Owners often want to give their Boxers human foods like peanut butter, yogurt, cheese, garlic and honey.
As a general rule, the occasional all natural treat derived from whole foods won’t do your Boxer any harm, but it’s best to avoid processed human foods.
A good guide for deciding whether a human food is appropriate for your Boxer is whether it’s something a dog would consume as part of a natural canine diet.
While you may be able to feed bread, cooked chicken or oats, for instance without your Boxer showing any obvious ill effects… none of these foods are required by a dog — or belong in an optimal canine diet.
Always make sure you are giving your Boxer a food because it offers benefits, and not for your own amusement or gratification.
Giving your Boxer some of your McDonald’s or a lick of your ice cream does him no favors.
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Benefits Of Peanut Butter For Boxer Dogs
Some owners find peanut butter smeared on a licking mat can provide distraction during tasks like nail grinding or baths.
It’s true that peanut butter seems appealing for its:
- Healthy fat
- Value as a treat that dogs generally love
- Spreadability which makes it useful for licking mats and to stuff kong toys
It’s very commonly believed to be fine for dogs.
However, peanut butter is a poor choice of treat for your Boxer.
Is Peanut Butter Good For Boxer Dogs?
The usual advice is it’s fine to feed your Boxer peanut butter as long as you check the label to make sure the brand you choose is single ingredient, containing 100% nuts and is xylitol-free.
Certainly, even trace amounts of xylitol can poison your Boxer, much smaller amounts than are required of chocolate.
However, the hazards of feeding peanut butter go far beyond xylitol.
A recent Dogs Naturally Magazine article pulled together a powerful argument for avoiding peanut butter entirely, because peanut butter:
- Harbors naturally-occurring substances called aflatoxins, produced by the Aspergillus fungus and which cause cancer
- Contains harmful fats called trans-fatty acids, produced by a process called hydrogenation that makes food shelf-stable and which are linked to chronic inflammation, which is associated with causing diabetes and heart disease
- Is loaded with Omega-6 fatty acids, creating an unbalanced ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fats which can trigger inflammation which can, in turn, underpin allergies and joint problems
- Has been found to contain the weedkiller glyphosate, which has been named by the World Health Organization as a probably carcinogen and which can increase cancer risk by 41 per cent. Peanuts are one of the crops typically sprayed with glyphosate just before harvest
- Contains proteins called lectins that plants use as a defence by causing an inflammatory response in any animal that eats them — as legumes, peanuts have the highest lectin content of any food group
What Brands Of Peanut Butter Are Safe For Boxer Dogs?
While some brands of peanut are xylitol-free, all brands are affected by the other problems outlined above.
Even making your own peanut butter at home will not spare your dog exposure to the glyphosate, lectins and other hazardous aspects of peanuts.
What Human Foods Can Boxer Dogs Eat?
Whether peanut butter or something else, there are several problems associated with giving “human foods” to Boxer dogs:
- Non-whole foods do not form part of a natural canine diet, meaning dogs didn’t eat these things during their million years of evolution and, as a result, there is no biological precedent for them in your dog’s body — which means they may well cause health issues
- Processed foods contain additives and preservatives, colorings, flavorings and other non-food ingredients as well as added salt and sugar that don’t belong in your Boxer’s body, from which he’ll derive no nutritional benefit, and which may well have a detrimental effect in that they add to the toxic load on your Boxer’s body
- Fat content — dogs’ bodies are adapted to eating lean game meats i.e. low fat diets compared to kibble and certainly compared to the fat content often food in processed foods intended for human consumption
Next, we’ll deal with a few specific human foods and whether you should ever give them to your Boxer.
Can Boxer Dogs Eat Cheese?
Lots of owners give cheese to their dogs as a training treat because dogs love the taste, and it’s convenient.
However, cheese really forms no part of a natural canine diet and your Boxer will be better off without it.
Yes, cheese contains protein, calcium, vitamin A, essential fatty acids and B vitamins.
But there are far more species-appropriate sources of these nutrients for your Boxer.
Your dog will receive more than enough of them if you feed a raw meaty bone-based diet consisting of lean muscle meat, edible bone and a little offal (organ meat).
If you are bent on feeding your dog cheese, which cheese is best for Boxers?
Cottage cheese is perhaps the best choice as it’s lower than other cheeses in fat, sodium and lactose.
Lactose can be responsible for stomach upset in some dogs fed cheese.
Boiled chicken is often named as a good “bland diet” for a sick or recuperating dog.
It’s better than kibble, but that isn’t saying much.
Cooked chicken — like any other cooked meat — is inappropriate for your Boxer precisely because it’s cooked.
- Deactivates enzymes
- Denatures proteins
- Kills beneficial bacteria
- Creates carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines and acrylamides
Your Boxer’s body is designed to thrive on fresh, raw meat, raw meaty bones and raw organs.
As demonstrated in a landmark, decade-long study known as Pottenger’s Cats, by Dr Francis Marion Pottenger in the 1930s, when a species is fed cooked food instead of its natural, raw diet, the health of the animal declines in every measurable way including:
- Increased perinatal mortality
- Smaller litter sizes
- Poor mothering
- Poor fertility
- Noticeably dull, rough coats
- Vision problems
- Heart disease
- Periodontal disease
- Inflamed joints
- Inflamed nervous tissue
- Skeletal malformation (calcium bone density fell from 17% to 4% in four generations)
- Gastrointestinal parasitism
- Lung abscess
Dr Pottenger studied 900 cats over nine generations, but his findings apply equally to dogs — or any species eating something other than its natural diet.
The doctor found by changing the diet back from cooked to raw food he was able to reverse most of the disease, up until the third generation.
Thereafter, much of the damage caused by misfeeding was permanent.
After the ninth generation of eating cooked food, Pottenger’s cats were completely sterile and stopped reproducing.
He also discovered the soil he fertilized with the feces of the cats on cooked food did not grow beans or grass, whereas the soil fertilized with the feces of raw-fed cats grew both vigorously.
Can Boxer Dogs Eat Bread?
There is only one occasion on which you’d want to feed bread to your Boxer.
A slice of white bread can legitimately help clear a shard of cooked bone from your Boxer’s throat, if the situation should ever arise.
Remember to only ever give your Boxer bones that are raw.
Cooked bones are prone to splintering and can cause obstructions and perforations.
But, accidents happen and perhaps your Boxer got into the cooked chicken bones in the trash and now seems to have an irritation in his throat.
In this situation, just as for humans, a slice or two of white bread often does the trick.
Note, this remedy is for minor issues.
See your vet for anything more.
Can Boxer Dogs Eat Oatmeal Or Oats?
Oatmeal is is one of those things commonly fed to dogs and which won’t do any obvious immediate harm, but which is not super great for them.
Certain types of oatmeal contain ingredients unsuitable for dogs, but even the totally plain kind you make from scratch at home is not a wonderful idea.
Oatmeal contains some worthwhile nutrition but it’s high in carbohydrates when a natural canine diet is low in carbs.
It’s often touted as a source of fiber, but for dogs, bones, with their associated collagen and cartilage provide species-appropriate fiber and play the role that plant-based fiber and roughage does in the human diet.
These animal products are fermented in the large intestine, creating short chain fatty acids that are beneficial for the cells lining the gut.
As with cheese, there are more biologically-appropriate ways to provide the same nutrients to a dog.
Is Honey Good For Boxer Dogs?
Raw honey, particularly from local sources, can be beneficial for your Boxer to consume in small amounts.
Honey contains pre and probiotics and so may aid digestion and there is some thought by exposing your dog to pollen, it may protect against the development of environmental allergies.
Honey can also be applied topically to wounds or skin irritations in preference to pharmaceuticals for its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.
Make sure you get pure, raw, unfiltered honey so that it doesn’t contain pesticides and actually contains real honey — many supermarket brands don’t.
A word of caution: raw honey contains clostridium botulinum spores and should not be given to puppies under one year, when their immune systems are still developing.
Can Boxer Dogs Eat Garlic?
Many raw feeders give small amounts of garlic for benefits they believe include flea and tick repellence.
It may also repel mosquitos which are how heartworm is transmitted to your Boxer.
Garlic is not something a dog would naturally consume, however.
Here at Boxer Dog Diaries we tend to favor getting the basics of dog husbandry right (in terms of feeding a fresh, raw meaty bone-based diet and avoiding chemical ingestion and exposure), rather than adding in a whole heap of extras that wouldn’t figure in a natural canine diet.
We mention garlic in case you think it may be right for your Boxer and you’d like to investigate further.
If you’re going to include garlic in your Boxer’s diet you need to feed it in very small amounts to avoid toxicity, and only to dogs with a fully healthy digestive function.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Boxer Dogs?
There are those that believe apple cider vinegar can cure all sorts of ailments, internal and external.
UTIs, gut issues, heart health, cognitive problems and infections are among the problems people use ACV to treat.
A 50/50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water sprayed on the coat may help repel fleas and ticks before an outing.
In no way do we believe it’s necessary for a healthy Boxer, but you may be interested to research it for yourself.
If using apple cider vinegar, make sure you select a trusted brand like Bragg apple cider vinegar that is raw (pasteurization kills off the living enzymes), organic, unfiltered and contains “the mother”.
The mother is the bacteria and yeast used to ferment the apple cider into vinegar, drifts near the bottom of the bottle and makes the liquid cloudy.
Can I Give My Boxer Puppy Milk?
Milk of any species other than dog is an unnatural food for your Boxer.
Your Boxer has no biological requirement for milk once he’s been weaned.
If you are giving your Boxer milk anyway, goat’s milk may be the better choice.
Compared to cow’s milk, goat’s milk:
- Has 12 per cent less of the milk sugar known as lactose, which can cause problems if your dog doesn’t have enough of the enzyme lactase
- Contains only A2 beta-casein proteins which may be one of the reasons it’s more digestible
- Doesn’t interfere with the absorption of other trace minerals like copper and iron
However, it’s recommended to avoid all dairy if your Boxer has skin problems or digestive issues, cancer or pancreatitis.
Should I Give My Boxer Yogurt?
Many owners give yogurt for conditions like acid reflux and other digestive problems.
The thinking is its live cultures of bacteria may help restore gut health.
In the wild dogs do this naturally by eating poop, which you may have seen your Boxer do.
Of course, yogurt, as a processed manmade dairy product, is not an element of a natural canine diet.
If you can get your hands on it, a more biologically appropriate way to replenish your Boxer’s gut microbiome is green tripe, which is the stomach lining of ungulates like sheep and cows.
It’s important to only give the “green” type of tripe, which means it’s unbleached and non-chemically treated.
How To Feed Human Foods To Your Boxer Dog
The very best way to feed your Boxer is to get the basic elements of a raw meaty bone-based diet spot on.
This way you will be much less likely to need to resort to other types of non-biologically appropriate foods as “remedies” for health problems.
If you are going to feed human foods to your Boxer, it’s a good idea to:
- Make sure they only represent a very small fraction of your Boxer’s diet — this means feeding them both occasionally in frequency and in small amounts as a proportion of the overall diet
- Start by feeding a minuscule amount first and waiting several days to make sure there is no adverse reaction e.g. hives, diarrhea, itching or breathing difficulties which would be a sign of an acute allergic reaction
- Choose products that are preservative-free and don’t contain artificial colors and other additives
- Check the ingredient list to be sure the product contains no xylitol, an “all natural” sweetener that is toxic to dogs and poisons thousands each year
- Be clear with yourself about why you are giving the food to your Boxer: what benefit will he derive from eating it?
More Information On How To Feed Your Boxer Dog Properly
You may also be interested to know:
- Foods that are bad for Boxers include chocolate
- One whole food that is considered unsafe for Boxers is grapes
- Food allergies in Boxers are actually rare and probably not the cause of your dog’s symptoms
- As frozen confectionery, ice cream is never appropriate for your Boxer
- Homecooking food for your Boxer is not a good idea as his food should be raw
On the plus side:
- Fruit is a natural secondary food for Boxers, since dogs are “facultative” carnivores, able to survive on other foods when meat is unavailable
- Healthy treats for Boxers include fresh, raw eggs and sardines
Fruits your Boxer can happily eat include:
- Fresh, pitted dates
- Avocados (Only the flesh)
- Cucumber (Feed as you would melon)
- Stone fruits like plums and nectaries
.. and many others!
Peanut butter might be the most common, but there is no end to the human foods that owners feed to their Boxers in the belief they supply some benefits.
It’s always advisable to avoid processed foods.
If you are considering feeding something that falls outside the bounds of a natural canine diet — in other words, if it’s not raw meaty bones, lean muscle meat, offal or fruit — make sure you do your due diligence and satisfy yourself it’s a justified inclusion.
Duker Freuman, Tamara, Goats Milk: Is This the Right Milk for You? Healthline, 2019
Foley, Cynthia, Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs, Whole Dog Journal, 2017
Gagne, Marie, Is Goat Milk Good For Your Dog? Dogs Naturally Magazine, 2021
Scott, Dana, Is Peanut Butter Toxic For Your Dog? Dogs Naturally Magazine, 2020
Pottenger’s Cats: A Study in Nutrition, Francis M Pottenger, Jr, MD, Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, 1983
Raw Essentials, Do Cats & Dogs Need Fibre? Retrieved from website October 2021
Zhang, Luoping et al, Exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides and risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma: A meta-analysis and supporting evidence, Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research 2019