Frequently asked questions
So often we hear people say after purchasing a Saint Bernard or Newfoundland, “I didn’t know they got this big.” The two breeds are classified as Giant, so please do your research. Don’t buy this breed if you are fastidious about your home. They drool when they are hot, after they drink water and when they get excited. Don’t think that your walls and ceilings are out of reach when it comes to them shaking their heads. The breed also loves water and can track dirt in your home. During seasons when they blow their coat, you can easily fill a trash bag or clog a vacuum with all that hair. Please take into consideration as well what it will cost to feed, train and provide health care for your pet. Other things to consider: don’t buy this breed if you don’t have the time to dedicate to them. They are not meant to be tossed in the back yard or locked in an apartment all day while you are at work. They require exercise and demand attention. Plan to give unequivocal loyalty for ten years to them. If you can’t do that don’t buy one.
What about grooming?
We recommend grooming your dogs at least twice a week. Start your new puppy on a regular grooming schedule. This will help them get in a routine and comfortable with regular brushing. Saints and Newfoundlands shed year round, but they blow their undercoat in the Spring and Fall. Make sure to keep your Newf or Saint free of mats especially behind the ears as they can be painful. When you bring your new puppy home make sure to handle their feet and trim their nails regularly. Nails should be trimmed once a month. If you hear them clicking on your floor then they are too long. Lastly, ear care. It is best to clean your dog’s ears once a month. The breed is known for seasonal ear infections. By keeping their ears dry and the hair clipped away it will help prevent unwanted infections and trips to the vet’s office.
What should I feed my dog?
We feed our dogs a balanced diet with TLC Whole Life Natural Dog Food (to order click here) for our working dogs. You want to find a high quality large breed formula. When you come home with your puppy you should continue his/her diet and feeding the large breed puppy food three times a day. Once your puppy turns four months old, switch the puppy to a quality large breed adult food. Keeping your puppy on puppy food too long can cause him/her to grow too fast causing unwanted strain on their joints. Other great brands include: Innova, Royal Canin, Wellness, and California Natural. Trust us; you will get out of your dog food what you put into it. If your dog is slamming down each meal then you are not feeding your dog enough. Never feed your dogs once a day and allow him/her to exercise after their massive eating. This can lead to bloat with life threatening complications. It is best to free feed or feed your dog on a schedule.
What about training?
Socialization and puppy training are crucial during puppyhood. This breed is meant for working and can pull over a thousand pounds. Can you imagine walking in a park and your dog wanting to chase another dog? Without proper obedience training your dog would be out of your control. You must commit yourself to training your puppy or going to an obedience class. At an absolute minimum your puppy should know how to: sit, stay, come, lie down, and walk on or off the leash regardless of temptations. Young puppies are relatively easy to train. They are eager to please, intelligent, calm-natured, with a relatively good attention span.
Are there any chronic health issues I should be concerned about?
There are several health problems common to the Saint Bernard. Among these are epilepsy, heart problems, entropian, heatstroke, bloat, elbow and hip dysplasia. The same problems are associated with the Newfoundland adding cystinuria, thyroid disorder and SAS. It is best to screen your dog for hip and elbow dysplasia at two years old by having x-rays taken and sent in to OFA. PennHip is also used to screen for hip and elbow dysplasia. In a Newfoundland you can check for Cystinuria via DNA test. Also having a puppy’s heart checked by a cardiologist to check for any sign of a murmur between 8-12 weeks is recommended.