Is Saint Bernard a healthy dog?

Did you know that the Saint Bernard is originally from the Swiss Alps and was bred to find and save lives during avalanches? Yes, those fluffy, drooling faces, and heart-melting eyes were once heroes of the harsh mountain terrains! But the big question is not related to their past but their present: “Is Saint Bernard a healthy dog?”

Well, before we dive into this question, let’s understand more about the breed.

Saint Bernards are certainly one charming breed. With their massive size yet gentle nature, they are often referred to as “gentle giants”. They are known for their noble temperament, intelligence, and their knack for being wonderful family pets. Sounds dreamy, right?

However, like any other breed, Saint Bernards have their share of health issues that can weigh down over their lifetime. Now, It’s important to stress that not all Saint Bernards will suffer from these conditions, but potential owners should be aware of them.

First among those potential health issues are Bone and Joint issues like Hip Dysplasia, a genetic ailment that results in an improperly formed hip joint. This issue can potentially cause a Saint Bernard intense pain and decrease their quality of life significantly. Because of this, many breeders test their dogs for Hip Dysplasia, so always take the time to ask about this when adopting a Saint Bernard puppy.

Another familiar health concern is Elbow Dysplasia, just like the hip counterpart only with elbow joints, leading to arthritic conditions and immobility later in the pet’s life. Other bone-related issues that can affect this breed include Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD), which can affect the growth and formation of cartilage in the joints, and Osteosarcoma, a severe form of bone cancer.

Saint Bernards are also prone to encounter cardiovascular issues, which most commonly manifests as Dilated Cardiomyopathy, a condition causing the heart’s walls to dilate and prevent the heart from beating efficiently.

One health concern that is shockingly more common among Saint Bernards than you would think is Bloat. It is a condition that occurs when the dog’s stomach fills with air, causing it to enlarge. This can become a life-threatening emergency if the stomach twists.

Despite these potential health issues, it’s important to remember that many Saint Bernards live long, healthy lives. The average lifespan of a Saint Bernard is 8 to 10 years, though many have been known to live longer with proper care and regular vet check-ups.

If you’re considering welcoming a Saint Bernard into your home, make sure they come from a reputable breeder. Ask for health clearances to show that the puppy’s parents have been tested and found to be free of these specific health conditions.

Maintaining the health of a Saint Bernard also requires regular exercise, as it is an active breed. Physical activity should be part of their daily routine to keep them in shape. Also, keep an eye on their diet. These dogs can gain weight quickly, and obesity will only add to their potential health problems.

Grooming is also part of maintaining your Saint Bernard’s health. Regular brushing is necessary to keep their coat clean and prevent any skin infections. Despite their large size, they’re not huge shedders but will “blow” or shed their protective undercoat once or twice a year.

Lastly, regular vet check-ups are vital to catch any potential health problems in the early stages. Regular screening tests can help detect conditions like hip dysplasia, heart disease, and other issues that can be managed better if caught early.

Despite some potential health issues, Saint Bernards make amazing pets, and their friendly nature and love for their families make any health obstacles worth overcoming. Remember, owning a pet comes with many responsibilities, and ensuring their health should be top of your list.

In sum, a Saint Bernard can be a healthy dog with the proper care, regular check-ups, and a good diet. As an owner, all you need to do is provide plenty of affection, enough exercise, and you will surely be greeted with a wagging tail and a lifetime of loyalty!