Every new owner is familiar with the basic shopping list: you need a collar and a leash, a dog bed, a water bowl.
Perhaps, for a Boxer, you even know you need a nail grinder and a slow feeder.
Here are 6 next-level appliances you won’t find at the pet shop, but which every Boxer owner should have in their armory.
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The criteria for inclusion in our list of must-have devices are:
- Will it make your life as a Boxer owner significantly easier?
- Will it dramatically improve the standard of care you’re able to provide for your Boxer?
- Will you use it daily or at least multiple times a week?
- Is your Boxer likely to be happier and/or healthier because of this device?
Some of these items represent major purchases.
We’re certain you’ll agree they’re game changers worth every penny.
They’re also the kinds of investments you only need to make once, and keep forever.
1. Wi-Fi Camera
Whether you’ve just brought home a puppy or rescued an adult Boxer, a Wi-Fi camera is invaluable in the early days with a new dog.
The ability to keep an eye on your pup even when you’re not at home via an app on your mobile phone gives you peace of mind.
More importantly, it’s a powerful training tool when teaching your Boxer how to be home alone.
It gives you eyes, even when you’re not there .. allowing you to see what your dog gets up to, and to know what triggers any undesirable behaviors.
Is he curling up and going straight to sleep when you leave .. or pacing and showing signs of distress?
Does he counter surf and help himself to the off-limits couch?
Does the doorbell bring on an attack of barking that lasts half an hour?
With a camera installed, you don’t have to guess or wait for the neighbours to make a noise complaint before you know there’s a problem.
I personally have the Samsung SmartCam.
This little beauty is the only reason I knew that a new treat-dispensing toy I’d left Shiva with was tweaking him the wrong way and causing non-stop barking.
Who knows how long it would have gone on if I hadn’t been monitoring as I walked to work. I turned straight around to come back home and end the madness!
Alternatively, you might prefer a pet-specific camera like the Furbo which even tosses treats.
Most cameras have a microphone function so that you can even deliver a well-timed “Uh-uh!” or “No!” to head off bad behavior.
Just be prepared for a few strange looks on the morning commute when you’re disciplining your dog through your mobile phone.
Even once your Boxer is settled in, you’ll be glad you have this device.
There will be times when you want to check in on your Boxer — whether you’re delayed getting home from work and want to assure yourself he’s still fine or after an operation or when your pup’s not feeling well.
You can get cordless, battery and solar-powered models that are weatherproofed for outdoor use.
2. Steam Cleaner
One of the very best things you can do for your Boxer’s health is provide him with a chemical-free living environment.
Our dogs are constantly bombarded with toxins in daily life .. from the carcinogenic weedkiller glyphosate on the grass they sniff at the park to roadsides sprayed with pesticides and pollution licked off their fur when grooming.
Many of these exposures are unavoidable.
What you can control are the exposures your dog has at home.
A steam cleaner allows you to keep the house clean without using chemical sprays or bleach that your dog will breathe in.
I use an older version of this Kärcher SC3 EasyFix Steam Cleaner and it’s amazing.
Karcher is a top-of-the-line brand and you can’t do better.
Scented products including common household cleaners, room deodorizers and scented plugins are known to cause symptoms of poisoning in dogs, ranging from hives to diarrhea and vomiting or general malaise.
Steam cleaners are totally free of harmful chemicals, using nothing but superheated water to remove grime.
They do such a good job that you’ll be able to jettison all those other products forever, saving money and sparing your dog (and yourself) toxic exposures.
While you may be able to use these products for quite a while without noticing any reaction in your dog, each one adds to the toxic load your dog’s body is carrying.
Toxic accumulation takes its toll over time, similar to the way heavy metals like mercury and other pollutants from industrial run-off build up in the tissues of marine life and are passed up the food chain, contaminating larger fish like tuna.
According to The Natural Vets, toxins like environmental poisons are potential triggers for so called “autoimmune” diseases, serious disorders which run the gamut from “allergies” to ulcerative colitis and even meningitis but where vets can identify no obvious cause.
“All of these things have the potential to disturb the immune system and in most cases there is a “stacking” effect,” say The Natural Vets.
“A strong, vital animal will probably handle one or two or three of these, but if they keep stacking up, or if something else affects the strength and vitality of the individual, then disease will likely result.”
By this point you may not connect the cancer or the chronic inflammatory condition back to the chemical spray you use to wipe down the kitchen bench every day.
But your dog’s shot at a healthy life is dramatically enhanced by minimizing his exposure to chemicals.
Investing in a steam cleaner helps you do that in a major way.
3. Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
Boxers can be industrious shedders, at times giving off so much hair it’s a wonder they’re not left bald.
To see a white Boxer shake his coat in the sunlight is to witness a snowdome effect that would be magical if it weren’t for the knowledge all that hair is about to settle on your floor, from where it will be blown onto every surface.
Even if you’re relaxed about dog hair, there is another reason to keep a clean house: your Boxer’s health.
House dust has been found to contain toxic residues from all manner of household goods and furniture.
Flame retardants, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), are one example.
The presence of PBDEs (sprayed by manufacturers onto bedding and fabrics) in house dust is believed to be the cause of an epidemic of feline hypothyroidism.
Flame retardants contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are no better for your Boxer than your kitty.
A cordless vacuum cleaner with good suction makes it super easy to give the living area a quick once-over daily.
I haven’t been able to find one better than the Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal.
You can also use the brush attachments to de-hair your Boxer’s bed between washes, or to go over the back seat of the car where your pup rides.
4. Air Purifier
Our Boxers spend almost all their time at home, so it’s important the air quality is as good as you can make it.
A good air purifier will filter out pet dander, mold, pollen, dust, bacteria, smoke and particulate pollution.
But the most important contaminants that air purifiers remove are what’s known as Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs.
VOCs are harmful chemicals, predominantly synthetic, that are known to have both short and long-term impacts on health, ranging from skin problems to liver damage and cancer.
VOCs are constantly emitted by common household products numbering in their thousands, including:
- scented plugins, candles, incense and aerosol deodorizers
- drycleaned clothes or quilts
- drapes and other fabrics
- household cleaning supplies
- building materials including plywood and particleboard
- office equipment like printers
- correction fluids
- permanent markers
- cigarette smoke
Formaldehyde is an example of a common VOC.
The amount of VOCs given off by products tends to decrease as the product ages, so new furniture and fittings are a greater source of VOCs than ones you’ve had for years.
VOC concentrations are typically much higher inside than out, sometimes ten times higher … which is where your air purifier comes in.
The damaging effects of VOCs on your dog’s health depend on the strength and duration of exposure, so anything you do to reduce VOCs in your home will help.
You can get air purifiers that monitor VOC levels and illuminate a warning light when levels rise, automatically triggering the purifier to increase its speed to clear the contaminant.
This Blueair Classic 680i Air Purifier takes care of my whole apartment.
The Alen BreatheSmart 45i Air Purifier is another quality choice.
Here’s a device you never thought you’d need for your Boxer.
Raw feeding pioneer, dog breeder and vet Dr Ian Billinghurst recommends putting vegetables through a juicer before feeding both the juice and the pulp.
Leafy greens, in particular, are beneficial for dogs.
However, the canine gut is unable to digest the cellulose contained in plant cell walls.
Which means if you feed vegetables to your dog, he won’t be able to extract the nutrients.
By putting the vegetables through a juicer, you mimic the crushing and pulverising and other processes that go on in a ruminant’s four-chambered stomach … which is where a dog normally consumes their greens in nature: by eating the stomach contents of their prey.
Try some romaine lettuce leaves, baby spinach or celery — all are packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Phytonutrients are plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatories powers and which are thought to:
- repair damage to DNA from exposure to toxins
- detoxify carcinogens
- enhance immune function, and
- improve intracellular communication.
The juicer I have is the BioChef Gemini.
Its twin gears give it more oomph than cheaper models and it comes with a 20 year warranty on the motor.
Shiva’s favorite is a green juice of romaine lettuce leaves but I also put his bananas through the juicer if they’re not quite ripe enough (bananas should have lots of brown spots for dogs to eat them).
That way I know all the nutrients will be bioavailable for him.
Not sure about dogs eating fruit?
Unlike cats, dogs aren’t strict or “obligate” carnivores.
Rather, they are “facultative” carnivores, which means their primary food is meat but they can sustain themselves on a secondary food when prey is scarce.
That secondary food is fruit.
Wolves in northeastern Minnesota, for instance, have been observed by researchers from the Voyageurs Wolf Project eating a diet of as much as 80 per cent blueberries and raspberries for a full month at the height of summer.
6. Meat Grinder
A meat grinder can come in handy when you are weaning puppies, first transitioning a dog to raw feeding, or if you’re raw feeding a senior dog with dental problems.
In his book Give Your Dog a Bone, Dr Ian Billinghurst describes how he starts his Rottweiler and Great Dane pups on chicken wings and necks at five or six weeks old, as they come off their mother’s milk.
At first he puts the wings and necks through the meat grinder, simulating food regurgitated by the mother.
Within about ten days the pups are handling the chicken parts whole.
The Powerful ALTRA Electric Meat Grinder is affordable and will mince chicken bones.
Transitioning A Boxer To Raw Feeding
Sometimes owners new to raw feeding are anxious about feeding their dogs whole bones.
The risk is that their unfounded fear will cause them to omit bones from their dog’s diet — which would be a disastrous mistake since bones are the single most important element of a natural canine diet consisting of bones, muscle meat and a small amount of offal.
When raw feeders talk about bone they mean edible bone — bone that is wholly consumed, as distinct from “recreational” bones like lamb or beef necks that are mostly for gnawing on.
Chicken carcasses are a classic example of what the edible bone component of an adult Boxer’s raw diet might look like.
A meat grinder can be a lifesaver here.
Grinding the bones allows the dog to receive the benefits of the raw meaty bones, while mitigating the owner’s anxiety.
After several weeks of this, owners generally feel comfortable progressing to feeding the bones intact and once they see their dogs know exactly what to do, they never look back.
But the meat grinder has propelled dog and owner through the transition.
Senior Boxers And Boxers With Dental Problems
Elderly Boxers, sick Boxers, Boxers that have had a large number of teeth extracted or Boxers that for whatever reason are having trouble chewing bones can also continue to eat raw with the aid of a meat grinder.
If you invest in only a handful of major purchases as a Boxer owner, you will do well to pick from the above list.
Though individual brand choice is up to you, we use and recommend each and every one of the products.
We know they’ll make a huge difference to your Boxer’s health and to your life as a Boxer owner.
Exploring the issue of Roundup and cancer risk, Dr Evelyn Lewin, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, 2019
Indoor Air Quality: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, HealthLinkBC, June 2018
Give Your Dog a Bone, Dr Ian Billinghurst, 1993
The feline thyroid gland: a model for endocrine disruption by polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)? Donna A Mensching et al, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, 2012
Weekly Summer Diet of Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) in Northeastern Minnesota, Thomas D Gable et al, The American Midland Naturalist, 1 January 2018
What are volatile organic compounds (VOCs)? United States Environmental Protection Agency
Raw Chicken Necks? The Natural Vets