Written by Dr. Marcelle Landestoy, DVM
Every pet parent wants the best for their dog. One of the best ways to provide the best for your dog is to understand what they can or can’t eat based on their breed.
For instance, a Boxer parent should know what foods they shouldn’t be giving their Boxer.
Foods you should stop feeding your Boxer immediately include cooked bones, chocolate, walnuts, grapes, and raisins. You should also avoid giving them dairy products, carbohydrates, and kibble. Try to moderate the number of cashew nuts, rice, and raw meat in their diet, too.
In this article, I have explored various foods that should be limited in your Boxer’s diet.
I’ll consider a Boxer’s unique health needs and risks, using a traffic light system to tell you which foods are most harmful to your Boxer.
Green: Slight Discomfort
Yellow: Moderate to Intense Discomfort
Green Foods: Foods Which Cause Mild Discomfort
You should limit certain foods in your Boxer’s diet because they cause mild discomfort.
Here are some of them:
- Cashew nuts
- Coconut and coconut-based foods
Cashew nuts are non-toxic, and most dogs enjoy them as a treat. You should limit the number of cashew nuts you give your Boxer.
If Boxers eat too many cashews over time, they may put on a significant amount of weight.
You should also ensure the cashews you are giving your Boxer aren’t salted.
Dogs are vulnerable to sodium toxicity caused by a large amount of salt in their system.
Symptoms of sodium toxicity include muscle tremors and seizures.
If you are giving your Boxers cashews for the first time, monitor them closely for signs of an allergic reaction.
These may include hives, continuous itching, or small lumps on your dog’s body.
You can occasionally feed your Boxer rice along with meat, chicken, and meat broth.
However, limit the amount of rice as Boxers don’t need carbohydrates biologically.
Some doctors suggest that rice can create gas in your dog’s system, causing mild discomfort.
Occasionally, rice can cause premature aging, skin problems, cancer, and diabetes. Rice may also trigger the onset of allergies.
So, while rice isn’t immediately harmful to your Boxer, it should not be a significant part of their diet.
Give your dog a maximum of one cup of rice a week.
Coconut and Coconut-Based Foods
Coconut meat can form a small part of your Boxer’s diet. It has been found to decrease inflammation and can boost a dog’s immune system.
However, if your dog overeats coconut, they may suffer from stomach pain or loose stool.
Avoid coconut oil as it contains a lot of potassium. Large amounts of potassium in your dog’s system may cause discomfort and, in extreme cases, be fatal.
Yellow Foods: Foods That Can Have Moderate to Severe Side Effects
Yellow foods may cause medium to long-term issues for your dog. If your Boxer consumes them, they may have an onset of medium to severe symptoms.
Here are some yellow goods to avoid:
- Raw meat
- Corn and wheat cereals
- Dairy products
- Leftovers of human meals
- Cod and tuna
Some pet parents advocate for a raw food diet. However, steer clear of excessive raw foods.
Raw foods may cause food poisoning or indigestion with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.
You should avoid raw foods if your Boxer is immunocompromised, is a puppy, or is an elderly dog.
Please consult your vet before feeding your Boxer a raw food diet to ensure you’re feeding them the correct items.
Corn and Wheat Cereals
Boxers have a higher risk of developing cancers than other dog breeds.
They’re especially vulnerable to brain, heart, thyroid, and mammary cancers. Don’t feed your Boxer carcinogenic foods like corn and wheat.
Corn and wheat may contain aflatoxins, a type of mold that dogs react negatively to.
As your Boxer eats corn and wheat, the number of aflatoxins in their system will gradually grow, increasing their risk of cancer.
Studies have found that kibble can cause dogs to put on weight because it contains a significant amount of carbohydrates.
Kibble tends to be more dangerous for older Boxers.
While Boxers aren’t especially vulnerable to obesity, they’re at risk of Spondylosis, which can worsen when a dog is overweight.
Because of their body structure, Boxers can quickly develop Spondylosis, a degenerative spinal condition.
As the spine degenerates, your Boxer may become inflexible and start limping.
So, ensure your pet is at a healthy weight to prevent the onset of Spondylosis.
Boxers are vulnerable to developing diabetes as their pancreas can fail to produce insulin correctly, especially when they age.
To reduce the risk of your Boxer developing diabetes, you should limit their carbohydrate intake.
Carbohydrates break down into sugar quickly, leading to a spike in blood sugar levels in your dog’s body.
Over time, this can cause diabetes. You may have to give your dog insulin shots to regulate its sugar levels.
While puppies rely on milk from their mothers, don’t give them other milk products or milk from other animals.
Dairy products contain large amounts of calcium which may increase vulnerability to skeletal disorders.
In addition to Spondylosis, Boxers are at higher risk for hip dysplasia, which may trigger excessive calcium.
Dairy products also contain enzymes that dogs may be unable to process.
If your Boxer eats excessive dairy products, they may suffer from vomiting or diarrhea.
Leftovers of Human Meals
Here are some of the reasons you shouldn’t feed your Boxer human meals:
- They may cause obesity. Some research suggests that dogs that eat human meals are more likely to put on weight, which can put extra pressure on your Boxer’s spine.
- They contain spices and sweeteners. Humans add various spices and sweeteners to their food. Your Boxer may be unable to digest particular ones, and some may even be highly toxic.
- Risk of other toxic food. Human meals aren’t as controlled as dog meals. They may contain garlic, onions, and almonds, which are toxic for dogs.
- Unwanted behavior. Giving your dog your leftovers just after you’ve finished eating shows that begging for human food is acceptable. Instead of waiting until you’ve finished eating, your dog may begin eating food directly from the table.
- They have high amounts of sodium and other preservatives. You should be especially careful not to give your Boxer any processed human foods like instant noodles or cold cuts. These contain a lot of salt and preservatives that may be toxic for your dog.
Eating human meals can have various consequences for your Boxer, so it’s best to avoid it.
Cod and Tuna
Boxers can quickly develop hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid glands don’t produce enough hormones.
Cod and tuna have high levels of iodine, which can impact thyroid function.
Another reason to avoid tuna is that it may have high levels of mercury.
Tuna fish can live for more than 40 years and absorb a significant amount of mercury in the sea.
Try feeding your Boxer tuna only intermittently to ensure their thyroid and immune systems stay healthy.
Red Foods: Highly Toxic Foods
Never give these red foods to your Boxer. Eating these foods can cause severe consequences like organ failure and seizures.
Here are some red foods to avoid:
- Baked goods
- Grapes and raisins
- Cooked bones
Baked goods like muffins, cakes, and other pastries can contain xylitol, a plant-based natural sweetener, and sugar replacement.
Xylitol has been found to trigger liver failure, seizures, and low blood sugar in dogs.
This is especially concerning for Boxers who are vulnerable to liver damage.
Symptoms of liver damage are vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, and yellowish eyes.
If your Boxer has eaten baked goods and starts experiencing these symptoms, immediately bring them to the vet.
If you want to give your dog baked goods, ensure they don’t contain xylitol. Better yet, buy baked goods made specifically for dogs.
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins (a type of dried grape) are highly toxic to all breeds of dogs.
However, they’re especially dangerous for Boxers as they place a large amount of pressure on the liver.
Boxers typically have weak livers and may be especially vulnerable to the consequences of eating grapes.
Besides immediate liver damage, here’s how eating grapes or raisins can impact your Boxer:
- Increased thirst. If your Boxer has eaten one or more grapes, you may notice they’re drinking excessive water and urinating more frequently than usual. However, eating grapes can also lead to dehydration.
- Vomiting or diarrhea. Because grapes are toxic, your Boxer may suffer from continuous vomiting spells. Your Boxer may also have persistent diarrhea, which can cause lethargy and weakness.
If you realize your Boxer has eaten grapes, call your vet immediately.
While avocados are a healthy option for humans, never feed them to your Boxer.
Avocado flesh and avocado pits contain persin, which is toxic for many animals.
There’s still ongoing research on the amount of Perisin that can be toxic for dogs.
Still, it is best not to give your Boxer any avocado at all.
Perisin can have a range of negative consequences, including:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Myocardial damage
- Weight gain and potential obesity
While walnuts aren’t toxic for dogs, don’t feed them to your Boxer for these reasons:
- Walnuts are a choking hazard. Walnuts can be pretty large, and if your dog swallows them whole, they may choke. You should chop up the walnuts finely if you want to give your Boxer some.
- Walnuts can develop mold. When stored for too long, walnuts can grow a specific type of mold. If your Boxer eats this mold, they may experience seizures and choking.
- Black walnuts are toxic. Black walnuts can cause vomiting and may cause long-term neurological damage to your dog.
- Walnuts may contain aflatoxins. As I discussed earlier, aflatoxins can put your Boxer at risk of developing various cancers.
Chocolate is dangerous for all breeds of dogs; even small amounts of chocolate can cause severe illnesses.
It contains both caffeine and theobromine, which dogs can’t efficiently process.
If you suspect your Boxer has eaten chocolate, inform your vet immediately.
You may also want to induce vomiting to get the chocolate out of your dog’s system.
In addition to vomiting and diarrhea, continue to monitor your dog for chocolate toxicity symptoms, including:
- Muscle tremors. You may notice your dog’s muscles begin to shake involuntarily. In extreme cases, these tremors may escalate to seizures.
- Hyperthermia. After eating chocolate, your Boxer may get excessively hot and start panting heavily.
- Increased urination. The chemicals from the chocolate may cause your dog’s internal systems to relax. This can cause increased urination as your dog cannot control their output.
Never give cooked bones to your dog. Because cooked bones have been softened and weakened, they can easily break into splinters.
These splinters can get lodged into your dog’s teeth, cause choking, and even cause organ damage.
If you want to give your Boxer bones, it is best to give them large raw bones.
Larger bones will not easily splinter and can help promote your dog’s dental health.
However, keep a close eye on the bones to make sure they stay whole and can’t cause choking hazards.
Garlic and Onions
Never give any dog garlic or onions. Both garlic and onions contain thiosulfate, a compound highly toxic to dogs.
Thiosulfate can cause damage to your Boxer’s blood cells and cause anemia.
If your Boxer eats a significant amount of onions or garlic, the anemia onset can be rapid. Some common symptoms of anemia include lethargy, breathlessness, weakness, and jaundice.
Eating garlic can also cause your Boxer abdominal issues like vomiting, diarrhea, and a loss of appetite.
When designing your Boxer’s diet, avoid foods they can’t eat.
While some foods, like coconuts and cashew nuts, may cause your Boxer mild discomfort, they can occasionally be included in your dog’s diet.
However, avoid dairy products, kibble, and carbohydrates.
And never give them cooked bones, chocolate, walnuts, baked goods, grapes, and raisins.
- AKC: Can Dogs Eat Avocado
- AKC: Can Dogs Eat Cashews
- AKC: Can Dogs Eat Grapes
- AKC: Can Dogs Eat Coconut
- AKC: Fresh vs. Raw vs. Kibble: What Should You Feed Your Dog?
- Balanced Canine: Iodine – Can I Give Too Much?
- Boxer Diaries: Can Boxers Eat Rice
- Dog Food Advisor: Hip Dysplasia in Dogs Linked to Improper Diet
- Dogs Naturally Magazine: An Unexpected Cause Of Cancer In Dogs
- Hills Pet: Dogs & Table Food: Why to Avoid Feeding Them Scraps
- National Library of Medicine: Factors Affecting Canine Obesity Seem to Be Independent of the Economic Status of the Country—A Survey on Hungarian Companion Dogs
- Preventive Vet: Safe and Unsafe Nuts for Dogs and Cats
- The Conversation: Why can’t dogs eat chocolate?
- US Boxer: Heath Issues in Boxers
Click here to read my post on the 5 most Common Boxer Health Issues and What to Do About Them
Veterinary Hospital Director at UCE
Dr. Marcelle is a general veterinarian with a Small Animal Medicine Specialty | Director of the UCE School of Veterinary Medicine | Certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society