You will have noticed that your Boxer really feels the heat.
Dogs sweat through the paw pads and by panting.
The Boxer’s brachycephalic (short-nosed) head packs all the same nasal structures into a much more compact space than in dogs with longer noses.
As a result, some Boxers can find it harder to regulate their body temperature .. and even be prone to breathing difficulties.
The risk of overheating, and even heat stroke, is particularly high when exertion is paired with warm temperatures.
On top of which, Boxers’ short coats offer little insulation from either heat or cold.
Here are 12 easy ways to take care of your Boxer when the mercury rises.
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This one’s a no brainer but might be unfamiliar for owners of other breeds.
Boxers belong inside where the air conditioning is.
If it’s too hot for you to be comfortably outside all day long, it’s too hot to leave your Boxer out while you’re at work.
Be sure to leave the air conditioning on for your pup during summer, as closed homes can quickly become hot and stuffy with no air circulation.
If you’re gone for more than half a day at a time, consider installing a dog door to give your Boxer the best of both worlds — access to the back yard for potty breaks, and the cool interior.
You can dog proof the house so he’s free to roam without getting into trouble.
Or, shut doors and use baby gates to restrict access to areas where he’ll be safe.
If your Boxer spends a lot of time outside, check to see where the sun hits your yard as the seasons shift.
Know how the sunlit areas change throughout the day and make sure your Boxer always has somewhere to lie in the shade.
An outdoor Wi-Fi camera you can stream through your mobile phone can be a useful aid for monitoring both the sun and your dog.
2. Restrict Exercise
You will need to adjust your Boxer’s routine in the warmer months so that he’s not walked or exercised outdoors in the heat of the day.
Depending where you live, walking your Boxer at dawn and dusk, or even at night, may become essential in summer.
Be particularly careful to wind back your dog’s activity levels during the transition from spring to summer, to give his body time to adjust to the warmer weather.
During super hot spells, consider playing indoor games with more of a mental element than going for the usual physical exercise outdoors in the heat.
Canine enrichment toys like puzzles are fantastic for engaging Boxers’ minds.
We love the Nina Ottosson DogTwister Interactive game.
To avoid overheating, less is more.
Don’t let your Boxer run until he drops in summer.
Enforce breaks in the shade and call it quits before your dog starts showing signs of heat stress.
If you’re really set on your Boxer running when it’s hot, dogs can be taught to use treadmills.
3. Wet Your Boxer Down Before Walks
If you must venture out for a slow walk or a potty break when it’s still hot, soak your dog down thoroughly first.
Pay particular attention to areas of bare skin like the armpits, belly and inside the back legs.
The potential for cooling is greatest in these spots, where blood vessels run close to the surface of skin not covered by fur.
A good wet-down will put a bounce in your Boxer’s step and get him through a short outing before his coat dries and he starts to overheat.
Keep walks short and consider taking water with you for another wet down halfway through.
In built-up environments, be conscious of how hot the ground can get in full sun.
If you have a backyard, the hose will come in very handy.
For apartment-dwellers, life will be a lot easier if you switch out your fixed shower head for a handheld nozzle with an extra long hose.
4. Cooling Vests
Cooling vests use evaporative cooling to draw heat away from your dog’s core.
They can be worn with harnesses during exercise or you can use a cooling insert with an existing harness.
Check out the RUFFWEAR Swamp Cooler.
You just soak the vest in water, wring it out, pop it on and your pup is good to go.
5. Cooling Mats
While regular beds retain heat, a cooling pad will do the opposite.
There are plenty of styles on the market.
Some are filled with water.
Others contain a pressure-activated gel that will absorb heat from your dog’s body, without requiring refrigeration.
They offer a little more support than lying directly on tiles, cement or other hard surfaces — which dogs can like to do in hot weather but which can cause calluses or hygromas (fluid-filled sacs) to form on the elbows.
6. Dog Pool
Dog pools come in both hard plastic clam shells and softer collapsible styles with nonslip bottoms like the Jasonwell Foldable Dog Pet Pool.
You might have to work on getting your pup used to them first — throwing in a few toys and climbing in yourself usually does the trick.
Once your Boxer’s comfortable with the new contraption, he may well enjoy lounging in the water on hot days.
Fruit is a dog’s natural secondary food, after meat.
Summer is an especially great time to offer fruit, because it takes little energy to digest and is ultra hydrating.
Boxers can happily eat:
Just remember to feed fruit separately to meat, as it moves through your dog’s gut much faster and feeding it with slow-digesting meat can create digestive upset.
Be sure to feed watermelon on its own, as it digests much more rapidly than anything else.
Of course, make sure plenty of fresh, pure water (not tap water) is always available to your Boxer.
8. Ice Blocks To Lick
You can freeze containers full of water into brick-size iceblocks for your Boxer to lick.
If he’s not enthused, try freezing morsels of food in the center so he has something to work towards.
9. Water Play
A regular lawn sprinkler will often become a toy when you have a Boxer.
There are also specially designed fountains like this Step On Dog Sprinkler Toy where your dog can activate a spray of water by stamping on a pedal — right up a Boxer’s alley.
10. Industrial Fans And Misting Sprays
Some owners set up industrial fans in their outdoor areas and install misting sprays on their pergolas.
There are even misters that can be switched on and off remotely via an app on your mobile phone.
This way you can activate them when you see the temperature is rising, even if you’re stuck at work.
11. Elevated Beds
Elevated cooling beds made of breathable mesh suspended between four posts are great for decks and shaded outdoor areas during the day.
The height allows for air flow beneath your Boxer’s body.
We like the Coolaroo Original Elevated Pet Bed.
12. Head For The Beach Or The Lake
Beaches, lakes and rivers are always winners as far as fun places to exercise your Boxer, but never moreso than in summer.
Romping in the shallows is a great way to stay cool while getting to run about.
Damp sand is a lot cooler on the paw pads than sun-baked asphalt or city sidewalks.
The temperature in natural environments is generally several degrees lower, too, earth and trees emitting much less reflected heat than the concrete jungle.
Remember to monitor how long you’ve been out in the sun and don’t overdo it — your Boxer can still overheat, even when wet.
13. DIY Cooling
Keeping your Boxer cool doesn’t have to involve loads of expensive products.
Awareness is the key.
You can simply wet down a kitchen towel under the cold tap and drape it over your Boxer’s side as he lies in front of a fan.
Plan ahead by wringing out some wet towels and popping them in the freezer to use after walks.
Your Boxer will love the activities that come with summertime.
By being mindful of the Boxer’s sensitivity to heat stress and taking a few commonsense precautions, you’ll be able to keep your dog happy, healthy and active during the warmer months.