As you plan how much and how often to feed your Saint Bernard, you need to ensure that your dog is given just the right values so that it benefits from complete and balanced nutrition brought about by proper feeding practices.
Further, one should also consider that a lot of factors come into play when thinking about a giant St. Bernard’s diet, such as age, size, level of activity, and even health status.
This article should guide you as you prepare to be an expert in feeding Saint Bernard puppies and adults.
Let’s discuss feeding aspects such as quantity, frequency, schedule, and foods to avoid giving your St. Bernard.
Saint Bernard Feeding Chart by Age: How Much to Feed Your Saint Bernard?
The amount of food to feed your Saint Bernard mostly depends on its age. A St. Bernard puppy needs to be given about 1 ½ to 7 ½ cups of dry dog food. Meanwhile, an adult St. Bernard should be given about 6 ½ to 8 cups, while a senior may be fed 6 to 6 ½ cups of kibbles daily.
Giant breed feeding is quite tricky since it needs a lot of monitoring and coordination with the veterinarian. Knowing how much food to give and at what nutrient ratio is very critical to their well-being.
Further, each St. Bernard also has its own dietary needs, which may be affected by health, lifestyle, weight, and metabolism.
It is better to partner with your vet to come up with the best way to feed your St. Bernard.
The feeding charts below for Saint Bernard puppies, adults, and seniors may be used as a general guideline on how much food to give this giant dog breed. However, adjustments may be made to fit your own dog’s needs.
Saint Bernard Puppy Feeding Chart (2 to 12 months)
Like other giant breed dogs, St. Bernard puppies need much more food than other puppies their age.
However, they also get their early nutrition by drinking their mother’s milk, which acts as their early protection from diseases.
As your Saint Bernard puppy reaches its first month, the weaning process can start. This is the period where the St. Bernard puppy slowly transitions from its mother’s milk to semi-solid puppy food.
Weaning may be done through the free feeding method, where the St. Bernard puppy has easy access to the best puppy food and its mother’s milk.
This may be done until it is completely transitioned to large-breed puppy food.
The St. Bernard puppy stage is also characterized by rapid growth. One of the mistakes of Saint Bernard owners and other giant breed owners is that they give their dogs too much food to feed to support their growth.
However, overfeeding a Saint Bernard puppy will not convert excess calories into fats. Doing this may cause them to grow faster than their skeleton can handle due to a protein and calcium imbalance.
Hence, while feeding your Saint Bernard puppy, monitor how much food it consumes.
Also, never give your Saint Bernard too much protein or more than 25% of high-protein food, and stop with the puppy dietary supplements.
However, while your St. Bernard puppy is still in its growing stage, it is also best to give it puppy food rich in DHA, which is an essential fatty acid that is good for brain and eye development.
The table below gives detailed information on how much should a Saint Bernard puppy eat:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity |
|2 – 3 months||1.5 – 4||525 – 1400||18 – 22%||8%|
|4 – 5 months||5 – 6.5||1750 – 2275||18 – 22%||8%|
|6 – 8 months||5.6 – 6.6||1960 – 2310||18 – 22%||8%|
|9 – 12 months||7 – 7.7||2450 – 2695||18 – 22%||8%|
The figures above are inclusive of whether you have a male puppy or a female puppy.
However, expect your female Saint Bernard puppy to mature faster than the male, especially when given high-quality large-breed puppy food.
Aside from these cups of dog food, you need to consider as well how much should your Saint Bernard puppy drink.
Giving your dog a steady supply of fresh water the entire day should aid in their daily bodily functions.
Adult Saint Bernard Feeding Chart (1 to 5 years)
A 12 to 18-month-old Saint Bernard puppy is almost near its adult size and should already be transitioned into high-quality adult food.
However, it would still take up to 2 years for a St. Bernard to reach its full size.
Though an old Saint Bernard puppy that is almost an adult dog has a slower growth curve, it should still be given enough food and the right amount of calcium and phosphorus to support its bone growth as it reaches adulthood.
Here’s a feeding chart showing how much solid food to feed an adult St. Bernard:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity |
|1 – 5 years||6.7 – 7.9||2010 – 2370||10%||5.5%|
Supporting your mature Saint Bernard with the best adult food should help it achieve its optimal body weight.
As it reaches its fullest size, continue providing the right diet to maintain the overall well-being of your St. Bernard.
Senior Saint Bernard Feeding Chart (6 years and above)
A giant St. Bernard reaches its senior years at a much earlier stage compared to other breeds due to its much shorter lifespan.
At this stage, your St. Bernard also becomes less active and has slower metabolism.
Hence, giving your senior St. Bernard natural dog food that is specifically made for senior dogs would be the best option for its diet.
Since your dog’s appetite may also not be as strong compared to a St. Bernard puppy, your dog’s food should be palatable enough and should have smaller kibbles to make it easier for them to ingest.
Below is a guide on how much food to feed a senior Saint Bernard:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity |
|6 years and above||6 – 6.5||1800 – 1950||10%||5.5%|
Further, do not let your St. Bernard eat too much sugar to protect your dog’s dental health.
Keeping all these reminders on senior adult diet in mind is beneficial towards keeping your Saint Bernard healthy in its prime years.
Saint Bernard Feeding Frequency: How Often Should You Feed Your Saint Bernard?
A St. Bernard puppy may be given three to four meals daily, depending on your puppy’s age. As an adult, you can reduce this feeding frequency to just two or three meals a day, while it is okay to give your senior St. Bernard just one meal daily.
St. Bernards eat quite a lot, so not properly dividing their meals could also lead to issues like bloating or upset stomach.
Knowing how often to feed a St. Bernard should also help you manage your dog’s healthy weight from being a Saint Bernard puppy all the way to its adulthood and senior years.
Here’s a summary of the feeding frequency recommended for a St. Bernard puppy, adult, and senior:
|2 – 4 months||Four times a day|
|5 – 12 months||Three times a day|
|1 – 5 years||Two times a day|
|6 years and above||Once a day|
Further, it is okay to free-feed a St. Bernard puppy, but this should be monitored closely to ensure that your puppy’s weight does not go beyond normal.
Further, treats may be given as part of training your St. Bernard puppy but should be used sparingly as this usually causes male and female dogs to be overweight.
Optimal Feeding Times for Saint Bernards
It is ideal for feeding your Saint Bernard puppy 4 meals at 4-hour intervals across the day. This may be reduced to 6-hour intervals for an older puppy. Meanwhile, an adult St. Bernard may be fed once in the morning and the evening, while a senior may be fed once in the morning or the evening.
Establishing a regular feeding schedule is effective in instilling discipline and in maintaining the ideal puppy weights of your St. Bernards.
This should also prevent them from being picky with their food by making them always excited for the next meal time.
Here is a suggested schedule on when to feed a St. Bernard for all its life stages:
|Age||Optimal Feeding Times|
|2 – 4 months||7:00 a.m., 11:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m.|
|5 – 12 months||7:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m.|
|1 – 5 years old||7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.,|
|6 years and above||7:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m.|
These times are merely guidelines that you may follow. You may adjust these accordingly based on your schedule, so long as you are consistent with the intervals.
Best Dog Foods for Saint Bernards
Providing the best canine nutrition for your St. Bernard means figuring out the right dog food to give them the proper nutritional balance to keep them healthy.
In fact, dog food is one of the recurring costs in owning a Saint Bernard, so researching the most cost-effective dog food without sacrificing the quality of nutrients it provides would be best for your pet.
Here are some of the best food choices to feed a St. Bernard:
- Dry Food or Kibble: Dry commercial dog food is a popular and practical choice for many dog owners due to its convenience. Most of these are made with high-quality ingredients that are formulated to provide the right type of nutrition based on the different life stages, and they come in different flavors as well.
- Wet Food: Canned food or wet food is a good option for picky eaters and senior dogs due to its palatability and aroma. It is also a good option since it adds moisture to your dog’s diet.
- Biologically Appropriate Raw Food Diet (BARF): Raw diet or BARF is usually composed of raw meat, bones, eggs, fruits and vegetables, and other natural ingredients. Many dogs love raw diets since it emulates their feeding origin in the wild. However, it is best to consult your vet first since raw food may also contain parasites if not well-prepared.
- Homemade Diet: A homemade diet is a nutritious and cheap way to feed a St. Bernard, but only if you have time. You would also need to check with your vet to ensure that all the right components are included in your preparation to avoid missing out on critical nutrients.
Meanwhile, here is an easy homemade recipe you can follow for your Saint Bernard puppy:
Further, in your St. Bernard’s lifetime, you may want to try cycling through regular dog food or commercial food, canned food, home-cooked meal, and raw food.
This way, you can see what diet your dog prefers the most.
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Saint Bernard
The giant appetite of St. Bernards would mean that they will consistently look and beg for food. They might even try to eat anything, especially those they find appealing to put inside their mouths.
In this case, it would be wise to be aware of what food to avoid giving them that may be toxic or harmful.
Some of these may even be normal ingredients on your kitchen table, so it is best to keep these items out of reach.
Here are the different foods you should avoid giving your St. Bernard:
- Chocolate: Chocolates may be delightful for humans, but they contain theobromine, which can cause abnormal heartbeats and seizures in dogs that may eventually lead to death.
- Onions and Garlic: Due to their n-propyl disulfide component, onions and garlic may cause lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and hypersalivation in your pet.
- Coffee: Coffee contains caffeine, which may be okay for humans, but is highly toxic for dogs. Caffeine may cause heart problems, high blood pressure, and stomach upset in dogs.
- Barley, Wheat, and Cornstarch: As large breeds, St. Bernards are highly prone to hip dysplasia. Hence, it is best for this breed to avoid these ingredients since they may cause inflammation.
- Candies and Gums: Candies and gums contain a synthetic sweetener called xylitol, which can lead to hypoglycemia and seizures in dogs. This can also be found in other desserts, such as ice cream and peanut butter.
If you feel that your Saint Bernard has ingested any of these foods, observe them closely and bring them to the veterinarian immediately as you see signs of food toxicity.
How to Transition Your Saint Bernard to a New Food
As your Saint Bernard undergoes its different life stages, it is also essential to have changes in its diet, especially for a 12-month-old Saint Bernard transitioning into adulthood.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends giving a transition period of about five to seven days before switching a dog’s diet to avoid stomach issues.
Here’s a summary of how to transition your Saint Bernard’s food to a new diet:
|Day||Old Food||New Food|
|1 – 2||75%||25%|
|3 – 4||50%||50%|
|5 – 6||25%||75%|
If your Saint Bernard has a sensitive stomach, food allergies, or any known gastrointestinal disease, the AKC also suggests a longer transition period while closely monitoring your dog’s reaction.
Feeding an Overweight Saint Bernard
Saint Bernards are prone to being overweight, given their huge appetites. Hence, if their food portions are not carefully monitored and there is no discipline in terms of feeding schedules, they may become obese.
Further, neutered dogs are also more prone to gaining weight since they roam less and get less exercise.
If you have an overweight or obese Saint Bernard, it is best to take action to bring them back to their ideal weight.
With the help of your veterinarian, come up with a good diet reduction plan for your Saint Bernard that is not too abrupt to avoid causing any issues in your dog’s stomach or sudden drops in your dog’s energy levels.
You may also need to switch to lower-calorie dog food while monitoring the portions accurately when feeding.
Moreover, ensure that their diet still contains the right nutritional balance so they will not feel weak.
Further, use natural dog treats to reward your dog during training, such as small portions of fruit and vegetables that are not just healthy but have lower calories as well.
Regular exercise is also necessary for your Saint Bernard to lose excess weight. Try to keep providing physical activities for your dog that are fun and entertaining.
Losing weight may take time for your dogs, but with hard work and consistency, it can be achieved sooner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is My Saint Bernard Not Eating?
Your St. Bernard may refuse to eat if you have just acquired it and it is still getting used to its new environment.
Further, it may also not eat if there is any sudden change in its normal lifestyle or if it is stressed for any reason.
Changing your dog’s diet or mixing different types of dog food can help bring its appetite back.
However, if this behavior is accompanied by other conditions, such as lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea, it is best to bring your dog to the vet immediately.
Do Saint Bernards Eat a Lot?
Saint Bernard is a huge dog breed, and along with this size comes a giant appetite. If it is allowed to feed freely, expect that it will be unstoppable.
Hence, to prevent your Saint Bernard from being overweight or obese, it is necessary to give them the right amount of dog food at the proper frequency.
Can Saint Bernards Eat Bones?
Saint Bernards can eat bones, but make sure that they are raw. Cooked bones, especially smaller ones, can splinter and damage your dog’s mouth and digestive system.
These dogs can also be given large raw bones. They may not be able to ingest them, but gnawing on large bones has a lot of benefits for your dog’s teeth and gums.
Can Saint Bernards Be Vegetarians?
Since dogs are omnivores by nature, Saint Bernards may be able to survive on a vegetarian diet.
However, given the size and calorie requirement of the Saint Bernard, this type of diet may be impractical and expensive.
Saint Bernards would still need their meat sources which can easily give them their daily calorie, protein, and fat requirements.
Feeding a Saint Bernard is like watching a bear eat. It is amusing and fulfilling to watch. However, it comes with a lot of responsibility and discipline.
Understanding how much, how often, and what times to feed your Saint Bernard is just a start.
You must also take into account the dog food that gives the right nutritional balance and your dog’s preferences as well.
We hope that this guide has given you the confidence you need to feed your Saint Bernard comfortably. Please share your Saint Bernard feeding experience with us in the comments below.
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.