Boxers are known for their adorable and friendly nature. But how long do they live? All dog breeds are unique, and their life expectancy depends on their overall health. It is imperative to know about your dog’s life expectancy so that you can plan as they grow older. On average, large dog breeds have a shorter life expectancy. A Boxer is not a huge breed, but it is prone to various medical issues. The breed often has several health problems, which makes most dog owners concerned.
In this post, we will discuss the average life expectancy of a boxer and some tips to help you extend their lifespan.
Average Life Expectancy of Boxers
On average, the life expectancy of Boxers is nine to 12 years, as stated by the American Kennel Club (AKC). However, quite a few pet owners lose their Boxers before ten years. Also, some boxers have reportedly reached the age of 16 years too.
A boxer is considered a senior if they reach seven to eight years. If your Boxer is a senior, he needs more attention, and you will have to take him to a veterinarian more often for checkups.
While Boxers have a short life expectancy, there is a lot you can do to help them live a better life. As it goes with all dog breeds, the care, and attention that a pet owner provides play a significant role in improving life expectancy.
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Why Do Boxers Have a Short Lifespan?
Boxers have a maximum height of 25 inches at the shoulder, and they weigh around 70 to 80 pounds. Some Boxers even reach 80 pounds when they are fully grown. Their height and weight is the main reason for their short lifespan. The larger the size of a dog breed, the shorter the lifespan, and the large breed size adds more strain on the body parts, especially the heart. Thus, large dogs start having medical issues rapidly, and they age faster than small ones.
Numerous studies have determined the cause of short life expectancy in Boxers. A 2011 study by the University of Georgia evaluated more than 82 dog breeds. They studied 100 dogs from each breed, which made around 70,000 dogs. Following were the leading causes of dogs’ deaths according to the survey:
The study shows that Boxers are the 5th most prone to cancer. In addition, 44.3% of deaths in Boxers are due to cancer. The most common cancers in dogs include lymphoma, bone cancer, mast cell tumors, mammary gland, breast cancer, and soft tissue sarcomas, and Boxers are the most prone to developing mast cell tumors.
∘ Neurological disease
Neurological diseases are also one of the causes of Boxer’s short life expectancy. It includes spinal cord and brain diseases that can lead to seizures, paralysis, degenerative myelopathy, and tumors.
Another leading cause that affects the life expectancy of dogs is trauma. Trauma can result from injuries such as automobile accidents. For small dogs and puppies, being dropped or stepped on can also result in short life expectancy.
Factors that Determine the Lifespan of Boxer
Several factors determine the lifespan of your Boxer. Let us look at these factors and discuss them one by one.
Genetics plays a vital role in determining the lifespan of a Boxer. For this reason, dog owners must look for a reliable breeder when purchasing a dog. A reputable and experienced breeder looks for all the possible diseases that might affect a Boxer. Please ask the breeder about the life expectancy of its parents and siblings.
Since we earlier mentioned that larger dogs have shorter life spans, you already know what to expect. Another significant factor determining a boxer’s lifespan is its size, and a large Boxer’s health and lifespan will be affected faster than a smaller one.
Purebred dogs tend to have a shorter life expectancy because of lowered genetic diversity. For this reason, they have more health issues because if a particular dog breed has an abundance of diseases, it will remain within the breed. Animals born from the mating of closely related parents may cause such problems.
∘ The owner
The pet’s owner can also be a factor for you to evaluate the life expectancy of a Boxer. If your dog’s previous owner does not care much, chances are the dog is also affected. Did they overfeed it? Give it enough exercise? Is it properly trained? Knowing about how the previous owner raised it would be better for you before you decide to purchase or adopt it.
How to Extend a Boxer’s Lifespan?
Owning a dog is not just fun and games; it is a responsibility. Though Boxers have a short life expectancy, there are many things that you can do to extend their life. Following are the things that help your Boxer live longer:
Most people think that boxers are outdoor dogs because of their sizes. Do not keep them outside. This breed can be easily affected by hot or cold weather due to its short hair and nose. Boxers love to be around people, so they prefer to stay close to their owners. These dogs have high energy, so you should let them play and spend their energy.
Nutrition is essential for extending the life expectancy of any living being. While some owners will not give much attention to their dog’s food, these things add up and shorten life expectancy. When it comes to dog food, you should not rely on cheap brands. Dog food labeled as ‘meat’ can have deceased or dead animals’ meat. Apart from that, did you know that corn is mainly used as fillers for pet food and contains a high amount of insect pesticides? You must make sure that the food you feed your dog is free of preservatives or fillers. You can add fresh food like fruits or veggies on top of kibble to improve Boxer’s diet to prevent this. Moreover, you can also prepare a healthy homemade meal for your favorite pup.
Daily exercise and activity are essential for your Boxer’s good health and overall lifespan. A tired and lazy dog is not happy; always take your Boxer to walk with you and make sure it participates in daily activities. However, you must make sure that exercise is age-appropriate because differently aged dogs need different levels of activities. Over-exercising may also put excessive pressure on your Boxer and lead to various medical issues. To keep your dog healthy and fit, you must make sure that he gets a good balance of daily walks along with cardio (once or twice a week). A fun-filled play such as trail running, playing catch, or frisbee daily can help a lot.
∘ Regular visits to the vet
Your Boxer will need to visit a doctor for routine vaccination and overall checkup at least twice a year. If you have any concerns regarding your pup’s health, you must discuss them with the vet. It is essential to note the symptoms and look for any behavior you think is different from usual. If you notice any health-related issues in your Boxer, never hesitate to contact a vet.
∘ Neutering or spaying
According to a study by the University of Georgia, neutered or spayed dogs have a longer life expectancy than intact dogs. The study revealed that dogs’ average age of death was 7.9 years, but for spayed or neutered dogs, it was 9.4 years. If you are planning to spay or neuter your Boxer, you must know the right age for doing so. For large dogs, it is recommended that you spay them when they are fully grown. However, it is up to you to do more research and consult your vet before the procedure.
∘ Healthy weight
Obesity in dogs can result in various diseases and medical issues. Being overweight can also result in a shorter lifespan; therefore, you must keep checking your Boxer’s weight and maintain it according to a healthy BMI.
∘ Oral hygiene
PetMD states that around 80% of dogs have dental problems. Oral hygiene is the most overlooked factor. If you pay attention to your Boxer’s oral hygiene, you can add more years to his life. To care for his dental health, maintain a daily routine for brushing his teeth. In addition, you can take him to a vet for professional cleaning once a year. Neglecting oral hygiene can cause an infection that can spread throughout the body and harm your Boxer’s overall health.
∘ Emotional health
Boxers are playful and intelligent dogs, and they need affection and companionship to be happy and healthy. They do not feel satisfied when left alone, so make sure you never leave them unattended. Moreover, they cannot tolerate extreme weather conditions. Heat can mentally and physically affect these dogs so ensure to keep them cool during the summer months. Boxers are suitable for large families or for someone who needs a paw companion all the time.
A Boxer can prove to be a great addition to your family if you care for him from the start. Though Boxers are prone to various diseases and health issues, you should not consider yourself a helpless dog owner. With proper care and attention and with the help of a professional vet, you can help him live a longer and happier life.