fbpx ...
Home Dog BreedsBreeds - Specific Guides Essential Care Tips for Saint Bernard Health in Cold Climates

Essential Care Tips for Saint Bernard Health in Cold Climates

by Dan Turner

As a proud Saint Bernard parent, I’ve learned that keeping these gentle giants happy and healthy in cold climates requires special attention. Even though their thick fur and sturdy build, Saint Bernards need more than just a snowy backyard to thrive.

From their diet to their exercise routine, everything needs a bit of tweaking to suit those chilly surroundings. I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way that have made all the difference. Let’s jump into how to keep your Saint Bernard in top shape when the temperature drops.

Saint Bernard health and care in cold climates

Caring for a Saint Bernard in colder climates is an adventure I’ve grown to love. These gentle giants, with their thick fur and imposing presence, are made for the snow but they require attention beyond what you might expect. Here’s what I’ve learned about keeping my Saint Bernard happy and healthy when the weather outside is frightful.

Embrace the Cold, Wisely

First off, it’s crucial to appreciate that Saint Bernards love the cold, but they’re not invincible against it. Their thick coats provide insulation, yet they’re not immune to frostbite on their extremities or hypothermia if not careful. I always monitor the time my furry friend spends outside when the temperature dips, ensuring it’s just right—not too long, but enough to satisfy his love for the chilly outdoors.

Nutrition Needs a Nudge

I quickly discovered that my Saint Bernard’s dietary needs changed with the seasons. During colder months, he needs:

  • More calories: He burns more energy keeping warm.
  • Plenty of water: To stay hydrated and help regulate body temperature.

I adjust his diet to include higher fat and protein foods, and I always keep his water bowl full and unfrozen.

Exercise with a Twist

Exercise is as crucial in winter as it is in warmer months, but with adjustments:

  • Shorter, more frequent walks
  • Indoor play sessions
  • Plenty of rest

This regimen keeps him fit without overexposure to harsh conditions.

Health Checks and Grooming

Winter weather can be tough on a Saint Bernard’s health and appearance. Here’s what I stay on top of:

  • Paw Care: Salt and ice can damage their paws. I use dog-friendly salt for my driveway, and I’m diligent about washing and drying his feet after walks.
  • Coat Care: Regular grooming is essential for managing shedding and ensuring his coat provides the best insulation.
  • Joint Health: The cold can aggravate joint issues, so I’ve invested in a comfortable bed and keep an eye on any signs of discomfort.

Understanding the needs of Saint Bernards in cold weather

Caring for Saint Bernards during the chillier months isn’t just about letting them romp in the snow—my fluffy friends need a bit more TLC to truly thrive when the temperature drops. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few tricks to ensure they’re not just surviving but living their best snowy lives.

First and foremost is their diet. It’s fascinating how much a slight tweak in their meals can impact their energy and overall health during winter. Since these gentle giants burn more calories to stay warm, increasing their food intake is essential. The goal is to amp up the quality as well. Here’s the breakdown:

Nutrient Winter Adjustment
Calories Increase by 10-20%
Proteins Slightly higher portion
Fats Boost for energy and coat health

Water intake is another critical factor. Even though the cold, dehydration is still a concern in winter, largely because we tend to overlook it. Ensuring they have constant access to clean, unfrozen water is a simple yet crucial step in their winter care.

Exercise needs a different approach too. Long walks in the snowy paradise might seem appealing, but shorter and more frequent outings are more beneficial, reducing risks associated with the cold such as frostbite and hypothermia. Indoor play sessions also become a go-to, keeping them active and engaged while sheltered from harsh conditions.

Practical yet often overlooked, paw care becomes paramount. The salt and chemicals used on icy streets can be harsh on their paws. Here’s what I do to protect them:

  • Use dog booties for outside adventures.
  • Apply paw balm before and after walks.
  • Keep nails trimmed to improve grip.

Coat and skin care shouldn’t take a back seat either. Saint Bernards have remarkable coats, but the dry winter air can leave them itchy and their skin flaky. Regular brushing and occasional moisturizing with pet-safe products keep their coat shiny and skin healthy.

Finally, it’s important to watch for signs of discomfort that could indicate joint issues, which can worsen in cold weather. I always make sure to:

  • Keep their sleeping area warm and cozy.
  • Incorporate gentle joint exercises into their routine.
  • Consider supplements if recommended by the vet.

The importance of proper diet for Saint Bernards in cold climates

When the mercury drops, my hefty, fluffy Saint Bernard doesn’t just need a warm spot by the fire; he also needs a diet adjustment to keep his energy up. You see, these giants burn more calories in the cold as they work harder to maintain their body temperature. So, I’ve tailored a diet that ensures he stays as bouncy as a puppy, even when it’s sweater weather for us humans.

Firstly, increased calorie intake is crucial. In chillier months, my Saint Bernard’s diet sees a calorie boost of around 20-30%. This doesn’t mean just piling more food into his bowl. Instead, I focus on richer, calorie-dense foods that provide energy without unnecessary bulk.

  • Protein and Fat: The cornerstones of his wintertime diet. These are not just any proteins and fats, though. I opt for high-quality sources, like lean meats and fish oils, which support muscle health and joint flexibility.
  • Hydration is Key: Even in colder weather, staying hydrated is a must. I always ensure his water bowl is filled with fresh, unfrozen water. Sometimes, I’ll even add a bit of warm water to encourage drinking.

Regular weight checks are part of our routine. It’s easy for weight to creep up when you’re bundling up and cuddling more than usual. Monitoring his weight ensures that his increased calorie intake is just right and not tipping him into the overweight category.

Adjusting his diet for winter doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it’s become a fun seasonal tradition for us. Experimenting with healthy, calorically appropriate treats and meals keeps his palate excited and ensures he’s getting the energy he needs to thrive, not just survive, the winter months.

And let’s not forget about supplements. I’ve found that a dash of glucosamine and fish oil in his meals not only keeps his coat shiny but also supports his joints, which is especially important in the cold.

Keeping his paws on the ground and his tail wagging in the winter takes a bit more than just a cozy bed. It’s about ensuring his body gets the right fuel to not just withstand the cold, but to revel in it. After all, a happy, healthy Saint Bernard makes for a happy, cozy home.

Exercise routines for Saint Bernards in cold weather

Adjusting exercise routines for our gentle giants, Saint Bernards, during those snowy months is crucial. 

Firstly, shorter, more frequent walks are key. I find that while my Saint Bernard, Bernie, loves the snow, the cold can be taxing after a while. To keep him engaged without overdoing it, I’ve adopted a strategy of two shorter walks a day. This maintains his excitement for the outdoors while ensuring he doesn’t get too cold.

Indoor play is another essential element. On particularly frosty days when even short walks seem daunting, I turn to indoor games. Fetch, tug-of-war, and hide-and-seek with his favorite toys not only keep Bernie active but also strengthen our bond. Here’s a quick breakdown of our go-to activities:

  • Fetch: Using a long hallway or a spacious living room
  • Tug-of-war: With his favorite rope toy
  • Hide-and-seek: Hiding treats or his beloved teddy for him to find

Creative exercise doesn’t stop at play. Training sessions indoors can be surprisingly energy-consuming for them. Basic obedience drills or new tricks keep Bernie’s mind sharp and body engaged. Plus, it’s a blast seeing him get all excited about mastering a new command – his tail wag just won’t stop!

Paw care during these outdoor activities can’t be overlooked. Salt and ice can be harsh on their pads, leading to discomfort or even injury. I make sure to apply paw balm before our walks and clean his paws afterward to protect them. On days when the ground’s particularly unfriendly, dog booties become Bernie’s best friends. Yes, he might give me that look when I put them on, but they ensure his paws stay safe.

Finally, monitoring the weather and adjusting accordingly is critical. I’m always aware of the temperature and wind chill, ready to modify our routine to keep Bernie comfortable and safe. If it’s too cold, even for a Saint Bernard, we opt for a more robust indoor session instead of braving the snow.

Adapting our routines during the colder months makes sure Bernie remains healthy, happy, and, importantly, eager to explore the winter wonderland.

Grooming tips for Saint Bernards in cold climates

When it comes to grooming Saint Bernards during the chillier months, I’ve learned a thing or two that keeps both of us happy. It’s not just about keeping them looking good—it’s about keeping them feeling great too. Here’s my tried and tested advice for grooming these gentle giants when the mercury drops.

First off, let’s talk about that glorious fur. Saint Bernards sport a thick, dense coat that’s like their own personal winter jacket. But even the best jackets need care to keep them in top condition:

  • Brush regularly to prevent matting. Once or twice a week should do the trick, but during shedding season, you might need to ramp it up.
  • Dry thoroughly after outdoor adventures. Moisture trapped in their fur can lead to chills or skin issues. A good towel rub or a blow dryer on a cool setting works wonders.

Onto those big, beautiful paws. They’re like built-in snowshoes, but they need specific attention in winter:

  • Check between the toes for ice balls or debris after walks. These can be uncomfortable and even cause cuts or cracks.
  • Keep nails trimmed. Long nails can affect your dog’s gait and make it difficult for them to walk on icy surfaces.
  • Apply paw balm. Just like our lips get chapped, their pads can too. A nice layer of balm before bed can help soothe and protect.

Finally, don’t forget about their diet and hydration. It might not seem directly related to grooming, but trust me, it is:

  • Increase their calorie intake slightly. They’re burning more energy to stay warm, so they might need extra food.
  • Ensure constant access to water. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean they can’t get dehydrated. Snow is no substitute for a good old-fashioned bowl of water.

Adjusting your Saint Bernard’s grooming routine for cold weather doesn’t have to be a chore. With these tips, you’ll keep your furry friend comfortable and healthy, all while enjoying the winter wonderland together. Remember, a well-groomed Saint Bernard is a happy, cozy companion ready to tackle the cold head-on.


Taking care of a Saint Bernard in cold climates might seem daunting at first but it’s all about the basics: grooming, diet, and paw care. By staying on top of these, I’ve found that my furry friend not only looks great but feels fantastic too. It’s all about making those chilly months comfortable and enjoyable for them. Remember, a little extra effort goes a long way in ensuring your Saint Bernard thrives in the cold. Here’s to many happy, snowy adventures with your well-cared-for companion!


Dan Turner

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

It's always time for dogs!

Recent Posts

A girl and her dog rub noses.

Join Us!

Dig in for doggie fun, news, inspiration, and so much more!

Uncover inspiring tales, paw-fect tips, and wag-worthy fun.

Follow Us On Facebook

@2024 – All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by Dan Turner and Kimberley Lehman. Our platform is reader-supported.
DoggieTimes.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. When you make purchases through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.