Homemade Dog Food For Saint Bernards: Recipes & Guide

Saint Bernard homemade dog food

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Saint Bernards are one of the heaviest breeds of dogs; as such, they need a lot of food. But what if you can’t afford to feed them top-of-the-line kibble? Or maybe you’re just not convinced that commercial dog food is good for them? In either case, making your dog food is a viable option. This guide will provide recipes and tips on making homemade dog food for Saint Bernards that is both nutritious and affordable.

Chapter 1: Nutrition, Benefits & Risks

Ch 2 

Saint Bernard Homemade Dog Food Benefits

Here are some of the main benefits of cooking for your Saint Bernard.

  • Healthy eating habits
  • Quality control
  • More affordable
  • Healthier
  • Portion size control
  • Fresh ingredients
  • Dietary requirements can be met

Board-certified veterinary nutritionists and diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, Jennifer A. Larsen, DVM, MS, Ph.D., and Joe Bartges, DVM, Ph.D., also agree that switching to homemade dog food comes with great advantages, such as diet management, appeasing picky eaters, bond-building, combatting food intolerance and allergies issues, and avoid concern over food recalls.[1]

Further benefits include preventing many conditions associated with a poor diet, such as obesity, poor skin, coat condition, pancreatitis, diabetes, and reduced immunity.

Food And Saint Bernard Health: Why Feed Homemade?

Saint Bernards generally live between 8 to 10 years. Some of this breed’s most common health problems include Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Addison’s disease and Osteosarcoma.

Diseases like allergies, gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), and deafness are also common in the breed.

Other minor and less common Saint Bernard health problems this breed suffers from include Entropion, Cervical Vertebral Instability, Thyroiditis, and Lymphoma.[2]

How Can A Homemade Diet Help Saint Bernard Health Issues?

  • Increased lifespan. Research shows that dogs that eat fresh food diets are linked to a 20% longer lifespan than those who don’t. A year-long study of 522 dogs by Lippert and Sapy found that dogs fed high-quality, freshly made, real food had an average life expectancy of 13.1 years versus just 10.4 years for dogs fed commercially processed pet food.[3]
  • Avoid allergies. Cooking for your dog allows you to pick ingredients that won’t trigger allergies in your Saint Bernard. If you are unsure what ingredients may cause sensitivities or allergies in your pet, we advise doing an At-Home Food Dog Allergy test before selecting the ingredients for your dog’s next meal.
  • Obesity & joints. Switching to homemade dog food allows you to easily calibrate the amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals your dog needs to maintain a healthy body weight. Obesity in dogs can increase their risk for bone and joint problems (i.e., hip dysplasia) and subsequent osteoarthritis. Studies show that dogs maintaining their ideal body weight live almost 2.5 years longer (with significantly fewer diseases) than their overweight siblings.[4]
  • Bioavailability. Home-cooked dog food is easier to digest — more digestible food means dogs can absorb nutrients more efficiently and faster. Quicker nutrient absorption means minerals, vitamins, and amino acids act quicker in their body to carry out different functions, such as decreasing inflammatory responses that can help prevent allergies or help boost overall health.
  • Highly processed & oxidative stress kibble. When it comes to cancer, homemade dog food removes the highly processed food from the equation, which is often linked to cancer issues in dogs. Food processing has been shown to cause free radicals and carcinogenic chemicals to be released. With homemade, you no longer have to worry about oxidative stress due to processed food.[5][6]
  • Fresh ingredients with no chemicals. Homemade meals ensure your pup always eats fresh, wholesome, and chemical-free foods without additives, fillers, high-glycemic carbs, or colorants normally found in kibble.
  • Easy digestion. Homemade dog food is easier to digest than those hard-kibble mystery balls. Feeding your pet freshly made food puts less stress on their digestive system and liver, reducing the likelihood of bloating or other digestive issues.
  • Excellent taste and smell. Dogs love the taste, smell and texture of fresh dog food.

Saint Bernards Homemade Dog Food Risks

These are the top risks you should be aware of and avoid when cooking your dog.

  • Not understanding the nutritional needs of Saint Bernards
  • Using inadequate or dangerous recipes
  • Not preparing a balanced meal
  • Using unsafe or harmful ingredients
  • Not understanding the impact of food and dietary changes
  • Neglecting your dog’s health conditions
  • Not understanding your dog’s life stages (puppies, adults & senior) nutritional needs

Research by the University of California Davis, School of Veterinary, and two studies published in the journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine and The Journal of Nutritional Science found that most homemade dog food recipes lack key essential nutrients, and other recipes used dangerously high levels of some nutrients.[7][8][9]

Here are the findings:

  • 48% of homemade dog diets had an imprecise determination of ingredients and quantities
  • 71.3 % of dog owners did know how much food to serve per meal
  • 30.4% of the pet parents admitted to purposely changing the recipe
  • 40% of owners didn’t measure the proportions of the ingredients well enough
  • 28.3% didn’t use any of the recommended vitamins, minerals, or amino acids.
  • 97% of obesity cases in dogs could be traced to how owners fed and played with their pets.

It’s vital to understand that dogs’ nutritional requirements are unique. We recommend consulting a veterinary nutritionist who can address your Saint Bernard’s dietary requirements and help you make nutritionally balanced recipes or recommend a homemade food service for convenience.

Saint Bernards Nutritional Guidelines to Follow

According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AFFCO), the entity that supervises the nutritional value of commercial dog food, there are six essential nutrients all dog meals must contain to ensure a balanced and healthy diet for dogs.

A proper homemade diet should also consider your pup’s weight, health conditions, size, and activity level.

Below is a breakdown of each nutrient and its importance.

NutrientFoodDescription
Protein Chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, fish, yogurt and cooked eggsBuilds and repairs muscles and other body tissues. Needed to make new skin cells, grow hair, hormones, enzymes and more.
Carbohydrates Oats, brown rice, potatoes, and whole wheat Source of energy for dogs and supplies glucose needed by the brain, nervous system and other critical organs for normal function.
Fat From meats and oils such as olive or sunflower oil, fish oil, canola oils among others Responsible for providing quality energy. Necessary for the normal development and function of body cells, nerves, muscles, and body tissues
Minerals Calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc. Common functions include the formation of bone and cartilage, nerve and muscle function, fluid balance regulation, the transportation of oxygen in the bloodstream and hormone production.
WaterWaterHydration is critical in dogs. A dog that loses too much water (10% to 15% of the water in his body) can get very sick and even die. Ensure they have water available throughout the day.
VitaminsA, B, C, D, E, and K Keeps skin and coat healthy, strengthens bones and teeth, and gives them the overall energy that they need to function.

Recommended Supplements For Saint Bernards

Here are the top recommended supplements for Saint Bernard based on their main health susceptibility issues.

  • Hip Dysplasia: Saint Bernards are generally susceptible to hip dysplasia, a hip deformity developed during a dog’s growth that can lead to arthritis. Symptoms are stiffness, weakness in the hind legs, or a reluctance to run, jump, or go upstairs.
  • DCM: Some Saint Bernards might also develop dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a heart disease in dogs that causes the heart to become enlarged and weaker. Symptoms are loss of appetite, increased heart rate, or coughing.

Always consult your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.

You may also want to add a multivitamin like Zesty Paws Multivitamin Chews to ensure your Saint Bernard pup gets the recommended balance of vitamins and minerals.

If you need more advice on Saint Bernard nutrition, an excellent resource is Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: the Healthful Alternative by Donald R. Strombeck, DVM, Ph.D., a long-time expert in veterinary medicine. This book it’s considered by many pet nutritionists to be the Bible of healthy homemade dog nutrition.

Health Dietary Changes In Saint Bernards

Saint Bernard experiencing any of the issues below might benefit from the dietary adjustments outlined in this table.

ConditionDietary Needs & Adjustments

Coat Color Changes


Increase amino acids which can be found in protein (>75 grams per 1000 calories)
Concurrent GI Signs

Avoid foods with tryptamine and histamine such as dairy or fermented vegetables and meats (yes, this includes bacon); try a simple ingredient food trial

Chronic Itching and Dermatitis

Fortify the diet with Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Zinc, omega-6 and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil; add a dog probiotic; try a simple ingredient food trial
Dull Coat and Scaling

Adjust EPA and DHA levels in the diet (added fish oil being the most common way); try a food that has added zinc

Dandruff and Crustiness

Add Zinc and Vitamin A levels

If your Saint Bernard suffers from skin allergies or joint pain, adding dog fish oil may help bring relief. The AKC states that fish oil promotes healthier coats by reducing itchiness and flakiness in the skin due to its omega-3 fatty acid content. Other significant effects include promoting improved immunity (especially against cancer) while strengthening heart health in dogs.

Saint Bernard Calorie Requirements

The caloric needs of dogs are based on their weight.

An adult Saint Bernard usually weighs between 120 and 180 pounds, which means most Saint Bernards need between 2244 and 3041 calories a day.

Make sure you follow the 10% rule when feeding treats to your dog. Food would equal 90% of the total calories and treats the remaining 10%.

  • For instance, if a Saint Bernards weighs 150 lbs., he would need 2652 calories daily. For those eating treats, that’s 2387 calories in food (90%) and 265 in treats (10%). Usually, most full-grown dogs eat two meals per day. So, you need to split 2387 into two meals of 1193 calories each.

You can use our dog calorie calculator to find the exact caloric needs of your dog based on his weight.

Pregnant or lactating Saint Bernards may need up to 2 to 4 times the amount of food they normally need as the mother’s energy requirements increase after delivery and during lactation. Be sure to talk to your vet.

Homemade Dog Food For Saint Bernards Puppies

A Saint Bernard puppy’s diet is different from an adult Saint Bernard’s. Compared to adult dogs, puppies need higher protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus levels. Too few (or too many) of these nutrients can cause deficiencies, stunted growth, or lifelong complications.

According to the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN), puppies need about twice as many calories per pound of body weight as an adult dog of the same breed.

Most people worry that their puppy requires more food and calorie daily because they are rapidly growing. This isn’t necessarily the truth. Dr. Justin Shmalberg, DVM, a veterinary nutritionist at Nom Nom, advises that to promote normal growth, most puppies need about the same number of calories and the same type of food from 4 months to 12 months of age. Saint Bernard puppies should eat 3 to 4 times a day. When your puppy is a bit older (6 – 12 months), you can switch to 2 to 3 meals daily at scheduled intervals.

For proper growth and development, it is not advised to skip meals while your puppy is growing and developing. As our nutritional guidelines previously outlined, a puppy’s diet must include a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, water, and vitamins.

Homemade Dog Food Delivery Service

If you are a busy dog parent with a hectic schedule, cooking homemade food can be a time-consuming or even overwhelming process for dog parents who are unaware of how to prepare balanced dog meals, let alone use the right ingredients and serve the right portions.

If this is you, don’t worry, your pup can still get all the benefits of homemade dog food through a homemade dog food delivery service like Ollie.

Ollie delivers fresh, healthy dog food made with real, human-grade ingredients customized to your pup’s unique nutritional needs. Their recipes are formulated by board-certified veterinary nutritionists who ensure each recipe complies with AAFCO standards. Their meals contain healthy proteins, fresh veggies, and superfoods delivered to your door.

The best part about Ollie is that they cater to your pup’s nutritional needs, goals and health concerns. For instance, if your Saint Bernard has weight issues, digestive issues, picky tastes, or other health concerns, Ollie will cook a personalized meal plan to meet those requirements.

The ingredients are sourced from human-grade farms in the US, and their premium, pasture-raised lamb comes from free-range farms in the US and Australia. They only feature USA-sourced ingredients cooked in human-grade kitchens; meals come pre-portioned for easy serving.

Ollie promises NO by-products, fillers, artificial flavoring, or preservatives in their food. With Ollie’s fresh food, your dog can experience convenient homemade food with the benefits of shinier coats, fewer allergies, more energy, and better overall health.

Our readers have access to save 50% off your first order of Ollie. Just use this link to get your Saint Bernard’s first homemade meal.

Chapter 2: Recipes, Cooking Tips & More

Ch 1

Saint Bernard Homemade Food Tips

Here are some pointers on important considerations when getting ready to prepare home-cooked food for Saint Bernard dogs.

  • Set a consistent feeding schedule
  • Feed your Saint Bernard twice daily (puppies under 12 months, 3 to 4 times a day, check with your veterinarian)
  • Meal prep weekly or monthly
  • Measure and control portion sizes depending on your dog’s calorie needs
  • Keep meals frozen for 2 to 3 months or refrigerated for about 5 days
  • Make a new batch when the food supply is getting low
  • If you want to feed different recipes, you can make multiple batches and color code by ingredients, rotating out the other meals
  • Prepare the food in bulk and portion it into containers (one container per meal makes it extra easy)
  • Increase portions appropriately as your puppy grows
  • Monitor weight to make sure you are feeding the proper amount of calories

How To Cook Homemade Food For Saint Bernards ( Video)

Learn how to cook for your Saint Bernard in this video.

Best Saint Bernard Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Browse our favorite recipes for a Saint Bernard that will make your pup beg for more.

We’ve also added a special treat recipe for your Saint Bernard that is tasty and packed with remarkable health benefits. This recipe has our favorite secret ingredient, dog CBD oil. CBD oil can help with seizures, anxiety, arthritis, inflammation, pain, wellness and other health problems.

Note: Please consult your pet’s veterinarian and use personal judgment when applying this information to your dog’s diet. The recipes below do not include serving size because portions will vary depending on breed, weight, activity level, age, and dog’s health. A common recommendation is to feed your dog a comparable amount of ounces/cups to what you would usually feed in kibble BUT check with your vet to be certain.


CBD-Infused Dog Treats

Treat your Saint Bernard with these nutritious, therapeutic, and delicious homemade CBD dog treats. They are made with Pumpkin, a great source of essential vitamins and minerals (like vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, and iron). Pumpkin also aids with digestion and hydration. Coconut is added for skin and coat, digestion and helps reduce allergic reactions.

Just be sure to check with your vet before to ensure CBD is safe for your pup and that you are giving the correct dosage.

You can also purchase already-made CBD dog treats so your pup can experience CBD’s benefits without the cooking.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 apple, cored and grated
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup olive or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • dash of sea salt
  • 120 mg CBD oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a dog cookie baking tray with coconut oil.
  2. Core and grate the apples, then peel and grate the carrots.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, oats, and coconut sugar. In another medium-sized bowl, beat the egg. Then, add coconut oil, water, and grated apples and carrots.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients bowl; mix completely. Finally, add CBD oil and mix once more.
  5. Using a Tbsp measuring spoon, portion the dog biscuits and press them into the dog treat baking pan. Bake for 32-37 minutes or until the biscuits are firm and golden brown on the outside.
  6. Store in an air-tight container.

Recipe from: Truth Theory


Wholesome Ground Sirloin Veggie

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cooked organic brown rice
  • 2 pounds ground lean beef, cooked through, fat drained
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced small
  • 3 carrots, shredded or thinly sliced
  • 1/4–1/2 cup minced fresh parsley or 1/4 cup dried herbs
  • 3 tablespoons of olive or safflower oil

Directions

  1. Start with cooking the eggs
  2. While the rice is cooking, you can brown the sirloin and get all the fresh ingredients together.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a large container and stir to combine thoroughly.
  4. Store in the refrigerator in-between feedings.

Recipe from: This Messisours


Easy Crockpot

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds of ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup peas, frozen or canned

Directions

  1. Stir in ground beef, brown rice, kidney beans, butternut squash, carrots, peas and 4 cups water in a 6-qt slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on low heat for 5-6 hours or high heat for 2-3 hours, stirring as needed.
  3. Let cool completely.

Yield: 12 cups

Recipe From: Damn Delicious


Zucchini Beef Mix

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup diced zucchini 
  • 2 pounds of pre-cooked polenta 
  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of jack mackerel, drained 
  • 1/2 cup canned pure Pumpkin 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Steam the spinach over simmering water until it is tender, about 5 minutes. Drain it, puree it in a food processor and set it aside. You should have about 1/2 cup of spinach puree.
  3. Puree the zucchini in a food processor and set it aside as well. You should have about 1/2 cup of zucchini puree.
  4. Coat the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch casserole or baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Using a spatula, spread half of the polenta evenly over the entire bottom of the dish.
  5. Layer the beef on top of the polenta. Spread the Pumpkin, spinach puree, and zucchini puree on the beef. Add the mackerel and then spread the remaining polenta on top.
  6. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool completely before serving.

Note: One serving for a 40-50 lb. Weimaraner is 1 1/2 – 2 cups, 50-60 lb. Weimaraner is 2 – 2 1/4 cups, 60-70 lb. Weimaraner is 2 1/4-23/4 cups.

This recipe makes ten servings for a 50 lb. dog. Refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.

Recipe from: Canine Bible Test Kitchen

If you are interested in more homemade dog food recipes and cooking options for your Saint Bernard, cookbooks can come in handy for various dog food recipes. Our top pick is Home Cooking for Your Dog: 75 Holistic Recipes for a Healthier Dog.


Best Dog Cooking Practices

With these tips, you can ensure that your Saint Bernard’s meals are safe and nutritious.

  • Never use unsafe or toxic ingredients for dogs
  • Use only boneless meats (no cooked bones)
  • Cook all animal products thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria
  • Cook all grains, beans, and starchy vegetables to make them easier to digest
  • Research every ingredient before using it for safety
  • Follow recipes as instructed
  • Add supplements to their diet if needed
  • Run any questions by a vet nutritionist

Monitor Weight And Health

A dog’s weight is an essential indicator of its health, and you need to track it when switching to a new diet (i.e., homemade). Maintaining a healthy weight is easier when your Saint Bernard is fed the right dog food. If your dog’s weight increases or decreases rapidly, it might be due to food-related health issues.

Skin or coat issues, excessive tiredness, allergies, weight loss, malnutrition, and obesity can be caused by unbalanced and insufficient meal plans. If you detect any of these symptoms while feeding your dog meals, stop doing it immediately and seek expert advice.

What Foods Should Your Saint Bernard Never Eat?

Below is a list of the most common toxic ingredients dogs need to avoid.

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol
  • Onions and garlic
  • Avocados
  • Coffee, tea, and other caffeine
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Raw bread dough
  • Alcohol

Here is the complete list of toxic ingredients your Saint Bernard should never eat. Please print it out and put it on your refrigerator as a reminder.

Saint Bernard Raw Diet (BARF)

Raw dog food is meant to mimic dogs’ diet in the wild millions of years ago. Raw dog foods, organs, muscles, whole or ground bones, fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products are usually included. Several raw dog foods are available, including homemade raw dog food and store-bought (frozen, freeze-dried, and dehydrated).

As the risk of contamination and nutritional imbalance is higher when handling raw foods, preparing a BARF diet for your Saint Bernard requires a lot of extra care and planning.

Best Raw Dog Food Delivery

Raw dog diets are gaining popularity because of their fantastic health benefits for teeth, coat, digestion, and allergies. Read our raw dog food diet to learn more about the benefits and risks, and get the best commercial raw food diet for your Saint Bernard.

Should You Feed Homemade Food to Saint Bernard Alternatives

To keep Saint Bernards healthy and fit, consider feeding them a homemade diet instead of processed commercial dog food. Homemade food can be tailored specifically to your dog’s needs and is much more affordable and healthier than expensive premium dog kibble. Homemade food provides all the nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy and active. Not only will your Saint Bernard appreciate the deliciousness of homemade food, but you’ll also be assured that he’s getting the best nutrition.

Read up on vegan dog food if your Saint Bernard is prone to food allergies or food-related health issues. Plant-based diets are also becoming increasingly popular for dogs with food sensitivities and other health issues.


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Canine Bible uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

[1] AKC, [2] Embrace, [3] Lippert & Sapy [4] AVMA [5] Lyka, [6] Hardvard [7] NCBI, [8] PubMed, [9] UC Davis


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