumption.

If a Boxer dog is allowed to ingest tap water for weeks, months and years this will have a huge effect on his health and can even lead to disease that cuts his life span short. Many of the dangerous elements in water are deemed 'safe' because that label is given to one glass. 

The toxins are 'only' considered dangerous if ingested for years. Since you'll be giving water to your Boxer for over a decade, this can't be ignored.

We don't have much info regarding water in the UK and other European countries, however if it even comes close to what's in the US and Canada, you'll want to make some changes if you currently allow your Boxer puppy or dog to drink it.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency and Health Canada's Water Quality and Health Bureau tell the public exactly what we can expect our tap water to contain:

Fluoride - This is exceedingly toxic to dogs (and also proven to be unsafe for humans). Why is it bad? You may be surprised to know that this chemical that was originally used to kill rats causes tooth disease, bone loss and deformities, can lead to kidney disease, cause hormone problems and even lead to cognitive damage. 

Additionally, it is proven to cause Osteosarcoma which is the #1 cause of bone tumors in canines, developing in over 8000 dogs each year in the US.

Barium- This is a machined metal that comes from the erosion of natural deposits in the earth and is a discharge off metal refineries. This is shown to cause unsafe elevations in blood pressure.

Beryllium - This comes from many sources including metal and coal factories and aerospace, defense and electrical companies. It causes intestinal lesions with long term consumption.

Chlorite - Possible long-term health effects are anemia and central nervous problems. This is a by-product of water disinfectant.

Chloramines- This chemical is purposely added to tap water to control microbes. It can cause eye and nose irritations, stomach problems and anemia.

Antimony - This can increase bad cholesterol and decrease healthy levels of blood sugar. It comes from the discharge of petroleum refineries; fire retardants and electronics that cannot be fully filtered out.

Trichloroethane (1, 1,2) - This harmful chemical can lead to liver, kidney, or immune system problems. It is a waste product from the discharge of industrial chemical factories.

Note: Keep in mind that the above is a short sampling of what you can expect to be in every bowl of tap water that a dog drinks.
What to do - There are several options that will ensure that the water your Boxer dog drinks will be safe and only serve to be a part of a healthy diet.

1) Use a water filtering device that connects to your kitchen tap. These are relatively inexpensive and easy to attach. Once in place, you'll only need to replace the filters every other month or so.

2) Use a water filtering system that sits on your counter or in your fridge. These are large enough to provide clean water to your dog and the whole family. 

3) Use a filtering water pitcher that filters the water as you pour it out. 

4) For puppies, you may wish to simply purchase gallons of spring water (typically 50 cents per gallon in the US).  This option is usually not cost-effective for those with adult Boxers or households with more than one dog. 


It's important for owners to understand how water plays an important role in their Boxer's overall health and well-being. You'll want to make sure your dog is drinking enough, keep an eye on excessive drinking since it can point to a health issue and take steps so that the water your Boxer ingests has no negative effects on his health.
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