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As a proud owner of this loyal, affectionate, intelligent, and often goofy breed, you want to ensure that you’re providing your Boxer the best nutrition possible for a long and happy life. Boxers have special dietary needs in every life stage, from puppyhood into their golden years. Unfortunately, this breed is at a higher risk for some health problems, making it even more important to feed your pup high-quality dog food.
In this guide, we explain the special nutritional requirements for Boxers and how certain ingredients can be beneficial for potential health issues down the road. We’ve also researched hundreds of different dog food brands and formulas to give you our top picks for the best wet and dry dog food for Boxers.
At A Glance: Best Dog Food For Boxers
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Note: All of the dog foods we’ve included in our reviews meet or exceed Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional guidelines, are made in North America, and contain no corn, wheat, soy, fillers, or artificial ingredients.
Nutritional Needs & Feeding Guidelines For Boxers
Boxers are generally considered a medium-sized breed, but many can reach large-breed status as adults. Females typically weigh 50-65 pounds as adults, while males range from 65-80 pounds (dogs over 70 pounds are considered large breeds). They’re highly energetic, muscular dogs who require protein-rich dog food. Like all dogs, they also need a high-quality diet that contains healthy fats, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and a canine-specific blend of vitamins and minerals.
A high-quality diet is particularly important to lower the risks and symptoms of some health conditions common with this breed, such as digestive problems, food intolerances or allergies, hip dysplasia, arthritis, heart problems, and cancer.
Higher Risk Of Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Boxers and several other breeds are at the highest risk of developing dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a disease of the heart muscle. While DCM is primarily caused by genetic factors in Boxers, making sure your pup gets enough of the amino acid taurine may help with this condition, and it’s often used as a supplement for Boxers who have already developed DCM.
Compared to other ingredients in pet foods, animal muscle tissue has the highest amounts of taurine. So it’s important to ensure your Boxer gets plenty of animal protein. Many high-quality dog foods are also fortified with taurine, and most of the dog foods we’ve recommended in this guide include taurine.
Reducing The Risk Of Canine Bloat
Boxers are also among several breeds with a higher risk of developing canine bloat, a serious condition that can become life-threatening within hours. Canine bloat, also called gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV), occurs when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, food, or fluid, which causes the stomach to twist and block the blood flow to vital organs.
To reduce the risk of canine bloat, some experts recommend avoiding dog food with high-fiber and high-fat content and food containing corn and soy. Recent research has shown that dry dog foods in which an oil or fat was listed among the first four ingredients were associated with a 2.4 times increase in the risk of developing bloat.
Some major risk factors for bloat involve your dog’s eating habits. These include:
- Feeding only one large meal per day
- Rapid ingestion of food
- Eating from an elevated food bowl
- Restricting water before or after meals
To reduce the risk of bloat, experts recommend feeding your Boxer several smaller meals daily (just make sure he’s getting his daily caloric needs). You may also want to get a slow-feed dog bowl to keep your pup from scarfing down his food.
Beyond Basic Ingredients
At a minimum, all dog food should include protein, carbs, healthy fats, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. But many of the most nutritious premium dog foods are fortified with additional ingredients that can have significant health benefits for your furry friend. Here are a few you’ll want to look for and how they support your pup’s health. We’ve listed these premium ingredients in our reviews for your convenience.
- Fruits & vegetables: excellent natural sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support immune health
- Fish oil and/or flaxseed (omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, including DHA & EPA): brain and eye development, skin and coat health, joint and immune support
- Glucosamine & chondroitin sulfate (often from chicken meal*): maintain healthy joints
- Prebiotics & probiotics: support digestion and a healthy level of good gut bacteria
- Taurine (see above): supports cardiovascular, eye, and brain health, immune system function, and benefits many other body functions
- L-carnitine: an amino acid derivative that helps the metabolism of fats and also may benefit dogs with heart disease (it’s particularly beneficial for older, less active dogs)
- Organ meats: excellent source of premium quality protein and fat as well as vitamins A, B, D, and E, copper, iron, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc
- Chia seeds: rich in plant protein, fiber, antioxidants, omega fatty acids, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus
*A note about meat meal: Quality pet food brands often use meat meal in their recipes, which can be a very healthy source of protein for your pup (as long as the “meat” is named, e.g., chicken meal, lamb meal, etc.). A meal can be made from the meat, tissue, organ meat, bone, stomach, and intestines of the named animal. But meal doesn’t include by-products like hair, feathers, beaks, heads, blood, hooves, hide trimmings, etc.
Best Food For Boxer Puppies
Although some Boxers won’t exceed 70 pounds as adults, it’s generally better to give Boxers puppy food formulated for large breeds. Why? Research has shown that a higher-fat diet with too much calcium can make larger dogs grow faster than their bones can keep up with, which results in abnormal skeletal development and orthopedic problems.
Because Boxers are at a higher risk of hip dysplasia and other joint conditions, giving them large-breed puppy food may help minimize future problems. Large-breed puppy foods have the right balance of nutrients, fat content, and calories to address these issues. You’ll also need to keep your Boxer on puppy food until he reaches around 15-18 months of age. This range depends on your individual pup’s growth and expected adult size, so your veterinarian is your best resource to recommend when to switch to adult food.
Orijen Amazing Grains Puppy Large Breed
Orijen’s philosophy is that our pets should eat the diet that evolution and nature intended, which means high animal protein and other all-natural foods. This large-breed puppy formula contains an impressive 90% of premium animal ingredients, including tasty organ meats. These include both free-run poultry and wild-caught fish.
But Orijen also includes healthy, easy-to-digest grains (oats and millet) and whole fruits and vegetables, such as pumpkin, collard greens, and cranberries. These and other premium ingredients give your baby Boxer the best start to life and plenty of energy to boot. Orijen also carries an excellent grain-free large-breed puppy formula.
- First 5 ingredients: chicken, whole herring, whole mackerel, chicken liver, and salmon
- Formula highlights: organ meats, omega fatty acids, DHA & EPA (from real fish & flaxseed), chia seeds, taurine, glucosamine, chondroitin, prebiotics, and probiotics
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 38% (min); crude fat 16% (min); crude fiber 4% (max)
- Calories: 483 kcal/cup
- $101.99 (22.5-lb bag)
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Puppy (Grain-Free)
This grain-free puppy food for large breeds is a reasonably priced premium option for your active and quickly growing Boxer. High protein content and complex carbohydrates from fiber-rich sweet potatoes, carrots, blueberries, cranberries, and kelp provide your puppy with plenty of fuel. And it’s fortified with Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits, a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and chelated minerals formulated by animal nutritionists for whole-body health and development.
- First 5 ingredients: deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, pea protein, and tapioca starch
- Formula highlights: omega fatty acids, DHA & EPA (from fish meal, fish oil & flaxseed), taurine, glucosamine, chondroitin, prebiotics, probiotics, and L-carnitine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 35% (min); crude fat 14% (min); crude fiber 6% (max)
- Calories: 411 kcal/cup
- $75.99 (24-lb bag)
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy (Grain-Inclusive)
If you’re on a tight budget but don’t want to skimp on the quality of your puppy’s food, we highly recommend this Diamond Naturals recipe. Featuring pasture-raised lamb as the first ingredient and tummy-friendly grains, this formula is a great option for sensitive stomachs.
It also includes nutrient-rich veggies and fruits, such as spinach, kale, carrots, pumpkin, blueberries, oranges, coconut, and kelp. Although some recent reviewers said it gave their puppies diarrhea, most owners are more than satisfied with how their little Boxers are thriving on this diet.
- First 5 ingredients: lamb, lamb meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, and grain sorghum
- Formula highlights: omega fatty acids, DHA (from fish meal, salmon oil & flaxseed), chia seeds, taurine, glucosamine, chondroitin, prebiotics, probiotics, and L-carnitine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 27% (min); crude fat 15% (min); crude fiber 3.5% (max)
- Calories: 414 kcal/cup
- Starting at: $17.99 (6-lb bag)
Best Adult Dog Food For Boxers
Adult Boxers need at least 40 minutes of exercise every day, so they require a high-protein diet, healthy complex carbohydrates, and sufficient calories to fuel their powerful bodies. However, their love of food can lead to weight gain. So, it’s important to choose a nutrient-rich dog food that’s free from empty calories, such as fillers and artificial preservatives.
The Farmer’s Dog (Grain-Free)
Although it’s pricey, fresh dog food is one of your best options for your pup’s health. And The Farmer’s Dog is our top recommendation for brands that offer personalized, fresh, and human-grade meals. All of their recipes feature whole-food protein, vegetables, and fruits gently cooked and flash-frozen to preserve nutrients and freshness. They’re also all fortified with vitamins and minerals based on your dog’s life stage and breed size, so The Farmer’s Dog is an excellent choice for puppies, adults, and senior dogs.
Another huge bonus is that they pre-portion your furry friend’s meals. All you have to do is fill out a brief survey, which includes your dog’s age, breed, current weight, body shape (e.g., too pudgy), and whether he has any health conditions (e.g., allergies, digestive issues, joint problems, etc.). They offer grain-free beef, chicken, pork, and turkey recipes developed by board-certified nutritionists. While The Farmer’s Dog requires a subscription, you can cancel anytime.
Each recipe includes different ingredients, but here’s a breakdown of their turkey formula.
- First 5 ingredients: USDA turkey, chickpeas, carrots, broccoli, and spinach
- Formula highlights: human-grade & whole-food ingredients, omega-fatty acids (from fish oil), and taurine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 38% (min); crude fat 26% (min); crude fiber 2% (max)
- Calories: not available
- Starting at $2/day for small dogs, but varies based on each dog’s weight, age, and other factors (e.g., $51.74/week for mixed-breed male, one-year-old, 38 pounds, healthy size, neutered, no health problems, or allergies)
Our readers have access to 50% off your first box. No code is needed; just use this link, and the discount will be applied! You can also visit our dedicated The Farmer’s Dog coupons page.
Full Review Of The Farmer’s Dog
Open Farm RawMix Wild Ocean Ancient Grains
This Open Farm high-protein RaxMix formula is a fantastic choice for energetic Boxers, particularly those with sensitive stomachs or food allergies. It features kibble coated with bone-broth and freeze-dried raw fish mixed with freeze-dried fish chunks for a major flavor (and omega fatty acid) boost. This entirely chicken-free recipe also includes easy-to-digest wholesome grains and a wealth of superfood fruits and veggies, many of which are organic.
While its puppy and dog food is pricey, Open Farm is one of our favorite brands due to its superior humane, sustainable, and food-safety practices. All of their pet food (kibble, fresh-frozen, freeze-dried, and more) is formulated by animal nutrition experts, and every batch is tested by an independent third-party lab.
- First 5 ingredients: ocean whitefish, menhaden fish meal, barley, brown rice, and herring meal
- Formula highlights: chicken-free, omega fatty acids & DHA (from real fish, salmon oil & flaxseed), glucosamine, taurine, and natural prebiotic (dried chicory root)
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 31% (min); crude fat 14% (min); crude fiber 4.5% (max)
- Calories: 4,016 kcals/kg
You can save 5% off every order if you sign up for auto-shipping with Open Farm.
- Starting at: $26.99 (3.5-lb bag)
Taste Of The Wild High Prairie (Grain-Free)
A favorite of pet parents, Taste of the Wild’s High Prairie recipe is formulated with such novel proteins as water buffalo, bison, and venison to support strong bones and joints and lean muscles. This grain and gluten-free includes highly-digestible complex carbs to give your Boxer plenty of energy. And it’s fortified with vitamins, chelated minerals, and antioxidants from tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, and other sources for holistic health benefits.
- First 5 ingredients: water buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, and peas
- Formula highlights: omega fatty acids (from fish meal), taurine, glucosamine, chondroitin, prebiotics, and probiotics
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 32% (min); crude fat 18% (min); crude fiber 4% (max)
- Calories: 422 kcal/cup
- Starting at: $19.99 (5-lb bag)
Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Lamb & Blueberry Medium & Maxi Adult
With clean, nutrient-dense ingredients, this gluten-free and non-GMO adult dog food can help support your Boxer’s heart, immune, joint, skin, and digestive health. It includes 60% high-quality animal ingredients (lamb and herring) and limited carbs (20%) from organic spelt and organic oats.
And instead of unnecessary fillers, this recipe contains such dried fruits and veggies as blueberries, oranges, carrots, spinach, and more. We also love that Farmina uses a special food-preparation process that coats the kibble with food vitamins after cooking to keep your pup’s food as nutritious as possible.
- First 5 ingredients: lamb, dehydrated lamb, whole spelt, whole oats, and dried whole eggs
- Formula highlights: omega fatty acids, DHA & EPA (from real fish & fish oil), taurine, glucosamine, chondroitin, prebiotics, and L-carnitine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 28% (min); crude fat 18% (min); crude fiber 2.9% (max)
- Calories: 394 kcal/cup
- Starting at: $27.95 (5.5-lb bag)
Best Dog Food For Senior Boxers
With an average life expectancy of 10-12 years, Boxers enter their golden years around seven to eight years old. It’s important to switch your pup’s diet to senior dog food, especially if he isn’t as active as he used to be. Not only does senior dog food typically have fewer calories, but the best formulas also contain ingredients to support aching joints, a weakening immune system, a slower metabolism, and other common issues our aging dogs face.
Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Senior
Nulo Freestyle’s Senior formula is a fantastic choice for aging Boxers who are still fairly active. It contains lower fat content than most adult food, but it’s still high in animal protein to support your Boxer buddy’s muscle mass and energy. This grain-free recipe with deboned trout as the first ingredient could also be a great fit if your pup has tummy woes or skin allergies. It also includes special nutrients to support immune, digestive, and joint health.
- First 5 ingredients: deboned trout, turkey meal, salmon meal, yellow peas, and sweet potato
- Formula highlights: omega fatty acids (from real fish), glucosamine, chondroitin, prebiotics, probiotics, and L-carnitine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 30% (min); crude fat 12% (min); crude fiber 5% (max)
- Calories: 396 kcal/cup
- Starting at: $29.95 (6-lb bag)
Wellness Complete Senior Canned Dog Food (Grain-Inclusive)
If your aging pup has difficulty with kibble, you may need a switch to softer food. We’ve chosen Wellness Complete Senior as the best canned dog food for Boxers in their golden years. This paté-style soft food is packed full of nutritious, tasty, and easily digestible ingredients, including premium animal proteins, wholesome grains, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Formulated to support whole body health, this formula is low in calories but has a perfect balance of nutrition for your older buddy.
- First 5 ingredients: chicken broth, chicken, whitefish, chicken liver, and ground barley
- Formula highlights: omega fatty acids (from fish & flaxseed), glucosamine, chondroitin, prebiotics, and L-carnitine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 7% (min); crude fat 3% (min); crude fiber 3% (max)
- Calories: 326 kcal/can
- Starting at: $48.96 (12.5-oz, case of 12)
Diamond Naturals Senior (Grain-Inclusive)
Ideal for older Boxers who aren’t as energetic as their younger selves, this Diamond Naturals senior formula is a high-quality and affordable option. With fewer calories and fat content, it still has plenty of protein that muscular Boxers need. This formula combines cage-free chicken, easy-to-digest whole grains, and plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables with an excellent blend of other nutrients that target the health needs of aging pups.
- First 5 ingredients: chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, and ground white rice
- Formula highlights: omega fatty acids (from flaxseed), chia seeds, taurine, glucosamine, chondroitin, prebiotics, probiotics, and L-carnitine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 25% (min); crude fat 11% (min); crude fiber 3% (max)
- Calories: 347 kcal/cup
- Starting at: $16.99 (6-lb bag)
Best Dog Food For Boxers With Sensitive Stomachs & Gas
Unfortunately, Boxers are prone to many tummy ailments, from problems digesting certain ingredients to serious conditions like ulcerative colitis. If your furry friend suffers from digestive issues or is particularly gassy (as many Boxers are), here are some food recommendations to consider. You may also want to give your pup a daily probiotic supplement formulated for dogs, which can help ease digestive woes and keep your pup’s gut healthy.
If you suspect your Boxer has a food intolerance or allergy, you may want to consider an at-home dog allergy test to uncover the source of his tummy troubles. These kits require a simple saliva or hair sample that you send to the company’s lab, and you get results within a few weeks. You can then share these results with your vet to help further narrow down possible causes.
Spot & Tango Unkibble Cod & Salmon Formula (Grain-Free)
With clean, human-grade, whole-food (and limited) ingredients, Spot & Tango’s Unkibble is a favorite of many pup parents. Even more appealing, Unkibble is a premium, personalized, and shelf-stable alternative to traditional kibble. This dehydrated cod & salmon recipe is a fantastic option for pups with tummy troubles, featuring high-quality fish, no grains, and nutritious fruits and veggies. And based on customer reviews, we think it’s the best dog food for Boxers with gas problems.
Spot & Tango even customizes your furry friend’s diet based on his breed, age, weight, body shape, activity level, and other factors. They also offer fresh-frozen meals delivered right to your door. While it requires a subscription, you can cancel anytime. And you can try it out with their two-week trial that offers a full money-back guarantee.
- First 5 ingredients: cod, salmon, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds
- Formula highlights: human-grade, chicken-free, omega fatty acids (from real fish & flaxseed oil), and chelated minerals
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 29.67% (min); crude fat 22.06% (min); crude fiber 1.15% (max)
- Calories: 4,131 kcal/kg
- Starts at $1/day for small dogs, but varies based on each dog’s weight, age, and other factors. For example, the Cod & Salmon Unkibble was $41.84/week for a mixed-breed male, one-year-old, 38 pounds, and healthy size when we ran a quote. Their Beef & Barley and Chicken & Brown Rice Unkibble formulas are significantly less expensive.
Looking for a Spot & Tango promo code? Visit our dedicated Spot & Tango coupon page to check out the latest offer and save.
Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach (Grain-Inclusive)
This specially-formulated dog food comes highly recommended by many veterinarians (and satisfied pup owners), and it could be the ideal solution if you’ve tried many different foods without success. The nutritional content is also fantastic for Boxers, with plenty of premium protein to support their energy level and muscle mass.
Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach is also available in a senior formula and canned food. While they offer salmon, lamb, and turkey adult kibble recipes, we’re featuring the adult salmon and rice recipe, which gets the best customer reviews from this line.
- First 5 ingredients: salmon, barley, rice, oatmeal, and canola meal
- Formula highlights: chicken-free, omega fatty acids (from real salmon and fish oil), glucosamine, prebiotics, and probiotics
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 26% (min); crude fat 16% (min); crude fiber 4% (max)
- Calories: 467 kcal/cup
- Starting at: $22.99 (4-lb bag)
Should I Consider A Hip & Joint Supplement?
Since Boxers are at a higher risk for developing arthritis and hip dysplasia, you may want to consider adding a daily joint supplement to your furry friend’s diet. The best joint supplements for dogs help maintain joints in healthy dogs, and for dogs with joint problems, they help improve joint health and relieve inflammation, stiffness, and pain. As with all supplements, you should get your vet’s approval to double-check that it’s safe for your pup.Tagged With: Comparison, Food Delivery