Boxer incoming! Life is about to get cute, real cute.
You’ve found your Boxer puppy and the countdown is on to when you can bring her home.
Now’s the time to gather these 21 essentials every Boxer owner needs.
Some of the items on our list are no brainers — everyone knows you need a collar and leash, a bed.
Other things we’re confident you won’t have thought of — have you considered getting a steam cleaner so your dog isn’t exposed to harsh chemical cleaners?
What about a “dog inside” sticker for your window, so firefighters know to rescue your pup in case of fire?
It’s these next-level purchases that make this the ultimate shopping list for new Boxer owners … and which will allow you to be the kind of owner your Boxer deserves.
Related article: Top 10 toys most suited to the Boxer’s unique play style.
1. Pee Pads
Pee pads will make potty training your Boxer pup muuuuuuuch easier.
You might be able to get away without them if you have a house with a backyard, but for apartment dwellers, they are a godsend.
Eight-week-old pups have tiny bladders and need to go A LOT.
If there’s a flight of stairs or an elevator ride between you and the outside, your girl isn’t going to be able to hold it and there’ll be accidents.
Pee pads in a corner of the living space avoid setting your pup up to fail, while saving you the aggravation and your floors the stains.
They’re also useful during the night, in inclement weather, when your older dog is sick or injured, and whenever you go out and leave your pup home alone.
Check out our potty training guide for how to use pee pads as part of your potty training process.
2. Soft Mats For The Floor
Many of us live on hard, slippery floors like wooden boards, tiles, lino or polished cement.
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These surfaces are easier to clean than carpet, but the lack of grip and jarring effect on the joints can wreak havoc on a growing pup’s skeleton.
The dramatic bowing called “knuckling” that sometimes develops seemingly overnight in Boxer puppies can be directly due to this. (Overly fast growth due to improper diet can also be a factor.)
Even if your puppy shows no ill effects at the time, living on these kinds of floors can contribute to joint problems that arise later in life.
You will probably notice your pup slipping quite a bit, unless you do something about this, at least while she’s still growing.
To protect your pup’s joints, put down rugs, yoga mats or we love these floor pads designed for children’s playrooms:
You don’t have to cover the whole house, but it’s well worth doing the areas where your pup spends most of her time, particularly if she has no soft, outside grassy area to play on.
3. Baby Gate/Play Pen/Crate
You’re going to want to close doors and get into the habit of keeping the toilet lid down and the floor clear of electrical cords and other hazardous, chewable items.
Puppy proof the areas your Boxer will have access to and cordon off the rest of the house.
A baby gate can come in handy for this purpose. Try this Portable Pet Gate: Expands & locks In place with no tools.
You can also use a fenced play pen like this Foldable Metal Dog Pen With Gate to keep her confined to a safe area.
If you’re planning on crate training your Boxer, now is the time to get the crate and set it up where you intend to place it.
4. “Dog Inside” Fire Safety Sticker
A sticker on your apartment door or house window in case of fire can alert firefighters that there is a dog inside that needs rescuing.
We like this one:
5. Wi-Fi Camera
A camera that allows you to live stream your living room to an app on your mobile phone is invaluable with a new puppy.
It allows you to check in and reassure yourself that your pup is calm and safe and not barking while you’re out.
It’s also valuable as a training tool, letting you see what your dog gets up to when you’re not there.
Most models have a feature that allows you to speak to your dog.
A well-timed “Ah uh” or “No” can head off bad behaviors before they develop.
Some set-ups allow you to receive noise-activated alerts.
If you possibly can, go for a non-toxic, organic bed.
Otherwise your pup will be sleeping on materials that have been treated with flame retardant chemicals known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) which are known to disrupt endocrine function.
Organic dog beds are still hard to find. It may mean investing in a cot mattress designed for human babies and bolstering it with an organic boomerang pillow that can be moved as your pup grows.
7. Long Line
A long line gives you the best of both worlds: your pup enjoys the freedom to range around in unfenced places, while you retain enough control to rein her in if need be.
As your pup grows up, this will be an essential piece of equipment as you teach her to come on command, so you’ll get plenty of use out of it.
The Viper Odor-Proof Long Line with Solid Brass Snap is waterproof and indestructible enough to last through all your dog’s stages.
We recommend the 33 foot (10m) length for maximum versatility.
8. Name Tag Engraved With Your Contact Details
In case the unthinkable happens and you ever get separated from your dog, a name tag engraved with your name and number will help her be returned safely.
An alternative is a fabric collar embroidered with your contact details.
Just remember to take the collar off when your pup is securely at home, as collars can snag in air conditioning vents and between decking boards.
Dogs have been strangled to death this way.
While your pup is super small, you will want to get a temporary collar for her to wear, just to get used to the feeling.
Make sure it’s soft and gentle on her skin and causes no irritation. Don’t go overboard on cost as she’ll grow out of it in no time.
9. Harness And Leash
While a collar may be useful for identification purposes, a harness is a much better idea for walking your Boxer.
It avoids placing stress on your dog’s neck, which can cause injury and strain — particularly since Boxers can have a tendency to pull on the leash until they’re properly trained.
(Here’s how to stop a Boxer pulling on the leash.)
When choosing a leash, avoid the extendable variety. They inadvertently teach your Boxer to tug on the lead and, with their near-invisible cords, can be downright dangerous.
They also don’t give you anywhere near enough control over your Boxer and can be hard to operate in an emergency situation.
10. Shower Hose Extension
One of these will allow you to wash your dog much more easily in the shower or bathtub.
Forget scooping or pouring water over your dog.
Replacing your shower head with a shower hose extension gives you a stream of high-pressure water at ground level which you can direct into the armpits, under the tail and in all those hard to reach places.
Baths are ten times faster with this device.
A must if you don’t have a backyard hose to bathe your dog under or if you live in a cold climate where you’ll want to wash your dog inside, with warmer water.
11. Car Seat Covers
The sooner you get your car seats fitted with protective covers, the better.
Don’t just cover the back seat, cover EVERY seat.
Boxers shed quite a bit and “Boxer glitter” will blow all through the vehicle, adhering to every surface.
Save yourself the headache of trying to remove it later and cover your car seats from the get-go.
12. Car Buckle
For securing your Boxer in the car we can’t go past the Julius-K9 Seat Belt Connector Dogs Over 55 Lbs Over 25 Kg Safety Seat Belt
One end plugs directly in to the car seat belt buckle and the other fastens onto your dog’s harness.
It’s long enough that your Boxer has some ability to change position and get comfortable but short enough that he stays put.
You can use it with your dog’s regular harness, or consider a car safety harness with crash tested rating.
13. Dr Bronner’s Unscented Mild Baby Soap
You can use this not only to wash your dog but also his bedding and any coats he wears.
All organic and fragrance-free, this product avoids many of the ingredients you’ll find in pet store dog shampoos and which can irritate your dog’s skin and have her inhaling chemicals.
14. Steam Cleaner
You will want to keep your home as chemical free as possible from now on, as Boxers can suffer terrible hives and other irritations from exposure to toxins commonly found in household cleaners.
A steam cleaner uses nothing but superheated water, to disinfect and de-stain hard surfaces. has been a game changer for us.
Karcher is a world leader in steam cleaning technology and you will have this purchase for life.
If the budget doesn’t stretch to the SC5, you could happily go for the Karcher SC 3.
15. Air Purifier
Attending to your indoor air quality will make a bigger difference than you might imagine to your Boxer’s health (and your own).
A good air purifier filters out pet dander, mold, pollen, dust, bacteria, smoke, particulate pollution and, most importantly, contaminants called 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.
Via a process known as “off gassing”, VOCs are constantly emitted by paint, varnish, carpets, drapes and other fabrics, furnishings, building materials including plywood and particleboard and thousands of other common household products.
We use the Blueair Classic 680i Air Purifier.
16. Slow Feeder
As a deep chested breed, Boxers are prone to deadly bloat, or gastric dilatation volvulus.
Eating fast is one of the risk factors for the condition, so it’s a good idea to always use a slow feeder with your Boxer.
We use the Outward Hound Fun Feeder.
Bloat requires emergency veterinary attention, so make sure you know the signs and how to prevent it.
17. Treat Pouch
A treat pouch that you can wear on your hip will make training much easier.
Reward, reward, reward and you’ll have a well behaved Boxer.
We love the Navaris Silicone Dog Treat Pouch because it can handle fresh, raw meat without getting gross.
It comes clean in warm soapy water, turns inside out to wash and the magnetic closure keeps the flies out while providing quick access.
Team a clicker with a treat pouch and you’re ready to teach your Boxer pup just about anything.
Clicker training is worth researching.
Essentially you use a clicker to “mark” the moment when your dog delivers a desired behavior.
The click is more effective than using your voice because it sounds exactly the same, every time.
The OYEFLY Clicker is simple, costs next to nothing and has a wrist strap, which comes in super handy.
19. Kitchen Scales
You’ll be needing a set of scales to weigh out your pup’s raw food.
A good guide is to feed three to five per cent of your dog’s ideal bodyweight.
20. Poultry Shears
These make home preparing your Boxer’s raw diet a breeze.
Great for trimming fat and skin.
21. Self Closing Pedal Trash Can
Boxers are curious, resourceful and have an unbelievably powerful sense of smell, which you can read about in our article Your Boxer’s Secret Super Power.
If the trash doesn’t have a self closing lid, your pup is bound to end up fishing out the remains of that rotisserie chicken.
Avoid the accidents — and the prospect of emergency surgery to remove an obstruction or repair a perforation — by securing your rubbish.
Prepping for your new Boxer puppy involves more than picking up a bag of kibble (please don’t!) and a dog bed.
From a silicone treat pouch to a steam cleaner, a few thoughtful purchases will equip you to care for your dog in the best possible way, from day one.
Oh and you might want to grab a toy or two, but steer clear of these Top 10 Worst Toys For A Boxer.