Skin Conditions in Boxer Dogs

By Jen Davis

As the owner of a boxer, it is your job to understand the potential skin problems your dog is prone to suffering from so you can recognize the symptoms if an issue surfaces. Some skin problems require veterinary treatment, so get your dog to the veterinarian if you notice signs of a skin problem.

Tumors and Cancer

Boxers are prone to an assortment of tumor types, both internal tumors and those that appear on the skin. Boxer owners especially need to watch for histiocytomas. Histiocytomas are benign skin tumors that occur predominantly in young dogs -- more than 50 percent of histiocytoma cases occur in boxers under 2 years old. Gender does not appear to play a role in the condition.

Histiocytomas are round and firm; they often appear to be slightly raised from the skin. These tumors can be surgically removed but they may also disappear on their own.

Boxers, especially white boxers, face relatively high risk of mast cell tumors and other types of skin cancers.

Demodectic Mange

Demodectic mange, also known as red mange, affect all types of dog breeds but boxers are among breeds that are predisposed to it. Demodex often passes from mother to puppies. In dogs with hereditary demodex, the immune system is unable to combat the mites, so they will show symptoms of the infestation.

Demodectic mange causes hair loss, bald spots, scabbing and visible sores. Bacterial infections can occur on the damaged skin as well. Demodectic mange will be diagnosed via skin scraping by your veterinarian and then treated. Treatments usually involve dips, injections and oral medications.

Dogs can acquire sarcoptic mange, as well, but boxers are not predisposed to acquire it like they are demodex.

Allergic Reactions

Allergies are a common problem for boxers. Some allergic reactions may present themselves as a skin rash. Almost anything in the environment can cause an allergic reaction, including bedding, pollen, flea bites and food ingredients. If your dog breaks out in hives, bumps or any other type of visible skin rash, you need to take him to the veterinarian immediately for formal diagnosis. Your veterinarian can perform allergy testing on your dog to determine what has caused the allergic reaction and help you avoid any further incidents.

Seasonal Alopecia

Seasonal alopecia, also known as cyclic follicular dysplasia, is another skin problem that can cause a boxer to lose hair on his flanks, back, nose, ears and even the base of his tail. The skin may also appear darker where the hair has been lost. The good news is that the hair loss is not permanent. Seasonal alopecia tends to start in the early spring or late fall and last for approximately six months before the hair grows back in.

While some dogs have only a single bout with alopecia, others suffer from the condition year after year. Treat seasonal alopecia using medicated shampoos and vitamin supplements; more severe cases may require additional prescriptions from your veterinarian.

Boxer Skin Problems

Boxers have sensitive skin, and the way you groom them can play a part in whether or not their skin and hair are in good condition. Washing your boxer too often can cause dry skin, even with high quality shampoos. It is generally recommended that you use a shampoo designed especially for dogs with sensitive skin on your boxer, preferably one that is oatmeal-based.