Deciding which dog food to feed your Boxer in order to provide the very best nutrition is one of the most important aspects of dog ownership, and many of us get it wrong in the beginning.
While the majority of Boxer owners still feed kibble and other convenience foods, the best dog food for Boxers, by far, is a fresh, natural, home prepared raw diet which supports vastly better health than processed, shelf stable products.
Rather than asking “Which brand of kibble should I feed my Boxer?” or “Is wet or dry food better for Boxer dogs?”, or getting bogged down in marketing ploys like “grain free” and “large breed puppy” formulas, a better question is “How can I raw feed my Boxer properly?”
I am not a vet. This article is intended for general informational and educational purposes. I encourage readers to view my full disclaimer.
This article will tell it to you straight.
Unlike most of the other articles your search pulled up, we have no product to sell you, no affiliations or conflicts of interest and no agenda other than the health and wellbeing of this breed we love.
We are in the business of information and this information is our sole offering.
Our guiding motivation is to empower you as a dog owner by sharing what we’ve learned (often the hard way!) so that we can all lay the groundwork for the best possible health and vitality for our Boxers, lifelong.
They deserve it, right?
What Food Is Good For Boxer Dogs?
Your choices when feeding a Boxer boil down to:
As confusing as it can be, and as much as the dog food industry would like to convince you otherwise, there is actually only one right answer when it comes to feeding your Boxer dog (or any other breed).
In fact, every species on earth has its natural, optimum diet which its body is designed to consume.
Humans are the only animal removed enough from our natural state to create infinite variations in what we eat and drink and think it’s normal (and then wonder why we have so many “unexplained” health problems).
Every other species on earth eats a uniform diet, meaning every member of the species eats the same thing — with some allowance for local availability and variation.
And for dogs, that is a raw meaty bone-based diet.
How To Choose The Best Food For Your Boxer
It’s worth breaking down what a dog needs nutritionally, so that you can assess any proposed diet to see if it measures up.
An optimum diet for your Boxer dog must:
- Be biologically appropriate i.e. raw, not cooked and protein-based not full of cheap carbohydrate fillers
- Match the way dog’s bodies are designed to eat i.e. plant and meat matter consumed separately, not combined in “recipes” which are a human invention — dogs eat “mono meals” of one food type per sitting
- Avoid chemicals, preservatives, artificial colorings, “palatability enhancers”, antimicrobials and other non-food additives that create a toxic load on the body which, over time, is disease-producing
- Derive its nutrition from whole foods rather than synthetic vitamin and mineral supplements and genetically modified ingredients
- Involve plenty of raw meaty bones, which are the centerpiece of the canine diet, essential for dental health and the single most health-promoting canine food
- Contain natural levels of moisture i.e. it must not be dehydrated or the dog will exist in a state of constant dehydration
- Be fresh and free of contaminants including rancid fats, salmonella, storage mites, mold, mycotoxins
- Use high quality meats
When you assess all your food choices according to the features of a healthy canine diet, only a fresh, home prepared raw diet satisfies the criteria.
Even store-bought raw dog food makes some mistakes that are best avoided by home preparing your Boxer’s raw food yourself, as you do your own meals.
Your Boxer’s meals will be much easier and quicker, because there’s never any cooking involved.
Just a little trimming of fat and weighing and you’re good to go.
Benefits Of Feeding Your Boxer Top Quality Food
Your raw fed Boxer’s condition will leave you in no doubt as to the benefits of providing him with his natural born diet — the one dogs ate for literally a million years throughout evolution and to which their physiology is perfectly adapted.
Among the health problems you can avoid by ditching a processed diet like kibble in favor of a fresh, natural raw diet are:
- Tear stains
- Anal sac blockages
- Deadly bloat or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)
- Yeast overgrowth
- Paws that smell like Fritos
- “Allergies” including so called “food allergies“
- Red eyes and eye discharge
- Ear “infections”
- Boxer colitis
- Boxer acne or chin irritation
- Diarrhea and stomach upset
- Obesity or skinniness
- Skin problems
- Paw gnawing and licking
- Excessive shedding
- Acid reflux or air licking
- Bad breath
- Dirty teeth
- Gum overgrowth i.e. gingival hyperplasia
- Dry, crusty nose
- Hair loss
But how do you raw feed your Boxer and make sure he’s getting all the nutrients he needs?
How To Feed Your Boxer Correctly
Here is a starter guide to raw feeding Boxers.
Or perhaps you’d like to receive our free 7 Day eCourse on how to switch your Boxer to raw which takes you through the transition step by step, with the ability to ask questions and get help troubleshooting your Boxer’s specific situation.
Raw diets don’t just involve meat, you can supplement with whole foods like:
Got an eight-week old Boxer and want to start him off right?
Here is a feeding guide for Boxer puppies.
Why Pre-Made Raw Dog Food Is Not A Good Choice For Your Boxer
Pre-made raw patties or grinds are a step up from kibble, but they are far from first rate nutrition for your Boxer.
The problems with pre-prepared raw include:
- Fat overconsumption — because it’s not profitable for them to remove it, raw dog food makers just grind the fat in. Since raw food is made using farmed meats, this results in a fat content much higher than the lean game meats dogs evolved eating and for which there is no biological precedent in a dog’s body. Deceptive labelling practices then express fat content as fat percentage by weight, rather than percentage by calorie, which is what matters. Dog owners have to do the conversion in order to discover the true fat content. One boutique raw dog food assessed by Boxer Dog Diaries marketed itself as 14 per cent fat, but, when converted, was actually 62 per cent fat. According to integrative vet Dr Karen Becker, dog food deriving more than 31 per cent of calories from fat is high fat. Signs of fat overconsumption are common in the pet dog population and include scooting, itching, gas and diarrhea
- Inclusion of inappropriate ingredients e.g. a dog’s natural diet consists of lean muscle meat, edible bone and a little offal with occasional fruit and perhaps some greens/grasses. Many ingredients in modern dog foods are of questionable value. Carbohydrates are cheaper than meat, but dogs’s bodies are not meant to eat carb-heavy diets
- Inappropriate combinations of ingredients, namely the mixing of fruit in with meat. Dogs in natural settings always eat plant and meat separately. They are facultative carnivores, which means they can maintain themselves on plant matter, but only eat plants when their primary food, meat, is unavailable. Recipes that mix it all in together are a human invention. As plant digests much faster than meat, this combination creates digestive conflict, delaying the passage of plant matter through the digestive tract with the production of toxic by-products that don’t occur when dogs are fed plants separately to meat
What Brands Of Kibble Are Best For Boxer Dogs?
The short answer is that you don’t want to be feeding your Boxer kibble, regardless of brand.
Boxer Dog Diaries can’t, in good conscience, recommend any brand of kibble to you as a Boxer owner.
Certainly, some brands are worse than others in that they use lower quality meats and may have poorer track records in terms of recalls due to contamination with salmonella or aflatoxin (a carcinogenic mycotoxin or toxin produced by mold)
The reality, though, is that no brand of kibble — no matter how high end — can overcome the issues inherent in the product as a consequence of how it’s made.
To recap a few of the problems with kibble: it’s cooked at high temperatures which kills beneficial enzymes and bacteria, creates carcinogenic compounds and destroys nutrients, necessitating the addition of synthetic vitamins and minerals to meet nutrient baselines. It’s also treated with chemicals to delay the growth of mold and extend its shelf life.
Even on a tight budget, feeding kibble to your Boxer is a false economy.
Look at proper feeding as an investment in your Boxer’s health: its either spend money now on good food, or spend money later on vet bills (and heartache).
More Questions About Your Boxer’s Food
You may be interested in the following resources on specific food-related questions:
- What do you feed a Boxer with a “sensitive stomach”?
- Is grain free best for Boxers?
- Should Boxers eat large breed puppy food?
- Why your Boxer is a picky eater
- Supplements and your Boxer
- Can a Boxer eat peanut butter and other human foods?
- Raised or floor-level bowls?
- Should your Boxer drink tap water?
- Foods your Boxer should never eat
- The danger of (cooked) chicken bones for your Boxer
Other Essential Aspects Of Your Boxer’s Care
But it’s important to get the other core elements of your Boxer’s care right.
At Boxer Dog Diaries, we are so passionate about this that we wrote a book devoted to it.
Supercanine: How To Raise A Healthier Dog Or Revitalize A Sick One encapsulates all the things we wish we’d known or been told in that first vet appointment.
Misinformation abounds and there are many aspects of dog ownership where the common wisdom (and, sadly the practices of conventionally-trained vets) will often undermine the health of your Boxer, such as:
- Vaccine schedules for Boxers
- When to neuter/spay your Boxer
- Flea/tick treatment
- Drugs like the steroid prednisone, the antihistamine Benadryl and the sedative Acepromazine
- Dog daycare, off leash dog parks, puppy school and dog socialization
- How often to wash your Boxer
- How much exercise is right for a Boxer (and his joint health)
The best food for your Boxer is his natural diet: fresh, lean raw meat, raw meaty bones and a little offal.
All kibbles unfortunately provide sub-standard nutrition that might be convenient in the short term but which does not serve your Boxer’s health, long term.
Raw feeding owners and vets tell of the dramatic transformations and resolution of health problems when dogs are transitioned from highly processed dry dog food to their biologically-appropriate diet.
You will too!
Becker, Karen, DVM, Should Any Dog Food Formula EVER Have Corn Starch as the Main Ingredient? Mercola Healthy Pets, 2012
Billinghurst, Ian, DVM, Give Your Dog A Bone, Warragul Press, 1993
Francis M Pottenger, Jr, MD, raw Pottenger’s Cats: A Study in Nutrition, Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, 1983
Raw Feeding Veterinary Society, RFVS Position Statement, 2021
Stogdale, Lea, DVM and Diehl, Garcea, DVM, In support of bones and raw food diets, Canadian Veterinary Journal, 2003