The Best Dog Food for Boxer Puppies in 2021

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

The Rundown

Premium Option: Merrick Dry Puppy Food
“The Merrick Dry Puppy Food contains high level of omega fatty acids and optimal levels of protein and fat that’s exactly what your boxer puppy needs. It’s formulated with puppy-specific nutrients to keep your pup healthy and active.”

Best Runner Up: Wellness CORE Dry Puppy Food
“Boost your puppy’s energy with the Wellness CORE Dry Puppy Food which contains high protein and fat. Its added supplements and premium quality ingredients not only aids in digestion but also ensures optimum health.”

Best Value for Money: Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food
“Give your puppy the proper nutrition it needs without spending a fortune. The Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food will give your beloved pet the fiber, vitamins, and minerals it needs for the most affordable price.”

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Choosing the best dog food for Boxer puppies from the very beginning can get your little one off to a good start in life. 

Boxers can be prone to specific health issues, and most of them also suffer from food allergies and intolerances. This means a sensitive stomach that you can’t just feed any old puppy food! 

It may take a little while for your puppy to develop a sensitive stomach, but it’s a good idea to start taking their nutrition seriously from when they’re puppies. 

Here are our favorite dog food choices for your Boxer puppy.

Product Name
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Merrick Grain Free Puppy Chicken Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food (4 lb)
Wellness Natural Pet Food CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Puppy Food, Large Breed Puppy, 24-Pound Bag
Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Puppy, Large Breed Lamb and Rice Formula, 40 Pound Bag
Our Grade
Our Rating 92/100
Our Rating 91/100
Our Rating 90/100
Feature 1
High levels of Omega fatty acids
Good levels of Omegas for skin and coat
Very affordable in comparison to others of similar quality
Feature 2
Good protein and fat levels for Boxer puppies
High in protein and fats for active puppies
Contains fruits and vegetables for fiber, vitamins, and minerals
Premium Option
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Merrick Grain Free Puppy Chicken Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food (4 lb)
Our Grade
Our Rating 92/100
Feature 1
High levels of Omega fatty acids
Feature 2
Good protein and fat levels for Boxer puppies
Custom Button
Best Runner Up
Our Ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Wellness Natural Pet Food CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Puppy Food, Large Breed Puppy, 24-Pound Bag
Our Grade
Our Rating 91/100
Feature 1
Good levels of Omegas for skin and coat
Feature 2
High in protein and fats for active puppies
Custom Button
Best Value for Money
Our Ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Puppy, Large Breed Lamb and Rice Formula, 40 Pound Bag
Our Grade
Our Rating 90/100
Feature 1
Very affordable in comparison to others of similar quality
Feature 2
Contains fruits and vegetables for fiber, vitamins, and minerals
Custom Button
Sources researched
17
Sources researched
Customer reviews
18,231
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
11
Hours spent testing
Products tested
9
Products tested

The Best Dog Food for Boxer Puppies in 2021

1. Merrick Dry Puppy Food

Premium Option: Everything a growing puppy needs in a dog food

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • Chicken or beef flavor, to avoid allergens 
  • Good protein and fat levels for Boxer puppies 
  • Puppy-specific nutrients 
  • High levels of Omega fatty acids

CONS

  • May not be suitable for puppies who are sensitive to potato

Merrick makes high-quality dog foods, and their puppy food offering, Merrick Dry Puppy Food, is no different! It’s grain-free, high protein, and contains everything Boxer puppy food should to give these little goofballs the healthiests start in life. 

Although there are two different recipes so Boxer puppies can avoid problem proteins, there’s potato in both recipes, which some puppies may be sensitive to.

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Great Nutrition for Boxer Puppies 

Both grain-free recipes contain real meat as their first ingredient, and both also have salmon further down their list. This could account for the nice protein level (28%) as well as the Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids (salmon oil contributes here too). 

If your puppy can handle their potato, they’ll find it to be a slow-burning, slow-release carb source, along with sweet potatoes, both of which will see them through their day with energy to spare. DHA and joint supplements are also present.

2. Wellness CORE Dry Puppy Food

Best Runner Up: High in protein and DHA for the best growth

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • High in protein and fats for active puppies 
  • Contains DHA and EPA 
  • Good levels of Omegas for skin and coat 
  • Contains some superfood ingredients

CONS

  • No flavor variation, so it won’t be suitable for puppies sensitive to chicken 
  • No glucosamine

Wellness CORE Dry Puppy Food is our second choice food for puppy Boxers. 

It’s high in protein (35%) and moderate in fat (14%), with a good calcium/phosphorus ratio to help those bones grow strong into a Boxer adult. 
Be aware that if your little one’s tummy doesn’t like chicken, this may not be the dog food for them! You’ll also need to add a separate glucosamine supplement.

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Nutrient-Dense Puppy Food 

This Wellness Core Natural grain-free formula makes a good food for Boxers thanks to its premium quality ingredient list and added supplements. 

The ingredients are of the highest quality, although chicken and potato could be problematic for some puppies. 

But the list is filled out with superfoods like flaxseed, parsley, kale, and blueberries, all of which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

You’ll also find DHA, EPA, Taurine, probiotics and prebiotics for healthy digestion, and good Omegas.

3. Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food

Best Value for Money: Affordable but premium quality puppy food

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • Very affordable in comparison to others of similar quality 
  • Avoids common protein allergens 
  • Contains fruits and vegetables for fiber, vitamins, and minerals 
  • DHA, L-carnitine, and high Omegas

CONS

  • Doesn’t contain glucosamine

Pet parents, this puppy formula is the best we’ve found for its price. It’s right on-par with more expensive Boxer puppy food, and it’s packed with vitamins and minerals to facilitate your high energy little one’s growth and development. 
It’s worth noting that you’ll need to add a glucosamine supplement to your puppy’s daily meals if you choose the Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food.

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Premium Quality At A Low Price 

For just over a dollar per pound, this puppy formula is hard to beat. The ingredient list is a Boxer puppy’s dream, choosing lamb and lamb meal over the common allergens beef and chicken, and followed by an array of fruits and vegetables, all of which are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

There are plenty of additions that cater for puppy Boxer needs. DHA is necessary for the growth and development of those puppy dog eyes and brain tissue. Taurine promotes a healthy heart. Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids improve the quality of the skin and coat, and L-carnitine assists with a healthy metabolism.

4. Nulo Dry Dog Food

Best for Boxer Puppies With Sensitive Stomachs: Highly digestible and easy on the stomach

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • Limited ingredient recipe 
  • Three flavors that avoid chicken, beef, and lamb 
  • GanedenBC30 probiotics added to support digestion 
  • High in protein and fat

CONS

  • No glucosamine in this food

It’s well-known that Boxers suffer from a sensitive stomach. If your little one is already showing signs, then the Boxer puppy food you choose for them should alleviate symptoms. 

The Nulo Dry Dog Food is a single-protein, grain-free dry dog food for Boxers who are still growing up. None of the three flavors contain the most common protein allergens, chicken, beef, or lamb.

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Easy on Sensitive Stomachs 

Choose from Alaskan Pollock, Salmon, or Turkey flavors to give your puppy a good, healthy meal that won’t aggravate their tummy or immune system. 

As well as a great quality ingredient list, you’ll find DHA, a perfect calcium/phosphorus ratio, vitamin E and C, Omega fatty acids, and added  probiotics. 

Sweet potatoes and chickpeas provide long-term energy, although it’s worth noting that some little Boxers may be sensitive to legumes.

5. Acana Singles Dry Dog Food

Best Limited Ingredient: Impressive recipe range

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • Variety of exciting flavors 
  • Raw nutrition for extra vitamins and minerals 
  • Contains everything a growing puppy needs 
  • Supports the immune system

CONS

  • It’s an expensive option, although limited ingredient diets often are

If you’ve decided, or your vet has recommended a limited ingredient diet, the Acana Singles Dry Dog Food is the best limited ingredient food for Boxers we’ve found. It may not specify that it’s a puppy food, but the nutrients are spot-on for the littlies, and nothing is missing from its nutritional profile.

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Impressive Recipe Range 

It can be hard to find a limited ingredient grain-free kibble with flavor options. Acana offers five interesting flavors to keep your puppy happy! 

Each one contains a single source protein that comes in various forms, an array of fruits and vegetables, and all the supplements a bouncy puppy needs. 

1% protein and 17% fat are perfect for a puppy. The calcium/phosphorus ratio is good, and DHA and EPA are present. Omegas, glucosamine, and the addition of probiotics round this Boxer puppy food out quite well.

6. ORIJEN Dry Dog Food

Best High-Protein: Provides plenty of energy and helps build muscle

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • High in protein, moderate fat 
  • Added joint supplements 
  • DHA and EPA for eye and brain health 
  • Raw nutrition for immune system boost

CONS

  • No flavor variations

Puppies need a good dose of protein to build those muscles and help them grow up into a strong large breed dog. The ORIJEN Dry Dog Food is high in protein, at 38%, but keeps a moderate fat count (16%). 

If your puppy is very active, this kind of dry food could be a good thing for them.

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Best for Active Boxers 

The protein and fat counts in this food would be great for active puppies. It has everything they may need to grow up strong: a superb ingredient list, joint supplements, amino acids, minerals and vitamins, and a dash of raw nutrition for a boost to the immune system 

The only downside is that it only comes in one flavor!

7. Blue Buffalo Dry Dog Food

Best Without Glucosamine: For Boxer puppies already taking a joint supplement

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • LifeSource Bits for an extra boost 
  • Two flavors available 
  • Contains healthy fatty acids 
  • Healthy grains for extra fiber

CONS

  • No glucosamine

The best food for Boxers, whether adults or puppies, isn’t always grain-free. Sometimes, grains can help sensitive tummies. The Blue Buffalo Dry Dog Food contains grains, but it wins our top spot for the best food without joint supplements. 

If your puppy is already taking glucosamine, you can buy them a food without it.

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Health-Promoting 

One of the best things about Blue Buffalo is their inclusion of LifeSource Bits in their food. The dry food is sprinkled with cold-formed vitamin, antioxidant, and mineral nuggets. 

For puppies specifically, DHA and ARA are added, the calcium/phosphorus ratio is good, and they have a smaller sized kibble to make it easier for puppies to chew. 

It’s a great food for Boxers who need a bit of an immune boost.

8. Canidae Canned Dog Food

Best Wet Food: Suitable for all life stages

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • For all life stages 
  • Four different flavors 
  • High in moisture 
  • Contains Omegas 

CONS

  • High in calories

Dry food is always first prize, but if your puppy needs extra calories, wet food might be the easiest (and tastiest) way to help. 

The Canidae Canned Dog Food is more protein-rich than most, adds extra moisture to your dog’s diet, and is suitable for large breed dogs of all life stages.

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Good Kibble Topper for Extra Calories 

With 504 calories in a can, you want to ration this carefully when adding to your puppy’s kibble. It contains some good grains that bulk up the fiber count, and the addition of Omega fatty acid helps to keep the skin and coat nourished.

9. Royal Canin Dry Dog Food

Best Breed-Specific: Created just for Boxer puppies

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • Geared for Boxer nutrition 
  • Specially shaped kibble 
  • Decent nutrient levels

CONS

  • Low-quality ingredients that could aggravate a sensitive stomach

We aren’t fans of breed-specific food, but Royal Canin Dry Dog Food is our best breed-specific food for Boxers. The numbers may be right for a food for Boxers, but the quality leaves something to be desired.

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Boxer-Specific Recipe 

If you’re looking for a breed-specific food for Boxer dogs, then this one from Royal Canin is your best bet. We’ll be honest – it’s  the lowest quality food here, thanks to the inclusion of low-quality ingredients like chicken by-product meal and wheat gluten. Royal Canin is a well-known name, though, so it’s up to you whether you choose this as your puppy food or not.


Boxer Puppy Feeding Guide 

Nutrient Content 

Large breed puppies need most of the same nutrients as adults, just in slightly different amounts. The key things to look at here are the protein count, fat count, and added vitamins, minerals, and supplements. 

A Boxer puppy needs between 22 and 30% protein to build their muscles. Dogs use fat as an energy source, so a bouncy puppy needs between 10 and 15% fat. This can be slightly higher if they’re very active, but generally below 20%. 

The calcium/phosphorus ratio is important for puppies. This helps them to grow at the right pace and not end up with brittle bones because they grew too fast. 1:1 up to 1:3 are acceptable ratios. 

Another thing that’s essential for puppies is DHA. This is an amino acid that promotes healthy eye and brain development. You may find it along with EPA, which is another amino acid that serves a similar function. 

Other things you want to see on that dog food label include joint supplements (glucosamine and chondroitin), added vitamins, and Omega fatty acids. 

Average Caloric Requirements 

You can’t just scoop some kibble into your puppy’s bowl and leave it at that. A Boxer puppy needs about 55 calories per pound of body weight per day. 

This is a general guideline. If your Boxer puppy is very energetic, they may need 60 calories per pound every day. On the other paw, if they’re more chilled out, they could get away with 50 per pound per day. 

Once you know how many calories your Boxer puppy needs per day, the next step is to check the calorie count on their puppy food. Based on this, you can calculate how many cups they need each day, and divide that between meals. 

You’ll have to recalculate this quite often – puppies grow fast! At around three months (when puppies should start eating solid food) they’ll weigh between 20 and 25 pounds. By six months old, they should weigh between 40 and 50 pounds, and by a year, they’ll be around 60 to 65 pounds. 

At around 15 months of age, you can begin transitioning your Boxer from puppy food to adult kibble. 

Feeding Schedule 

Between three and six months, your Boxer puppy should be getting four meals a day. This means that once you’ve calculated their daily calorie intake, you’ll need to divide it by four to figure out how much to feed them per meal. 

From six months to about a year, they can move down to three meals a day. Between a year and 15 months you’ll need to use your discretion to figure out if your Boxer puppy needs two or three meals a day. 

By the time they’re considered adults, at 15 months, they should be eating two meals, one in the morning and one in the evening. Keep in mind that these meals will get bigger and bigger as your puppy gets older – they need more calories every day! 

We highly recommend NOT free-feeding your Boxer. They can be prone to weight gain that can place strain on their joints and lead to other health issues. 

AAFCO Seal 

AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) is the association responsible for regulating the quality and processes involved in producing pet food. 

If you see the AAFCO logo on a puppy food, it means the manufacturers have complied with AAFCO guidelines for what makes a healthy, balanced meal for dogs. 

It’s important to note that AAFCO doesn’t test dog foods. However, dog foods that quite obviously don’t comply won’t  carry the AAFCO seal of approval on their products. 

We recommend choosing a puppy food that carries the AAFCO logo. You know it’s healthy and follows the guidelines for healthy products. 

Feeding Based on Weight 

As discussed above, you’ll need to know how much your Boxer puppy weighs in order to make sure you’re feeding him or her the right amount. 

Most puppy foods do some math for you, and include a handy chart of feeding your puppy by weight on the packaging. 

But the best way to tell if your Boxer puppy is getting the right amount of puppy food is to give them a good checking out every now and then. 

If your puppy is looking scrawny or you can see their ribs, they most likely need more calories than they’re getting. 

But if you can’t see their waist and your dog is looking a little more round than they should be, it’s a clear sign that you need to cut down on the calories.

A dog at a healthy weight should have a clearly defined waist and no extra fat or ribs sticking out.


Questions & Answers

What’s the Best Diet for Boxer Puppies? 

The best dog food for Boxers when they’re puppies is a high-quality kibble that’s complete and balanced. 

Foods for Boxers should contain a premium quality protein source as the first ingredient, followed by healthy, wholesome, real food ingredients. Gluten-free grains are acceptable, but some Boxers may not like them. 

A Boxer puppy’s diet should also contain DHA and EPA, glucosamine and chondroitin, probiotics and prebiotics, and Omega fatty acids. Their protein and fat counts should also be observed – between 22 and 30% protein, and between 10 and 15% fat. 

It’s important to note that the best dog foods for YOUR Boxer will depend on them! You’ll need to be mindful of ingredients they may be sensitive to, and avoid those.

When Should I Switch to Adult Boxer Food? 

Generally, between 12 and 15 months is a good time to transition your Boxer puppy to an adult food. If your puppy weighs more than 60 pounds at the age of a year, they should be able to handle adult dry dog food quite well. 

If they’re still a little under that number, you can feed them puppy food for a little longer. They should reach that weight by 15 months. If they’re still a little underweight at that age, it’s a good idea to take them for a checkup at the vet. 

Be aware that you can’t just take the puppy food away today and present your pup with adult dry dog food the next day! You need to transition from one to the other. 

Replace one quarter of the puppy food with the new kibble for a few days. Then up it to half and half for a few days. Then, go for three-quarters new adult food, one-quarter old puppy food. Then, if your Boxer puppy seems to enjoy the new choice, replace it entirely.

Dry vs Wet Boxer Dog Food: Which One is Better? 

Wet food can be a great addition to dry puppy food if your puppy needs extra calories. But feeding your Boxer puppy only wet food isn’t going to cut it. 

It’s easy to see why when you compare the two. The average dry dog food contains more than 20% protein and 10 to 20% fat. A canned food contains less than 10% protein and just 3 or 4% fat. 

But in terms of calories, wet dog food is quite a lot higher than dry dog food. So, if your puppy is only eating wet food, they’re eating twice the calories but only getting half the nutrients.

What Foods are Bad for Boxer Dogs? 

There’s an extensive list of human foods that aren’t good for any dogs, but especially dogs like Boxers who have sensitive stomachs. 

When looking at dog foods for Boxers, you should be avoiding corn, wheat, soy, and other grains containing gluten. Not all Boxers will react badly to them, but it’s best to be safe. 

Animal by-products, low-quality fillers, and any artificial ingredients (colors, flavors, preservatives) can be bad for Boxers.


Conclusion 

The best dog food for Boxer puppies isn’t one-size-fits-all! It depends largely on your puppy, their tastes, and their lifestyle. 

Whichever one you choose, as long as it ticks all the boxes with regard to nutrients, helpful supplements, and healthy, whole foods, your Boxer puppy should thrive on it. 

Keep an eye on your puppy and take note if they seem to be reluctant to eat their kibble or their stomach reacts badly. 

It’s part and parcel of having a dog – you may need to change puppy foods a few times until you find the right thing!