Boxer Dog Health Issues and Problems

Boxer Dogs are one of the most popular breeds in the United States, ranking 13th in popularity among American Kennel Club (AKC) registered breeds. But there are some things to watch out for when it comes to their health, and this post will outline some of them.

Boxers are generally healthy dogs that need little medical care. However, it is important to take them to the vet at least once a year for a checkup. The vet will examine the dog’s eyes, ears and nose as well as checking its teeth and gums for signs of periodontal disease.

Boxers have a lower life expectancy than some other breeds (approx. 8-12 years). If your boxer does get one of the below problems, check with your vet regarding the best course of action.

Below are the health issues we see most common in the Boxer dog.

Common Health Issues with the Boxer Dog

Heart Problems- Due to their large chests, boxers are susceptible to collapsing trachea and cardiomyopathy.

Eye Problems- The boxer dog has a predisposition for cataracts and distichiasis (this is a condition where two extra rows of eyelashes grow). They are also more likely to have retinal dysplasia (irregular development of the retina) than other breeds.

Elbow Problems- Boxers are prone to elbow dysplasia, which is a condition where the bones of the elbow joint do not fit together correctly.

Skin Problems- The boxer dog is particularly susceptible to skin infections, allergies, and hot spots. (Hot spots are moist, painful sores that develop when a dog scratches too hard at an irritating skin condition.)

Cancer- Boxers have a high rate of getting certain cancers. These include nasal cancer and oral tumors.

Patellar Luxation- Boxers are also prone to patellar luxation, which is a condition where the kneecap slips out of place. This can cause lameness and pain.

Dew Claws- The boxer dog has dewclaws, which make them more prone to infection. That is why it is important to keep these nail stubs trimmed if they are not removed when they are puppies.

Undocked Tails – If your Boxer has an undocked tail there is a chance it could develop hip issues later in life. Trust me, this is not fun as ne of my Boxers had this problem and it was either a very expensive surgery or we needed to do weekly cortisone shots to keep the inflammation down.

Dog Weight – The male boxer typically weighs between 65 and 80 pounds, while the female typically weighs 50 to 65 pounds. Boxers are prone to get overweight as they age, so it is important to keep an eye on their weight and diet.

Boxer Dog Preventative Health Maintenance

Although hereditary or genetic diseases may not be preventable, their are several things you can do to provide the best health for your Boxer dog. Below are some tips to help your Boxer live a long and healthy life.

Vaccinations – Even though boxers are known for their robust health, they still need some vaccinations for protection. Vaccinations include canine distemper, canine adenovirus type 2 and Lyme disease.

Cleaning – Keeping your boxer’s ears clean will promote a healthy dog. Regular ear cleaning is important. Soap and water rinse is the best way to do this. If your boxer’s ears smell bad, have a discharge, or if your dog scratches at ears often, a trip to the vet is in order. Your vet will have a look ear and check for mites or other problems.

Dental Hygiene – Cleaning your Boxer’s teeth regularly is essential for their dental health. This not only helps prevent periodontal disease but also keeps breath smelling fresh! They are however prone to getting tooth decay, so it is important to brush their teeth on a regular basis.

Walking – Most Boxer dogs love to run and play. Walking your dog is a healthy way to keep them fit and avoid obesity. Take them on walks at least twice a day and more if they seem to need it. This will reduce their chances of gaining weight and alleviate some of that Boxer energy.

Heat – Owners of the Boxer dog should try to keep them in cool environments when the weather is hot. This can help extend their lifespan by protecting them from overheating during warm weather. Another tip is to keep an eye on their panting as overheating can lead to heat stroke. Remember, Boxers are not outside animals, they do not do well with extreme heat or cold.

Toys & Chew Toys – Giving your dog a variety of toys will help their oral health and keep their teeth clean. You can also provide chew toys like bully sticks or other dog chews to help with cleaning their teeth and killing any bacteria. Just make sure you monitor them when they are chewing bones or chews so they do not choke on them.

Avoid Rawhide – Boxers are a large breed, so they are prone to gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV or Bloat). This is when a dog’s stomach swells with gasses or food and twists. It can be fatal if not treated right away. The leading cause of bloat is eating too fast, which means it is best to avoid rawhide treats.


Boxers are a very sweet and loving dog that are so much fun to have around. They are not for everybody, so make sure to learn about the breed prior to adopting. Finding out about Boxer Dog health information is a great start to being a responsible owner of a happy Boxer dog.

Have questions or need more information, feel free to leave a comment below.

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