New Puppy

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Barked: Mon Jul 15, '13 9:26am PST 
Hello! New to the site, just created a profile to get some insight on my new Saint Bernard puppy.

Her name is Kona, she just turned 8 weeks on Saturday July 13. We took her to the vet for her checkup on Friday July 12 and found her to weigh 12lbs. I'm a little worried about her weight. She was the runt but mom and dad were huge at 168 and +200lbs and still good looking dogs. More importantly I want her to grow to a slow healthy weight to avoid any issues. I'm obsessivley concerned over bloat. I've read about it but I'm still panicky every time she eats or drinks. I rub her back until she gives me a big burp. We're feeding her 3x a day. 1 1/2 cups in the mornings and evenings and 1 cup in the afternoon. This is what the breeder stated she was feeding her. I told the vet this on Friday and she didn't seem concerned. However some interenet research suggests this might be too much?

She is currently on Pedegree (ugh) because that's what the breeder had her on. I read so much about dog food and did so much label reading that I couldn't make a desicion on what to feed her after we finish with the Pedegree so I panicked and purchased Iams because meat was at least listed in the first 3 ingredients. We're going to switch hert to Merrick Whole Earth Farms after we finish with the Iams as I already purchased and emptied the bag into our dog food container. I know there are so many types of better brand dog foods but Merrick seemed to be a good buy without breaking the bank.

We found out at the vet that poor Kona has a UTI which I suspected with her frequemcy urinating and water intake (my folks GSD had the same thing when we brought her home). She appears to get hot easy but the vet wasn't concerned as she maintained a normal temperature at checkup, said she could just be a warm puppy. The house is a comfortable temperature but she just likes to sprawl out on the tile.
She breathes heavy when she sleeps but I'm hoping it's just because she still adjusting to us as we've only had her since Tuesday July 9. The breeder said the vet okay-ed her to go home early which I know isn't uncommon with large breeds.

Kona is due back on July 22 for a checkup on her UTI to make sure the antibiotics took and to administer a round of boosters. The vet seems pretty intent on giving Kona bug Bordetella. My folks have never given the vaccination to their dogs and as we don't plan on boarding Kona I told the vet we weren't interested. Her response was that Bordetella runs rampant in our area. Thoughts?

I'm just so worried about ruining this poor puppy! She has a great personality and lots of energy now that her antibiotics have kicked it. She's very sweet and seems to be adjusting well but the more I read on the sensitivity of the breed th emore nervous I get about bloat and what food to feed, what vaccinations to give, etc.

Thoughts and comments appreciated!

I love sitting- in laps
Barked: Sat Jul 20, '13 11:08am PST 
Puppies really shouldn't leave the breeders until they're at least 8 weeks. Ideally 9 weeks would be even better. There's so much puppies still need to learn from their momma and litter mates at 7-9 weeks. But, what's done is done.

There's a fabulous thread in the "Food and Nutrition" forum about large breed puppy food. If I knew how to transfer links on here, I'd post it here for you, but I'm not very savvy that way. I'll try and find it and bump it for you. There's a lot of really good info posted about what to feed and I think it will really educate you on what direction to go.
Also, post your questions on the puppy forum. There are a lot of really smart people who are regulars on this site and they can really help you with your questions. They're not very likely to visit a specific breed forum, that's why I suggest going to the puppy forum. They can also give you great advice on your vaccine concerns.

Glad to hear that you're no longer feeding Pedigree. Absolute garbage food.

As for bloat, most important is no exercise an hour before a meal and an hour after a meal.
I too was freaked out about bloat, but since it's still such a mystery as to why it can happen, I just take precautions with the full tummy and exercise and with how fast and how much water my guy gulps down.
The jury is still out on whether elevated food/water bowls help in prevention.

I didn't see where you live, but if you're living in a seriously hot region, your pup shouldn't be spending much time outside. It's understandable why she would splay herself out on cool tile and not want to do much in the heat.

When we get a heat wave here, I take Moose outside and hose him down for 5 minutes, making sure I totally soak him. I barely dry him off (just enough so my floors don't get soaked) and I bring him inside and put a fan in front of him. Within 15 minutes he stops panting heavily. I also run floor fans 24/7 in the two main rooms he spends time in.

Congratulations on your new puppy.

Better than the- whole bunch put- together
Barked: Mon Jul 29, '13 8:58am PST 
Hi there! Congrats on the new puppy! party

When my husband and I got Gatsby, neither of us had ever had a giant breed dog before, and it was a learning curve for us. Luckily, we had a vet and a trainer who were patient with our obsessive calls.

We were also concerned about the proper food to feed him. We finally settled on Nutro Ultra large breed puppy food as it wasn't overly expensive and he seemed to like it. Also as he grew, his food could grow with him, and we ultimately graduated him to the Nutro Ultra large breed dog food. He was 22lbs when we picked him up at 8 weeks, so we were concerned that he was going to be overweight , which is dangerous for the larger breeds...well any breed really. We asked the vet about serving sizes and she suggested we follow the directions on our dog food bag.

Gatsby is weighting in at about 150lbs now, which is a fairly average weight for him to be. He gained weight steadily for a year or so and then it just dropped off until he stopped at his current weight. His dad was all of 200lbs, and his mother was no slouch in the weight area either. We were just shooting for healthy, which he does seem to be. Kona will probably be smaller anyway as she's female.

As for bloat, we spoke to the vet and the trainer about that and ended up building a set of slightly elevated bowls. The trainer said he should be able to stand at his bowl without lifting his neck up or splaying his feet apart, so that's where he is now. He also recommended no heavy exercise for at least an hour on either side of feeding time. Gatsby will be 2 in just a few weeks, and we've not had a problem yet.

Gatsby also breathes pretty heavily, although not when sleeping typically. He did have a bout of ridiculous allergies when he was a few months old that made him stuffy, miserable and a heavy breather. The vet put him in antibiotics, and then said if it ever kicked up we could give him a Benadryl to help. Have you asked the vet about allergies?

I'm not sure what to tell you about the vaccination. We didn't give Gatsby one until we started his training classes, and only because it was required. He was about 7 months old or so. I didn't notice any negative side-effects from it, if that helps any.

The important thing is to take care of her to the best of your ability, which it sounds like you're trying to do. We trust our vet completely, as we know she would bend over backwards to make sure that Gatsby is taken care of and healthy, so if you are questioning your vet, maybe find one that you're more comfortable with, trusting your vet is essential, at least in my opinion.

Just relax, and keep an eye on her, and enjoy her. After having Gatsby, we've decided that we are just St. Bernard people, they are a wonderful breed, with great personalities. You will love every second...even the ones you're covered in drool. smile

Member Since
Barked: Fri Sep 13, '13 9:41am PST 
Don't worry about Kona being the runt.. my Brodi was the supposed runt of his litter weighing 12 pounds at 8 weeks.. he's now 4yrs and pushing 160 and stands 30 inches at shoulder height. His sister (same parents different litter) Bella outweighed him by a couple of pounds at 8 weeks but is now 3yrs and runs about 145-50. We worried about both our dogs gaining the proper weight those first 6 months as both tended to look a little gangly and we worried our vet may think we were starving them.. but she assured us we were feeding them properly and reminded us that they will grow up (height) faster than they grow out. Bella also gets UTIs my vet says its more common for female dogs.. she's had about 1 a year. The key is to recognizing it early and getting her into the vet asap. And don't let your vet bully you into vaccines you may not need right now. Unless Kona is going to be at a doggy day care or kenneled while your out of town; or around other dogs continuously -you should be just fine in waiting until you need it.