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Summer Care

Boxer Dog Summer Care

Warm Weather and Summer Safety Tips for Boxer Dogs

During the summer, there will need to be some adjustments in care of a Boxer puppy or dog.  

If you and your Boxer dog have been stuck in the house more than you'd like over a cold, snowy winter you're probably both itching to be spending more time outside. Most likely your Boxer will be more active in warm weather. 

Do you need to prepare your dog? Wondering if there's any summer safety tip for Boxer dogs? There definitely is. Primarily, there are 2 areas of concern: The heat and the elements that warm weather brings.

While we will touch on how the heat and sun can directly affect your Boxer dog, other factors to consider are how the warm weather causes other things to be in the environment. This ranges from insects to parasites to the element of standing water.  

So, let's gear up for summer to make sure our Boxers are super safe, super happy, and can enjoy the warmer season without having any issues. 

Summer Care Tip #1 - Be Aware of Your Boxer's Water Intake

Due to an increase in activity and a slight decrease in food, coupled with rising temperatures, your Boxer is going to need more water in the summer than during the cooler and colder months. 

In regard to the increased activity, this is not just one burst of running or an extra 10 minutes added to a walk. Even if a Boxer is not being given purposeful exercise in hot weather, just due to the nicer temps, there is typically more movement. 

The second issue that causes a Boxer dog to need more water is that in general dogs eat 20% less calories in the summer than compared to the winter. For most owners, this will not be exceedingly noticeable; most Boxers will not flat-out refuse to eat, it is more of a slight decrease spread out over the course of the entire day. This does however add up and since all food (even dry kibble) holds some water, this means he will need to drink that water instead of eating it.

The third factor is of course rising temperatures. As you probably know, canines sweat from the paws pads; but they also pant when it's hotter out. When panting, this not only allows moisture on the tongue to evaporate, heavy breathing draws moisture from the lining of the lungs and that moisture evaporates as well. And it needs to be replaced. 

So, the #1 tip for summer care for Boxers is to take note of how much your Boxer is drinking and to purposefully encourage more drinking if he/she is not hitting the mark. 

How much water a Boxer dog needs will be based on the weight of your dog. We are going to look at what is generally needed and then show the 10% increase that is expected due to the factors listed above. 

10 lbs. (4.53 kg) = 1.62 cups (.38 liters) per day. Summer time: up to 1.78 cups (.42 liters)

20 lbs. (9.07 kg) = 3.24 cups (.76 liters) per day. Summer time: 3.56 cups (.84 liters)

30 lbs. (13.6 kg) = 4.86 cups (1.14 liters) per day. Summer time max high end: 5.34 cups (1.26 liters) 

40 lbs. (18.1 kg) = 6.48 cups (1.53 liters) per day. Summer time max high end: 7.12 cups (1.68 liters)

50 lbs. (22.7 kg) = 8.1 cups (1.91 liters) per day. Summer time max high end 8.91 cups (2.1 liters)

60 lbs. (27.2 kg) = 9.72 cups (2.29 liters) per day. Summer time max high end: 10.6 cups (2.5 liters)

Your Boxer can be dehydrated without you knowing. Severe signs of dehydration are quite obvious: The gums become dry and sticky, saliva becomes thick, eyes are super sunken and there is severe weakness.

However, a Boxer dog can have minor dehydration, particularly in the summer that will cause: 

• Loss of elasticity in the skin - Skin may not be as tight as it normally is.
• Decreased appetite - While dogs do eat a bit less during hot months, if your Boxer is also not drinking enough, this can cause him to not want to eat and that will lead to weight loss.
• Lethargy - While not splayed out and dangerously unable to move as in severe cases, a slight dehydration may take away your Boxer dog's 'pep' and he just won't be his usually self.
• Depression - This may seem a little 'out there' but studies have proven this. Just a small 1.5 percent loss in normal water volume in the body can affect ability to concentrate and cause mood changes (this is true for both humans and canines).

The fix: Make a purposeful effort to 1) Take note of how much water your Boxer is drinking  2) If he/she is not drinking close to the amounts shown above, work to encourage your dog to drink more, and 3) do with by encouraging your Boxer to drink water all throughout the day; don't let your dog heat up and then gulp water... Fast water consumption is a trigger for killer bloat. 

To increase safe, all-day water consumption in the summer you can:
1) Offer filtered water. This should be done year-round, but we want to take this time to note that unfiltered tap water is horrible for both human and canine consumption. In the US, it can LEGALLY contain cancer causing agents and other contaminants that can cause all sorts of health issues including skin lesions, intestinal polyps, allergic dermatitis, stomach distress and much more. Just the legal limits of copper are proven to cause liver and kidney damage long-term.

How can this be? Because the laws say it is safe in small amounts and many people drink a lot of other things beside the water from their kitchen tap (if they dare do so at all). But your Boxer dog's only liquid to drink is water. And he'll be drinking even more in the summer. 

So, please connect a quality filter to your kitchen sink or use an effective water pitcher. The Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher is mad crazy; it filters out 2000% more contaminants then Brita, and even catches lead, fluoride (major issue for dogs), chromium 6 (you remember Erin Brockovich, well this cancer-causing agent is still in the water of over 200 million Americans), mercury, and chlorine. 
2) Bring water with you in a canine travel container whenever you leave the house with your Boxer dog. Take a break at the 1/2 point in your walk and let him drink. Bring some when you're out driving around and give him some when you park the car. Visiting friends with your Boxer? Bring his water. The H2O4K9 Bottle and Travel Bowl is a great one; it's stainless steel, holds 25 oz. and is super easy to use.

3) Have some fun with it and let your Boxer have a blast chasing his water! Make a bunch of flavored ice cube treats. You can use low-salt chicken or beef broth or juice; try apple, cranberry or orange ( make sure to get real juice and not the fake flavored kind).
4) If your Boxer's a bit stubborn about drinking water, many do better with canine water fountains; it makes it more tempting. If you're looking for a good one, Pioneer's Big Max Stainless Steel Fountain is pretty cool and works well. 

Summer Care Tip #2 - Help Keep your Boxer Cool

There's lots of ways to help your Boxer stay cool. In fact, if you had the right items technically your A/C could shut off and your Boxer dog could be okay (but you'd be in trouble). Here are some great products that will all work together to help:

1) A canine cooling mat - These are awesome. A cooling mat or gel pad sized for your Boxer offers a super 'chill' experience where your Boxer can just plop down and instantly feel good on a hot day. A quality one will stay cool for hours by drawing excess heat out of a dog's body, and many puppies and dogs find that 'ahhhh' relief that so many need in the summer time. 

2) A canine cooling bandanna or vest - These can help make it so you can walk your Boxer in the summer heat and spend a lot more time with him outside than you could otherwise.

3) Use window sun guards on your car - These work really well to keep the hot sun from glaring into a dog's eyes while you've got him in the car. These are particularly useful for Boxer puppies that aren't quite big enough to stick their heads halfway out the window and end up being bombarded with glaring rays when buckled into their car seat

4) If you'll be hanging outside in your yard for a barbecue or some summer yard work and your Boxer will be with you, set up a kid's pool for him. Don't get an inflatable one. Just a 'cheap' poly plastic pools (you know, the ones you can just grab at Walmart) will do just fine. Fill it up, throw in a few toys and many puppies and dogs are happy as clams.

Puppies, especially if they are with other dogs, will jump and play around and it's super fun to watch. Many older Boxers will flop down, happy to just sit in it… and it's common for an older dog to soak himself, get out, wait a bit and then repeat. 

5) A raised cot. The canine equivalent of a hammock of sorts, this type of dog bed keeps a Boxer up high with good air flow under him. Most dogs love this since they can lie down but still be a bit higher to see all the action. 
Our recommendations for cooling mats & raised cots are below. If you don't see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4. 

Summer Care Tip #3 - Protect your Boxer's Nose, Paws, and Skin

Your Boxer's nose - A dog's nose is super vulnerable to sun burn. After all, it's out there to get all the beating of the sun's ray with no protection… no extra fur to hang down and offer a bit of shading, nothing. And dogs can get sunburn on the nose even if the sun is behind clouds. Clouds block light, but only reduce - not block - UV rays. And oddly, some newer studies show that certain cloud patterns can enhance UV rays that reach the Earth. Crazy but true. 

Without nose protection, Boxers can get a slightly sunburned nose that will then be over-dry and prone to peeling with continued exposure to the sun throughout the summer. And you'll want to prevent this before the nose starts peeling or cracking, since it’s a lot easier to avoid this than treat it. 

The Fix - No need to do anything if it's a day that you'll be off at work and your Boxer will be inside. But on weekends and any days that you'll be in and out of the house with your dog, use a quality nose balm. 

That's it. 

Just dab a good nose butter or balm on the nose. If you know you'll be out with your Boxer for more than 30 minutes on a warm to hot sunny day, apply this 20 minutes before heading out. Since these come in either small tubes similar to a Chapstick or in a small round tin, it's easy to bring along with you; so if you'll be out with your Boxer for several hours or most of the day, bring it along with you and reapply every 2 hours. 

Our recommended nose balm (see below) is also great for fixing an already dry or cracked nose. 

Paws - Don't make the mistake of thinking your dog's paws are invincible.Any surface other than grass can burn your Boxer's paws. The pads can dry out and get itchy and/or peel. Or these can be injury to the skin layers.

Many owners don't head out to walk their dog while barefoot and just don't realize how hot the ground surfaces can be. Cement, asphalt, sand… it can all heat up quick and radiate heat out. Studies have been done on this (you didn't think we wouldn't back this up, right?) 

The most common walking surfaces (sidewalks and neighborhood pavements) are made of an asphalt and concrete mixture. This has been shown to heat up to as much as 122 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the air temperature. This does depend on how long the sun has been beating down on it and if there is any shade, etc. The time of day matters as well, since it has been shown to be hottest at noon.  
Boxer dog in swimming pool
Stella, 5 years old
Photo courtesy of Mr. Kendall Foy
According to Mark Beerenstrauch, D.V.M., who attended Kansas State University School of Veterinary Medicine and has been working for a decade as a Las Vegas veterinarian, the following are summer care facts regarding temperatures that all owners should know for their dogs:

A sunny 85 degree day (29.4 C) can cause asphalt temperatures to reach as high as 140 degrees (60 C). How hot is this? An egg can fry in 5 minutes at 131 degrees (55 C). At 125 F (51.6 C), paw skin thermal burn can occur in as little as 60 seconds.

So, while you don't want to baby your Boxer and walking on different surfaces is actually GREAT (sand, rock, gravel, cement, etc.) since this helps a Boxer's paws toughen up; you do need to take care to avoid hot surfaces... this does NOT toughen up paws and paws with even 1st degree burns will make it uncomfortable for the dog to walk anywhere...and open up a host of possible other issues including peeling and cracking. 

The fix:1) Test the pavement before heading out. Since you can't really stick a thermometer in the road, carefully press your hand onto the surface for a count of 8 (if possible without injury). 

If it feels too hot to you, it's too hot for your Boxer dog without protection. And be careful when you do this, because it may be so hot that if you don't pull your hand away, you can get a burn within literally one second. 
This doesn't mean you can't walk your Boxer on a hot day or if the sidewalks are hot, it just means you have to protect the paws.

2) Use a quality paw wax. The other option is dog shoes, but 1, many dogs don't do well with these especially if they aren't used to wearing them and 2, many owners balk at the idea…'He's a Boxer, he doesn't need shoes!' So, no worries; just use the wax. Just be sure to use a good one that gives a semi-permeable shield that is absorbed into the paws, allowing perspiration to escape through the toes. (As a side note, this is also really good for winter care to protect against ice melt chemical and other wintertime elements).  

A good product will only need to be applied about 2 or 3 times a week and absorb quickly so that it's easy to use. You just smear it on and when you see that's into not all slippery on your hands, that means it's well coated on the your Boxer's paws. 

3) On super-hot days, try to stick to shaded areas and/or grassy areas. 
Your Boxer's body- Different breeds are more or less prone to sunburn. The Boxer is among the top 6 breeds more prone to sunburn and resulting skin cancer that can develop from years of exposure. The other 5 breeds are Pit bulls, Dalmatians, Weineramers, Greyhounds, and the Chinese Crested Dog.

White Boxers or those with flash will sunburn quicker; but even dark Boxers should be protected. On the main body, you might not even realize there's an issue of over-exposure or a burn since this is happening under the fur. But, there'll be discomfort and then itching and, possible poor coat health. 

The stomach is a vulnerable area, dogs don't need to lie up facing the sun to get a burn here. Sun can reflect up from ground surfaces and from water. Again, to help prevent sun burns and possible sun cancer, protection is key. 

The Fix - There's two great methods to protect your Boxer's skin: 

Leave-in coat spray with sunscreen. This is good for fawn or brindle Boxers and is an effective method for normal duration spent outside. 

Canine sun block. This is the best choice for white Boxers or those that are very flashing. And this is what you'll want to use if your Boxer will be spending a good portion of a summer day outside. This can go both on the coat and on the belly skin. 
Below are our top recommendations for summer sun protection:. Nose balm, paw wax, a leave-in coat spray, and the only FDA compliant sunscreen for pets (it's the equivalent of 30 to 40 SPF). 

If you don't see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4. 

Other Summer Care Tips for Boxers

While we covered the most important care tips, there are a few more to go over. Some of these are just common sense, but it the spirit of always giving you the best info possible, we're going to list them. While some may seem to be a 'given', there are some added details here that we think you should consider. 

1. Don't leave your Boxer in the car. It doesn't matter if it's 'just for a minute' or if the windows are down. Just don't do it. 

2. Don't let your Boxer near the barbecue or outside campfires. Again, common sense. But it should be noted that some dogs are tempted by sticks that may be lobbed into outdoor fire pits…and while you'd think that they would fear the fire, the temptation of chasing after a stick that was thrown can trigger an automated response. 

So, while your intention may be to stoke the flames, a dog may not know that and end up with serious injury. 
3. Don't leave your Boxer dog outside alone in the heat for a long time. Again, this is a given. But one thing to keep in mind is that an owner's intention may be to let a Boxer run around a bit in an enclosed yard for say 20 or 30 minutes…

But what if an emergency comes up… or some other issue prevents you from letting him in on time. The sun moves higher in the sky, the temps rise, he's without water… yeah, this could turn bad.  
4. Keep up on flea and tick prevention. Pesky ticks and fleas are at their peak during the summer months in many areas. If you don't feel completely at ease with what your using on your Boxer, reassess and choose a product you feel comfortable with (see next point below for recommendations). 
5. Use a safe mosquito repellent on your Boxer dog so he doesn't get swarmed and bit. Look for a natural, safe product with lavender, cedarwood, and rosewood.

Recommended insect repellent: First, check the heartworm prevention that you're giving to your Boxer; most also repel fleas.

But, then there's still ticks and mosquitoes to worry about. Since many products have high chemical counts, you may want to consider using a no-chemical, all-natural repellent. 

A good one is Curealia's Natural Insect Repellent for Dogs; this works to repel all 3 summer pests: Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes and is 100% all natural. It's a balm that you massage between your palms for it to melt, then you apply it to your Boxer's neck and upper back. Normally, it needs to be reapplied every 2 weeks or so.

6. If your Boxer has been in salt water or a pool with chloride, be sure to rinse the coat off well. If not, there can be skin and coat drying issues to contend with. 

7. Boxers can be pretty good swimmers, but they can tire out quickly too. A dog can find himself out too far without enough steam to get back. If out boating or in deep water, be smart and place a quality life vest on your Boxer.This way he can have tons of fun cooling off and you don't have to worry about issues.  
Boxer dog on boat in summer
Oliver, 14 months old
Photo courtesy of The Wood Family
8. Dogs get stung by bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets as much as humans do. While the fur offers some protection, it's not uncommon for these insects to sting a dog on his underbelly, paws, or even his face. There's a few things to know… 

1) A hive can be anywhere… the cracks in a home's outside exterior, that bush right near where your dog goes to the bathroom, underneath storage sheds… really anywhere and it can be on or close to the house.  

2) Bees and other stinging summer time insects often attack due to a loud noise and according to Dr. Heather Connally, a board-certified vet in emergency and critical care and co-owner of the Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson, a dog's bark can set off a hive. 

3) The best way to stop an attack is to run. Most humans and dogs can outrun bees (even Africanized bees) if they are able to run (i.e. the dog is not tied up - and by the way, we've just learned that jumping into water does zero good, since swarms will usually wait for you - scary but true and good to know!). 
So, you'll if your Boxer dog is getting swarmed, grab his leash and run with him….personally, we'd recommend running around the house and then running inside so you don't bring the bees indoors with you.

4) A dog can have a reaction and get welts from just one sting; and also a reaction may not happen right away, it can happen as long as 45 minutes afterward. A dog may need antihistamines, steroids or even epinephrine if he's having a really bad reaction. So, if your Boxer gets stung multiple times, keep a super close eye on him and better is to just be proactive and bring him to the vet.

5) The best way to remove stingers is to scrape it out with a credit card. Don't try to pull it out with a tweezers, because that can release venom into the bloodstream.

Summary

When we started writing this for you, we thought it'd be a quick summer care reference with info most owners know but just needed a little reminder. As we dug deeper, we realized we typed half the day and that there really is a good amount of care tips that all come together to keep our Boxers happy, safe and healthy. 

Don't feel overwhelmed, but do please jot down the bullet points and take care of each one. Before you know it, you'll be all set for an awesome summer season with your awesome Boxer! 
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