We have many owners message us asking how they can get their boxer to gain some healthy weight. It’s true that many boxer dogs struggle with their weight, so in this article, we’ll explain exactly what you can do to beef up your boxer (in a healthy way).
5 best ways to help your boxer dog gain weight:
- Mix in wet dog food with his kibble (specific ratios)
- Add unsalted chicken or beef broth
- Use dog food seasonings
- Limit the time he has to eat
- Add peanut butter to his kibble (no Xylitol, unsalted)
This is just a quick summary, below I will run through everything in full detail, as well as other important topics regarding changing foods.
What’s The Normal Weight For a Boxer Dog?
Before getting into it, it’s important to clarify the correct weight ranges for a Boxer. This way you’ll know just how far off your Boxer is, or you may realize he’s in fact within the normal range.
Boxers are naturally lean, muscular, and athletic dogs, but sometimes can appear to be skinny, especially when making the growth spurt from adolescence to adulthood. So let’s take a look!
|Age||Female Boxer Low & High Weight Averages||Male Boxer Low & High Weight Averages|
|2-4 Months||20-25 lbs||24-29 lbs|
|4-6 Months||25-39 lbs||29-43 lbs|
|6-8 Months||39-45 lbs||43-50 lbs|
|8-10 Months||45-55 lbs||50-58 lbs|
|10-12 Months||55-60 lbs||58-68 lbs|
|1 Year Plus||55 or over. Females typically don’t get much heavier than 65 lbs||58 or over. Large Males can weigh up to 75lbs|
Boxers will typically have reached their full height by 10-12 months but will continue to slowly fill out in until around 16 months of age.
Those weight averages are just that, averages! So if your boxer is a few pounds under where he should be, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s too underweight.
It’s normal to be able to feel the ribs a tiny bit, as boxers are naturally lean dogs.
Rule Out Health Issues First
If you suspect there to be an underlying health issue, or you notice that his behavior just seems too “off”, play it safe and visit your veterinarian.
Underlying health issues can go unnoticed for some time! So it can be hard for us to know what’s wrong until you get tests done.
Unfortunately, a loss of appetite is a common symptom of a wide range of health problems. This makes it more difficult for you to know whether your boxer is just being fussy, doesn’t like his food, or has a legitimate issue.
Ruling out health problems with a trained veterinarian is always the best thing to do first.
The 5 Best Tips To Help Your Boxer Dog Gain Weight
Assuming health issues have been ruled out with your veterinarian the following 5 tips will help your boxer gain weight by either increasing calories or making his current food more palatable. Each will be explained thoroughly below.
- Mix in wet dog food with his kibble
- Add unsalted chicken or beef broth
- Use dog food seasonings
- Limit the time he has to eat
- Add peanut butter to his kibble
1. Mix in wet dog food with his kibble
Following a split of 80% dry food with 20% wet dog food is commonly recommended by veterinarians as a way to increase overall nutrition, calories, water intake and to make the food MUCH more appetizing.
Wet dog food is higher in protein, higher in natural fats, fewer carbohydrates, fewer preservatives, and chemicals, and will act as a meaty gravy to the dry kibble.
The addition of wet dog food nearly always works to stop fussy eating. Just ensure you mix the wet dog food into the kibble thoroughly otherwise your boxer may eat the wet and leave the dry!
Here’s our top pick for wet dog food: Taste of The Wild Wet Dog Food Wetlands Edition
2. Add unsalted chicken or beef broth
If you don’t want the hassle of splitting up your dog’s food into ratios, then simply pouring some unsalted chicken or beef broth over his dry kibble will make his food suddenly much more appealing. Your boxer won’t be able to resist a delicious meaty broth covering his kibble.
If you have some leftover broth from your own dinner be sure to save it for your Boxers meal time.
Be careful with broth from stock cubes, as they usually have a lot of salt, additives, or preservatives in them. Broth from real, cooked meat is the ideal option.
3. Use dog food seasonings
There are a range of brands that make food toppers and seasonings for our canine friends. They are a fun and healthy way to quickly add flavor to your Boxers kibble.
Many people have success with using dog food seasonings and the best part is that it’s super easy… Just sprinkle a little on top.
The company that we recommend is called Shake it Pup. Their seasonings are made within the USA, contain only natural ingredients, are 100% human-grade, contain zero GMOs, preservatives, chemicals, salt, fillers, or anything nasty… The list goes on!
One bottle provides up to 60 servings so if your boxer is currently fed twice a day, one bottle will last an entire month. Not bad for the price. You can check out the full range of flavors and seasonings by Shake it Pup here on Amazon.
4. Limit the time he has to eat
Time-restricted eating is a clever trick that will likely only need to be done once, maybe twice. If you are sure that your boxer is just being fussy and that there’s nothing wrong with his food, this tip is for you.
Time-restricted eating involves putting his food bowl down, giving him 10 minutes to eat his food, counting down from 10 seconds before removing his food bowl until the next meal time. The countdown is simply used as a verbal cue for him to learn from.
Why does this work? By doing this you are teaching your Boxer that food isn’t always available for him. It will suddenly hit home that he needs to eat his food the moment you put it down or else, it will shortly be removed.
Your Boxer’s survival instincts should be firing by the time the next meal time comes around. Although this training tip is hard for us to implement and you may feel guilty removing his bowl, you can rest assured that no healthy dog will starve themself.
There have been many reports of owners doing this with their dog and after the first time of removing the bowl (when the dog didn’t eat the food), it then eliminates fussy eating for the next several months.
Please note: If he doesn’t eat after the second removal, you should seek veterinary help as soon as possible. And always provide fresh kibble.
5. Add peanut butter to his kibble
Put it this way, I’ve never come across a dog that doesn’t absolutely LOVE peanut butter.
Peanut butter has been deemed safe for dogs to consume so long as it doesn’t contain Xylitol (artificial sweetener toxic to dogs) or high salt content. Source PetMD
Peanut butter is high in healthy fats and therefore contains a lot of calories per tablespoon. This little trick works a treat, but depending on your Boxer’s current weight may not be appropriate to do every mealtime.
Always test a tiny amount of peanut butter with your Boxer first before giving him a full tablespoon with his meal. Although peanut butter is safe for dogs, it doesn’t mean that your Boxer will tolerate it. Test first.
To keep it interesting you could alternate days between using chicken broth with his kibble, then peanut butter, then dog food seasonings.
Your Boxer Eats His Food But Is Still Underweight?
So far this article has been addressing fussy eating, and that’s because fussy eating is usually the culprit for underweight dogs.
But what if your boxer IS already eating his full meal, and is still underweight? Let’s run through what you should do next.
Rule out health issues: Just like before, ruling out health issues should ideally be done before trying any tips and tricks. Give your veterinarian a call to explain the situation and you may be required to schedule an appointment.
Check the food your using: Boxers are a large breed, so they should be consuming dog food that’s tailored towards large breeds. This type of food will have more protein, fat, and calories compared to other regular adult dog food.
Check the portion sizes: It could be that his portion sizes that are too small. I can’t state how many cups your Boxer should eat here because it will depend on his age and the brand you are using. Refer to the packaging to double-check the portions.
Change the brand to a premium dog food brand: Not all dog food is made equal. To get the best nutrients and ingredients you need to opt for a premium brand like Orijen, Taste of The Wild, Wellness, or Acana.
These brands are expensive, but you can rest assured that your Boxer is receiving real nutrition through real ingredients. Cheap brands use a lot of fillers that provide little nutritional value. So although he’s eating a full meal, his body isn’t receiving what it should be.
As you probably already know, Boxers need A LOT of exercise. It’s recommended that Boxers receive 2 hours or more of dedicated exercise per day.
As Boxer dogs have such an efficient metabolism, they don’t need much food for sustained energy, so it goes without saying that if your Boxer isn’t active enough, he isn’t going to need to eat, and he won’t have an appetite.
So take an honest look at how much exercise you give your Boxer and be prepared to increase it.
Exercise is so important to this breed that their overall health really depends on it. There may be nothing wrong with your Boxer or his food, he may just need more exercise to get his appetite to the correct level.
So there you have it, you now have a good idea of what weight your Boxer should be at depending upon his age, how to rule out health conditions, what you can do to help him eat his food and gain weight, and how exercise plays an important role in keeping his appetite healthy.
⭐ Back to more Boxer articles >>