The Best Dog Food for Boxers

Best Dog Food for Boxers

What’s the best dog food for a boxer?

When choosing a dry or wet food for your boxer… it’s super-critical to keep your pet’s age in mind.

That’s because boxers are considered large breed dogs.

Which isn’t a problem… so long as you’re feeding an ADULT boxer.

However…

Boxer puppies are different. They have a higher risk of developing a crippling and permanent form of hip disease… if they’re fed a diet that contains too much calcium while they’re growing.1

X-ray showing canine hip dysplasia
Large Breed Dog with Bilateral Hip Disease

Keep in mind…

Boxer puppies don’t stop growing and aren’t ready to eat adult dog food… until they reach 15 to 24 months of age.2 3 4

Top Recommendations for Boxers

To help you choose the best possible food for your dog

The Dog Food Advisor recommends the top-rated brands below. Each contains an amount of calcium and other nutrients5 considered safe for a boxer, based on your dog’s age. Recipes are marked as “best for” adults… or puppies.

In addition…

We’ll also answer the 8 most frequently asked questions we get about feeding boxers.

The following dog foods are listed in random order. Each was chosen because it meets or exceeds our selection criteria. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a referral fee. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.


Editors Choice Logo for Best Dog Food for Boxers

Best Dog Food for Boxers
May 2021

Here are The Dog Food Advisor’s best dog food brands for boxers for May 2021.


Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Dog Food

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Great Plains Red Recipe

Rating:

Great Plains Red is one of 9 dry recipes contained in our review of the Merrick Backcountry product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned beef, lamb meal, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult boxers

This nutrient-balanced Merrick formula derives the bulk of its meat protein from fresh beef and lamb meal… and enhanced with salmon meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 43% protein, 19% fat and 30% estimated carbs… delivering a fat-to-protein ratio of about 45%.

Contains high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and shiny coat. In addition, there are also chondroitin and glucosamine to maintain hips and joints.

An above-average kibble fortified with bits of freeze-dried raw beef. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “My last dog would lose interest in food fast. I had to buy small bags of food in order for her to have any desire to eat anything. After I bought Merrick however, she’d eat every bowl with gusto! When I started buying the large bags, she’d never get tired of it (though I’d still switch flavors every time I’d buy a new bag just to be sure). My current dog enjoys it as well and I’ve never had to switch to a different brand, nor do I plan to. This food is high quality as well. My dogs always have good energy and healthy coats. This is a food I’m proud to tell people that I feed to my dogs.”

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Whole Earth Farms Adult Recipe Kibble for Boxers

Whole Earth Farms Dry Dog Food

Rating:

One of 2 dry kibbles included in our review of the Whole Earth Farms product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, turkey meal, brown rice, oatmeal, barley
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brown rice, oatmeal, barley)
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Puppy and adult boxers

Whole Earth Farms Adult draws most of its animal protein from both chicken and turkey meals. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 29% protein, 16% fat and 47% estimated carbs… which produces a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

A premium kibble containing no corn, wheat, or soy… with no artificial colors, flavors or high-risk chemical preservatives. Made with costly chelated minerals for better nutrition.

A budget-friendly, protein-rich formulation… notable for its exceptional value. Made by Merrick and recommended with confidence.

Sample buyer review… “My dog was having tummy troubles so I decided to switch him back to a grain food. I heard good things about whole earth farms so I decided to buy a sample bag and give it a shot. My dog loved it and switched to it in just a few days with no issues. His coat looks great, his stools are back to normal, and he isn’t farting all the time like he was on Taste of The Wild. He devours this food, he can’t get enough of it. Unfortunately neither can our maine coon. He never liked our previous dog food but he keeps stealing this stuff and eating it. He likes it better than his kitty treats. The dog loves it too. A++”

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Iams Proactive Health Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Iams ProActive Health Large Breed Adult

Rating:

Large Breed Adult is one of 12 dry kibble recipes evaluated in our review of the Iams ProActive Health product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, ground whole grain barley, ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum, chicken by-product meal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (barley, corn, sorghum)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult boxers

This ProActive Health recipe acquires the majority of its animal protein from fresh chicken and chicken by-product meal. Dry matter label analysis confirms the recipe contains 25% protein, 13% fat and 54% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.

It’s also worth noting this classic, fully-balanced design is fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin to help prevent joint damage… a common issue with pure-bred boxers.

The recipe contains both natural fiber as well as prebiotics to support healthy digestion. A quality, affordable dog food for animals whose adult weight is expected to exceed 50 pounds. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Our dog absolutely LOVES Iams! It’s healthy, keeps her active, and keeps her happy. Feeding a big dog can be expensive, especially when your dog isn’t eating it all and you end up throwing it out. Not the case with iams. Our dog loves both the wet and dry food! Totally recommend!”

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Taste of the Wild Ancient Prairie with Roasted Bison

Taste of the Wild Ancient Prairie

Rating:

Ancient Prairie is one of 4 dry recipes covered in our review of the Taste of the Wild product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Buffalo, pork, chicken meal, grain sorghum, millet
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (sorghum, millet)
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best for: Boxer puppies and adults

This Taste of the Wild formula gets the better part of its animal protein from fresh buffalo and pork, as well as chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 36% protein, 20% fat and 36% estimated carbs… which yields a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

A nutrient-rich, highly digestible kibble that’s made using ancient grains. The recipe also contains proprietary probiotics which thrive in the GI tract and help support stable digestive health.

A super-popular recipe ideal for both boxer puppies and adults. Readily recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Overall, I would recommend this food. I really love the ingredients and it has done wonders for my dog’s coat ! She used to have a dull coat and, occasionally, dry skin. After testing exclusively this food for months, I’ve noticed a drastic improvement in her coat. She also loves the taste!! The only thing that could use improvement is the percentage of protein; I wish it was a little higher! But overall, great ingredients!”

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Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Chicken and Rice Kibble

Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult

Rating:

Chicken and Rice Large Breed formula is one of 13 dry recipes covered in our review of the Diamond Naturals product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, ground white rice
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brown rice, barley, white rice)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult boxers

This Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult dog food gets a major part of its meat protein from fresh chicken and chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 26% protein, 14% fat and 52% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

We like the fact this formula contains coconut and omega-rich flaxseed, which help promote healthy skin and coat… making it a top, budget-friendly option for adult boxers. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “We have had our dogs on this food for some time and the vet is constantly saying how healthy they are (weight, energy, coat, etc.). We searched for some time to find a quality food at an affordable price as we have 4 dogs (including a Siberian Husky and a Great Dane). Have never had any issues with them or their digestive systems while on Diamond!”

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Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Puppy Food

Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Puppy

Rating:

Large Breed Puppy is one of 14 dry recipes rated in our review of the Wellness Complete Health product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, ground brown rice, salmon meal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brown rice)
  • Profile: Growth
  • Best for: Boxer puppies

This Wellness Complete Health Puppy formula derives the majority of its meat protein from fresh chicken and chicken meal, as well as salmon meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 32% protein, 14% fat and 45% estimated carbs… producing a healthy fat-to-protein ratio of about 45%.

Typical with all Wellness dog foods, this recipe is 100% free of anonymous meat by-products, generic fillers or artificial preservatives. One of The Dog Food Advisor’s favorite large-breed puppy foods containing an ideal blend of calcium, phosphorus and calories. And a solid option for growing boxer pups.

Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I must admit we researched just about every kibble on the market right now and we were impressed by the quality ingredients found in the Wellness brand. And we were especially happy when we noticed the specific for large breed puppy. Puppy that will be a large breed require nutrition that will support their bone, muscle, brain growth. Our shelter rescue German Shepard is alive and thriving. She gained 6.5 lbs in her first week with us. I think she is now off to a yummy start to her life.”

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Canidae Grain Free Pure Senior Dry Dog Food

Canidae Grain Free Pure Senior

Rating:

Pure Senior is one of 11 dry recipes contained in our review of the Canidae Pure product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult boxers

Canidae Pure Senior derives the bulk of its animal protein from fresh chicken and chicken meal and fortified with turkey meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 31% protein, 11% fat and 50% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 36%.

We like the fact that this formula is enriched AFTER cooking with the company’s HealthPLUS blend of probiotics, antioxidants and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. The proprietary mix supports better digestion as well as healthy skin and coat.

In addition, the senior recipe contains a reasonable 409 calories per cup and 11% dry matter fat. Recommended with confidence for boxers over 5-6 years of age.

Sample buyer review… “I recently changed my fur baby’s dog food from a Blue Buffalo brand to Canidae Senior dog food. From the moment the food hits the bowl, she attacks it like a crow on a June bug. Before the switch, she’d let the food sit for a couple of hours or even a day before she would eat. This is not the case any longer. I cannot attest to any improvements to her overall well being because she’s only been eating the Canidae dog food for less than a month, but I’m hopefully optimistic based on what I’ve seen so far. If you have an older dog who has slowed down a bit, I would definitely recommend this dog food and I know you won’t be sorry.”

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Purina Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Shredded Blend Chicken and Rice

Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Adult

Rating:

Chicken and Rice Large Breed is one of 19 dry recipes included in our review of the Purina Pro Plan product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, rice, whole grain wheat, poultry by-product meal, soybean meal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (rice, wheat)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult boxers

This Large Breed Adult formula gets most of its meat protein from fresh chicken and poultry by-product meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 30% protein, 14% fat and 49% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 46%.

A highly digestible, grain-inclusive design for optimal nutrient delivery. Also contains omega-6 fatty acids fortified with vitamin A to support healthy skin and coat. No artificial flavors or colors.

A classic large breed kibble ideal for full-grown (adult) boxers. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “We recently switched our 1 year old golden retriever to this food after she was on Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy for the first year. She does great with the larger morsels and seems to really enjoy her food. We had no issues switching from the puppy food to this.”

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Crave High Protein White Fish and Salmon Grain-Free Kibble

Crave High Protein White Fish and Salmon

Rating:

White Fish and Salmon is one of 4 dry recipes evaluated in our review of the Crave product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Salmon, chicken meal, chickpeas, split peas, chicken fat
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult boxers

This Crave formula draws the bulk of its animal protein from fresh salmon and chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 38% protein, 19% fat and 35% estimated carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

A grain-free dog food containing no corn, wheat or soy… and no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Made with iron amino-acid complex and other costly chelated minerals for optimal absorption and nutrition.

Moderately priced. Nutritious design. Easily recommended.

Sample buyer review… “My Jojo has to eat no grain no soy food which can get pricey. I love this alternative to Blue Buffalo and my dog loves this brand way better. He is an American Bully and has skin issues if he doesn’t eat quality food. I can definitely say this is quality and he has had no skin issues since switching to this brand! Thank you!”

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Annamaet Original Extra Dry Dog Food

Annamaet Original Extra

Rating:

Annamaet Original Extra is one of 7 kibbles analyzed in our review of the Annamaet dry dog food product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, sorghum, chicken fat, rolled oats
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brown rice, sorghum, oats)
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Boxer puppies and adults

Annamaet Extra obtains most of its meat protein from chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 29% protein, 18% fat and 45% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 62%.

A classic grain-inclusive design containing L-carnitine for efficient fat metabolism and lean muscle mass.

Notable for its nutrient-balanced calcium, phosphorus and calorie content… which makes this recipe an exceptional choice for both boxer puppies and adults.

Annamaet is prized by members of the large breed athletic and sporting dog community. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “This is my favorite food. The calcium level is appropriate for raising puppies of my large breed, it feeds our active adults who are running in competition, our pregnant and lactation ladies, and we reduce the quantity to feed to retired older dogs. We’ve been feeding a large number of dogs for well over 40 years, so have a lot of experience. In our experience, Annamaet Extra is the best food we’ve found.”

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More Top Picks

To view more top recipes for your boxer… click the link below that best matches your personal feeding needs.


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are 8 of the most frequently asked questions we get each month about feeding boxers.

Boxer Waiting Patiently to Be Fed

How can I switch to a new food… without getting my boxer sick?

In the following video

You’ll find a simple feeding tip that can help lower your boxer’s risk of digestive upset… when you switch to a new food.


Does a boxer need to eat special dog food?

That depends on your dog’s age. Adult boxers can eat just about ANY brand of quality kibble. However, to lower your pet’s risk of developing a crippling and permanent form of hip disease, boxer puppies should be fed a diet that’s made to be safe for large breed puppies. For more top choices, view The Dog Food Advisor’s best large breed puppy foods page.


What are the 3 feeding stages of a boxer’s life?

Since dog breeds age at different rates, the feeding stages below can be used as a guide to help you find the best food for your boxer’s age.6 7

Life Stage Age
Puppy Under 15-24 months
Adult Over 15-24 months
Senior Over 6 years8

What’s the best dog food for an older boxer?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, larger breed dogs like boxers tend live shorter lives than smaller dogs… which is why they’re often considered seniors when they reach 5 to 6 years of age. If your boxer is over 6, you may wish to visit our best senior dog foods page for some safe recommendations.


When can I safely switch my boxer puppy to adult food?

Boxer puppies don’t stop growing and aren’t ready to eat adult dog food… until they reach 15 to 24 months of age.2 3 4 So, switching your puppy to an adult diet too soon can increase your pet’s risk of developing a crippling and permanent form of canine hip dysplasia.


What causes hip disease in boxers?

Hip disease in boxers is caused by at least one of 3 factors:

  1. Genetics12
  2. Overfeeding13
  3. Too much calcium in the diet14

Since there’s nothing you can do to change your boxer’s genetics, be sure to avoid overfeeding your puppy. And choose a dog food that contains a calcium level that’s made to be safe for boxers and other large breed puppies.


How can I lower my boxer’s risk of hip disease?

There are 2 things you CAN do to help lower your dog’s risk of hip disease. First, don’t overfeed your puppy. Too many calories in the diet can increase your boxer’s risk of developing lasting hip damage.

Next, avoid dog foods that contain too much calcium for large breed puppies. View our best large breed puppy foods here.


How much food should I feed my boxer?

A landmark study found that dogs fed an amount of food that keeps them at ideal body condition lived almost 2 years longer… than other dogs.15

So, to help your boxer live a longer life

Start with the feeding instructions printed on the bag. Then, adjust that amount up or down… to keep your boxer at ideal body condition.

The following short video explains exactly how to help your boxer achieve and maintain an ideal weight.


A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

References

  1. Lauten SD, Nutritional Risks to Large Breed Dogs: From Weaning to the Geriatric Years, Vet Clin Small Anim 36 (2006) 1345–1359.
  2. IAMS: How to Transition Your Puppy to Adult Food, IAMS
  3. Royal Canine: When does my puppy become an adult dog?
  4. Purina: When to Switch to Adult Dog Food?
  5. AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles, Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2018 Official Publication, pages 155-159.
  6. Royal Canin, When does my puppy become an adult dog?
  7. Lynn Buzhardt, DVM, How Old Is Old? Comparing Dog Age to Human Age
  8. Senior Pets, American Veterinary Medical Association
  9. IAMS: How to Transition Your Puppy to Adult Food, IAMS
  10. Royal Canine: When does my puppy become an adult dog?
  11. Purina: When to Switch to Adult Dog Food?
  12. Hedhammar A, Canine hip dysplasia as influenced by genetic and environmental factors, EJCAP, Oct 2007, 17:2 (pp 141-143)
  13. Kealy RD et al, Effects of limited food consumption on the incidence of hip dysplasia in growing dogs, JAVMA, Sep 1992, 201:6 (pp 857-863)
  14. Richardson, Skeletal diseases of the growing dog: Nutritional influences and the role of diet, Canine Hip Dysplasia: A Symposium Held at Western Veterinary Conference, 1995
  15. https://www.avma.org/News/Journals/Collections/Documents/javma_220_9_1315.pdf