Saint Bernard puppies are cute and fluffy, but come with a huge appetite and a big warning. Gastric dilation and volvulus, or bloat -- where the stomach fills with air -- is a serious health issue for Saint Bernards. Puppies are especially prone to bloat because of their deep, but narrow chests, so take care determining when and how much to feed your puppy.
Feed a Saint Bernard puppy three times a day, in the morning, afternoon and evening. To prevent bloat, do not feed a puppy one hour before or after exercise. Remove any food that the puppy hasn't finished eating after 15 or 20 minutes. Do not leave food sitting out all day or the puppy may gorge itself. Feed a Saint Bernard puppy away from other dogs or puppies so the puppy doesn't eat too fast. Contact a vet immediately if the puppy exhibits signs of bloat -- drooling excessively and retching without vomiting -- within an hour of eating.
How Much Food
Feed Saint Bernard puppies 2 cups of food divided into three servings each day. As it grows, the puppy will eventually eat 4 cups of food a day. Puppies can eat half dry food and half canned food. Dry food swells up in the stomach, so avoid using only dry food, advises Joan Hustace Walker, author of “Saint Bernards.” To avoid bloat puppies should drink only a few slurps of water after eating. Provide unrestricted access to water other times of the day.
Saint Bernard puppies need to keep to an ideal body weight. A veterinarian can determine the ideal weight for an individual puppy. Overweight puppies are more prone to developing elbow or hip dysplasia, notes Walker. Puppy food is higher in calories than adult dog food. Switch a Saint Bernard puppy over to adult dog food when it is six months old to prevent obesity.
In 2005, Elsie, a 6-month old Saint Bernard puppy swallowed a 13-inch serrated carving knife. Fortunately, she swallowed the knife handle-first and survived long enough to have the knife surgically removed. Elsie is thought to have been attracted to the knife because it had just been used to carve a turkey. Always move dangerous objects out of a puppy’s reach.
Rena Sherwood is a writer and Peter Gabriel fan who has lived in America and England. She has studied animals most of her life through direct observation and maintaining a personal library about pets. She has earned an associate degree in liberal arts from Delaware County Community College and a bachelor's degree in English from Millersville University.