Your Boxer’s lovely short coat is gorgeous, and because it’s so short, you’re more likely to spot Boxer skin issues.
It’s not that Boxers are necessarily more prone to skin problems than longer-furred breeds. It’s just that the coat allows you to see what owners of other dog breeds might miss.
Although that might cause you to worry, it’s a good thing that you can pick up skin issues early.
In this article, we’re going to give you an overview of some of the common Boxer skin bumps and irritations that you might encounter. But do remember, if you’re worried, get your Boxer to a vet!
Let’s begin with a few minor issues and progress toward some of the more serious ones.
Dry Skin From Too-Frequent Baths Or Swims
Interesting fact: most Boxers don’t really need to be bathed. When you bathe a dog, you upset the balance of their skin and coat which means that the fur stops being self-cleaning.
Too-frequent bathing can dry out your dog’s skin, leaving it flaky and itchy.
However, this symptom could mean several things, so never just assume you know the reason without consulting a veterinarian.
If you feel the need to bathe your Boxer, do it once a month at most – once every three months is better. Or, don’t bathe your dog unless he’s managed to find something yucky to roll in. That’s fine too!
Swimming in chlorinated pools can also cause dry skin. If your Boxer likes to swim, rinse him off every time and dry him, paying special attention to skin folds.
If your Boxer swims in lakes or streams, parasites in the water can cause swimmer’s itch which will require veterinary attention.
Fortunately, this parasite doesn’t occur in the US. Nevertheless, rinse and dry your dog after swimming all the same.
Food allergies can cause terrible itchiness and you may see a rash on the skin.
Because the allergy causes such a bad itch, your Boxer might injure his skin and develop secondary infections. Confirm any suspected food allergies with a visit to the veterinarian.
They may prescribe a hypoallergenic food or suggest a diet in which certain ingredients are eliminated to see whether they’re the cause of the problem. Allergy testing is another possibility.
Just as you can be allergic to things like dust and pollen, so can your Boxer. Usually, this manifests as an itchy skin rash. Boxers can also have flea allergies, so be sure to keep your parasite control up to date.
As with all skin abnormalities, it’s good to get advice from a veterinarian. You might get some helpful tips.
For example, preventing your lawn grasses from producing pollen through frequent mowing can make a big difference if your Boxer is allergic to pollen.
This bacterial infection often develops when allergies go untreated. It can also develop as a secondary infection when skin fold dermatitis goes untreated.
You may notice small bumps filled with pus on your Boxer’s skin. If they break open, the bumps turn runny and then crust over.
Your Boxer will feel very itchy and might harm themselves by constantly scratching, licking, or biting the worst areas.
In bad cases, you won’t miss the fact that your dog smells terrible and is losing hair in patches.
Yes! Your Boxer can get pimples! Doggie acne usually breaks out on the muzzle. A medicated ointment can help to clear up the problem.
You can also help to prevent Boxer acne by using a stainless steel feeding bowl.
Plastic bowls get scratched quite quickly, and bacteria can breed in the scratches even when you wash the bowl fairly frequently.
Simply switching to a stainless steel feeding bowl can make a big difference to your Boxer’s acne.
Skin Fold Dermatitis
Skin folds need careful monitoring. The damp, protected environment inside skin folds makes them a great breeding ground for Bacteria.
In its mildest form, you’ll notice red, inflamed skin. But if skin fold dermatitis progresses, it can cause ulceration and extreme discomfort for your Boxer.
A veterinarian can prescribe a special ointment to treat the problem – home remedies don’t work, so get help if you spot inflammation in skin folds.
You can help to prevent skin fold dermatitis by cleaning and drying your Boxer’s skin folds.
A cotton bud works well. Ideally, you should do this every day, but even once a week is better than nothing. Admittedly, some Boxers don’t get this form of attention and never get skin fold dermatitis.
Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid)
Left untreated, an underactive thyroid means an unhealthy Boxer with a shortened lifespan. Boxers are relatively susceptible to this condition, and it can present the full spectrum of scary skin symptoms.
The skin may seem dry and flaky or your Boxer seems to get every skin infection possible.
Those pus-filled bumps can pop up and you might notice changes in pigmentation of the skin. Typically, your dog will tend to gain weight and seem lethargic – definitely a bad sign in Boxers.
Fortunately, thyroid issues are easy to treat once you know they’re there. Just one more reason to take your Boxer to the veterinarian if you spot skin issues.
If he has hypothyroidism, the solution is simple: your veterinarian will prescribe medication that you have to give to your Boxer every day.
Just as our own skins are habitats for millions of tiny mites and microorganisms, dogs also have their own skin ecosystem.
Demodex mites aren’t usually a problem, but if there’s a population explosion, your Boxer will end up with some pretty serious skin problems.
Sometimes, the problem only shows up in one or more patches of your dog’s skin. At others, it can affect most of your dog’s skin.
There’s no way an attentive Boxer owner can miss this problem. The fur loss is noticeable, you might notice inflamed areas on the face, especially around the eyes and mouth.
There will be oozing sores, or there might be dryness and flaking with a typically red coloration.
Your dog will be going crazy with itchiness, and it may even go off its food and run a fever. Don’t panic! Get veterinary attention for your dog. This is a curable problem.
But what causes red mange in Boxers? There are several possibilities. A weak immune system, genetics, and hormonal issues can all contribute to susceptibility.
In puppies,an undeveloped immune system is usually the cause. In older dogs, this type of mange could point toward more serious health issues.
Demodectic mange (red mange) can be a very complex condition that takes time to clear up – you absolutely need your vet’s help in solving the problem.
Scary Lumps And Boxer Skin Bumps
If you notice a lump on your Boxer, don’t panic – but do get a proper diagnosis. Sometimes, a veterinarian can give you a diagnosis just by looking, but at others, they will need a pathologist to check it out.
Benign lumps include lipomas – collections of fat that form a noticeable lump.
Lipomas usually only occur on older dogs, and they can look really scary, but don’t cause any harm. If they pop up in an area that makes your dog uncomfortable, they can be removed.
Skin Tags And Papilloma Warts
Skin tags are usually benign too, but do have them checked out since they could be an early warning of more serious problems.
One of the scariest-looking nasties are round bumps like warts that suddenly develop a cauliflower-like look. They’re usually papilloma warts, and you needn’t have them removed unless they’re bothering your Boxer.
When they do bug him, he will scratch them open – a sign that it’s time for a simple little procedure to remove one or more of them. Yes, those nasty little bumps will keep popping up, and your dog is likely to have more than one!
Histiocytomas look really scary! They’re usually benign, however, despite being among the more alarming-looking Boxer skin bumps.
They most often occur in Boxers at the young adult life stage, and they look like big, red moles, often scabbed at the top. They usually (but not always) occur on the front half of the Boxer’s body.
Yes! Histiocytomas are tumors. However, they’re usually benign. They can even resolve themselves without treatment. But. because some less-than-benign growths look just like them, you need to get them checked out.
As with other benign tumors, you should only have them removed if they’re actually bothering your Boxer. I’ve been in this situation, and we had a little “lumpectomy” covering several benign but irritating tumors at once.
Abscesses are really infected sores. The skin has grown over them, so as they fill with pus, your Boxer develops a nasty-looking bump or lump.
The pressure from inside can be extremely painful. Even if an abscess bursts, that doesn’t necessarily cure it. It can close and start developing into another painful bump.
A veterinarian cleans out the wound properly, removing dead tissue. In the past, abscesses were usually stitched closed, but these days, veterinarians leave them open to heal naturally if possible. They’ll also prescribe medications to help your pet’s recovery.
Ever had a blackhead? It’s caused by a blockage in the oil (sebaceous) glands that feed the skin. If the blockage is really bad, it can form a hard lump or cyst.
Dogs get this problem too, and Boxers are no exception. They usually occur on the back, and sometimes, they can be very irritating.
Of course, there are more serious issues that show almost identical symptoms, so do get it checked out.
If your Boxer has sebaceous cysts, veterinarians generally recommend leaving them to resolve themselves – unless they’re causing discomfort.
The lump is red and prominent but the growth is benign. However, you can’t be sure until you have a professional opinion.
There are some very aggressive tumors that look just like granulomas. The only way to be sure is to get your Boxer a biopsy so that a lab can analyse the issue.
These nasty growths generally need to be removed surgically, even when they’re benign. Most veterinarians will recommend a lumpectomy followed by pathological analysis.
These are the growths that every pet owner fears. Malignant tumors are aggressive and can spread to other parts of the body.
Early detection and removal could save your dog – and that’s why even benign-looking bumps should be evaluated by experts.
Are Boxers More Prone To Skin Problems Than Other Dogs?
We’ve talked a lot about Boxer skin bumps and Boxer skin issues. Are Boxers more prone to skin problems than other dogs? Not really.
The skin is the largest organ in both humans and dogs, and more volume means a greater chance of problems.
But, because the Boxer has that neat, short coat, we’re more likely to notice skin problems than owners of other breeds. There are many breeds more susceptible to skin allergies for example.
There’s no source that lists Boxers as being one of the top breeds likely to develop skin problems.
Shar Peis with their many skin folds may take that dubious honor of being the top breed for developing skin fold dermatitis. Even the ever-popular Labradors are listed as a breed that’s likely to have allergies.
Your Boxer may never develop any significant skin issues, but if they do, get them to a veterinarian. Never assume that a lump means the end of your dog. Even if it is malignant, there’s a chance of complete recovery.
As the proud owner of a Boxer, it will be up to you to be a vigilant pet owner. Get those lumps, bumps, and Boxer skin issues attended to as soon as you can.
Meanwhile, enjoy your enthusiastic fur-buddy for as long as you possibly can. This breed is ideal for energetic and attentive pet owners. Whatever love you put in, you’ll get twice as much back!