St. Bernard Pups MUST have Plenty of Exercise!
Also they need particular Diets at particular ages, or stages of growth and Developement!
Different Bloodlines or combinations of Bloodlines require different Diets and amounts of exercise, due to the outstanding differences in their Bone Structures.
Vets are not trained in each individual Breed and each one of it's critical growth stress stages. Or if they were they would have to constantly get on new owners of St. Bernard pups, who tend to allow their pups to be too FAT, while going through these growth stress stages, where there are Massive Structural Changes, going on all the time.
It is very important for any new owners of a St. Bernard puppy, to follow the Instructions of their Breeder, IF, of course they have gotten their new puppy from an experienced Breeder who does in fact know and understand the importance of their particular puppies being fed what they say. Through experience with particular bloodlines and this particular breed any truly Experienced Breeder should be able to tell you exactly what you should feed your new puppy. Of course adjustments must be made for every life style, no breeder can guarantee your care or environment of any puppy. But, you should trust your experienced breeder to know more about the feeding and exercise needed for your new St. Bernard puppy over the words of some vet who has probably never raised any St. Bernard puppy.
Vets are there to fix a problem after there is one but the truth of the matter is that there shouldn't ever have to be a problem if your puppy was born structurally sound you must be able to maintain it with good muscle tone especially through out those critical growth stress stages, otherwise there will be massive changes in the pups structure.
Certain genetic bone structures can not possibly develop good muscle tone due to them being totally incorrect to begin with, and for those particular pups some breeders may even tell you not to allow much exercise for the puppy. But, with our pups they are Athletic and require a lot of exercise while growing so rapidly and going through critical growth stress stages. You must keep the balance of good muscle tone there at all time.
No, St. Bernard puppy needs to grow too fast, we slow down the growth of our pups by giving less Protein and Fat content in the food once they have turned 3-4 months of age. At those ages you do not want to feed more than 21 % Protein and no more than 8-10 % Fat.
A puppy raised in a Pet environment that may not be getting that much exercise, naturally doesn't need a lot of Protein and Fat due to the amount of food these large breed puppies eat.
The supplements that we do use when our pups are very young is listed below. As per body weight at the time.
Kelp, (or another good source of DiCalcium Phosphate)
Cod Liver Oil
Wheat Germ Oil
Goats Milk is also very good for young pups.
We give all of this in our morning feeding then as the puppy gets older you want to cut out all these supplements.
Now, these are the things that are great for OUR pups who are mostly European Bloodlines and do have particular bone structures that will enable them to develope good strong muscle tone.
Genetically if your puppy does not have good Bone structure to begin with then it is impossible for it to develope good muscle tone no matter what you were to do.
Naturally Large Breed puppies need to have good Bone structure to develope strong muscle tone to later on be able to carry their weight and size.
Over feeding a young puppy will only ruin it, or allowing it to go for months without proper exercise for what it needs will also ruin it's structure even if it had good bone structure to begin with. This is why it is so critical for each one of it's growth stress stages and these things Vets do not specialize in.
Never ever Free Feed a St. Bernard puppy, measure out what it eats each meal.
If you have any other questions contact us we will be glad to try to help you, change the environment and feeding habits and exercise habits of your new puppy before it's too late.
Here is what we feed our pup's!
Once the puppy is old enough for wet down kibble, we put the supplements we have listed above in their morning feeding, mixed with some Goats Milk. Or a tablespoon of can meat. Just to flavor it as most pups don't care for the supplements.
If the pup is still young enough for the noon feedings, then we give our babies, the wet down kibble again with some Goats milk.
For the evening feeding they get the wet down kibble again ony this time with some fish, and some plain yogart. That usually holds them until breakfast again.
At between 3-5 months you want to cut the Saint puppy back to only two meals a day, now every pup is different some you would want to stop at 3 months and some not until 5 months. This is a critical growth stress stage and the structure of the puppy will change drastically. Due to the amount of food Saint pups usually are eating at this age they should be cut back in the number of feedings, or they will tend to get too heavy, and their bone structure needs to have time to catch up to their weight, or heavy bodies.
At this age they will start changing in appearance all over. Their muzzle will start to get longer, and it will appear that they do not have as big a head as they had before. the skull has grown in length but not width yet, and the muzzle has gotten much longer in comparison. The skull will appear more domed than it use to, and the pup will appear to not have as much stop in the front skull. Don't be concerned it will all come back just like the bone will seem to have disappeared, and the legs will not look to be as big around as they had before. Naturally the body is getting longer and the legs have gone up more. This is all very normal for a growing Saint puppy.
But, at this age is when you will want to make sure your puppy is getting a lot of exercise, too as it is just as important as the food intake. You must allow your pup to develop good strong muscle tone or the pup will not be able to hold up their huge size and weight later on. Good strong bones and muscle is what you are building at this age. Not Fat. I hate to hear someone telling another person about how heavy his new puppy is. Never brag that you have the heaviest Saint puppy in the World because that is nothing to brag about, that simply means you are going to have a very cripple dog later on. Brag about having the most mucular puppy of his breed at that age, brag about strong bones and muscle and yet still a beautiful effortless gait. Things like that, and not how Fat or heavy your Saint puppy is. In fact a really good quality Saint at those ages should be starting through what is called the grow ups or ganglies. Where nothing about the pup is in balance every part doesn't belong to him and many times we call this Legs where are you going with that body. HA!
So remember this is the starting of the massive changing your pup is going to go through he or she will not be that cute little fur ball any more.
Now once. you have started your puppy on the twice a day diet, you will increase the amount of cups of dry kibble twice a day but again never Free feed a Saint puppy, they are gluttons and do not know when to stop eating. Allow him 5-10 mins. each feeding and make sure he cleans up the entire meal now as far as the amount that too will differ with each puppy, so you will have to kind of judge that for your own individual pup. Also, now you want to stop all the supplements all together, and cut back on the Protein and fat content in the kibble you are feeding. So select a good maintanance Dog food. Now this you should use with your growing pup along with some Goats Milk up until about 18 months, then you can stop the twice a day feedings and only feed once a day.
We have found it best to feed our Saints late in the afternoon during the summer months due to hot weather, and they won't be eating and then drinking lots of water all day long with a lot of food on their stomachs. Then during the Winter or colder months we feed our Saint early in the morning. This just seems to work out best we have found.
It is also very important to never allow a puppy to stretch it's belly so much when it is young, because we feel it could cause them problems later on in life. This is why we do not Free feed our Saints.
Always remember to watch how your St. Bernard puppy is growing, never ever keep or allow him to get too fat, and always make sure he is getting enough exercise regularly so he can develop good strong muscle tone and good strong bones, so he can hold his huge size later on in life.
Of course you must start out with a Structurally sound built puppy to begin with and yes, that is genetic, because there are pups that no matter what you fed them or who had them they were born with poor bone structure to begin with. If a puppy does have too heavy a bone, naturally it will be impossible for it to be able to carry that heavy bone, and the heavier the bone naturally the less the conformation, or bone structure will be. By the time the pup is 8 weeks at least and you have gotten it it should be able to have a nice gait already. Saint pups at 8 weeks of age should be able to run not just barely walk like some of them I've seen these days. You can have good size bone without going over board, to the point the pup can barely walk. Naturally the larger the size of the bone the less the chance of developing good strong muscle tone to hold those bones up later on. So it all comes down to Genetics first, make sure you have bought a sound structured puppy then, Exercise, Exercise and more Exercise, and then it's Diet. If all these things are right you will build a good foundation for your new puppy, and he will be able to grow into a sound structure big dog someday, that will not have bone and joint problems all his life. Therefore you will have a very Healthy and very Happy St. Bernard Dog when he is grown. He should end up a Functional Working Dog, and that is what he is supposed to be, and not just some couch potato, who will only walk outside to go potty for you.