7 Best Foods to Feed an Adult and Puppy St. Bernard in 2020

St. Bernards have become perhaps one of the most iconic and most recognizable dogs on the planet. We’re sure that the stereotypical image of a beautiful St. Bernard with a whiskey barrel around its neck is ingrained into the hearts and minds of most people reading this article.

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They’re a highly popular, large breed, initially bred to be a guard dog before quickly becoming recognized for their suitability as mountain rescue dogs. These days St. Bernards are much more commonly found as a pet than a working dog, and the breed is as popular today as it has ever been.

With that in mind, today we’re going to take a look at the dietary requirements of St. Bernards. We’re going to see what you should be feeding them (and what you should be avoiding) alongside some recommended feeding schedules and food quantities. We’re going to conclude the article by providing you with what we think are 7 of the best foods on the market right now that are perfect for a St. Bernard.

Let’s get started.

What To Look For In A Good St. Bernard Dog Food

St. Bernards are a large breed of dog (which are technically classed as a giant breed), and their feeding requirements and schedules are similar to other dogs of the same size. Apart from this, there are not many (or any) additional nutritional requirements that St. Bernard’s require.


Like all dogs, St. Bernards are still genetically very closely related to wolves. This means that their dietary requirements are also extremely similar, and as wolves are carnivores – this means that they need meat (or more specifically, protein).

Dogs require huge amounts of protein in their diet compared to us humans, and you’ll need to make sure that you’re providing them with enough. Almost all off the shelf dog foods cater to the protein requirements of canines and unless you’re making your own food at home – you’ll almost never have to worry about it.


Large breeds like St. Bernards require huge amounts of calories each day to fuel their massive muscles for hours of work and play. While protein contains a decent amount of calories, it’s not calorically dense enough to provide a St. Bernard with all the energy they need on its own (without insanely large portion sizes). That’s why dog food manufacturers resort to using a variety of carbohydrates in their products to bump up the calorie count.

Not all carbohydrates are created equally, and many cheaper (lower quality) brands use a variety of grains as their carbohydrate source. This is far from ideal in many cases and can cause allergic reactions in some dogs. If possible you should try and get food that uses complex carbohydrate sources like brown rice, sweet potato, and chickpea. Foods that contain grains are not the end of the world, but they’re far from ideal.

Artificial Colors And Preservatives

The problem of artificial colors and preservatives is slowly becoming less and less of an issue, but it’s still something you should be watching out for. The negative health effects of consuming artificial preservatives on a long-term basis are well known, and as such we highly recommend you find a food that does not contain them.

Your dog will probably be eating the same food 3 times a day for months, or years at a time – so it’s important that you’re not feeding them compounds that may cause long-term harm.

How Often Should You Feed a St. Bernard

St. Bernards are a large breed and as such, they have a high daily calorific requirement. Many dog foods on the market are specifically made for large breeds, and as such, they have a huge amount of calories in them as standard. Usually, it’s recommended to feed adult St. Bernards twice a day, but it’s important to always follow the recommended instructions on the specific food you buy (as they vary massively).

Puppy St. Bernards, on the other hand, need to be fed much more regularly. They are well known for being one of the fastest growing breeds on the planet – and all this growth needs energy, vitamins, and minerals to be as healthy as possible. You should ensure that you’re feeding a puppy St. Bernard dedicated large breed puppy food to know they’re getting all good stuff they need.

When they are very young you should be aiming to feed a puppy St. Bernard around four times a day. This should be gradually reduced to twice a day by the time they are around 1 year old. Again, ensure you’re following the instructions on the packet of food you’re using and avoid overfeeding at all costs.

St. Bernards are often susceptible to bloating which can cause difficulty breathing and restrict blood flow. It’s rarely a serious condition and often results in little more than a slight discomfort for your pooch. This being said it’s obviously better to try and avoid it from happening if possible.

Trying to ensure your St. Bernard doesn’t eat too fast is the main way you’re going to be able to do this. Additionally, try to make sure that they don’t drink too much water immediately after eating as this can also cause bloat.

Best Value Food for a St. Bernard

American Journey Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry

So by this point in the article, you should have a little bit of an idea about what kind of food you should be feeding a St. Bernard (and how often you should be feeding them). Now we’re going to talk about a few products we have come across during our research that we feel are perfectly suited for the breed.

In the sections below we’re going to talk about specific foods for puppies and adults, but overall we think the best value for money food is the chicken and sweet potato from American Journey. It’s a food we recommend for many large breeds, and is perfectly formulated to give an adult St. Bernard all the energy and nutrients they need.

It’s a calorically dense food that will be able to fuel happy and healthy play (or work) all day long. The protein sources are high quality and are found from real deboned chicken (not chicken meal). This means that alongside all of the quality protein you’re also getting the natural oils, acids, and fats from the chicken too.

The carbohydrates are extremely high quality in this product and are almost exclusively derived from sweet potato (which is commonly regarded as one of the best carbohydrate sources). It’s packed full of other good stuff too like antioxidants from raspberries and added vitamins and minerals for a happy tummy and a long and healthy life.

When all of this is combined with the very reasonable price tag of around $30 for a big bag, it’s easy to see why we think it’s the best value for money product on the market right now. If you finish this article and still can’t make your mind up about which food to try first – we recommend you start with this one.

Best Foods For Adult St. Bernards

The nutritional requirements for adult St. Bernards and puppy St. Bernards are reasonably different from one another. With that in mind, we’ve made two sections to recommend foods perfectly suited to each group. Let’s start with our adult recommendations…

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Chicken Meal & Lentils Natural Grain Free

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Chicken Meal & Lentils Natural Grain Free

This is a great food that’s been specifically designed for breeds the size of St. Bernards. It’s packed full of calories to provide super-sized amounts of energy in a highly balanced and nutritional formula. There are no low-quality carbohydrates as padding here and it’s a grain free formula (the carbohydrates mainly come from lentils). The chicken meal protein source isn’t as good as whole chicken, but it’s still nutritious and tasty. It’s made in the USA and there are no artificial colors, preservatives, or other bad stuff you should be avoiding too.

Pros And Cons

  • Pro – Made in the USA
  • Pro – High-quality carbohydrates
  • Pro – Well balanced
  • Pro – Great brand
  • Con – Chicken meal isn’t the best protein source in the world

Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Wellness are living legends in the dog food industry, their reputation for quality ingredients and balanced formulas has earned them a loyal customer base who swear by their products. This is an excellent large breed formula that utilizes real deboned chicken as a protein source (as opposed to chicken meal in the product above). This provides all the inherent goodness of the oils, fats, and acids for healthy coats and happy stomachs. The carbohydrates are of an equally high quality and are mainly derived from brown rice.

Pros And Cons

  • Pro – Brown rice carbohydrate source
  • Pro – Real chicken protein source
  • Pro – Well balanced
  • Pro – Quality ingredients
  • Con – None

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe with Red Meat Large Breed Grain-Free

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe with Red Meat Large Breed Grain-Free

There are not many brands that can compete with Wellness in terms of name recognition – but Blue Buffalo are one of the few that can. They’re possibly the biggest name in dog food right now, and for a very good reason too. This product is a prime example with its super tasty and well-balanced formula.

There are 3 super high-quality protein sources in this product (deboned beef, lamb, and venison) which provide a whole heap of additional nutrients. It’s a grain free super tasty formula that gets its carbohydrate content from complex sources such as peas and potatoes.

Pros And Cons

  • Pro – 3 Great protein sources
  • Pro – Complex carbohydrates
  • Pro – Super reputable brand
  • Pro – Grain free
  • Con – Could be a little cheaper

Best Foods For Puppy St. Bernards

Let’s take a look at what we think are the best foods on the market specifically made for puppy large breed dogs.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry

We love Taste Of The Wild, and we find ourselves recommending their products time and time again. This excellent grain-free formula is hands down one of the best products on the market for a puppy St. Bernard right now. It’s packed full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for any pup that wants to grow up big and strong. The protein comes from roasted bison, venison, and beef and the carbohydrates come from peas and potatoes.

Pros And Cons

  • Pro – Excellent complex carbohydrate sources
  • Pro – 3 Great protein sources
  • Pro – Reputable brand
  • Pro – Grain free
  • Con – None really

Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry

Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry

Merrick is another big beast of the dog food world, and this is another great product that any growing pup would be lucky to eat. The protein comes from real deboned chicken (instead of chicken meal) and the complex carbohydrates come from sweet potato. There’s a whole bunch of added vegetables for vitamins and minerals and things like amino acids and antioxidants can be found from added blueberries and raspberries too.

Pros And Cons

  • Pro – Real chicken protein source
  • Pro – Sweet potato carbohydrates
  • Pro – Added antioxidants
  • Pro – Specifically made for large breed puppies
  • Con – None

Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed Puppy

Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed Puppy

The final product we are recommending here today is from Eagle Pack, and it has been specifically made for giant breed puppies. It’s a quality product that has been exceptionally well balanced with a bunch of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. There are a variety of protein sources used, but lamb and chicken meal make up the bulk of it. Again the carbohydrates mainly come from brown rice, which is a complex and quality source.

Pros And Cons

  • Pro – Brown rice carbohydrates
  • Pro – Well balanced
  • Pro – Specifically made for large breed puppies
  • Pro – Antioxidants and amino acids
  • Con – Lamb and Chicken meal could be higher quality.


So there you have it, all you could ever want to know about feeding a St. Bernard.

These giant-sized pooches are reasonably easy to take care of. Providing you feed them a quality product that gives them all the nutrition they need – you’ll give them the longest and happiest life they can possibly have.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine Dog News. She's also the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Adoptashelter.com Award winner for 2013. In addition, she's written Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

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