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Help Boxer Live Long Life

How to Help a Boxer Dog Live a Long Life

Overview

Though this breed's typical life span is short in comparison to some other breeds, there are steps you can take to help your Boxer dog live as long of a life as possible. Though luck does play a role, with excellent care, a Boxer can live well into his teens as proven in the oldest living Boxer dogs section. 

Choices you make each day affect both his short term and importantly long term health. 

We encourage owners to assess if they are taking all steps possible to prevent issues, avoid problems, catch conditions early and take purposeful actions that will lead to longevity. 

In this section, you will be able to:

1) Take a quiz to see how you score in regard to helping your Boxer dog live as long of a life as possible.

2) Read an overview of why each care item or action contributes to your dog's potential to live a long life.

3) Have a look at some recommended essentials for optimal health and happiness. 
Take a quiz to gauge if you're taking all steps necessary to help your Boxer live into his/her teens
Why the elements in the quiz affect a Boxer's potential to a long life:
While there are some things that you just can't prevent and just one or two 'healthy choices' may not make much of a difference, if you do most or all of the following, it will certainly play a large role in how long your Boxer lives and will help him/her be with you as long as possible.

We'll cover the elements that were in the quiz above:

Exercise. Ensuring that your Boxer receives the appropriate amount of exercise is vital for good health. Take care with Boxers under 18 months; too much exertion can affect growth plates. For adults, you want to get your Boxer to a level of having good muscle mass and optimal stamina so that he has an excellent foundation taking him into the senior years. 

Two walks per day should be routine. Some sessions of cardio play such as fetch is awesome as well. For seniors, expect a gradual decline in both pace and duration, but don't stop walks entirely until you simply must. 

The timing of when your Boxer engages in activity matters as well. Bloat, which is a serious and sometimes fatal condition has several causes; one element that greatly increases the risk is exercise within 1 to 2 hours of eating. For casual walks, we recommend waiting 1 hour. For moderate to heavy exercise, wait 2 hours after your Boxer is done eating.
Bowls - Another element that is related to bloat, as mentioned above, is if a dog ingests food from a raised bowl (this is one of the top 5 risk factors). Always use a floor level bowl. 

If your Boxer is a fast eater (this is also one of the top 5 risk factors of bloat), use a slow-feeder bowl or place a portion pacer inside the current bowl. 

We recommend stainless steel or ceramic; do not use plastic. Plastic can cause an allergic reaction, can tip and too easily gets scratches and nicks which harbor bacteria. 
Water - By far, this is one of the most important elements to helping a Boxer live a long life. And it is far too often overlooked. Tap water in most cities and town across the U.S. and in other countries is filled with carcinogens and toxins. 

CNN reports that  the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a study showing 218 million Americans have tap water that contains chromium-6 or hexavalent chromium, a proven cancer causing agent. Shocking? Perhaps, but it's really not new. For decades, it has been known that hundreds of toxins are in our water and they are legally allowed to be there.

Using a filtering device on your kitchen tap is the best way to help your Boxer live as long as possible. Other alternatives are a canine water fountain; though these are great for encouraging proper water intake, most have charcoal filters which do not filter out as much.
Dental care - This is a vital element as well. 24/7, around the clock, there is plaque constantly being produced. It eats away at tooth enamel. If it is allowed to build up, it hardens into tartar. It can travel under the gum line. This can lead to gingivitis, tooth decay (that can lead to tooth loss) and infection, which in some cases, can travel to other areas of the body.

Taking your Boxer to vet visits for professional cleanings, cleaning your dog's teeth at home and offering quality effective dental treats are all steps that you can take to help prevent dental issues that can eventually lead to quite serious issues. 
Vet visits - Wellness checks are important. Adult Boxers should be seen 1 time per year and seniors should be seen twice per year. This will involve a complete exam to check a dog's current health and screen for common issues. Catching conditions early brings about the best chance for a good prognosis and fast, effective treatment. 
Body checks and sunscreen - Since cancer cuts so many Boxer's lives short as the #1 cause of death for this breed, routinely checking for lumps will help catch issues early and for those with white areas, using sunscreen as part of your summer care routine will help prevent some types of skin cancer.
Car safety - Having a dog unrestrained is dangerous for both owner and dog. An interesting pet passenger survey by AAA & Kurgo, shows that 29% of owners get distracted by their dog while in the car, which AAA reports double one's chances of being in an accident.

In addition, the risk of injury or death is quite high. In a crash of just 30 mph, an unrestrained 80 lb. dog is thrown with the force of a 2400 lb. object. 
You wouldn't have your child unbuckled in the car and you'd be pretty upset if your teenager drove around without a seat belt on, so please care enough to keep your Boxer safely buckled in
Weight - Excessive weight puts a strain on the entire body. It's unhealthy for the heart and puts stress on joints. Long term effects can include exercise intolerance which leads to muscle loss, breathing problems, high blood pressure, canine diabetes, liver dysfunction and osteoarthritis. 

Carefully choose a high quality food, set an eating schedule, do not feed table scraps and keep up with daily exercise. 
Stress - Chaotic households that cause a dog to feel stressed can affect the dog in a number of ways. Stress will affect the dog's quality of life and in terms of long term issues, it can increase the risk of everything from diabetes to gastrointestinal problems.
Type of food - No doubt, a dog's diet will affect both his current health and his health in the future. Such elements as chemical preservatives, coloring and flavoring can cause allergic reactions that lead to itchiness (chewing at the paws, skin rash, poor coat, etc.).  There is concern that some preservatives are linked to liver issues and to cancer. Included in this is ethoxyquin, to which the EPA answers "potential cancer risk is below the Agency’s level of concern.” 

That's not too comforting to hear that cancer causing agents are there but not at high doses. Of additional concern are the artificial preservatives BHA and BHT which are considered to be carcinogens by the National Institutes of Health.

Finally, poor nutrition is connected to increased risk of tooth decay, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. 

It is also risky to offer treats that can cause possible blockage; raw hides are notorious for this dangerous and sometimes fatal issue. So, always feed your Boxer a 5-star food and choose all-natural, healthy snacks. 
Hazards - Never underestimate what a Boxer dog can mouth and accidentally swallow.  Dogs do not mouth non-food items to eat them; it's done out of curiosity and/or boredom, so nothing is off limits. This can lead to choking and quite possibly internal blockage that can be fatal. 

Additionally, the use of aerosol sprays such as air fresheners and cleaning products can produce a type of indoor air pollution. There are some known toxins in many of these products including formaldehyde, camphor, ethanol and phenol and some of these sorts of sprays contain known carcinogens. You'll want to avoid using these directly near your Boxer or overusing them in the house. 

In regard to lawn care chemicals, the majority are toxic to canines. These can be ingested if the Boxer chews at grass or a dog can be exposed simply walking over the area. 
Our Top Recommendations for Boxer Care Essentials
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