Saint Bernard dogs are powerful, proportionately tall, strong and muscular, big boned and deep chested, and for these reasons you would think that hip dysplasia in Saint Bernards would be something that never occurs.
Known as the giant dogs that rescue people in the Swiss Alps, Saint Bernards are much loved as gentle family dogs with big hearts and friendly temperaments.
Before you decide to bring one into your family you should be aware that they require as much love and devotion as they give in return. Their size alone dictates the need for basic manners and early obedience training. The fact that they can rest their heads on something as tall as your kitchen table requires that they be taught their limits.
Although they love to be with the family children, their sheer size requires close supervision. They would never intentionally harm a small child but a huge paw or strong tail can accidentally knock a child over. They are enthusiastic participants in any family activity, and will sulk if not included. They seldom bark without good reason, making them good watchdogs and protectors of their family, but they should never be considered guard dogs.
Despite their large size and tendency to physically grow very quickly, Saint Bernards generally are slow to mature mentally, and their training should be undertaken with a gentle but firm hand, and a good deal of patience and consistency. A well-trained Saint is a wonderful dog to have and they love to please their human owners.
Because they are slow to mature, Saints should not be pushed too rapidly into formal and serious training. Their giant sized bones don’t finish growing until they are two years of age. Activities as simple as jumping in and out of an SUV or pickup truck can permanently damage their soft bones. For this reason, a Saint Bernard should not be pushed into jumping or pulling heavy loads before two years of age.
Saint Bernard puppies grow at a phenomenal rate during the first year of life, increasing in size an average of three pounds per week. They eat somewhere between 6 and 12 cups of dog food per day. They should never be fed high protein puppy food, but instead should be fed an adult formula containing 22-26% protein. Puppy foods containing too much protein can cause the fast growing puppy to grown even faster, and subject it to any number of bone problems.
A Saint Bernard will not “eat you out of house and home.” Saint Bernards can be raised and maintained on the same amount of food required for other large breeds. Since they are basically placid dogs, they generally require less food per pound of body weight than most smaller, more active breeds.
Because of their large size, hip dysplasia is a problem in Saint Bernards. Hip Dysplasia is an abnormal development of the hip causing excessive wear of the joint cartilage during weight bearing, eventually leading to the development of arthritis, often called degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis.
Some of the symptoms and signs of hip dysplasia are:
Moving more slowly
Difficulty getting up and lying down
Weight shift to another leg
Reluctance to walk, jump or play
Refusing to use stairs or get in the car
Change in appetite
Change in behavior
Yelping when touched
Winston’s Joint System has a history of successful treatment of Saint Bernards suffering from hip dysplasia and arthritis. Winston’s is a combination of three natural whole food supplements developed by a Naturopathic Doctor for his own dog. It contains no drugs and has no side-effects because it’s just good whole food.
Winston’s Joint System provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue. Within the first 30 days of treatment, dogs on Winston’s Joint System show noticeable and often remarkable improvement.
If you’re the proud owner of a noble Saint Bernard and your dog is displaying signs or symptoms of hip dysplasia, see your vet as soon as possible and get a complete examination. Discovering this disease in its early stages and putting your Saint on a regimen of Winston’s Joint System can mean a longer, happier, pain-free life for your pet.