Welcome to  AKC Saint Bernard Puppies

Saint Bernard Health - Saint Bernard Health

We Love Our Saint Bernard Puppies!

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Responsibility, Security, love and care is what your puppy needs.

Saint Bernards

Your dog is special! Your best friend and a source of unconditional love.

Chances are that you chose your AKC Saint Bernard Puppy because you like

Saint Bernards and you expected  to have certain traits that would fit your

lifestyle of the Saint Bernard: Affectionate, easygoing, and lovable.

Good with babies, the elderly and other pets. Eager to please and responsive to

training.   Brave and ready for adventure.  Devoted, loyal, and protective.  

Intelligent and friendly.

One more huge fact to write is that your Saint Bernard Puppies personality as any dogs

behavior will be directly related to yours. 

Needs daily exercise - Especially when training. Your pet needs to burn energy before 

they can give you all that undivided attention. They are like children as they also need to get

playing outside and play.

However, no dog is perfect! You may have also noticed these characteristics:

* They sheds, and may drool

* Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a younger dog

* Doesn’t do well in the heat

* Prone to boredom and separation anxiety when left alone and will find trouble

* Takes up a lot of room due to her massive size

Full of personality, and we love them for it!  You have a 

social and benevolent companion, content to snuggle and requires the closeness.

With training, sufficient  exercise, early socialization  they make the perfect family pet.

The Saint Bernard originated in the Swiss and Italian Alps. They were originally

employed by the Monks at the St. Bernard Pass to rescue travelers trapped in avalanches. 

The Saint Bernard can have a long or short coat that is very dense and designed to protect

 them from cold temperatures. The Saint Bernard is naturally friendly and welcoming,

with a kind spirit. They are known to be very patient, tolerant of children and also protective. 

The Saint Bernard is a giant breed that is slow moving but will swiftly defend family members if they are

 threatened. Saint Bernards thrive on affection from their family but are sometimes demanding of

 attention. The Saint Bernard is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of

8-10 years.  That is not to say that they will not live longer because they do.  It depends

on the environment and everything in it.

Your Saint Bernard’s Health

You will want to take good care of your baby. That is why we have summarized the

health concerns of the Saint Bernard.

over the life of your St. Bernard. By knowing about health concerns specific to Saint 

Bernards, you and your doctor can tailor a preventive health plan to watch for and

hopefully prevent some predictable risks.

Many diseases and health conditions are genetic, meaning they are related to your

pet’s breed. There is a general consensus among canine genetic researchers and 

veterinary practitioners that the conditions  described herein have a

significant rate of incidence and/or impact in this breed.That does not mean your

 dog will have these problems;

 This is no way a list of what will happen.  This just means that a Saint 

common issues seen in Saint Bernards to give you an idea of what may come up

in her future.

 Of course, we can’t cover every possibility here, so always check with your doctor

if you notice any unusual signs or symptoms.

This guide contains general health information important to all canines as well as the

most important genetic predispositions for Saint Bernards. This information helps you

and us together plan for your pet’s unique medical needs. At the end of the booklet,

we have also included a description of what you can do at home to keep your Saint

looking and feeling her best. You will know what to watch for, and we will all feel better

knowing that we’re taking the best possible care of your pal.

General Health Information About Saint Bernard

Dental Disease

Dental disease is the most common chronic problem in pets, affecting 80% of all dogs

by age two. And unfortunately, your Saint Bernard is more likely than other dogs to

have problems with her teeth. It starts with tartar build-up on the teeth and progresses to 

infection of the gums and roots of the teeth. If we don’t prevent or treat dental disease, 

your buddy will lose her teeth and be in danger of damaging her kidneys, liver, heart,

and joints. In fact, your Saint Bernard’s life span may be cut short by one to three years!

We’ll clean your dog’s teeth regularly and let you know what you can do at home to keep

those pearly whites clean.


Saint Bernards are susceptible to bacterial and viral infections—the same ones that all

dogs can get—such as parvo, rabies, and distemper. Many of these infections are

preventable through vaccinations.


Obesity can be a significant health problem in Saint Bernards. It is a serious disease

that may cause or worsen joint problems, metabolic and digestive disorders, back pain

and heart disease. Though it’s tempting to give your pal food when she looks at you

with those soulful eyes, you can “love her to death” with leftover people food and

doggie treats. Instead, give her a hug, brush her fur or teeth, play a game with her, or

perhaps take her for a walk. She’ll feel better, and so will you!

Genetic Predispositions  for Saint Bernards


Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus, also known as GDV or Bloat, usually occurs in dogs with

deep, narrow chests. This means your St. Bernard is more at risk than other breeds.

When a dog bloats, the stomach twists on itself and fills with gas. The twisting cuts off

blood supply to the stomach, and sometimes the spleen. Left untreated, the disease is

quickly fatal, sometimes in as little as 30 minutes. Your dog may retch or heave

(but little or nothing comes out), act restless, have an enlarged abdomen, or lie in a

prayer position  (front feet down, rear end up). Preventive surgery in which the

stomach is tacked down or sutured in place so that it is unlikely to twist is an option.

If you see symptoms, take your pet to an emergency hospital immediately!

Heart Disease

Saint Bernards are especially prone to a life-threatening heart condition known as

dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM, in which the heart becomes so large, thin, and weak that

it can no longer effectively pump blood to the body. As this problem advances, he may 

act weak or tired, faint or collapse, breathe in a labored way, or cough. We’ll conduct

a yearly electrical heart screening(ECG) and/or an echocardiogram starting at age 

one to look for abnormal heart rhythms early. If found, we’ll treat this condition 

with medication and may

 also recommend dietary supplementation.

Eye Problems

Not many things have as dramatic an impact on your dog’s quality of life as the proper functioning of his eyes. Unfortunately, Saint Bernards can inherit or develop a number 

of different eye conditions, some of which may cause blindness if not treated right away,

and most of which can be extremely painful! We will evaluate his eyes at every 

examination to look for any signs of concern.


are a common cause of blindness in older St. Bernards. We’ll watch for the

lenses of his eyes to become more opaque—meaning they look cloudy instead of clear

—when we examine him. Many dogs adjust well to losing their vision and get along just

fine. Surgery to remove cataracts and restore sight may also be an option.

Entropion is a condition where the eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes to rub

against the cornea (surface of the eyeball). This is an extremely irritating and painful

condition that can ultimately lead to blindness. It can happen in any dog breed; however,

your St. Bernard is especially at risk for this heritable disorder. Surgical correction is

usually successful if performed early.

Distichiasis is a condition caused by extra hairs that grow inside of the eyelid and rub on

the surface of the eye. This is one of the most commonly inherited diseases in dogs, and

your St. Bernard is more likely than other dogs to develop this painful condition. If

untreated, these abnormal hairs can cause corneal ulcers and chronic eye pain. Several

treatment options are available, and the prognosis is good once the hairs have been permanently removed.

Bone Cancer

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone tumor in dogs. It typically afflicts middle-aged

large and giant breeds like your St. Bernard. Early symptoms include lameness and leg pain.

Early detection is critical! Call right away if you notice that your dog is limping. This

is a painful and aggressive tumor, and the sooner it is removed, the better his prognosis.

Bleeding Disorders

There are several types of inherited bleeding disorders which occur in dogs. They range

in severity from very mild to very severe. Many times a pet seems normal until a serious

injury occurs or surgery is performed, and then severe bleeding can result. Von

Willebrand’s disease is a blood clotting disorder frequently found in Saint Bernards.

Diagnostic testing for blood clotting time or a specific DNA blood test for Von Willebrand’s

Bone and Joint Problems

A number of different musculoskeletal problems have been reported in Saint Bernards.

While it may seem overwhelming, each condition can be diagnosed and treated to prevent

undue pain and suffering. With diligent observation at home and knowledge about the

diseases that may affect your friend’s bones, joints, or muscles you will be able to take

great care of him throughout his life.

When St. Bernard puppies are allowed to grow too quickly, the cartilage in their joints

may not attach to the bone properly. This problem is known as osteochondritis dissecans

or OCD . If this occurs, surgery may be required to fix the problem. It’s best to stick to

our recommended growth rate of no more than two to three pounds per week. Don’t overfeed

him and don’t supplement with additional calcium. Feed a large-breed puppy diet rather

than an adult or a regular puppy diet. Weigh your puppy every three to four weeks.

Both hips and elbows are at risk for dysplasia, an inherited disease that causes the joints

to develop improperly and results in arthritis. Stiffness in your St. Bernard’s elbows or

hips may become a problem for him, especially as he matures. You may notice that he

begins to show lameness in his legs or has difficulty getting up from lying down. We

can treat the arthritis—the sooner the better—to minimize discomfort and pain. We’ll

take X-rays of your dog’s bones to identify issues as early as possible. Surgery is

sometimes a good option in severe and life-limiting cases. Keep in mind that overweight

dogs may develop arthritis years earlier than those of normal weight, causing undue pain

and suffering!  Watch what you are feeding.

The cranial cruciate ligament is one of the four tough bands of tissue that hold each knee

together. A torn cranial cruciate ligament is a common injury in active dogs, which includes

your Saint. Usually surgical correction is done to stabilize the knee and help prevent

crippling arthritis. Physical therapy and multimodal pain management are necessary to

get the best outcome. Keeping him at the right weight, feeding a high-quality diet, and

avoiding too much twisting of the knees (like playing Frisbee) are key in avoiding this

painful injury.

Growing St. Bernards can suffer from a painful inflammation of the long bones in the legs

, a condition called eosinophilic panosteitis, pano or eo-pan. It usually starts at around

 six to ten months of age and shifts from leg to leg. We’ll look for this condition upon

examination; if your pal exhibits pain when the area is squeezed or palpated.  It takes 

X-rays to diagnose the problem. Panosteitis usually causes no permanent damage,

but requires pain medication. If your dog has the condition and has developed an

abnormal gait to compensate for the sore leg(s), rehabilitation exercises may be required.


There are three types of seizures in dogs: reactive, secondary, and primary. Reactive

seizures are caused by the brain’s reaction to a metabolic problem like low blood sugar,

organ failure, or a toxin. Secondary seizures are the result of a brain tumor, stroke, or

trauma. If no other cause can be found, the disease is called primary, or idiopathic

epilepsy. This problem is often an inherited condition, with Saint Bernards commonly

afflicted. If your friend is prone to seizures, they will usually begin between six months

and three years of age. An initial diagnostic workup may help find the cause. Lifelong

medication is usually necessary to help keep seizures under control, with periodic blood

 testing required to monitor side effects and effectiveness. If your dog has a seizure:

 Carefully prevent him from injuring himself, but don’t try to control his mouth or tongue.

 It won’t help him, and he may bite you accidentally! Note the length of the seizure, and

 call us or an emergency hospital.

Skin Conditions

Because he has long, dense fur, your Saint requires a lot of brushing and coat care.

Mats and tangles can lead to skin infections, particularly moist, painful skin lesions

called hot spots. Brush your pet at least weekly and keep an eye out for sores,

especially in hot, humid weather. Plan on taking him to the groomer often to maintain a healthy 


Some dogs tend to form calluses as a result of lying on hard surfaces. Large breeds like

your Saint Bernard tend to form them on their elbows and hocks (ankles). Calluses

 normally provide protection at pressure points, but when they become infected the

 dog is said to have callus pyoderma. Pyoderma means skin infection. If you notice that

 a callus has reddened areas, bumps, blackheads, holes, or discharge it is probably

 infected. Because problems are worse in heavier dogs, keeping your dog at a trim

weight is helpful. Make sure he has access to soft bedding, and encourage him to use it.

Carpet fibers may actually be somewhat abrasive, so blankets or padding are preferred

over carpet. Special pads held on by straps over the shoulders can take pressure off

calluses or infected areas.

St. Bernards are prone to a variety of skin problems, including one called sebaceous

adenitis. You may notice that your dog has dry, scaly skin with patches of hair loss along

the top of his head, back of the neck, and back (typically you’ll first notice it when your

 dog is between one and five years of age). Treatment is generally long term, and we’ll

likely try a combination of approaches to determine what is most effective with your dog.

The response to treatment is highly variable, but you’ll almost always need to give fatty

 acid supplements and use special shampoos to remove dead skin and hair. The earlier

the skin is checked out, the better his results.

Calcium Imbalance

The skeleton (all bones in the body) contains approximately 98% of total amount of

calcium in the entire body. The remaining 2% circulates throughout the body. Calcium

 is regulated in part by Parathyroid Hormone (PTH). Primary hypoparathyroidism is a

 condition seen more commonly in St. Bernards where not enough of this hormone is

 produced, leading to low calcium and high phosphorus levels in the bloodstream.

Symptoms include anorexia, behavioral changes, muscle tremors, seizures, panting,

 and cataract development. Treatment with medications and dietary supplements has

shown some success.

Overheating Disorder: Malignant Hyperthermia

Malignant means deadly or dangerous and hyperthermia refers to overheating. Some

St. Bernards seem to have a defective “internal thermostat” and can develop dangerously

high body temperatures leading to heat stroke, muscle rigidity, and organ damage. This

is especially common during and after anesthesia, thus we will monitor his temperature

closely to prevent complications following surgical or dental procedures. DNA testing is

available and carriers should be screened and identified before breeding.

Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s)

Addison’s Disease is an endocrine system disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands

fail to produce enough hormones to keep the body functioning normally. Left untreated,

 hypoadrenocorticism can be fatal, and symptoms often mimic many other diseases.

 Fortunately, we can run a specialized timed blood test to check for this condition.

Though any dog can acquire this disease, St. Bernards seem to get it more frequently.

Watch for clinical signs  and talk to your doctor  to screen for this problem.

Taking Care of Your Saint Bernard at Home

Much of what you can do to keep your dog happy and healthy is common sense, just like

 it is for people. Watch her diet, make sure she gets plenty of exercise, regularly brush

 her teeth and coat, and call us or a pet emergency hospital when something seems

unusual (seeWhat to Watch For” below). Be sure to adhere to the schedule of

 examinations and vaccinations that we recommend for her. This is when we’ll give her

 the necessary “check-ups” and test for diseases and conditions that are common in

 St. Bernards. Another very important step in caring for your pet is signing up for pet

 health insurance. There will certainly be medical tests and procedures she will need

 throughout her life and pet health insurance will help you cover those costs.

Routine Care, Diet, and Exercise

The scientific research proves that

every Giant Breed Puppy and Adult will benefit from

 Joint Supplements. 

You Puppy will be taking the
NuVet (Green Bottle)
and the NuJoint (Blue Bottle)

We also use the blue Tearless Shampoo 
and ear cleaner.   We like to use the Oatmeal conditioning spray for the benefits.

There are many things that may interest you and I have to say that I do love them all.

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Build her routine care into your schedule to help your Saint live longer, stay healthier,

 and be happier during her lifetime. We cannot overemphasize the importance of a

 proper diet and exercise routine.

  •  away from objects she shouldn’t put in her mouth.

  • Brush her coat as needed, at least weekly.

  • brushing them at least twice a week!

  • Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—we’ll show you how!

  • be very alert to the signs of heat stress.

  • adequate exercise by providing daily walks and ample room to play.

  • Keep your dog’s diet consistent and don’t give her people food.

  • Feed a high-quality diet appropriate for her age.

What to Watch For

Any abnormal symptom could be a sign of serious disease, or it could just be a minor

 or temporary problem. The important thing is to be able to tell when to seek veterinary

 help, and how urgently. Many diseases cause dogs to have a characteristic combination

of symptoms, which together can be a clear signal that your Saint Bernard needs help.

Visit your Doctor

Give us a call for an appointment if you notice any of these types of signs:

  • Change in appetite or water consumption

  • Tartar build-up, bad breath, red gums, or broken teeth

  • Itchy skin (scratching, chewing, or licking), hair loss

  • Lethargy, mental dullness, or excessive sleeping

  • Fearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral changes. It might be time to neuter that boy!!!


Seek medical care immediately if you notice any of these types of signs:

  • Scratching or shaking the head, tender ears, or ear discharge

  • Inability or straining to urinate; discolored urine

  • Cloudiness, redness, itching, or any other abnormality involving the eyes

  • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen

  • Fainting, collapse, breathing issues, cough

  • General reluctance to run or play

  • Leg stiffness, reluctance to rise, sit, use stairs, jump, or “bunny hopping”

  • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

  • Matted fur, hair loss, sores

  • General listlessness, droopy facial expression, vomiting, diarrhea

Your Saint Bernard counts on you to take good care of her, and we look forward to working

 with you to ensure that she lives a long and healthy life. Our goal is to provide the best

 health care possible: health care that’s based on her breed, lifestyle, and age. Please

 contact us when you have questions or concerns.

Saint Bernard Health 
Your baby has been raised in a loving home with healthy parents (people and Saints.)    
We have your puppy for 8 weeks and they have seen the
 Veterinarian.   The puppies are 
in excellent health, sound temperament and overall beautiful.    They are examined many times.

 It is also the law that they stay here with me for 8 weeks.   Please, do not ask
me to get your puppy sooner as I cannot and will not let them go.   It is not what is best for them.  

What You Should Know

Famous also for drooling.
Although the rough-coated Saint Bernard is most commonly seen, the monks preferred

the smooth variety for working purposes.
The heavier-coated dogs got iced up in the snow (snow compacted and formed little
 hard ice balls that clung to the dog’s coat and weighed it down).
The Saint Bernard holds two records in the Guinness Book. Duke is the heaviest recorded

 member of the canine species—he weighed in at 295 pounds. Thor holds the record for

 weight pulling. In 1974, this 177-pound dog dragged 6,000 pounds of lead for the title.
Thank you for sharing your lives with us.  We spend a large amount of time to get
great homes for our Akc Saint Bernard puppies because it is important.  We want you all to have a 
happy and long life.

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