Feeding your dog takes more effort than just keeping the kibble bowl full. Dogs typically need more discipline when it comes to food, or they can gorge -- and especially with bigger dogs like boxers, overeating can create health problems. Make feeding time a routine to encourage healthy habits.
Establish a twice-daily feeding routine. Your boxer certainly won't mind if you keep the bowl full all day, but dogs aren't always responsible self-regulators. Feed your dog once in the morning and once in the evening -- between eight and 12 hours apart. Always portion according to the label on the food or your vet's recommendation, as your dog's food intake should be determined by his weight.
Monitor your dog's health and stool to make sure that the food is compatible. For example, your boxer may exhibit signs of a food allergy, like excessive scratching, skin irritation or indigestion. If that is the case, consider taking your dog to the vet for allergy testing or switch foods according to the ingredients.
Feed your dog the same food consistently. While you would get bored eating the same salad for every meal, dogs are less picky -- when you find a food that your boxer eats and maintains good health on, stick with it.
Resist the urge to share your food or scraps with your dog. Despite your boxer's size, even a little human food can be detrimental to his health, so ignore his pleas from under the dinner table.
- Leave a tennis ball in your dog's bowl during feeding times. Bigger dogs like boxers are susceptible to bloat, a deadly gastrointestinal condition that can occur when your dog eats too quickly. The tennis ball prevents him from scarfing down at unhealthy speeds. Alternatively, invest in a slow-feed bowl, which similarly prevents at-risk dogs from eating too fast.
- Always have cool, clean water available for your dog. His water consumption should be proportional to his body weight. For example, a 100-pound boxer should consume about 100 ounces of water every day, so make sure you keep replenishing that water bowl.
- Puppies need a different feeding schedule from adult dogs. Use food formulated for puppies, and feed them three to four times each day until they are 6 months old. After that, you can reduce the number of feedings to two or three per day until they are fully grown.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.