If you are considering adopting a St. Bernard breed dog, you are probably thinking of its food. Being a huge dog, it is important to assess how much a St. Bernard eats, as it is a fixed expense that we should be able to bear.
But it is not only a question of offering him large quantities of food. In this ‘ Pets Feed ‘ article, we will review the characteristics of the St Bernard dog diet at different stages of its life.
Daily amount of food for a St Bernard
The amount of food a St Bernard should eat per day is not a single number, as it will depend on various factors. The first is the food we choose because there are options such as pet food, moist, dehydrated or homemade food.
In all cases, the canine diet must contain animal protein as the first ingredient. In commercial diets, it is preferable that it comes from dehydrated meat, because the percentage indicated will be that which will appear in the final composition. On the contrary, fresh meat is reduced during processing, so there will be about half of what has been declared.
But how much a St Bernard eats will also depend on the animal itself, since the quantity must correspond to its vital circumstances. Thus, as we will see in the following sections, we cannot give the same amount of food to a puppy as to an adult, a pregnant female, an old dog or a sick dog. In addition, you must take into account the daily physical activity that each animal performs, as well as its weight.
Type of food for St Bernard
With all this data, we have to choose the type of menu we will offer and determine the correct daily amount. We can count on the advice of the veterinarian. In dogs of this size, feeding is generally the most used option. Each manufacturer will recommend an amount depending on the weight or activity of the dog. We can take it as a reference, but, if the dog gets bigger or thinner, we will have to adjust it. It is important to find the ideal ration and maintain it to avoid overweight problems.
Of course, even if it is a little more expensive, we recommend that you choose a natural dog food. The reason is that the cheapest commercial food generally lacks nutrients. This means that the dog does not feel full and eats very quickly and without stopping, which would be a problem both for the health of your pet and for your pocket. With a natural diet, your dog will be full less. In addition, you will have a healthier dog with a prettier and shinier coat.
Homemade food for a St Bernard
Homemade food is a more problematic option, but if it’s our choice, we can’t just give it leftovers. Establishing a balanced menu is essential for the health of the St Bernard dog and that is why a veterinarian specializing in nutrition should advise us. In all cases, the amount and type of food will vary throughout the dog’s life.
How much does a St Bernard puppy eat?
The puppy stage is characterized by a rapid growth phase which must therefore be accompanied by a considerable amount of food, which becomes even higher than that consumed by an adult dog. But it is not only a question of quantity, quality is essential for correct and healthy growth.
Puppies begin to be offered solid foods from four weeks of life, combining them with breast milk. After two months, puppies usually arrive in their new home, already eating alone. About up to four hours, the daily ration should be divided and offered in four doses. From four to six, they can be reduced to three and, from this age, to two.
St Bernard puppy food
The diet should be specific to puppies, as this will be the way to ensure that all of their nutritional needs are met. As we mentioned, the first ingredient should be high quality animal protein, along with a moderate amount of fats, glucosamine and chondroitin to take care of the joints and a correct proportion of calcium and phosphorus.
It is recommended to include among the ingredients what is called conjugated linoleic acid, which are essential fatty acids that reduce the percentage of body fat and increase protein levels.
When does a St Bernard stop growing?
Generally, puppy food is provided for the first twelve months of life, but, in the case of a giant breed like the St Bernard, the growth stage lasts up to 18-24 months. Although it is widely believed that puppies of these breeds need calcium supplements to grow properly, the truth is that this mineral must be present in sufficient quantities in the food we choose.
It is not necessary to supplement regularly and only the veterinarian can prescribe this or other supplements. Nor should we give more food than the guideline. These puppies do not accumulate excess calories as fat, but grow faster than their skeleton can bear. This causes bone problems.
How much does an adult St Bernard eat?
The vet, depending on the growth of our St Bernard dog, can tell us when to leave the puppy food and move on to an adult menu. The daily ration can be offered in two doses or just one, depending on the dog’s needs. Keep in mind that specimens of this breed are generally greedy, so offering two meals may make them less impatient to wait for food. In addition, smaller rations prevent gastric torsion in dogs. In all cases, the daily dose should be observed to avoid overweight problems.
Look at the quality of food and the intake of proteins of animal origin remains essential for good nutrition. Energy demand drops by almost half in dogs with average physical activity. Calcium and phosphorus requirements are also reduced and the percentage of fat must continue to be controlled. Ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin are still needed for joint care. For sterilized dogs, there are specially formulated foods in which fat is reduced to prevent obesity. On the other hand, pregnant and lactating famales will need the same food as puppies.
How much does an old St Bernard eat?
At this vital stage, which in this breed of dog can start at seven years of age, it is common for mobility problems to be more frequent due to the heavy weight that supports the skeleton. It is not strange that diseases appear in the joints. Food can help maintain health, once again counting its ingredients with glucosamine and chondroitin. Antioxidants are also important to delay, if possible, the effects of aging, including cognitive dysfunction syndrome.
There are foods specially formulated for this step. In dog food, the size of the kibble is taken into account to promote chewing, which can be hampered by age. The amount of food may need to be reduced if the dog’s daily physical activity decreases. At this time, chronic diseases such as kidney failure may also appear. In this case, the food must be prescribed by the veterinarian and will be specific to sick dogs.