That permanent puppy personality keeps your Boxer a fur baby all his life, but you still know that all good things come to an end.
The Boxer lifespan isn’t as long as we might like it to be. So, how long do Boxers live? On average, it’s around 10 to 12 years.
But do remember that that’s just an average. Some Boxers are able to live as long as 15 or even 16 years.
In this article, we’ll consider the Boxer lifespan in detail, including the things you can do to increase your odds of beating the average Boxer lifespan so that you can enjoy your Boxer for longer.
Why Do Boxers Have Such A Short Average Lifespan?
For its size, a Boxer’s lifespan isn’t particularly short. Small dog breeds live longer, and big breeds have shorter lives.
Great Danes, for example, are already old dogs at just eight years while a Chihuahua can easily live for 20 years.
Scientists say that big breeds age faster. They grow very fast when they are young, and use energy differently. So, the aging process happens more quickly and they don’t live as long as their smaller cousins.
Boxers aren’t gigantic dogs, and they’re definitely not a “toy” breed, so their average lifespan closely matches the overall average age that dogs reach.
Of course, there are breeds that have shorter lives because of genetic faults or because they’ve been bred for characteristics that cause health issues.
Boxers, however, are seen as generally strong dogs. Illnesses can occur, but they aren’t really prone to more problems than most breeds.
What Is The Leading Cause Of Death Among Elderly Boxers?
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death among older dogs. The fact that around 40 percent of senior Boxers meet their end owing to cancer might make it seem like a serious weakness.
However, it could really be a case of them being otherwise so healthy, that cancer is the primary threat.
No dog is going to live forever, and as we’ve noted, most Boxers don’t die much younger than one would expect other dogs of similar size to die.
According to the AKC, one in four dogs develop cancer at some point in their lives – but once they pass the age of ten, half of all dogs are likely to get cancer.
Cancer is often treatable, so the best thing you can do is keep an eye out for possible symptoms, especially if your Boxer is starting to get old. Lumps and bumps are often benign, but do have them checked out.
Other symptoms include a bad smell, and range across things you’d usually take your Boxer to the vet for anyway.
For example, unexplained weight loss, open sores that don’t heal, mobility issues, breathing problems, and potty issues, are all things you’d want a vet to check out for you.
How Can You Help Extend Your Boxer’s Lifespan?
The best way to improve the odds of your Boxer living for as long as he possibly can is to keep him in good health.
Here are the top things you can do throughout your dog’s life to help him stay healthy.
1. Maintain A Healthy Weight
It’s said that being overweight can shorten your pet’s lifespan by as much as two years. Obesity is certainly far worse.
About half of dogs in the US are overweight, so if your dog is among them, helping him to slim down will be your priority.
Watch what your dog eats – that means weighing out his food instead of just keeping his bowl full. Of course, table leftovers are right out.
Some human foods are bad for dogs, and even if the food itself is OK, over-nourishment leads to weight gain.
Play and exercise are a given when you have a Boxer. They love high-energy activities. That’s in your favor, so encourage those games and join in the fun.
2. Don’t Miss Veterinary Checkups And Parasite Control
No matter how healthy your Boxer seems, annual veterinary checkups are important. You really do want to ensure that your Boxer’s inoculations are up to date.
They protect him from some truly awful and highly infectious diseases.
Apart from this, your veterinarian will check the basic health indicators, and if they pick up any problems you weren’t aware of, it may be early enough to cure them before they cause issues.
Even incurable health problems like an underactive thyroid can respond well to medications.
Then, there are nasty parasites that can make your dog extremely ill. What you have to control depends on where you live.
Get guidance from your veterinarian on anything you should be doing between your Boxer’s checkups.
3. Help Your Boxer’s Joints To Stay Healthy
Although arthritis doesn’t kill, it’s a very uncomfortable problem. Stave it off by keeping your Boxer at a healthy weight – overweight dogs strain their joints more and develop issues more easily.
Maintaining a healthy weight for a longer life is important from puppyhood. Keep an eye on those pounds!
Of course, exercise also enters the picture. Stronger muscles help to support the frame, reducing strain on the joints. This comes back to doing your Boxer’s favorite thing – active play!
Despite your best efforts, you are likely to notice stiffness and signs of pain in elderly Boxers.
A veterinarian can prescribe pain relief and you might want to add a joint supplement to his food. Most vet shops stock them because it’s such a common problem.
4. Help Them To Be Their Active Best
As older people know all too well – what you don’t use, you lose. As the owner of a Boxer, you probably won’t have to do much to encourage your dog to be active. They’re overgrown puppies who love to move!
Mental stimulation can be found in games and on your daily dog-walks, helping to keep body and mind fit and healthy.
Even relatively old Boxers keep their puppy-like playfulness for as long as their bodies can support it.
5. Do Take Care Of Your Boxer’s Teeth
Never overlook the importance of healthy teeth for overall physical health – not in yourself, or your dog.
Your boxer’s pearly-white teeth are really strong, but as they age, they’ll be more prone to tooth decay and gum disease.
You won’t be able to handle all dental issues with home remedies – another reason why your veterinarian is your dog’s best friend when it comes to safeguarding his health.
Needless to say, sugary treats aren’t good for dogs, so resist the urge to give your Boxer a taste of your own sugary favorites!
6. Choose Good-Quality, Life-Stage Appropriate Pet Food
A healthy balanced diet keeps your dog well and makes him more resistant to disease.
Fortunately, there are standards for animal feed, so if a US-made dog food claims to be “complete” it has to contain all the nutrition your dog needs.
Nevertheless, I’m inclined to say that quality counts. Ask your veterinarian for advice on the best choice of dog food for your Boxer.
Some Boxer owners prefer to give their dogs home-made food – but that isn’t always a better option.
Apart from the time and cost, balancing his diet properly can be pretty tricky. This option is only really suitable for people who have plenty of time on their hands.
As your Boxer ages, his nutritional needs will tend to change. Because older dogs are less active, they need fewer calories in their food and their digestion is more sensitive.
Most people switch to a “senior” life stage formulation when their dogs are about seven or eight years old.
Can One Prevent Boxers From Getting Cancer?
This is a pretty tough question to answer. If your dog doesn’t get cancer, was it because you protected him from health risks, or would he never have got cancer in the first place?
All the same, you can keep your dog away from some known carcinogens. For example, if you’re a smoker, don’t smoke near your dog.
You might also want to avoid feeding your Boxer from a plastic bowl. Apart from being less hygienic than stainless-steel, there is the risk of BPA leaching into food or water.
Herbicides are generally accepted as carcinogens, and some people think that grain free foods are safest. However, they have been linked to other health issues, so your best bet is to simply opt for official “Organic” certification.
To get organic certification, dog food producers have to avoid using ingredients that were grown with pesticides and herbicides. Cut those out, and you may be doing your dog a huge favor!
As always, no matter what else you do, be alert to your Boxer’s health. It’s better to rush him to a vet for a benign bump than to let a malignant one do its worst.
How Long Do Boxers Live? Know When to Let Go
No dog lives forever, no matter how hard the owner works to keep them healthy. One of the hardest things you’ll have to do is make the call when it’s time to euthanize your pet.
I once asked a veterinarian whether it was cruel keeping my elderly dog alive and he responded with a few questions:
Does he still eat well? Yes he does!
Does he still take an interest in things he enjoyed before? Yes!
After a thorough checkup, the veterinarian told me that I’d know when the time was right, but that my old dog was still enjoying life at the time. In the end, he was right. I did know when it was “time.”
The real message here is that you’ll know too. Don’t hold on too long, allowing your dog to suffer unnecessarily when there are no more cures and he’s starting to feel ta lot of pain.
You and your Boxer will have had a wonderful time of togetherness, and ending it gently is the kindest thing to do.
Meanwhile, make the most of your Boxer. Play, laugh, cuddle, and enjoy what has to be one of the world’s most awesome dog breeds.
Make great memories together! It’s a relationship you’ll always be glad you experienced.