Top Best Dog Foods for Boxers

The Boxer's muscular build and high energy level make them tricky to feed. It's important to learn about the best dog food for Boxers and speak with your vet about your individual Boxer dog's nutritional needs.

The Boxer is a large-breed dog with a long, lean yet muscular body, floppy ears, and large expressive eyes. Boxer puppies are born with both large floppy ears and long, straight tails. While tail-docking and ear-cropping are falling out of favor, the image of the Boxer that many know is that of a square face and pointy, erect ears.

Boxers are “brachycephalic,” meaning that they have a shortened facial structure. This gives them a slightly “smushed-face” appearance. Boxers are fun-loving, high-energy, and loving. They excel as loyal family dogs, guard dogs, and military/police working dogs. They live about 10-12 years on average.

As a practicing veterinarian, I see a lot of Boxer owners looking for advice on the best diet for their canine companions. I'm going to tell you all about the brands that I recommend for this breed.

These dogs can suffer from Brachycephalic Syndrome, a myriad of anatomical issues including dental problems, elongated soft palate, and stenotic nares (narrowed nostrils), which can lead to difficulty breathing. Fun activities they enjoy include hiking, Frisbee, and even agility.

Unfortunately, due to overbreeding and inbreeding, there are a lot of common health conditions found in this breed. Some of these conditions can be seen in puppies, while others are adult-onset. This is one of the reasons that it's so important to find the best dog food for Boxers during every stage of their lives.

Best Dog Food for Boxer Puppies

Before switching your dog to any new diet, always consult with a veterinarian. Remember that no article on the internet, including this one, can replace a consultation with a vet.

Large-breed puppies like Boxers are more susceptible to malnutrition and developmental orthopedic disease compared to small-breed pups. Many Boxer owners are familiar with these diseases- hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis (OCD), panosteitis, and hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD).

While there is a genetic component to these diseases, there are significant nutritional risk factors that play a part during puppyhood. These risk factors are rapid growth and excess dietary calcium intake.

It is important to feed the best dog food for Boxers that provides just enough of the right balance of nutrients. Since Boxers are a slow-to-mature breed, experts in the veterinary field recommend feeding a large breed puppy food until they are 15 months of age.

Royal Canin Boxer Puppy Breed Health Nutrition Formula

Royal Canin Boxer Puppy Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 30 lb. bag If you need the best dog food for Boxers under 15 months of age, I recommend the Royal Canin Boxer Puppy Breed Health Nutrition Formula. Royal Canin has done all the legwork for us in developing the ideal food for a growing Boxer puppy. Their commitment to quality provides exemplary nutrition and digestibility.

Royal Canin even produces this food in the ideal kibble shape for a brachycephalic breed. Boxers, with their shortened muzzle and large lips, can more easily pick up and chew Royal Canin’s “wave-shaped” kibble pieces.

Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Puppy, Large Breeds, With Real Meat And Whole Grains, Chicken Meal And Oats Recipe, 15.5 lb. Bag The Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy is another great choice. Hill’s Science Diet has been a leader in pet nutrition since the early 1900s. Their large-breed puppy formula has been tweaked over the years but provides consistent quality nutrition to promote healthy growth in Boxers.

It is fortified with omega-3 fatty acids like DHA to promote a healthy brain, joints, and skin development. All Hill’s Science Diet products are made in the USA from North American raw materials.

RELATED: 10 Vet-Recommended Dog Food Brands That Are Inexpensive

Best Dog Food for Adult Boxers

If you are looking for the best dog food for Boxers over 15 months of age or are transitioning from puppy food to adult food, it is a good idea to consult with your veterinarian. Your vet can help determine your dog’s current body condition score. With this in mind, you can decide which ‘maintenance’ adult diet is best. Boxers should start eating adult foods around 12-15 months of age.

Normal Body Condition Boxers

Royal Canin Boxer Adult Dry Dog Food, 30 lb bag A great place to start for an active, normal body weight/condition Boxer is with Royal Canin Boxer Breed Health Nutrition Adult. This adult formula is excellent for adults over 15 months of age. Royal Canin provides the right balance of nutrients to optimize a lean body condition over a lifetime.

Chondroitin sulfate protects joints from daily wear and tear, and ingredients like tea and rosemary extract provide heart-healthy antioxidants and vitamins. Like Royal Canin’s Boxer puppy food, the adult food has a similar “wave-shape” kibble that is easy for them to pick up and chew.

Active Adult Boxers

Purina Pro Plan High Calorie, High Protein Dry Dog Food, 30/20 Chicken & Rice Formula - 37.5 lb. Bag Boxers that are active require an extra ‘boost’ of calories and more protection for their joints. Boxers that compete in agility frequently come to mind – they are running, jumping, and turning on a dime, putting more strain on their joints and burning lots of energy.

Great food to consider is Purina Pro Plan Sport Formula. Higher protein content and highly digestible barley will help your Boxer maintain his muscle mass and lean physique through tough training. Glucosamine, biotin, and vegetables like tomatoes and carrots help to promote brain, heart, and joint health.

Overweight Adult Boxers

In my experience, Boxers tend to stay leaner with a thick body mass. From time to time, a Boxer can become chunky, and their parents come to me for diet advice. Many of the non-prescription “diet” dog foods out there are heavy on fiber and light on taste.

Owners often become frustrated because their dog starts begging and refuses to eat their new food. They often give up, start feeding the old food again, and don’t address the weight issue completely.

Thankfully, I’ve found a good solution with this next pick. My recommendation as the best dog food for Boxers who are mild to moderately overweight is Natural Balance Original Ultra Reduced Calorie Formula.

Premium ingredients like chicken and carrots provide a taste that dogs can love and still lose weight. Also, ingredients like pearled barley will help your dog maintain steady blood glucose levels after a meal.

There is a common relationship between poor glucose metabolism and obesity in pets.  Corn, barley, and sorghum are the ingredients most associated with keeping blood glucose levels consistent and may help to reduce or prevent obesity.

Best Dog Food for Boxers Seniors

Hill’s Science Diet Ideal Balance Large Breed Mature Adult

Boxers are considered “senior” or “geriatric” around 8 years of age. As they age, their nutritional requirements change as well. Boxers are also more likely to suffer from heart disease or arthritis than seniors.

Suppose your veterinarian does not suggest a special diet to help manage existing heart disease. In that case, I have a recommendation for the best dog food for Boxers in their golden years – Hill’s Science Diet Ideal Balance Large Breed Mature Adult.

Orijen Senior

ORIJEN Senior Dry Dog Food, Grain Free Dry Dog Food for Senior Dogs, Fresh or Raw Ingredients, 23.5lb Another great dog food for seniors is the Orijen Senior. However, this product might be a bit pricey. But if budget isn’t an issue right now, this dog food is a great pick. The Orijen Senior is made from 85% animal ingredients. It is specifically formulated to help senior dogs. 

Made in Kentucky, it’s created with chicken, turkey, fish, and cage-free eggs. Try to feed your dog Orijen Senior on their next meal.

READ ALSO: The Best Sensitive Stomach Dog Foods for Upset Stomachs

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Top Rated Best Dog Food for Boxers

In the last 8 years, Dr. Shores has worked as a clinical veterinarian for dogs, cats, small mammals and non-human primates as well as a writer on the subject of pet health. Her passion is breaking down the intricacies of proper dog health care and dog nutrition.