Commonly known in popular culture as everyone’s emergency paramedic amid a snowy ground, the St. Bernard dog has always been the kind of dog breed that dwells along the Alps and can withstand the cold winds surrounding there. St. Bernard is best known for being a strong yet gentle worker for many years.
So, with that in mind, how can you raise a healthy St. Bernard from puppyhood? In this article, we’ll guide you on how much to feed your puppy. St. Bernard is a giant breed so you’ll need to consider certain factors into play depending on how much activity they will get and the like.
To give you more ideas on how to feed this breed, which belongs to the muscular dog group, this loving indoor companion is very close to the family. Therefore, if you take your time into giving them the right kind of food, not only will they grow healthy and strong, but they’ll also become very devoted.
Without further ado, let’s get to know what’s behind the St. Bernard puppy diet so you can raise them properly and healthily for the future.
- How much to feed a St. Bernard puppy?
- Feeding Schedule
- Growth Chart
- FAQs on Feeding a St. Bernard Puppy
How much to feed a St. Bernard puppy?
A St. Bernard puppy should be fed 3 times a day and only within 10 minutes, as dictated by the AAFCO (American Animal Feed Control Officials).
The 3 daily meals can vary depending on their age and weight – it can be lessened to 2 times a day if they aren’t doing a lot of physical activity. Aside from that, the number of cups per food serving will vary between 4 and 8, which is also depending on various factors.
Like most puppies, the St. Bernard dog should be fed with strict schedules to avoid overfeeding. Despite the many dog foods out there that have the “large breed” label, we think that the best way is to go with giant breed-specific formulas.
Unlike the typical large breeds, the St. Bernard breed belongs to the group of dogs that grow very fast during their puberty stages. This means that if they take in a lot of protein in one go, their bones will develop too fast, eventually leading to dysplasia and various kinds of joint problems. That stems from their body weight being too difficult to support.
That’s why most veterinarians want to go for a well-balanced formula (often vet-advised) so that your St. Bernard won’t get too much protein or calcium. A minimum of 25% protein is best for your St. Bernard puppy when they grow into their spurt stages. This will ensure a less stressful growth period.
To help you know how much to feed your St. Bernard depending on their stage of life, here’s a feeding schedule that you can follow:
Birth to 3 weeks old
During this time, the St. Bernard puppies are being nursed by their mother so it’s not time for them to be weaned yet.
4 to 12 weeks old
By the 4th week, the St. Bernard puppies can be weaned slowly. This means that you will transition them to solid food by providing portions of it and mixed with clean water. This will help them to slowly let go of the mother’s milk. Weaning should be a free feeding process so make sure they have easy access to the food.
Weaning is not the same for every puppy so take all of the time that you need. A puppy can remain with its mother for about 8 weeks of age. However, for best results, we recommend keeping the mother and the puppies for at least 12 weeks together.
The mother will also eventually let go of her little ones and she will help with the weaning process. She will lessen her likelihood of nursing the litter so that the puppies could be more encouraged to eating solid food, eventually.
2 to 4 months old
The age of 2 months old is the best age to put your St. Bernard puppy for adoption (much like with most baby pets). This is the time when you need to start a strict schedule for them. The daily intake for your puppies should be divided into 4 meals a day, all portioned equally.
If you got the puppies from a breeder or someone else, you’ll need to know whether or not the puppies are prematurely weaned or not. You can also ask which food brand or type they used so that you’ll know what to feed the puppies. In case you do need to switch foods, you should do it slowly to avoid digestive upsets.
4 to 6 months old
A St. Bernard puppy should be given at least 3 meals a day during these months. Keep in mind that they should still have decent amounts of exercise to balance their weight.
6 months to 2 years old
By this time, you can reduce the servings to 2 meals a day or as advised by your vet. A St. Bernard should be fed with the appropriate food, aside from the right amount, so that they’ll have a healthy weight overall.
Knowing the growth chart of any dog breed is important so that you’ll know whether your puppy is underweight or overweight. To help you figure out the ideal weight and the best diet plan for your St. Bernard puppy, here’s our growth chart to guide you:
|Week-old St. Bernard puppies|
|Male puppy||15 lbs.||29 lbs.||33 lbs.||36 lbs.||40 lbs.|
|Female puppy||13 lbs.||24 lbs.||28 lbs.||32 lbs.||36 lbs.|
|Month-old St. Bernard puppies|
|Age (Months)||Male puppy||Female puppy|
|3||45 lbs.||39 lbs.|
|4||60 lbs.||50 lbs.|
|5||80 lbs.||55 lbs.|
|6||100 lbs.||60 lbs.|
|7||125 lbs.||80 lbs.|
|8||140 lbs.||100 lbs.|
|9||155 lbs.||110 lbs.|
|10||165 lbs.||112 lbs.|
|11||170 lbs.||115 lbs.|
|12||175 lbs.||120 lbs.|
|13||180 lbs.||122 lbs.|
|14||185 lbs.||125 lbs.|
|15||186 lbs.||125 lbs.|
|16||189 lbs.||126 lbs.|
|17||190 lbs.||127 lbs.|
|18||192 lbs.||127 lbs.|
|Year-old St. Bernard puppies|
|Male puppy||205 lbs.||210 lbs.||215 to 225 lbs.||220 to 230 lbs.||220 to 235 lbs.|
|Female puppy||135 lbs.||140 lbs.||155 to 180 lbs.||160 to 190 lbs.||170 to 200 lbs.|
FAQs on Feeding a St. Bernard Puppy
Here are the most commonly asked questions regarding feeding a St. Bernard puppy:
What kind of food is best for St. Bernard puppies?
Many food choices are available for St. Bernard puppies, each with its pros and cons. Here are some common selections depending on your needs and preferences:
1. Dry kibble
Kibble is the fastest-selling type of dog food out there. Usually ideal for people who have busy lives and often, kibble is the best choice for you if your puppy has dental problems. Whether you go to the grocery store or look for options online, there’s easily something that is for your St. Bernard puppy.
However, keep in mind that you have to consider quality kibble to not disrupt your puppy’s digestive system or add to their weight gain negatively. Look for brands that don’t have a lot of fillers and carbohydrates. Most pet owners will tell you to get directly from the vet or look for organic options online instead of just grabbing something from the grocery store, which is usually stocked with items that have fillers.
2. Wet food
Also known as canned food, a St. Bernard can also be fed with such wet food, which usually has more protein and less processing. This means that your puppy won’t be getting a lot of fillers with every serving. The few concerns of canned food include faster expiration dates and that they are slightly pricier.
It’s also worth noting that if you do feed a St. Bernard puppy mostly wet food, especially for picky eaters who don’t like dry food, they might lack dental health. This is why most pet owners combine both dry and wet food by placing kibble on top of the served canned food. You can also toss in a few meaty bones onto the canned food for extra teeth strengthening.
3. BARF (Biologically-Appropriate Raw Foods)
If you want to feed your St. Bernard puppy raw food, you have to consider looking for well-balanced meal preparation. If you haven’t fed any dog or pet raw food before, it’s best to consult a vet for advice or from a breeder. A raw diet that lacks phosphorus, calcium, and various other important nutrients isn’t a good diet for your pet.
You also have to be prepared with your budget when you’re planning to go raw for your dog. Going on daily or weekly trips to the market is a must and you also have to get your food sources from quality suppliers for your puppy.
However, when planned properly, a BARF diet is a great choice for a St. Bernard dog because you’re assured that you aren’t feeding your dog with any inappropriate fillers or chemicals (such as preservatives). Aside from that, the raw bones and meat will keep their dental health in check.
Aside from that, salmonella infection is also likely to happen if you mishandle your meat products. After all, raw meat is prone to bacteria and the like if not completely frozen, so be sure to know all of the safety measures when handling raw food to feed your pet.
3. Homemade (cooked) meals
If you want to stay away from preservatives but also want to give your puppy quality food without the hassle and worry for salmonella infections, stick to a homemade diet instead. It’s also a little costly but in the long run, you’ll find it more convenient if you aren’t that knowledgeable about raw diets.
As mentioned above, you can also mix homemade meals with your other food types, such as meaty bones with your canned food. Try and experiment to see which type of food mix works for your St. Bernard puppy.
What nutrients should I look for in a St. Bernard puppy food?
To keep your St. Bernard puppy’s health in check, here are the key nutrients that you should find in any dog food or formula that you want to buy or prepare for them:
1. Glucosamine and Chondroitin
St. Bernard puppies grow fast, by which their bone and joint health become of great importance. Once they have a heavier mass, they’ll need stronger bones to handle all of the weight, which is why glucosamine and chondroitin come in handy. Look for foods that have these nutrients and your dog won’t be too susceptible to dysplasia and various joint and bone problems.
2. Calcium and phosphorus
Along with glucosamine and chondroitin, both calcium and phosphorus are great additions to improving your puppy’s bone health. Calcium is usually found in dairy products but if your St. Bernard’s tummy isn’t very accepting of such, you can ask your vet for alternative foods that are rich in calcium and phosphorus, such as dark-green veggies, salmon, and various plant-based foods.
3. Linoleic acid
This essential fatty acid will help manage their weight while also managing their protein so that it’s balanced. Linoleic acid is found in most chicken and beef products. You can also find them in eggs and seeds, provided that your puppy doesn’t have an allergy history to such ingredients.
My St. Bernard puppy won’t eat. What should I do?
If your puppy won’t eat, you can try the following:
- Mix different food types. They might prefer food that has more taste on it, which wet food usually has. Try combining wet and dry food so that it balances dental health and good taste.
- Use food toys. You can buy your puppy a puzzle toy where you can put the food there so they have to work hard and also literally “play” with their food (in a positive way).
- Look for signs and call a vet. If your puppy hasn’t eaten for a meal or two, and especially if they have signs of discomfort, such as vomiting and nausea, you should already contact your vet.