The St. Bernard breed is steeped in rich history. This beautiful, majestic dog is the most famous rescue breed of them all. They are often depicted as these huge, long haired dogs with a small barrel of brandy around their necks.
They are often depicted as heroes that search and rescue people who are buried under the snow. These Alpine super dogs are steeped in legend, but how true is all of it anyway?
St. Bernards are giant breeds of dogs, and at their adult size can be as heavy as 260 lbs, which is heavier than most grown adults. These gentle, calm, and athletic dogs are the most famous of the rescue breeds, and have been bred to withstand the cold temperatures of the Swiss Alps, where they are tasked to find people who are buried underneath the snow.
Here Are A Few Tips on how to Feed Large Breed Puppies:
Like all large and giant breeds, St. Bernards start out small when they are born but grow at an immensely fast rate. This fast growth makes them prone to muscular and skeletal disorders, the most common being hip and elbow dysplasia. They are also prone to a type of bone cancer called osteosarcoma. In order to make sure that your dog remains healthy and avoids these problems, you have to give them high quality food and a lot of exercise.
When it come to healthy food for St. Bernards, the general consensus is that it should contain a limited amount of proteins than most types of puppy food and that it should contain relatively low calories. This is to prevent the St. Bernard from gaining too much body fat, which in turn can cause health problems along the way. Remember, you want your dog to grow slowly, so avoid puppy dog food which is designed to help a puppy grow as fast as possible.
Birth to 3 weeks of age
St. Bernard puppies start out small and tend to weigh just a pound and a half. They will not open their eyes for a couple of weeks, and will be fully reliant on their mother. Make sure that the mother is healthy and that you feed her at the right amount of food, as nursing animals have a tendency to lose weight during this time frame.
Allow the young puppies to nurse every two hours, and make sure that they are not accidentally crushed by the massive mother. During this time, you can supplement feeding them with bottled milk. If you do not have puppy formula at hand, homogenized goat milk mixed with clean, purified water should be enough.
3 to 8 weeks of age
Your puppy will begin opening its eyes at three to four weeks. At this time, they will also begin weaning from their mother, and start getting interested in dog food. At this stage, you should introduce dog food, but make sure that it is made of high quality ingredients.
You can choose a dog food that is specifically designed for large breed puppies, as they promote slow growth and weight control. These dog foods are relatively low in calcium and protein, which speed up the growth process, but still include a lot of vitamins and minerals to ensure that your St. Bernard puppy is getting maximum nutrition.
To start weaning them, mix the dog food in a bowl with clean, filtered water. You should soak it just enough so that it is soft enough for the puppy to swallow. At this point, you can start feeding them thrice a day.
8 weeks to 6 months
Your puppy will gain a tremendous amount of weight during this time period. Expect your puppy to gain anywhere between three to five pounds a week, but if they are gaining more than that, it could mean that you are feeding them too much.
Make sure to talk to the veterinarian and have them checked up regularly, as this is a sensitive time for them and they will be prone to a lot of problems if you are careful. You should never allow your puppy to become overweight.
You can start by feeding your puppy about one cup of food per meal. You can start increasing it to two cups as he grows.
At this stage, you can start feeding your dog large breed dog food. You can start limiting meal times to one to two times a day as needed.