Frequently Asked Questions

At What Age Should I Buy My Puppy?2023-10-10T12:33:31-04:00

Usually any time after 7-8 weeks. Many states have regulations regarding minimum age. However, your individual circumstances must be considered. Do you have the time to spend with a very young puppy? Will someone be home to housebreak him? Would an exuberant 6-month old puppy overwhelm a tiny child? Or would he be better matched with a 6 year old youngster? Remember too that the puppy under 3 months needs lots of time to rest. Don’t forget that adult dogs, already trained and generally calmer, also make ideal pets.

While much can be told at six to eight weeks about the puppy’s eventual looks, if you are seeking a show prospect you might be better off waiting until the pup is six to eight months of age. At that time, be prepared to pay a higher price for all the additional time and effort that the breeder has spent raising the show potential Boxer.

Male or Female?2023-10-10T12:33:01-04:00

This choice is a matter of personal preference. Both males and females make admirable pets. Breeding is a serious commitment of time, energy, and money, and not to be taken lightly. If breeding is not anticipated, it may be appropriate to spay or neuter your dog. This procedure is best done as your Boxer approaches adolescence. Please be aware that these surgeries should be discussed with your veterinarian as to safety of anesthesia and any long term effects other than sterilization. Spayed and neutered animals are not eligible to compete in the conformation ring but may be shown in performance events.

Should he be confined?2023-10-10T12:32:24-04:00

The Boxer requires relatively little care, but ownership of any dog is a definite responsibility. Your Boxer should NOT be allowed to run loose. Exercise within a fenced area or on a leash should be adequate. It also prevents a potentially unpleasant encounter with a neighbor’s dog or an overly effusive greeting that may frighten the small child who may not have had the chance to know how instinctively tolerant the Boxer really is. Death from automobiles, poison, or many other causes may await the Boxer who runs loose in the neighborhood. Remember, too, that improperly protected screen doors are a common mode of unexpected house exit. So-called invisible fencing is fine, but while it may keep your own dog in his yard, it will not keep other dogs out — which can be a problem in the case of overly aggressive visitors. It is also a sad but true fact of life that your Boxer may easily be confused by many with breeds designated locally as ‘dangerous dogs’. You must be your dog’s best advocate and protector — a strong leash and a good fence are musts for the conscientious Boxer owner.

What about a crate?2023-10-10T12:31:51-04:00

A crate is an invaluable asset to your puppy’s training and well-being. It is not a prison. A crate is a safe haven for the puppy when his owners go to work or the store, a place where his owners don’t have to worry about his chewing of electrical cords or furniture. Be sure that the crate does not allow your boxer to slip his head through any wire mesh, as he may not be able to retract it. Since a puppy is reluctant to soil his crate, it is a great aid in housetraining. If you leave the crate door open, you will find that the puppy will probably enter the crate voluntarily when he wants to rest. Be sure to put the crate in a warm place. The Boxer is sensitive to temperature extremes and does not enjoy drafts, summer heat, or cold. He should not be kept outdoors, but inside the house as a cherished member of the family.

Collar Considerations2023-10-10T12:31:22-04:00

Collars are always appropriate when going for a walk with the owner. However, be aware that your Boxer should not have any collar left on him when he is unattended. Even simple buckle collars can and do get caught on the most unexpected objects. They can also be twisted in the jaws of any playful doggy companion, with the potential for choking a very real danger. As a conscientious owner, you must beware.

How Much Grooming?2023-10-10T12:30:50-04:00

The Boxer requires very little grooming, and it can easily be done by the owner. Nails must be trimmed regularly unless naturally worn down on a hard surface. An occasional currycombing and/or bath should suffice — the Boxer has a natural tendency to keep himself clean. His neat and tidy coat does not unduly attract dirt. Tartar may have to be removed from the teeth periodically, especially as the Boxer grows older. You can learn to clean the teeth yourself, or use the services of your veterinarian.

Vaccinations2023-10-10T12:30:23-04:00

You will want to consult with your veterinarian as to the most current vaccination protocols for your Boxer. Some practitioners are recommending fewer so-called ‘booster’ shots than were formerly commonplace. You will also need to comply with your state laws regarding Rabies vaccinations. It is wise NOT to give multiple vaccinations on the same day, but to space them a few weeks apart so as not to challenge your Boxer’s immune system unnecessarily.

Heartworm Prevention2023-10-10T12:29:25-04:00

Heartworm has unfortunately become rather commonplace throughout the USA. You will need to protect your Boxer from acquiring this parasitic disease, spread by the bite of the simple mosquito. Once a month preparations are available, as well as the daily pill (now being manufactured by private labs). Beware that there can be serious side effects from any such medication: consult your veterinarian.

The Ubiquitous Flea2023-10-10T12:28:49-04:00

The annoying, persistent and fast-multiplying flea is a bloodsucking insect. It carries disease and acts as an intermediate host to the tapeworm.

There are no easy solutions to controlling fleas. In addition to the dog, his environment must be treated. But remember, almost all flea products contain certain toxic chemicals and must be used with caution. So-called natural preparations may be equally toxic. Always consult your veterinarian for professional advice, and pay particular attention to the safety of treatments for young puppies and adults alike.

What are the medical conditions affecting the boxer?2023-10-10T12:27:40-04:00

Despite a breeder’s best efforts, Boxers do sometimes suffer from conditions to which the breed seems to be predisposed. In many instances, diagnosis and treatment will effect a cure or symptomatic relief.

HEART DISEASE
Like many breeds of dogs, Boxers are subject to heart ailments. These include congenital and inherited anomalies as well as acquired disease later in life. Boxer heart disease usually falls into two important categories: aortic stenosis and cardiomyopathy.

Aortic Stenosis
This is a congenital condition, a narrowing or constriction of the outflow tract from the left ventricle to the aorta. It can be detected as a systolic murmur by your veterinarian in young puppies and older dogs. Sometimes the murmur will not show up until the dog reaches enough physical size for the constriction to become evident.

This murmur must be distinguished from other types of murmurs, often so-called innocent flow murmurs that disappear as the puppy grows. There is no practical surgical treatment, and if the condition results in arrhythmias, antiarrhythmic therapy is usually instituted. Mild forms of the anomaly may go undetected and are not incompatible with a normal life span.

Cardiomyopathy
Cardiomyopathy is an electrical-conduction disturbance (sometimes referred to as ARVC — Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy), an adult onset disease of the heart muscle itself causing abnormal electrical impulses to disrupt the heart’s normal rhythm. This arrhythmia may lead to sudden death or heart failure. Symptoms include weakness and/or collapse. Arrhythmias can be brought on by certain poisons, infections (notably parvovirus), severe uremia, diabetes, and heatstroke. However, in the Boxer they are most often hereditary in nature. A simple blood test is available to determine whether or not your dog is carrying the genes that may make him most susceptible to this disease. A 24 hour Holter monitor, recording the heart’s activity for this period of time, may be needed to diagnose potentially life threatening arrhythmias. It is advised to begin Holters in the young adult and repeat annually thereafter.

CANCERS
Boxers are at risk for a variety of cancers. These include malignant skin lesions as well as cancers affecting the brain, thyroid, mammary glands, testes, heart, spleen, blood, lymph system (lymphoma), and other organs. Benign skin tumors usually respond to simple surgical excision under local anesthesia.

Malignancies require treatment specific to the cancer itself, and vary widely. As in humans with cancers, dogs are treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and sometimes radiation. Great advancements have been made in treatment protocols and survival times, but there is no way to predict whether your Boxer will develop cancer in his lifetime. It is prudent to be alert to any unusual growths or medical developments, especially as your Boxer ages. Consult with your veterinarian immediately if you notice anything suspicious. Early detection is important to long term survival.

DEGENERATIVE MYELOPATHY
Of recent years, incidences of Degenerative Myelopathy have been widely reported in Boxers of middle and advanced age. DM is a neurological disease affecting the spinal cord and nerves coordinating the rear quarters. Over time, dogs lose the ability to walk, become incontinent, and are most often euthanized at this point. DM is a sad disease in that the patient remains mentally alert; there is no pain; and yet, keeping such an animal happy poses special challenges. There are custom carts designed to allow some patients to regain a degree of mobility. Thankfully, a blood test has been developed to predict the likelihood of your Boxer developing this condition. Breeders are making every effort to insure that future generations are not affected.

HIP DYSPLASIA
Hip Dysplasia is a developmental disease of the hip joint that affects many breeds of dogs. The head of the femur (thigh bone) and the acetabulum (hip socket) become incompatible; the joint weakens and loses proper function. Reluctance to engage in strenuous physical activity, lameness and pain are all possible signs of dysplasia, usually manifested between the ages of 4 months to 1 year.

X-rays are definitively diagnostic and will show evidence of abnormal joint laxity. Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms of pain and includes drug therapy and/or surgery. Hip dysplasia is thought to be hereditary, but other factors such as diet and conditioning cannot be ruled out. Dogs older than 2 years can have their x-rays evaluated and may be registered free of the disease by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) in Columbia, Missouri (www.offa.org).

THYROID DEFICIENCY
This condition may be caused by an auto immune condition or tumors, among other causes. The deficient thyroid may have an effect on many organ systems, including the heart. Symptoms may include excessive hair thinning, obesity, anemia, infertility, and lethargy. Diagnosis is confirmed by a complete thyroid panel blood test. Oral doses of thyroid hormones will alleviate most symptoms and will probably need to be given for the duration of the dog’s life. Luckily, thyroid therapy is relatively inexpensive and effective.

Remember, many Boxers can and do live long and healthy lives. Nonetheless, it is important for owners to be alert to ills that may befall their beloved pets, so as to institute treatment as soon as possible and/or wise. Your veterinarian is your best ally, and it is important to choose a practitioner that has a good knowledge of any breed-specific ailments that may be encountered.

2023-10-11T08:38:44-04:00
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