How To Take Care Of A Boxer’s Coat (Bonus Skin Health Checklist)

Boxers’ short coats make them easy care dogs, but they still need brushing.

Your Boxer will benefit from regular grooming with a soft rubber mitt-style brush.

Combined with a fresh, natural diet, brushing will help keep your Boxer’s skin and coat in optimal shape.

Plus, he will love the attention.


I am not a vet. This post is for general informational and educational purposes only. I encourage readers to view my full disclaimer here. Boxer Dog Diaries is reader supported. I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you buy via links I share.


Benefits Of Brushing Your Boxer Dog

Your Boxer doesn’t require elaborate routines or regular sessions at the groomer, but he will appreciate a good brush at least weekly.

The benefits of brushing your Boxer’s coat include:

  • Removing loose hairs, good for your Boxer and your floors and furniture
  • Distributing natural oils throughout the skin and coat
  • Stimulating circulation
  • Massage for skin, soft tissue and muscles
  • Bonding time
  • Removing pollutants and household chemicals that may settle on your dog’s coat, before he licks them off and ingests them (Ideally wipe your dog over with a damp cloth first so you’re removing the contaminants, not just dispersing them.)

Note that a certain amount of shedding is normal, and Boxers do shed quite a bit — creating more mess than one might expect of a short-coated breed.

You will inevitably be contending with “Boxer glitter” on bedding and couches, in the car and as “dust bunnies” on the floor.

A cordless vacuum with heavy suction like the Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner is a worthwhile investment when you live with a Boxer.

Fully charged, it runs for an hour and comes with a mini-motorized attachment tool specifically designed for removing pet hair from upholstery.

Better yet, it converts to handheld for cleaning the car after your Boxer’s taken a ride.  

Here are more recommendations for game-changing gear for Boxer owners.

How To Brush A Boxer Dog’s Coat

Brushing your Boxer is not rocket science.

You are doing it right if you:

  • Make firm but gentle strokes
  • Go over every inch of the body, including the legs, feet, the wigglebutt, tail, ears etc
  • Be careful around joints, bony bits and soft bits
  • Pay attention to your dog’s reactions and adjust accordingly
  • Keep the grooming session relatively short so your Boxer is left wanting more
  • Use a gentle brush — ideally a mitt-style “curry brush” with soft nibs

You’ll remove the most loose hair if you brush the coat against the grain (towards the head) before brushing towards the tail.

If your Boxer doesn’t love being brushed?

Almost unheard of, but treats will go a long way.

Start with just a few seconds and build up the length of the sessions over time, as your Boxer gets more comfortable.

How To Choose The Best Boxer Dog Brush

A curry comb or curry brush is the kind of brush typically used on horses to remove caked mud and dirt, old hair, sweat, scurf (skin flakes) and other debris.

The dog version is perfect for your Boxer, as long as it has soft nibs and is made from non-toxic materials.

There are a variety of designs, some with a strap for your hand. like the Furminator which is one brush that’s popular amongst Boxer owners.

Or you might prefer a glove-style brush like the FURblaster which shapes to your dog’s contours.

Whichever you choose, the rubber should have no odor.

How Often Should You Groom A Boxer?

It’s impossible to overdo it, as long as you’re using a gentle brush.

So, if you and your dog both enjoy it, you can give him a brush as often as you like — even every day.

Make sure you’re brushing him at least weekly.

You may find it worthwhile to brush more frequently during the change of seasons when you may notice an uptick in shedding.

Other Aspects Of Boxer Dog Grooming

There is no need to overcomplicate your Boxer’s grooming regimen.

As long as you are feeding a fresh, natural canine diet based around raw meaty bones, everything else will fall into place and require little attention.

Aside from brushing, here is a brief overview of the various other aspects of grooming your Boxer.

Boxer Baths

A healthy Boxer emits very little odor and will stay naturally clean without constant bathing.

Note that putrid-smelling or excessive flatulence that makes a Boxer stink is in no way “just part of the breed”.

Here are some possible causes of bad gas in Boxers.

While Boxers are more than willing to get dirty in the name of fun, they also like to clean up afterwards.

The mistake many diligent owners make is to overwash their Boxers.

Your Boxer need only be bathed with soap about four times a year, at most.

Any more and you will be stripping vital oils from the skin and hair, inadvertently predisposing your dog’s coat to drying out.

If this happens, the skin will develop tiny cracks or microfissures that, in turn, lead to itching.

In between baths, if your Boxer gets dirty, simply rinse his coat in pure water.

Here is more information on bathing Boxer dogs.

Boxer Nail Care

Trimming your Boxer’s nails is probably the most demanding part of grooming a Boxer.

You need to keep up — this should be done weekly.

If you let it lapse, what can happen is the nails grow overly long and the quick (the part of the nail containing the blood vessel and nerve) also overgrows.

This then makes cutting the nails to the proper length much more difficult, since there is now a blood supply and nerve in the part of the nail that you want to remove.

It then becomes a process of grinding a little bit almost every day, so that you progressively “train” the quick to recede to where it belongs, allowing you to trim the nail without hurting your dog or drawing blood.

Here is a guide to stress-free Boxer nail care (including the grinding tool that will change your life!)

Boxer Ear Care

Ears are self cleaning and should not require any meddling in a healthy Boxer.

From time to time, you may notice some brownish gunk in the ear.

Simply clean this out, either with a tissue or cotton pad folded into a point or just your fingernail.

Avoid putting any of the commercially-marketed “ear cleaning” products in your Boxer’s ear.

These chemicals often do more harm than good to the sensitive tissues of the ear canal, and are not necessary.

Ear health is achieved by way of proper diet, not by applying potions topically.

Often, simple ear gunk and irritation is misconstrued as an “ear infection”, resulting in a dog being subjected to chemical ear cleanings and medicated with antibiotics and antifungals.

Usually, all that’s required is cleaning out the debris and letting your dog’s body do the rest.

As long as you are not putting more junk into your dog’s body in the form of low quality diet, drugs, chemical dewormers etc, any ear gunk is what’s known in holistic healthcare as a “productive symptom” i.e. one that is serving a purpose.

Ears, eyes, nose and skin, including the paws and chin in Boxers, are all common routes the body uses to expel excess toxins when the primary eliminative avenues of kidneys and bowels (pee and poop) are overburdened.

Resist the urge to suppress the symptom and instead stay out of the body’s way so that it can accomplish what it’s trying to do: rid itself of waste.

Here is more information about ear gunk in Boxers.

Boxer Dental Care

Avoid putting “toothpaste” or “mouth washes” into your Boxer’s mouth.

A certain amount of these substances will be absorbed and swallowed, even if that’s not what you intend, and these products don’t belong in your dog’s body.

Certainly don’t put anything into your Boxer’s water in the name of tooth cleaning.

The very best thing you can do for your Boxer’s dental health is feed plenty of raw meaty bones — lamb necks are ideal non-weight bearing, soft bones.

As well as being the basis of the canine diet throughout a million years of evolution, raw meaty bones are “nature’s toothbrush” for dogs.

If your Boxer is experiencing bad breath, chances are he is kibble-fed and not getting the chance to floss and brush by eating raw meaty bones with each meal.

Here is more on why, and how, to feed your Boxer raw meaty bones.

And here is some more detail about keeping your Boxer’s teeth clean, naturally.

An oral disorder to be aware of is gingival hyperplasia, an overgrowth of gum tissue that can cover a Boxer’s teeth and make eating difficult.

Boxer Dog Eye Care

A little bit of “sleep” is part of the normal self-cleansing of the eye.

Excessive eye goop should not occur.

Unsightly tear stains in white Boxers will not happen if your Boxer is properly fed and free of excessive chemical exposures.

Here is what to do if your Boxer’s eyes are red and how to fix tear stains in your Boxer.

Drinking tap water, which contains more than 90 regulated contaminants, is often the cause of tear staining in Boxers — along with kibble consumption.

Can Boxer Dogs Get Sunburnt?

Yes.

White Boxers are most prone to sunburn, just as fair skinned people burn more easily.

“Flashy” or white areas of your fawn or brindle Boxer’s coat can also be sun-sensitive e.g. white blazes on his face, pink areas near his eyes/nose, and white, spotty regions of the chest and belly.

It is best not to use “sunscreen” or your dog.

The areas where you most need it, like the nose, are also the easiest to lick.

You can be sure your Boxer will do so within minutes, making the application pointless.

More to the point, your dog has now ingested chemicals — albeit “non toxic” ones.

Instead, protect your Boxer’s skin from sun damage and skin cancer by controlling his exposure.

Avoid being outside in direct sunlight for extended periods during the hottest parts of the day, especially in summer.

A dog can even get burnt indoors if he’s lying in strong sun for hours on end.

While moderate sun exposure is healthy and helps prevent conditions like seasonal flank alopecia, keep an eye on your Boxer.

Have him move, or close the curtains, after a reasonable amount of sunbathing.

8-Point Checklist For Identifying Abnormalities In Your Boxer’s Skin/Coat

Grooming your Boxer is an important chance to monitor his health.

As you brush him, feel all over his body and inspect inside his ears, mouth and between his toes.

Fleas and ticks can lurk in these moist, warm nooks and crannies.

Take a good look at the paw pads and press them gently.

If something doesn’t seem right with any body part, or if your dog shows any signs of tenderness, investigate further.

Here is an 8-point checklist for making sure your Boxer’s skin and coat is in tip top shape:

1. Paws

Your Boxer’s paws should not smell like Fritos or have a reddish-brown tint.

Here is how to fix yeasty feet in Boxers.

Good preventive paw care is outlined in our guide to healthy Boxer paws.

2. Anal Glands

Anal glands do not need “expressing” and this can damage your dog.

If your dog has a foul, fishy scent from his nether regions, is scooting or seems to have anal gland discomfort, here is what to do.

3. Chin Acne

Red bumps on your Boxer’s chin are common enough to be called “Boxer acne” but are far from normal — and 100 per cent avoidable with proper basic care.

4. Yeasty Skin

Rusty discoloration of the hair or skin signals yeast overgrowth — here is how to identify and remove the cause.

(Hint: You do not need medication — this will just increase the toxic load on your Boxer’s body, ensuring the yeast returns in neverending cycles whenever you stop the drugs.)

5. Itchy Skin

The skin is often the first place any shortcomings in your Boxer’s care will show up.

Itchy skin in a Boxer is often diagnosed as “allergies“.

However, the problem can almost always be resolved without allergy medication (some of which, like Apoquel, has been linked to an increased incidence of cancer).

The solution?

Cutting out highly processed dog food like kibble and feeding a fresh, species-appropriate raw diet.

6. Dry, Cracked Nose

Crusty Boxer noses are usually a sign of chronic dehydration, related to the feeding of a dry diet.

7. Hives Or Other Lumps

If you notice any suspicious lumps, it can be worth getting them checked out by your vet to make sure they are not mast cell tumors or otherwise cancerous.

Hives, raised welts that can cover the entire body, may result from a bee sting.

They can also be a reaction to common household chemicals like scented plugins, fabric sprays, room deodorizers, chemical cleaners and even perfume and hair spray.

Here is how to avoid hives in your Boxer.

8. Weight

As you brush your Boxer, take the opportunity to observe his body condition.

There is no need to put him on the scales — do a visual assessment.

If your Boxer is a barrel from front to back when viewed from above, he’s probably overweight, which is detrimental to his overall wellbeing including joint health.

A healthy-weight Boxer is lean with defined muscles and should have a distinct tuck at the waist.

The last few ribs are typically visible.

Often, owners don’t realize when their Boxer is too fat, and tend to think their Boxer is too thin when he’s actually fine.

It is far healthier for a dog to be slightly underweight than over.

Boxers often go through skinny phases up until the age of at least three years old, when they generally fill out a little.

If your Boxer’s spine, hips and entire ribcage are visible, your pup is of course genuinely underweight.

Here are some healthy ways to provide extra nutrition to a Boxer that’s too thin.

The Ultimate Secret To Healthy Skin And A Glossy Coat In Boxers

The single most influential, yet overlooked, factor determining the state of your Boxer’s coat is his diet.

Healthy skin is created from the inside out.

Here is what you should know before you feed kibble to your Boxer.

If you are ready to transition your Boxer to a proper, biologically-appropriate diet, you might like to take our free 7 Day How To Raw Feed Your Boxer eCourse.

Do not be tempted to give fish oil supplements to your Boxer or to feed excessive fat.

This will indeed create a super shiny coat, but there are healthier ways to do it.

Feed healthy fats in whole food form, such as raw eggs (including the membrane for joint health) and whole fish like sardines.

“Dry Brushing” A Boxer Dog (For Lymphatic Drainage)

Dry brushing uses long, light strokes as a form of massage to encourage lymphatic drainage.

There are special bristled brushes designed for the purpose, but you can use a normal mitt if that’s all you have.

Places to target for dry brushing include:

  • On either side of the spine, sweeping in the direction of the head
  • On either side of the neck where it joins the head, in an upward motion over the lymph nodes towards the ears
  • Behind the front legs on the torso, in an upward motion

Keep the pressure light and sessions short.

Your dog should find it pleasant.

Conclusion

Though Boxers are ultra low-maintenance dogs, brushing yours regularly with a mitt or glove is part of keeping his coat in good nick.

Grooming is also an important way to get familiar with your dog’s body and pick up any changes in his condition.

Ditching highly processed dog food in favor of a fresh, raw diet, and avoiding overwashing, is the surest way to set a Boxer up for a glossy coat and healthy skin.