With a large chest, petite waist and curvaceous legs, the Boxer is the "Marilyn Monroe" of the canine world. Alas, like anyone who indulges too much, the Boxer can quickly "sausage up" after middle age - approximately 5 to 6 years old - or when activity levels decrease. It's important to keep your dog at an optimal weight throughout the dog's lifetime or you will risk the chance of obesity-related disorders, including arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, or fatty tumors. There are many ways to improve the diet of a Boxer, whose ideal weight should be between 55 to 60 pounds for a female, and 60 to 70 pounds for a male.
The most important consideration for reducing your dog's weight is to become conscious of exactly how much food you are feeding them, and to cut back as much as you feel comfortable with. If you keep the food out all day because your dog is a grazer, try picking up the food after the dog steps away from the dish. This will teach your boxer to eat the food while it's down, and you can more accurately measure the dog's intake. Always check with your veterinarian before changing or reducing your Boxer's diet.
Beggars Aren't Choosers
Boxers are incredibly expressive with their emotions. You can truly tell what's going on by looking into the dog's eyes. A Boxer may use this human-like expression to manipulate the owner into a covert dinner scrap operation under the table. Don't do it. Don't give in to the sad puppy dog eyes of the begging Boxer dog. The dog will live longer without those scraps. It's much better for your dog to be a little underweight than a lot overweight.
Green beans and baby carrots are a nutritious way to add fiber and filler to your Boxer's diet. Green beans are low in calories and they are tasty enough to attract even finicky boxers. Buy fresh green beans or French-cut, frozen green beans and avoid canned green beans, which have a high sodium content, according to Goldstein. When feeding your Boxer, divide the normal portion of dog food in half, and replace one-half with green beans or carrots. For example, if your boxer normally eats three cups of food each day, give your dog one and one-half cups of dog food mixed with one and one-half cups of veggies. Canned pumpkin also adds fiber and texture to your Boxer's diet.
Reduced-Calorie or Senior Food
Most dog food manufacturers make a senior version of their food for the older or overweight dog. These foods replace fat with additional fiber to help your dog feel satisfied. As long as you purchase a premium, high-quality food designed to be nutritionally complete that lists the number one ingredient as meat (not meat by-products), this alone will drop your Boxer's caloric intake considerably. These foods can be safely fed for the long run.
Snacks and Treats
Instead of dipping into the doggy cookie jar and pulling out a bacon-y biscuit or meaty, jerky treat, try making your own healthy chews from sweet potatoes. Simply slice raw sweet potatoes into thin pieces, and place them in a dehydrator or an oven for a few hours until all the moisture has been removed. You can use the same technique to dry baby carrots, peas, squash, apple wedges, or thin slices of melon. These chewy treats are recommended for adding fiber to the diet. When giving your boxer a treat, you can just break off a small piece each time.
The Feel Test
While the scale tells you your dog's weight, veterinarians also use a "feel" test to determine the fitness level or condition of your boxer dog. Run your hands along your dog's rib cage. If you can feel the dog's individual ribs and they are covered by a thin layer of flesh, the dog is considered to be an ideal weight, according to the Vet Info website. If your dog doesn't have an indentation at the waist, and appears to be chunky through the torso, your dog could stand to lose a few pounds.
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.