Just because Boxers have short and tight-fitting coats, doesn’t mean they don’t shed.
The average Boxer sheds quite a bit, year round.
You will notice it on your couch, in the car, on your clothes and around the house.
Some people think white Boxers shed more than fawns and brindles, but there is no reason this should be the case.
It’s probably just that white hair is much more visible on dark fabrics and floors.
A certain amount of shedding is part of life with dogs.
However, if there’s been an uptick in your Boxer’s shedding, a few different things could be going on.
What Is Shedding?
Shedding is the cyclical process by which hair follicles grow, enter a rest phase and then finally fall out.
This is no different than the way various tissues throughout the body are constantly being broken down and replaced, as long as the animal lives.
In a totally healthy dog, shedding occurs evenly and doesn’t result in any bald patches or noticeable thinning.
What Does It Mean If Your Boxer Is Shedding A Lot?
Boxers as a breed are considered moderate shedders.
Many things can cause more than normal hair loss in Boxers, all of which are worth paying attention to.
Side Effects Of Medication
Some commonly prescribed drugs cause hair loss.
The steroid prednisone, for instance, interferes with just about every process in the body and will cause your dog’s coat to thin by impeding the growth of new hair.
Once your dog comes off the drugs, the hair will shed further for a while and then regenerate.
Shedding can be a sign of detox.
If your dog has recently stopped medication or changed from kibble to a fresh food diet, you will likely notice he blows his whole coat.
This is a good thing and reflects the processes of cellular repair and renewal that are going on now that the drug, or the junk from the kibble, is no longer entering your dog’s system.
After the hair falls out, your dog may look pretty threadbare for a while.
But then new, soft hair will grow in.
If you’re feeding your Boxer kibble, or any other kind of commercial dog food, this is likely the culprit.
On the most basic level, a dog receiving poor quality nutrition is more prone to shedding the coat more often.
But what is really going on?
Highly processed dog foods contain dubious ingredients and fillers, chemical preservatives like antimicrobials.. and contamination like pesticide residues and mycotoxins from mold.
This toxic load, added to daily, puts your dog’s body in constant need of detox.
It tries to clear these substances through the primary eliminative organs (gut and kidneys), via the detoxification pathways in the liver and using the lymph vessels, which are like the body’s sewer system.
But when those avenues are overburdened, the body enlists other organs, most commonly the skin, as a kind of pressure-release valve to rapidly expel toxins.
Tap water also contains a staggering array of contaminants, known to and regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Use Of Chemical Wormers And Flea/Tick Preventatives
These chemicals are insecticides and work because they are fatally toxic to fleas.
Your dog, as a larger animal, doesn’t usually die right away from ingesting these drugs — though there are more than 19 000 members in this Facebook group whose dogs have suffered disastrous effects up to and including seizures and death.
Even dogs that appear to have no adverse consequences will carry a level of toxicity from these products.
Depending on other toxic inputs, one day you may reach the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Vaccines contain a range of chemical preservatives and adjuvants like thimerosal that are inherently toxic.
These toxins can accumulate in the body much the same way that mercury from industrial run-off into oceans builds up in the tissues of fish and is passed up the food chain to be found in large fish like tuna.
Toxic accumulation is thought to work according to a stacking effect.
A healthy animal may well tolerate a level of toxic exposure, but above a certain threshold, disease will result.
Often the first signs of a toxic body are skin problems including paw gnawing, eye gunk and ear “infections”.
When It’s More Than Shedding: Skin Conditions
If your Boxer has hair loss coupled with other symptoms like inflammation, swelling, or itchiness, then it’s more than simple shedding.
Hotspots are red, inflamed lesions exacerbated by scratching. They may come up quickly and ooze pus.
Alopecia just means baldness.
So-called seasonal alopecia is where a dog loses patches of hair on the flanks, seemingly at a similar time every year.
The skin beneath may look black or discolored.
Boxers are one of the breeds most commonly diagnosed with seasonal alopecia.
Check out our article on seasonal Boxer flank alopecia.
Bilateral alopecia (on both sides of the body) can be an indication of disorders like Cushing’s disease.
If your dog has Cushing’s, the hair loss will be the least of a potentially large number of troubling symptoms.
Itchy skin frequently meets with a diagnosis of “allergies”, and vets are usually clueless as to cause.
When understood as a sign of toxic overload, many owners find they can completely resolve allergy-type symptoms by getting rid of kibble and feeding a fresh, raw diet.
See also: Help! My Boxer Has Allergies
How Do You Stop A Boxer From Shedding?
A range of factors influence how much and how often your Boxer sheds.
Some of these, like genetics, will be beyond your control.
However, if your Boxer is shedding excessively, consider:
- replacing kibble with a fresh, raw, species-appropriate diet
- providing pure spring or filtered water instead of filling your Boxer’s bowl from the faucet
- avoiding chemical wormers
- avoiding insecticidal flea and tick preventatives, topical and internal
- avoiding vaccines
- ditching household cleaners in favor of natural alternatives like lemon and vinegar
- reducing how much time your Boxer spends in public parks and on roadside verges treated with lawncare chemicals and weedkillers
You won’t see results overnight, but once you stop putting toxins in, your dog’s body will begin clearing the backlog.
This may cause an increase in shedding initially, but in the long run the coat will stabilize.
How long this takes will depend on the age of the dog and how hefty a toxic load he’s accumulated.
Be prepared for a protracted period of detox during which things can appear to get worse before better. Stick with it.
How Not To Treat Shedding In A Boxer
Whenever a Boxer has skin problems there’s a tendency to wash them more often.
This is not advisable.
Baths strip essential oils from a dog’s skin and coat and make it more prone to developing tiny cracks, or microfissures, which will only increase irritation.
Four times a year is how often you should wash your Boxer.
In between times, skip the shampoo and just give your dog a rinse off with pure water as needed.
Avoid fragranced shampoos and ones where you don’t understand the ingredients.
Thoroughly rinse your dog because soap residues can become irritants.
Fish oil is a common recommendation for improving a Boxer dog’s coat.
Adding fat to your dog’s diet can seem to produce a glossier coat.
But this is not necessarily a good idea for overall health, for a couple of reasons.
The first is the problem with supplements in general.
Nowhere in nature does a dog ingest free oils.
Like all isolated chemistry, fish oil in supplement form is liable to be perceived by the body as yet another foreign substance to be cleared.
Secondly, giving fish oil increases the overall fat content of your dog’s diet, which is not something you want to do.
A natural canine diet is founded on lean meats.
This is why raw feeders will often remove the skin and all visible fat from factory-farmed meats.
The products of human agriculture are deliberately, and unnaturally, fattened for slaughter.
Removing the excess fat restores the relative proportions of fat, muscle and bone in these meats closer to what’s found in the wild meats that dogs have eaten throughout their evolution.
Adding fat in the form of fish oil undermines these efforts to reduce dietary fat.
If you want to increase your dog’s fatty acid intake for the health benefits afforded by omega-3s, far better to do it with fresh, whole foods.
Nutrients in this form will be much more bioavailable.
Consider feeding half a dozen raw sardines once a week or so.
Make sure you give fresh sardines from the fishmonger, not from a can.
Tinned sardines are cooked, not raw.
And they’re often packed in oil and contain other additives and flavorings that have no place in a dog’s body.
How To Survive Boxer Dog Shedding
Living with a Boxer dog — or any dog — involves tolerating a bit of hair around the place.
Your days of an immaculately clean home are over!
But if the hair is really driving you to distraction, take heart.
There are a few things you can do to cope with living in your own private snowdome, courtesy of your everloving Boxer.
You will want to:
- get a seat cover for the car (once those Boxer dog hairs get into the fabric, they take some extracting. Best to cover the seat from the get-go)
- brush your dog every few days, or at least weekly, with a mitt to remove loose hair
- wear light clothes if your Boxer is white, dark if your Boxer is brindle (A wardrobe overhaul might sound drastic but it helps)
- keep lint rollers on hand
- invest in a cordless vacuum with strong suction and get used to giving the living area a quick once-over every day
- install an air purifier to filter pet dander
- cover your sofa
- restrict your dog to one armchair, or one end of the couch and teach him to stay on a rug
- do not let your dog sleep in your bed
- don’t let your dog on the furniture at all (controversial I know!)
- consider replacing carpets with floorboards or other easy clean surfaces, if it’s an option
In most cases, shedding is just a bit of a nuisance.
When extreme it can be a sign of other things going on with your Boxer’s body, like an accumulation of toxins.
Optimizing your dog’s diet and reducing exposure to chemicals, both ingested and environmental, will help stabilize his coat.
Ultimately though, get used to a bit of mess.
A few hairs on your lapel are well worth the joy of having a Boxer in your life.