Boxers are a medium to large sized breed of dogs that have a German origin. They were bred back in the 19th century to bait bulls, during which time they ate a lot healthier than today and their food habits were better managed. By nature they are quite affectionate and lovable, not to mention energetic, and they are found to be even more active when they are puppies.
Owing to a few anatomical differences their nutritional needs are a tad bit different from other dog breeds. In addition, today’s dog food formulas tend to have a lot of additives and fillers too, which can prove to be bad for your Boxer puppy. Hence it is important to spend some time pondering over the question “how much should a boxer puppy eat” so that you can make sure your pooch gets all the nutrients he needs to live a happy and healthy life, in spite of the changes in food formulas available these days.
If you are considering a Boxer puppy for your house, here’s what you need to know about his diet.
How Much Should a Boxer Puppy Eat?
As is the case with most other puppies, the amount of food your puppy needs depends on his or her level of activity, his age and his body weight. And of course, the amount will change as your puppy grows.
But from a general perspective, puppies need about fifty five calories of food per pound of body weight. Boxer puppies in particular have some specific nutritional needs as well.
A Boxer puppy is likely to grow into medium to large sized muscular and slim dog weighing between 50 to 70 pounds if they are fed the right kind and quantities of food. As they are a highly active muscular breed they need high quality foods that are rich in protein to feed their energy, at a slighter higher level than other less active breeds.
For this reason, it is advisable to provide foods that contain about 30% protein especially during the developing stages. Most dog food brands have formulas with only 25% protein, which might prove to be insufficient for a Boxer puppy. Hence it is important that you do your research and invest in a good quality formula.
There is a general belief that Boxer puppies can be fed twice the amount of food they would eat as an adult. However, it is always a good idea to weigh your puppy every week or every two weeks and adjust the food consumption accordingly. Some puppies can be sensitive to elevated protein, in which case foods that have moderate protein and fat levels are advised. Additionally, Boxers also need a Calcium-to-Phosphorous ratio as close to 1:1 as possible.
In the first 6 to 8 months your puppy will grow rapidly in size as well as maturity. This is why it would be good to weigh your pooch every so often and pick optimal food quantities. As your puppy grows older, you can reduce the food intake gradually as he will be able to go longer without food.
Kibble meant for Boxer puppies specifically is what is commonly recommended as a food option, as it helps maintain gut health, as well as oral health, along with being nutritious. Some Boxer puppies tend to be a little sensitive with food, in which case you may have to try a few options before settling on your puppy’s favorite.
How Often Should You Feed a Boxer Puppy?
Boxer puppies need the recommended quantities of high quality food at different intervals throughout their development stage.
- From 2 to 4 months they can be fed up to 4 times a day
- From 4 to 6 months they can be fed 3 times a day
- Above 6 months you can reduce the frequency to 2 to 3 times a day. This level of food can be maintained throughout adulthood as well. (This is the stage at which you can teach your pup some discipline with regards to food or sleep or exercise and whatnot.)
- Some Boxers tend to have a “skinny phase” between 1 and 2 years where they may take some time to fill out. In such cases, you could consider 3 meals a day as well. However, 2 meals a day is the preferred eating schedule that you want to train your dog into.
Cutting down to one meal a day is often not advised as Boxers are very prone to bloating issues and it can cause severe digestive malfunctioning with time.
How to Know if You’re Feeding Them Too Much
Just like with regular puppies, you can perform a simple test to check if your Boxer puppy is overfed or underfed. You can place your hands on the puppy’s chest or back and see if you can feel his ribcage or spine with a little pressure. If you cannot feel the bones, then that means your puppy is overeating.
Over feeding your puppy can have a number of consequences.
Bloating is an issue that is specifically common among Boxer puppies. It can happen if you over feed or under feed your puppy. Constant bloating can lead to other more serious gastrointestinal issues that can prove to be fatal for your dog.
For this reason, often grain-free kibble food and raw diets are advised for Boxer puppies as they use more of plant based protein and carbohydrate formulas.
Other food sources containing things like corn, wheat, rice and oats are often discouraged and these can cause excess gas in Boxer puppies, in turn causing bloating issues.
As mentioned before, Boxers are ideally expected to have a slim and muscular structure. They are not specifically prone to gaining too much weight, which is why the level of carbohydrates and fats in their food formulas are less of a concern.
However, Boxer puppies or any puppy for that matter are known to be opportunists when it comes to eating. They do not know or care about whether they are actually hungry or whether they need food. Hence they will continue eating as long as they have food available. This is why it is never advised to leave out food for your dogs, as there is a good chance they will eat it all in one go.
Sometimes, other factors can also cause puppies to overeat including hormonal issues like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s Disease.
Boxer puppies can end up over eating due to these reasons and it can cause them to become obese and overweight. This in turn can make their joints weak and cause arthritis, induce heart diseases, liver diseases and kidney issues as well.
How to Know if You’re Not Feeding Them Enough?
You can use the same test to check if your puppy is not eating enough. If you can feel too much of his bones without much pressure or if the ribcage is visible, there’s a good chance that you are not feeding him enough.
There can be a number of reasons why your puppy is not eating enough. Most often, a lack of appetite is one of the first few signs of a more serious disease as well.
Other than that, parents of dogs may end of underfeeding their dogs when they become too concerned about the weight.
This can also cause a number of issues.
Anorexia is a concern among dogs too, just like it is among human beings. Symptoms of anorexia include fever, pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. In some cases it can also cause changes in organ size and weak lungs. It can end up being fatal for your dog if left untreated.
A lack of exercise can also be a cause for anorexia, which is why exercise is very important for your puppy. It is inevitable that they burn off calories at the same level of intake so as to maintain the balance.
Reduced Life Span
If you constantly underfeed your puppy throughout its development stage, he will most likely grow into an undernourished and unhealthy Boxer, with much less activity and energy levels than most other Boxers. This can affect his life span as well. Since Boxers are muscular dogs with a fair level of activity, they do need a constant supply of nutrients as mentioned above, failing which they may not accompany you for a long time.
Boxers definitely need extra care and attention when it comes to their diet, as they have very specific and unique nutritional requirements when compared to other dogs with the same level of activity. However, once you’ve fallen into a routine where you’ve fixed a certain brand or certain type of food that meets all the requirements in terms of nutritional value as well as in terms of your dog’s personal preferences, and you’ve developed a disciplined schedule of feed times, raising a Boxer puppy is going to be most fun job you ever had.
Your puppy will grow very quickly into the most loyal, friendly, affectionate, and energetic Boxer you always wanted him to be.