Boxers, like all dogs, need a balance of meats, vegetables, fats and other healthy ingredients to maintain their shiny coats, bright eyes and those great boxer-esque muscles. Choosing and maintaining a natural diet is a wise choice, and it can be achieved with a little planning and research.
What's Included in a Natural Diet
A balanced natural diet for dogs includes many items from a range of food groups. Generally, a dog's diet should consist of 50 to 75 percent animal protein, 15 to 18 percent healthy fats and oils, and 25 percent carbs. Fresh water should be available at all times. Supplements play a role in good health. A high-quality multivitamin and mineral is beneficial, as is omega-3, found in wild salmon, sardines, flax or pill form.
Animal proteins include poultry, pork, fish, venison, bison and other meats. Experiment with beef in moderation, as it doesn't agree with some dogs. In the movies, human boxers chug glasses of raw eggs. These nutritional powerhouses are great for your furry boxer, too, although you may want to cook them first. You can serve the shells, too; just crush or grind them first, otherwise they're sharp. You can offer dairy products like cheese and yogurt in small amounts.
Healthy fats include oils like cod liver oil, olive oil, flax oil and safflower oil. Flax oil offers omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and safflower oil contains all the fatty acids essential to dogs' bodies. Cod liver oil is also a source of essential fatty acids, as well as vitamins A and D. Use these oils as nutritional accents to your dog's diet. Fats are also found within most of the animal products your dog eats.
Carbohydrates include fruits, veggies and other starchy items like rice. Dogs can eat many fruits and vegetables we eat, such as asparagus, broccoli, carrots, leafy greens, potatoes, melons, berries and many more. Like us, dogs are individuals; you'll find they like some things and not others. Other carbs like beans can be used sparingly. A handful of kidney beans, for example, adds variety and nutrition to your dog's meal, without those beany aftereffects.
Commercial or Homemade, Make a Slow Change
Any dietary change should be done gradually. Whether you offer a homemade natural diet, or try to find a natural commercial food that meets your boxer's needs, a slow change is best. Generally, introduce new foods at a rate of 10 to 25 percent each week. Monitor your dog to make sure each new food agrees with him. Using this approach, your boxer buddy will transition to his new, healthy, ring-worthy diet within a month or two.
- DogChannel.com: Good Food for Great Boxers
- Canine Nutrition & Choosing the Best Food for Your Breed of Dog; Cusick, William D.
- Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images