Most common health problems in Boxers, plus health care and feeding.


My Complete Health Care Program for your Boxer

If you want to AVOID health problems in your Boxer, you'll find my health care program very valuable.

It's called "11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy."

Raise your dog the RIGHT way, feed him the RIGHT food, give him the RIGHT vaccinations, avoid unnecessary veterinary expenses, and help him live a longer, happier, and more comfortable life.

If your Boxer already HAS a health problem, I'm sorry to hear that. You should immediately begin my health care program, and you may be able to restore his good health – or at least make him much more comfortable. Let me help!

My best-selling dog health book


Boxer Dog dog breed

Boxer Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Quick list of Boxer dog health problems

I can't make a quick list for this breed. There are so many problems.

Just about every form of heart disease. Just about every form of cancer. Just about every form of eye disease.

Up to 30% of Boxers have thyroid disease. Up to 12% have hip dysplasia.

Their digestive system is iffy, producing lots of gas(!) and susceptible to a severe form of colitis. An emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat can kill a Boxer in just a few hours.

Boxer skin can be problematic – lumps and growths and itchy allergies.

Degenerative myelopathy that leads to paralysis. Epilepsy. Blood-clotting diseases....

(See more health problems below.)


Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Boxer have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of heart diseases, hip dysplasia, thyroid disease, and hereditary eye diseases, your Boxer has less risk of developing those conditions.

Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Boxer, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Boxer puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!


Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Boxer puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Boxer lives the best life he can.


Pet insurance Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet insurance, and the best pet insurance company I've found.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Boxer
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Boxer Dog. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Boxer
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Boxer Dog. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Boxer puppy really need? Does your adult Boxer need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.


Information on spaying your Boxer Dog. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.


Information on choosing the best vet for your Boxer Dog. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.


Complete list of Boxer health problems

Because of their short face, all Boxers suffer from some degree of brachycephalic syndrome, which causes all kinds of health problems.

Heart problems are very high on the list of major health problems in Boxers, especially subaortic stenosis and a specific form of cardiomyopathy called familial ventricular arrythmia. Pulmonic stenosis and septal defects (holes in the heart) are other heart problems occurring in Boxers.

Tumors and cancers are a serious concern in Boxers, including lymphosarcoma, mast cell tumors, histiocytoma, osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and others.

Eye diseases occur regularly in Boxers:

  • The most common eye problem is corneal ulcer, and in Boxers these ulcers can be very persistent and refuse to heal.
  • Cataracts can occur in Boxers under age 4 and can progress to blindness.
  • Other eye diseases in the breed include corneal dystrophy, cherry eye, eyelid abnormalities (entropion and ectropion), eyelash abnormalities, and occasionally progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

Boxers often have health issues related to their digestive system – they are prone to being "gassy" (especially when fed kibble or canned diets). Ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease) is very common in Boxers. And they're at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.

The most common orthopedic health problem in Boxers is hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of over 6000 Boxers and found almost 12% dysplastic. In comparison, Doberman Pinschers have a 6% hip dysplasia rate. On a positive note, of 800 elbow X-rays, Boxers had only a 1% rate of elbow dysplasia. Other orthopedic health problems in Boxers include intervertebral disk disease, Wobbler's syndrome, osteochondritis, and hypertrophic osteodystrophy.

According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 23% of Boxers have low thyroid levels. The OFA Thyroid Database says that up to 30% are affected.

Skin diseases include allergies (which cause itchy skin and can lead to pyoderma), demodectic mange (in Boxer puppies), follicular dysplasia, and non-tumorous growths.

On some older Boxers, you might see what looks like a growth on their gums, covering some of their teeth. This is actually fibrous gum tissue and the condition is called gingival hyperplasia. If the enlarged gums interfere with chewing or become damaged from chewing, the excess tissue may need to be surgically removed.

Blood-clotting diseases include von Willebrand's, hemophilia A, and factor II deficiency.

Other health problems in Boxers are degenerative myelopathy, Cushing's disease, epilepsy, pyloric stenosis, cystinuria, kidney disease, polyneuropathy, craniomandibular osteopathy, and in some white Boxer puppies, inherited deafness.


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.