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Health (Daily & Breed Specific)

Boxer Dog Health Problems


All dog breeds are susceptible to certain illness and health conditions. While a Boxer may be susceptible to certain ailments, this does not mean that your dog is doomed to have all of them. We will go over the most common health concerns with this breed and also steps that you can take to keep your Boxer healthy.


It is not uncommon for a Boxer to have problems with acne.  Most cases will appear when the dog is in the stage of puberty and may pimples may be a chronic issue during this time.  If proper care is not taken, it can develop into a more serious health issue of infection.  In addition, aside from the aesthetic element, scarring may occur.  Read more about Boxer dog Acne.

Aortic Stenosis - (Heart Condition)

This is a canine issue that affects the dog's heart. The Boxer breed is more prone to this than some other dog breeds. 

Mild cases are sometimes not noticed and the dog will live a normal life. However, this is inherited and once passed down to Boxer puppies, those pups may have more severe cases. 

Therefore, the detection of this Boxer health issue is important. 

For dogs that do have a severe form of Aortic Stenosis, this can be very serious. 

More about Aortic Stenosis


Many of us have heard the words arthritis and osteoarthritis so many times that we begin to think of this as a normal and accepted part of getting older for our dogs. However, even young dogs can have this health issue.

While it is true that as a dog ages, the chances of arthritis increases, your dog does not need to live in pain! There are many types of treatment for this and ways for you to make your dog more comfortable. A Boxer dog owner should be aware of the signs, diagnosis methods and treatments for this health issue, to help their Boxer dog live a happy and healthy life for as long as possible.

Bloat - Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) 

This is a very serious Boxer dog health problem...And can be avoided in many cases. If the signs of canine bloat are not noticed and treatment is not given...a dog could succumb to this in as little as an hour. 

Bloat can happen to a Boxer dog of any age. Thankfully, the chances of getting this are greatly reduced when an owner understands how to prevent it.

More about Boxer Dog Bloat 


Cancer is the #1 reason serious health issue for Boxer dogs. While cancer strikes dogs of all breeds, an owner should take time to keep an eye out for early symptoms. As with humans, catching this early greatly increases the odds of survival. Boxers dogs are particularly prone to the development of mast cell tumors, lymphoma and brain tumors. 

White Boxers, and colored Boxers with white markings should be protected from the sun, as they are vulnerable to develop skin cancer if sunburns occur.

More about Boxer Dog Cancer

Cardiomyopathy (Heart Condition)

Boxer cardiomyopathy is a very complicated Boxer health condition. Studies are still underway to understand more about this issue. Currently it is known that cardiomyopathy causes the heart of the dog to beat too quickly or unsteadily. 

This can happen at random intervals and hard to detect unless you know what symptoms to look for. If the uneven beats happen in too great of a sequence, the dog may weaken to the point of unconsciousness, coma or worse.

Degenerative Myelopathy

While this is not common, the Boxer is among the top 3 breeds to develop this. Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive, incurable disease of the spinal cord. It is not painful. However, it is quite serious.

It starts with weakness in the rear legs, resulting in paralysis. Then, unfortunately, progresses to the front legs. 

Ear Mites

This can be quite a problem for dogs, ears mites are extremely contagious and will quickly jump from dog to dog or cat to dog. When a Boxer has ear mites, this can cause quite a bit of discomfort for the dog and you will want recognize the symptoms so that treatment can begin as soon as possible.

Ear Infections

The Boxer dog may develop a common ear infection or have frustrating reoccuring infections. This can be caused by a wide variety of bacteria, allergies or foreign elements. There is help for all types. Learn about symptoms, treatment and prevention.

Eye Diseases

The Boxer breed is prone to eye problems; most likely due to their facial structure. Cherry Eye, Corneal Dystrophy and Uveitis are some of the most common eye health issues with this dog breed.


Sadly, many owners believe that Heartworms only strike unclean dogs or those that are not loved and taken care of. However, this is a widespread very serious canine disease. Worms from 6 to 14 inches (15-35 cm) long grow and burrow into a dog's heart. They multiply; up to 300 worms can live in a dog's heart and arteries. It is vital for dog owners to understand prevention and treatment.

More about Boxer Dog Worms

Hip Dysplasia

This is a Boxer dog health issue where there is a malformation of the dog’s hip joint(s), which then often leads to Osteoarthritis. The Boxer dog, among other dog breeds, is prone to this health condition. Passed on genetically, this type of canine disease is progressive – meaning that it will worsen as time goes by.

Histiocytic Ulcerative Colitis (HUC) – A Disease of the Colon

This particular canine disease hits the Boxer breed more than any other dog breed in the world. It causes ulcers in the lining of the dog’s large intestine. This, in turn, causes the dog to have diarrhea and/or blood in the bowel movements.

Intervertebral Disk Disease – A Canine Back Problem

Intervertebral disk (IVD) disease in canines can be quite serious. It may cause loss of motor function, loss of coordination and in sadly, in some cases, paralysis. While more common among certain breeds, a dog of any breed may develop this.

Pyloric Stenosis – A Stomach Disease

This is a stomach condition - not to be confused with bloat - and there is no clear understanding of why this is seen in some dog breeds but not others.The Boxer and the Boston Terrier are both prone to this. (Both dog breeds do have similar bone structure of their heads) and it is also seen among some small breed dogs. 

Pyloric Stenosis is when the muscles around the stomach’s exit become very thick. With vomiting and bloating occurring, it is important to have this treated. There may be rapid weight loss due to the symptoms.

The time span between eating and vomiting is what will distinguish 'regular' vomiting from this stomach disease. Normally, when a dog eats, the food is gone from the dog’s stomach about 8 hours later. While a dog may vomit right after eating when having this health problem, he or she will also vomit up to 24 hour later…when there would usually be no food left in the stomach. This points to the food being “stuck” in the stomach because of the thickened muscles.

With this Boxer dog stomach problem, the vomit will usually contain large pieces of undigested food.

It is diagnosed by carefully documenting when the dog eats and when the dog vomits. Barium studies with X-rays may show the narrowed stomach outflow.

In mild cases, the vomiting does not happen often and a dog can live a normal life without treatment. In severe cases, treatment must be given right away; if not, the dog can succumb to this canine disease.

Medication will be given to help the dog’s stomach muscle rest and loosen. Surgery may be needed in some cases. The tightened muscle is removed or the exit area of the dog’s stomach is widened. Thankfully, the majority of surgeries are very successful.

Red Mange / Demodectic Mange – Skin Disease

A mite, called the Demodex lives on the skin of all dogs. When puppies are born, these are passed on to them from dam to pups. For healthy Boxer dogs, this does not cause any concern and the dog will not have any health issues. However, when a Boxer’s immune system is a bit down, this can cause severe health problems. 

The Mange can then appear as patches on the dog’s skin. 90% of the time, the dog’s body will fight this off on its own. In 10% of the cases, this will develop into something much more serious.

Thyroid Problems – Hypothyroidism

Problems with a Boxer dog’s thyroid gland can cause an alarming array of canine health issues. When a dog’s thyroid malfunctions, it can cause problems that range from epilepsy to skin conditions. The Boxer breed is prone to having this issue and without treatment this can greatly affect the dog’s quality of life.


A dog can get seizures, just like a human. There are different types such as the Tonic-clonic, Petit Mal or Status Epilepticus. A dog will often show strange symptoms such as repeated behavior (as if a movie is looping over and over again), drooling, staring into space, confusion, falling down, stiff limbs or unconsciousness.

Learn about the different types of canine seizures, the symptoms of each and what to do if this happens.

Keeping Your Boxer Healthy 

To keep your Boxer healthy and allow your dog to reach his/her expected life span:
  • Follow proper feeding guidelines. Never allow your dog to eat your food. Do not overfeed. 
  • Give your Boxer plenty of exercise: walking, running and playing. Do not exercise him or her right after they have eaten.
  • Be sure to keep up with grooming. Dental disease can kill. Daily brushing must be done, as well as professional cleanings. Infections in the ears and on the face can be prevented with cleanings. 
  • Offer your dog a safe, clean and calm environment. Stress can cause disease in dogs. Your Boxer should have a great family environment, plenty of interaction with humans and a warm and dry place to rest and sleep. Never allow your dog to overheat by being left outside in hot weather. 
  • Make sure your Boxer is always up-to-date with vaccinations and preventative Heart worm medication. 
  • Bring your Boxer for regular checkups to catch any problems early. Whenever your dog behaves outside of their regular pattern, such as not wanting to be touched, sleeping or resting excessively, not eating as usual, etc; bring him or her to the veterinarian. 
You may also be interested in:
Boxer dog dry noses - Why the nose can dry out, how to treat and prevent this. 
Boxer dog head shaking tremors - Reasons why this can occur. 
Boxer dog bad breath - Pinpointing the reasons for this common yet troubling issue. 
How to help a Boxer dog live a long life - Includes a quiz and summary of 14 points of care items and actions. 
How to stop Boxer dog from snoring - While some light snoring is normal (and can be helped) for this brachycephalic breed, loud chronic snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea, nasal obstruction or other condition. 
Boxer dog skin problems - From acne to dry skin, causes and treatments.
Related: World's Oldest Boxer Dog - While this breed lives 8 to 12 years, giving him a relatively short life span compared to many other breeds, some do reach into the teens. 
Top 10 Boxer Dog Care Tips - Follow these tips for optimal health and happiness. 
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