10 Best (Healthiest) Dog Foods for Boxers in 2019

Originally developed as a guard dog, the Boxer is actually one of the sweetest, goofiest dog breeds you’ll ever come across. These dogs are known for their muscular bodies, friendly personalities, and people-oriented temperament. They make great family pets as well because they are patient and gentle with children of all ages.

Boxers weigh an average of 50 to 70 pounds at maturity, making them a large breed. As such, they require a diet rich in protein to maintain lean mass with moderate fat and calorie content to meet their high energy requirements without causing unhealthy weight gain. The breed is generally fairly healthy but providing your dog with a balanced diet is essential for long-term health.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the Boxer breed and explore some of its unique nutritional needs. We’ll also provide some tips for choosing the best food for Boxers and give you our top 10 picks.

What Do You Need to Know About Boxers?

The Boxer is by no means a small dog, and his muscular build makes him look a little bit intimidating. From the moment you first interact with a Boxer, however, it should become clear that these dogs are nothing if not lovable goofs. They have a great deal of energy, but they are very friendly and highly affectionate with family, including children. They may not be the best with other dogs or cats, but early training and socialization can help.

You should also know that the Boxer breed was originally developed as a working breed in Germany, bred from the Bulldog, Bull Terrier, and Dogue de Bordeaux, among others. This means that he has a lot of muscle and strength as well as natural protective instincts. Boxers are strong and fearless, making them excellent watch dogs, but they are not aggressive toward people unless forced to be. You should, however, keep an eye on your Boxer around other dogs, just to be safe.

Many people don’t realize that the Boxer is a great choice for dog sports. These dogs are fast, athletic, and very smart, so they have a high capacity to learn and perform tasks. Boxers excel in sports like agility and herding, but they can also be trained to do tricks. The thing to remember with this breed is that consistent training is necessary. These dogs are smart and trainable, but they can develop a stubborn streak, so they need an owner who will be firm and consistent in keeping the dog’s energy and goofy personality under control when needed.

Do They Have Any Special Dietary Needs?

The most important thing you need to remember about the Boxer in terms of dietary needs is that these dogs are very prone to unhealthy weight gain. Boxers are very active dogs, so they have a lot of energy, but that also means their needs for exercise are very high. Without adequate exercise to work off that energy, your Boxer may develop destructive tendencies, and lack of exercise can also contribute to unhealthy weight gain. A diet high in protein to support lean muscle mass is essential with limited fat and calorie content to control body weight.

On top of obesity, the Boxer is prone to a few other health issues. Here are some of the other health problems to which the breed is prone:

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Aortic/subaortic stenosis
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Allergies
  • Skin problems
  • Cancer
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Corneal dystrophy
  • Demodectic mange

In addition to these health problems, Boxers are also highly prone to bloat. This is a condition that affects most large breeds, but it is even more common in Boxers because they are so deep-chested. Bloat is a condition in which the stomach fills with air and twists on the axis, cutting off blood flow. The best way to prevent it is to keep your Boxer from eating too fast or eating too much at once. Many Boxer owners use slow-feed bowls to keep their Boxers safe at mealtime.

The other health problem with dietary implications is allergies. Boxers can develop allergies to environmental allergens like mold and dust as well as foods. The most common food allergens for dogs are common proteins like beef, chicken, fish, and pork as well as dairy products, wheat, and corn. Many  Boxer owners choose to feed their dogs limited ingredient diets to reduce the risk of triggering an allergy, or you can simply perform a food trial to identify the allergy and then choose a dog food formula that doesn’t contain that ingredient.

What to Look for in a Good Boxer Dog Food

As a large-breed dog, your Boxer requires a diet high in protein to help build and maintain lean muscle mass. Boxers have a fairly high energy level, so they may require more calories and fat than the average large-breed dog, but it is important to keep an eye on your dog’s weight to make sure he isn’t gaining too much. He also needs essential vitamins and minerals as well as beneficial supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support.

Here are some things to look for in a good Boxer dog food:

  • Large-breed specific. Whether your Boxer is a puppy or an adult dog, start with a large-breed formula. Large-breed puppies need to be kept on a steady diet to prevent them from growing too quickly, increasing their risk for musculoskeletal issues later in life. Large-breed adults need plenty of protein with low-to-moderate fat and calorie content depending on the activity level.
  • High in animal protein. High-quality animal protein should be the first ingredient in your dog’s diet. Animal proteins are more biologically valuable than plant proteins, and they are complete proteins, meaning that they contain all the essential amino acids your dog needs.
  • Moderate fat and calories. Fat provides your dog with a concentrated source of energy in the form of calories and, ideally, it should come mostly from animal sources like chicken fat and salmon oil. Plant fats can be used to balance the omega-3 and omega-6 content of the food.
  • Digestible carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide your Boxer with additional energy as well as fiber and essential nutrients. Make sure they come from digestible sources like whole grains or, if your dog is allergic, grain-free options like sweet potatoes and tapioca starch.
  • Complete and balanced nutrition. Your dog’s food should be complete and nutritionally balanced according to AAFCO nutrient profiles, so check the label before you buy.
  • Beneficial supplements. In addition to meeting your dog’s basic nutrient requirements, his food should contain beneficial supplements like probiotics for healthy digestion as well as glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health.

Now that you know more about your Boxer’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start shopping for the best food for Boxer dogs. Keep reading to see our top 10 picks.

The 10 Best Boxer Dog Foods

When shopping for Boxer food, the best place to start is with a large-breed formula specific to your dog’s life stage. From there, make sure it provides plenty of high-quality animal protein with moderate fat and calorie content. If your dog has a sensitive stomach or food allergies, consider a recipe made with a limited number of ingredients or a novel source of protein and carbohydrate.

Here’s our top pick for the best Boxer dog food:

NomNomNow Fresh Food Delivery Service

Overall Best Boxer Dog Food: When it comes to high-quality nutrition for dogs in all life stages, fresh food is near the top of the totem pole. While a raw food diet might be closest to your dog’s natural evolutionary diet, the cost and hassle can be prohibitive for many dog owners, making fresh food like this a great alternative. NomNomNow is a fresh pet food company that delivers pre-portioned packages of fresh dog food right to your door. Choose from several recipes made with premium-quality animal proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables, designed to deliver a powerful punch of balanced nutrition for your dog. By providing basic information about your dog’s breed, age, and weight, you can customize his calorie intake and each bag of food will contain exactly the amount your dog should eat each day.

  • Pros: Fresh food delivered to your door, pre-portioned according to dog’s needs, choose from several recipes, real animal protein first ingredient, fresh fruits and vegetables, complete and balanced
  • Cons:  More expensive than most dry foods

Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Grain-Free Dry Food

Most Popular Boxer Dog Food: When you can’t decide what to feed your dog, you can always choose a recipe from a popular brand like Taste of the Wild. This brand utilizes premium animal proteins in all of their recipes as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, probiotic supplements, and chelated minerals. For your Boxer, we’d recommend Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Dog Food. To features a single source of animal protein (lamb) to reduce the risk for triggering an allergic reaction with sweet potatoes as the primary carbohydrate. It is a grain-free recipe, however, so keep that in mind. It contains 25% protein with 15% fat and 338 calories per cup, making it an ideal ratio of essential nutrients and calories for a large breed. It also contains a fairly limited number of ingredients to further reduce the risk of triggering a food allergy.

  • Pros: Single source of animal protein, sweet potato main carbohydrate, moderate fat and calories, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, probiotics for healthy digestion
  • Cons:  First source of fat is plant-based (canola oil), grain-free recipe that contains lentils

American Journey Large Breed Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe

Most Affordable Boxer Dog Food: You don’t necessarily need to spend a small fortune to feed your Boxer well and this American Journey Large Breed Salmon & Sweet Potato recipe is proof of that. This formula is designed specifically for large breeds, so you can rest easy knowing that it will help support your dog’s lean muscle mass without going overboard on fat or calories. It also contains joint-supporting glucosamine and chondroitin in addition to other beneficial supplements. This recipe features fresh salmon as the main ingredient with turkey meal and menhaden fish meal for supplemental protein. It contains fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients, with grain-free carbohydrates like peas, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes. Overall, it provides a full 30% protein with just 12% fat and 365 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Real salmon first ingredient, high in protein (30%), formulated for large breeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, digestible carbohydrates, glucosamine and chondroitin, chelated minerals, probiotics
  • Cons:  Contains some legumes (peas and chickpeas), first source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)

Holistic Select Lamb Meal & Oatmeal Large & Giant Breed Puppy Recipe

Best Boxer Dog Food for Puppies: If you’re wondering what is the best food to feed a boxer puppy, our top pick is Holistic Select Lamb Meal & Oatmeal Large & Giant Breed Puppy Recipe. This formula is designed to support your puppy’s healthy growth and development with high levels of premium animal protein and moderate levels of fat and calories. It is made with digestible whole-grain carbohydrates like oatmeal and brown rice, with fresh fruits and vegetables as added sources of fiber as well as essential nutrients. This formula contains a blend of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, plus probiotic supplements to ensure healthy digestion. It contains chelated minerals and vitamins for complete and balanced nutrition, and also contains plenty of fiber and probiotics for digestibility. Overall, this recipe provides 25% protein with 16% fat and 388 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Formulated for large-breed puppies, rich in animal protein, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, probiotics, highly digestible
  • Cons:  Not a gluten-free recipe, some puppies may be sensitive to lamb or chicken

Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Low Fat/Low Calorie with Fresh Caught Alaskan Pollock Recipe

Best Dog Food for Senior Boxers: As your Boxer gets older, his metabolism may slow down and his risk for obesity increases. He’ll need a diet rich in protein with limited fat and calories to maintain a healthy body weight. Our top pick for the best dog food for senior boxers is Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Low Fat/Low Calorie with Fresh Caught Alaskan Pollock Recipe. This formula may not be specifically designed for large breeds, but it is formulated for weight control, so it is rich in protein (26%) with low fat (6.5%) and calorie content (330 kcal/cup). It features real Alaskan pollock as the main ingredient with digestible whole-grain carbohydrates like oatmeal and brown rice. It is supplemented with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients with vitamins and chelated minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition. You’ll also be glad to know that it is rich in omega fatty acids and contains probiotics.

  • Pros: Formulated for weight control, high in lean animal protein, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, probiotics, complete and balanced nutrition
  • Cons:  May be too high in fiber for some dogs (9%), not a gluten-free recipe

Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Large-Breed Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe

Best Dog Food for Boxers with Sensitive Stomach: Though food allergies are less common than dog food companies would have you believe, they do happen. If you’re wondering about the best dog food for boxers with sensitive stomach, our top pick is Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Large-Breed Lamb & Sweet Potato dog food. This formula is ideal if your dog is sensitive or allergic to grains or common proteins like chicken. It features fresh lamb as the first ingredient with lamb meal as a concentrated source of supplemental protein. This recipe contains chickpeas, potatoes, and sweet potato as the primary carbohydrates with sunflower oil and canola oil for healthy fats and omega oils. It contains 20% protein with 13% fat and 475 calories per cup, making it a fairly high-calorie recipe, so be sure to follow the feeding recommendations closely. Overall, however, it is rich in nutrients, complete and balanced, and highly digestible for dogs who have food allergies or sensitive stomachs like your Boxer.

  • Pros: Real lamb first ingredient, formulated for large breeds, limited number of main ingredients, chelated minerals, blend of omega fatty acids, highly digestible
  • Cons:  Grain-free recipe made with legumes, main sources of fat are plant-based

4 More Top-Rated Boxer Dog Foods

If the dog foods reviewed above don’t seem like the perfect fit for your Boxer, don’t worry – there are plenty of other options! Here are four more top-rated Boxer dog foods we recommend:

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Large-Breed Adult Dry Food

If you want what’s best for your Boxer, look for a premium-quality source of protein-rich nutrition in a highly digestible formula like this Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Large-Breed Adult Dry Food. What makes this such as great Boxer dog food is the fact that it consists of both high-protein kibble and freeze-dried raw pieces. This gives your dog the nutritional benefits of raw food without you losing the practical benefits of dry food. This food features deboned chicken as the first ingredient with chicken meal, turkey meal, salmon meal, lamb, and duck as supplemental proteins, providing a total of 38% protein. This recipe contains digestible grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, and probiotics. Overall, it is one of the best dog food for Boxers options out there.

  • Pros: High-protein kibble and freeze-dried raw pieces, high in protein (38%), fresh fruits and vegetables, digestible carbohydrates, chelated minerals, probiotics for healthy digestion, large-breed specific
  • Cons: Grain-free recipe contains some peas, contains some plant protein (potato protein)

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Chicken & Turkey Large Breed Recipe

If you’re worried about Boxer dog food allergies and you know your dog is sensitive to grains, this Wellness CORE Grain-Free Chicken & Turkey Large Breed Recipe might be a good option. Not only is it grain-free, but it is highly digestible and rich in protein. This formula is specifically designed for large-breed dogs, featuring lean proteins like fresh chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal. Not only is chicken meal a concentrated source of supplemental protein, but it is also a natural source of joint-supporting glucosamine and chondroitin. This formula contains fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional value with plenty of fiber and probiotics to ensure digestibility. It also contains an optimal blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat with just 12% fat and 346 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Rich in lean protein (34%), formulated for large breeds, highly digestible with probiotics for support, fresh fruits and vegetables, blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, moderate fat/calories
  • Cons: May be too high in fiber for some dogs

Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Complete and balanced nutrition is essential for all dogs and this Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food provides just that in a recipe formulated uniquely for large breeds. It features three lean animal proteins, including farm-raised chicken, pasture-fed lamb, and fresh salmon to deliver a total of 23% crude protein. This recipe contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support as well as whole-grain carbohydrates for digestibility. It also features a holistic blend of superfoods to ensure complete and balanced nutrition in a biologically valuable form. Overall, this recipe is an excellent source of lean animal protein, healthy energy, and digestible carbohydrates.

  • Pros: Three lean sources of animal protein, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, holistic blend of superfoods, moderate fat and calories, rich in omega fatty acids, chelated minerals
  • Cons: some dogs may be sensitive or allergic to grains

Earthborn Holistic Large Breed Grain-Free Dry Food

When it comes to the best dog food for Boxers with sensitive stomach, a grain-free recipe may be best. This Earthborn Holistic Large Breed Grain-Free Dry Food is a great option because it is uniquely formulated to meet the nutritional needs of large-breed dogs in a healthy, balanced way. It provides 26% protein from lean sources like chicken meal and whitefish meal with digestible grain-free carbohydrates like peas, tapioca, and flaxseed. It does not contain lentils or beans but is supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients. It is highly digestible with moderate fat and calorie content, supplemented with chelated minerals and probiotics.

  • Pros: Rich in lean animal protein, grain-free but low in legumes, highly digestible, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals and probiotics, formulated for large breeds
  • Cons: Contains some legumes (peas)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much should I feed my Boxer? The Boxer ranges in size from about 50 to 70 pounds. On average, the breed eats 4 to 5 cups of food per day, depending on his activity level. The best way to find out how much to feed your dog is to choose a large-breed formula appropriate for his life stage and follow the feeding recommendations. You’ll need to monitor your dog’s body weight and make adjustments as needed, but this should ensure that your dog gets the nutrients he needs without going overboard on calories.
  • How often should I feed my Boxer? Most adult dogs do well with two meals per day. With large breeds like the Boxer, however, it is important to avoid feeding your dog too much as once, or you put him at risk for bloat. Feeding your dog a large-breed formula will help because the larger kibble size reduces the total volume of food while still meeting the dog’s needs for protein, fat, and calories.
  • Do Boxers have food allergies? The Boxer is a little more prone to food allergies than other breeds, but there is no need to change his diet unless he starts showing symptoms. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the use of grain-free diets and exotic proteins for dogs, so it is best to stick with regular dog food unless your Boxer develops a problem. If he does, complete a food trial to identify the specific ingredient(s) he is allergic to and then choose a dog food formula free from that ingredient. When it comes to Boxer dog food allergies, there are many possibilities, so it may take time to identify the culprit.
  • When should I switch my Boxer puppy to adult food? You should feed your Boxer puppy a large-breed puppy food for at least the first 6 months – this is when healthy growth and development is most important. After six months, you need to start thinking about controlling your Boxer’s growth because rapid growth will put him at risk for bone and joint problems later in life. Most vets recommend staying on puppy food for 12 months before making the switch, but you may want to consider switching sooner if your dog reaches 80% of his expected adult size before that point. As a general rule, you should switch to adult food when your puppy’s growth slows down.
  • Is a grain-free diet good for Boxers? As we’ve already mentioned, there is a lot of controversy about the safety of grain-free diets for dogs. The FDA received hundreds of reports linking grain-free dog food to heart problems like dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition to which the Boxer is already prone. This being the case, you may want to avoid grain-free diets unless your Boxer is actually allergic or sensitive to grains. If he is, consider switching to a formula that uses starchy vegetables like sweet potato and tapioca rather than legumes (like lentils or chickpeas) as the primary carbohydrate.

Conclusion

Boxers make wonderful pets because they are friendly, affectionate, and always entertaining to be around. These lovable goofs are very patient with children and, while they may sometimes be aloof around other dogs, they are never aggressive toward people. They also do surprisingly well in dog sports and have a natural ability as watch dogs.

The Boxer is a large-breed dog with a relatively short lifespan of just 8 to 10 years. This is largely due to heart problems, so make sure you get your Boxer from a responsible breeder. You should also make sure your puppy starts with a high-quality diet and then continue to feed your Boxer well throughout his life to maximize his lifespan. Good luck!

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