What do you think of when you hear the words St. Bernard? You may picture a massive rescue dog barreling up the mountainside armed with nothing but a blanket, a barrel of brandy, and an unbeatable bedside manner. Or maybe you recall the movie Beethoven where a loveable giant takes over a family’s home and steals their hearts.
Either way, there’s one common factor. Both of them are enormous.
If you’re in the market for a small dog, the St. Bernard is not for you. These gentle giants can grow up to 35 inches tall and weigh almost 265 pounds! That being said, it goes to reason that they need some high-quality food to keep their massive bodies healthy and energized.
That’s why we put together this list of reviews for the best dog food for St. Bernards available.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food||
|Best Value||Eukanuba Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food||
|Best for Puppies||Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food||
|VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food||
|Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food||
The 10 Best Dog Foods for St Bernards
1. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
For our top pick, we’ve selected Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. Taste of the Wild has grown to be one of the more trusted brands in dog food. And with this formula, it’s easy to see why. It’s a grain-free formula that lists real buffalo as its primary ingredient.
The blend has also been specially formulated to be easily digestible and nutrient-rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids (both omega-3 and omega-6) to ensure that your dog has everything they need to live an active healthy lifestyle. The food is also very high in protein, measuring in at 32% and being composed of 9 different natural sources.
There’s no better food on the market today for an active St. Bernard pup.
2. Eukanuba Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food – Best Value
While we definitely want to give our dogs the absolute best food on the market, sometimes it lies just beyond our budget. Premium dog foods can get to be very expensive over time, especially when feeding a giant like the St. Bernard. However, Eukanuba Large Breed Adult Dry food is an excellent alternative. And it’s the best dog food for St. Bernards for the money.
Although it’s not grain-free and contains corn and wheat, chicken is listed as the number one ingredient. And the food is a great source of vitamin E — an essential need for your large pup’s brain health. The Eukanuba formula also falls near the realm of reduced-fat with 13% fat content, which is great for helping to regulate your dog’s weight and minimize obesity. We just wish that there was a higher protein content to round it out. At 23%, the protein content isn’t terrible, but a bit lacking.
3. Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food – Best for Puppies
St. Bernard puppies aren’t like other breeds. As they start to grow, you’ll find that they quickly exceed the size of most normal adult size dogs. And this means that they require special puppy food. And Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy blend is among the best there is. It’s a uniquely formulated puppy food that can keep up with the rapid growth St. Bernard puppies experience while featuring 22 key ingredients found in your pup’s mother’s milk.
The number one ingredient list on this dog food is chicken, and the recipe boasts 27% protein. However, it’s not a grain-free recipe. It contains both wheat and corn products. Since St. Bernards have a higher affinity for food allergies compared to other dogs, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your pup when first starting them out on this food.
4. VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food
If you’re looking for a more affordable high-protein alternative to our top pick, VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus makes a viable option. At 30% protein, this dog food really packs it in and consists of 88% meat protein total between beef, chicken, and pork meals. However, this composition also carries along with it a high-fat percentage (20%). Due to the St. Bernard’s propensity towards obesity, you’ll need to keep your dog active if they use this as their primary diet.
The VICTOR blend isn’t grain-free either. But it’s made with gluten-free grains such as sorghum to help minimize food allergies. This makes it a great choice for allergy-prone St. Bernards.
5. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food
If you’re a firm believer in science diets, then Hill’s is no secret to you. They make some of the most well-crafted science-based blends anywhere. However, you’ll also know just how pricey this food is. It’s easily the most expensive dog food on this list. But that doesn’t mean it should be avoided.
In fact, science diets are an excellent way to zero in on exact nutrition values for your pup. Aside from protein, fats, and carbs, your pup requires a bunch of other vitamins and minerals. However, these can be quite tricky to acquire even when feeding them premium dog food such as our top pick. Hill’s Science Diet ensures that your dog can fully receive all of the nutrition they need through the careful construction of their formula.
While this blend is low in fat at only 11%, it lacks the protein percentage of some of our higher picks, offering only 20%.
6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food
If your pooch has a bit of a weight problem, you’ll probably want to swap them over to a quality dog food that’s relatively low in fat yet maintains a decent protein content. And Blue Buffalo Life Protection does just that. With a 22% protein content and only 12% fat, this dog food will help keep your St. Bernard at a healthy weight — especially those pups that are less active.
And while the blend isn’t grain-free, it features complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, oatmeal, and barley to provide healthy energy to keep your pup recharged. However, you’re going to have to pay a premium for this dog food as it isn’t cheap. And if you’re pup’s already maintaining a healthy obesity-free lifestyle, you might want to opt for a food with even more protein.
7. Purina Pro Plan All Life Stages Dry Dog Food
While some pups may be living low-key lifestyles, your St. Bernard might be one big ole’ bundle of energy. If so, they’re going to need the right fuel to keep them going. Purina Pro Plan All Life Stages is perfect for big active dogs. It’s got a high protein content (30%) designed to maximize lean muscle building and a higher fat content (20%) to keep them energized all day.
This blend is also fortified with a blend of probiotics to help keep your pup’s gut health in check. However, the recipe isn’t grain-free and contains quite a bit of corn products including whole-grain, gluten meal, and germ meal. If your St. Bernard doesn’t take well to corn products, you should avoid this food.
8. Diamond Naturals All Life Stages Dry Dog Food
Sometimes, you just want a dog food that’ll cover all the bases without being overly complicated. That’s exactly what the Diamond Naturals All Life Stages Dry Food does for you and your pup. Is it filler-free? Check. Does it have decent protein and fat content? Check. And is it affordable? Check.
There’s nothing that stands out about this food, and that simplicity is actually what makes it great. It’s a well-rounded dry dog food that’ll be a great part of any dog’s diet.
9. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Dry Dog Food
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed formula is one of those dog foods that sounds great by design but lacks in execution. The blend boasts a mix of non-GMO ingredients with no chicken by-product meal, filler grain materials, and no artificial flavors and colorings. Plus, it’s got added natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to help support joint health.
But despite its claims and makeup, the nutrition just falls a bit flatter than advertised. It only has a protein content of 21% and a fat content of 13%. It’s nothing really to write home about with much better options to choose from. Also, it’s lacking in omega fatty acids needed for a healthy immune system boost. However, this alone wouldn’t put it near the bottom of our list. After all, it’s about as all-natural as you’re going to get.
The real kicker is the price. It costs almost as much as the science diet without all the added nutrients.
10. Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Dry Dog Food
When it comes to Rachael Ray’s Nutrish line of dog food, we’re normally just in love with it. It always provides a great bargain alternative to healthy nutrition for your pup. However, the Just 6 formula falls way short of expectations. This particular blend is made up of just six different ingredients — with added vitamins and minerals. However, two of the top 3 ingredients are rice! The number one ingredient is lamb meal, but it’s shortly followed by rice and beet pulp. It isn’t until you reach the bottom of that list do you hit any other ingredient with substance. And even those are just chicken fat and “natural pork flavoring”.
And the nutrition content shows it. At only 20% protein and 13% fat, several other available options can have a much better impact on your dog’s well-being. If you’d like to see the real potential of Rachael Ray’s Nutrish, we recommend trying Nutrish PEAK Grain-Free Natural Open Range.
Ensuring that your St. Bernard has the best possible nutrition is a tricky balancing act. And that’s because your pup has different dietary requirements throughout different stages of their life.
But what are those stages, and how much should they eat during that time?
These questions, along with others, can make feeding your gentle giant seem like a complicated task. However, that’s where this guide steps in. We’ll go over the important things that you need to know to make sure that your St. Bernard gets exactly what they need when they need it.
What Nutrition to Look For
When it comes to determining the right food formula for your pup, you’ll need to first understand what’s important for your St. Bernard.
Several different elements make up a well-balanced diet including:
All dogs require a high protein diet to help them build lean muscle mass. However, due to their enormous size, it’s especially important for the St. Bernard. But just having a high protein content doesn’t make a particular dog food blend better than another. Most formulas out there easily meet the high-protein requirement needed by dogs.
It’s the source of the protein that makes the difference.
You’ll need to look on the ingredient list and find out what the primary source of protein is. If you don’t see ingredients such as whole chicken, beef, buffalo, or fish, you might want to reconsider your choice of food. Proteins provided primarily by “meat meals” aren’t nearly as desirable as those with quality ingredients.
It may seem like feeding your dog fat is a terrible idea, especially a dog like the St. Bernard which is prone to obesity. However, your pup needs a daily intake of healthy fat. This fat helps to store the energy your dog receives from their protein and carbohydrate intake.
But that’s not all fat does for your St. Bernard. They also help their bodies absorb a particular group of nutrients called fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K), which help boost their immune system and provide a healthy coat and nails.
Also when it comes to St. Bernard pups, you’ll need to pay close attention to the subtle balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids they consume. These two work together in harmony to help regulate inflammation in your dog’s body.
Omega-3s will lower the amount of inflammation to prevent issues and minimize the effects of issues such as cancer, heart disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. Omega-6s, on the other hand, actually raise the inflammation within their bodies to help their white blood cells stave off infection.
Carbs serve one purpose in a dog’s body, and that’s to provide the caloric intake your pooch needs to fuel their bodies. It may come as no surprise that St. Bernards need a huge caloric intake compared to other dogs.
However, that doesn’t mean you should just grab any food high in carbohydrates. Like protein, it’s important to determine the source of these carbohydrates, especially for St. Bernards. The breed is very prone to allergies, and many carbohydrate sources included in dog food formulas are common allergens.
If possible, seek out a brand rich in complex carbohydrates such as chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. These are less likely to upset your dog, and they provide top quality carbs for your loved one.
Although dogs are primarily carnivorous, they still need fiber to help keep their gut health in check. However, too much fiber, they’ll begin to experience digestion issues.
Fiber is typically added to your dog’s food through the use of vegetables, legumes, and beans. You’ll want to shoot for a fiber content of somewhere between 3% to 5% for optimal balance.
A Saint Bernard’s Diet Throughout Their Life
To ensure that your dog has what’s best for them, you’re going to need to adapt and change their diet as they age.
A quality large breed puppy chow such as the Iams ProActive Health Smart above will be designed to meet those requirements. This can be accomplished by swapping over to a reduced-fat formula that helps them get the caloric intake they need to fuel their massive bodies but minimizes the risk of obesity. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is a good choice for a regular diet staple that meets these requirements. However, if your dog stays active, there’s no need to drop the fat content so low. You’ll want something a bit “beefier” which is where our top pick of Taste of the Wild High Prairie works perfectly. The Blue Buffalo Life Protection line also makes a senior formula for large breeds. If looking for senior St. Bernard dogs, this would easily be our top choice. It still has a high protein content and low fat, but it also has a much-needed fiber boost and increased moisture content.
As puppies, St. Bernards are going to require a higher protein content. This ensures that they have the nutrients and amino acids they need to develop plenty of lean muscle mass to help carry their large bodies. They should be eating food that has a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat.
As an adult, the name of the game is balance. You’re going to want to continue feeding your pup a considerable amount of protein (20%-26%) while maintaining a lower fat content (8%-12%).
As your pooch ages and becomes less active, you’ll need to offset this inactivity through their diet. Older dogs can quickly become obese and compound developing or existing health conditions.
A quality large breed puppy chow such as the Iams ProActive Health Smart above will be designed to meet those requirements.
This can be accomplished by swapping over to a reduced-fat formula that helps them get the caloric intake they need to fuel their massive bodies but minimizes the risk of obesity. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is a good choice for a regular diet staple that meets these requirements.
However, if your dog stays active, there’s no need to drop the fat content so low. You’ll want something a bit “beefier” which is where our top pick of Taste of the Wild High Prairie works perfectly.
The Blue Buffalo Life Protection line also makes a senior formula for large breeds. If looking for senior St. Bernard dogs, this would easily be our top choice. It still has a high protein content and low fat, but it also has a much-needed fiber boost and increased moisture content.
When it comes to feeding your St. Bernard, you’re going to need to pay special attention to them to help them live their best lives. Due to their massive size and special dietary requirements, they should be fueling their bodies with nothing but the best.
Hopefully, these reviews have helped you narrow down the playing field when it comes to selecting the right food for your pup.
Our top pick, Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free, is a perfect option for active adults. It’s got a high protein content made from all-natural whole foods and great fat content to keep your dog energized throughout the day.
But if you’re searching for the best dog food for the money, Eukanuba Large Breed is the way to go. It still provides all the nutrition that your pup needs while being a bit easier on the wallet.
However, if you are a parent to a mature St. Bernard, be sure to adjust accordingly. When older, their size really begins to take a toll on them. A dog food made specifically for them like Blue Buffalo Life Protection Senior Large Breed is exactly what they need.
Featured Image Credit: Grigorita Ko, Shutterstock
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Dog Foods for St Bernards
- 1. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
- 2. Eukanuba Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food – Best Value
- 3. Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food – Best for Puppies
- 4. VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food
- 5. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food
- 6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food
- 7. Purina Pro Plan All Life Stages Dry Dog Food
- 8. Diamond Naturals All Life Stages Dry Dog Food
- 9. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Dry Dog Food
- 10. Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Dry Dog Food
- Buyer’s Guide
- A Saint Bernard’s Diet Throughout Their Life