Bernese mountain dogs look like adorable tiny black bears as puppies and grow to adult bear-size by the time they are 8 months old! This ancient Swiss mountain breed hails from the town of Bern, which interestingly enough, has its official town symbol as the black bear. Their size and energy level require specific nutritional needs that can be met with the best dog food for Bernese Mountain Dog.
From all the cases I've seen in my practice, these America's popular giant dogs always have bear-like appetites to boot, so it is important to follow nutritional guidelines to keep them as healthy as possible. The Bernese Mountain Dog can become overweight easily if you don't keep a special eye on their diet.
Their size and energy level aren't the only factors that play a part in their nutritional needs. You also need to consider their current weight (overweight, underweight or at an acceptable weight), age and overall health condition.
I'll discuss all of this in more detail in a moment, but for now here's a look at the brands I'll be recommending in this article:
|Dog Food Brands||Price||Value||Rating|
|Natural Balance Delectable Delights||$$$||$0.30/oz||4.3/5|
|Hill’s Prescription Diet Kidney Care||$$$$$||$0.57/oz||5.0/5|
|Royal Canin GIANT Puppy Food||$$||$1.90/lb||4.6/5|
|Purina Pro Plan Large Breed||$$||$1.23/lb||4.5/5|
|Royal Canin GIANT Adult Formula||$$||$1.53/lb||4.0/5|
|Eukanuba Large Breed Adult Food||$$||$1.70/lb||4.5/5|
|Eukanuba Senior Large Breed||$$||$1.33/lb||4.5/5|
* Click on the Bernese Mountain Dog dog food for more information and prices or scroll down below for more details.
The Bernese mountain dog is a giant breed weighing 79-100 pounds as an adult. They are gentle giants with calm, sweet dispositions and are generally good with children. Their medium activity level makes them good pets for almost anyone, but they may get a little stir-crazy in a small urban apartment.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for being patient and smart. They enjoy gentle walks through the park and can even be trained to pull your children in a cart. Sadly, like many giant breeds, the Bernese mountain dog only has a lifespan of 8-9 years.
Best Dog Food for Bernese Mountain Dog
7 vet recommended brands
Before switching your dog to any new diet, always consult with a veterinarian. Remember that no article on the internet, including this one, can replace a consultation with a vet.
Common health conditions in Bernese Mountain Dogs
The Bernese mountain dog is generally a healthy breed, but it is important to be aware of certain issues. The ones noted here may be helped or possibly prevented with the best dog food for Bernese Mountain Dog.
Systemic histiocytosis is a familial problem in some lines of Bernese Mountain Dogs. It may begin as a cutaneous skin mass and progress to affect internal organs. All Bernese Mountain Dog owners need to be aware of this disease and monitor their dogs regularly for skin masses.
Sometimes it can affect dogs without having skin masses present. This disease will be difficult to eliminate from the breeding populations, as it typically happens in middle aged to older dogs after they have been bred. There is no specific treatment for malignant histiocytosis.
If your Bernese mountain dog has been diagnosed with malignant histiocytosis, ask your veterinarian for a referral to a veterinary oncologist. There may be some benefit to using a “cancer diet” with these patients, such as Hill’s Prescription Diet Urgent Care n/d.
This diet from is often recommended for dogs with cancer. It is in a highly palatable canned formulation that is easy to feed. It also contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and arginine.
If a prescription diet is not recommended for your dog, it is best to feed a calorie-dense, palatable diet full of antioxidants. Another best dog food for Bernese Mountain Dog diagnosed with cancer is Natural Balance Delectable Delights Pawpaya Pilaf Stew.
It is important to keep your dog well-nourished while they fight cancer. Natural Balance has individual stew formulations that are tasty and contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein and antioxidants. This particular one contains real papaya, fish, turkey and brown rice.
Veterinary oncologists and holistic veterinarians alike recommend high levels of antioxidants to cancer patients. Even if your Bernese is already on a cancer diet, talk to your veterinarian about starting VetriScience Cell Advance 880.
Cell Advance 880 is a potent blend of antioxidants that is trusted by veterinarians. It contains 23 powerful free-radical scavengers, including Vitamins A, C, E and B6. Bioflavonoids rutin, hesperidin and quercetin support tissue health and help maintain healthy collagen levels. The capsules are very easy to administer.
Glomerulonephritis is a condition that affects the kidneys of Bernese mountain dogs, which can lead to kidney failure. Diet therapy is often successful in preventing the progression of kidney disease in both dogs and cats.
If your dog is diagnosed with a kidney disorder, it is best to look into a diet that will help preserve their kidney function as much as possible, like Hill’s Prescription Diet Kidney Care k/d Chicken and Vegetable Stew. In the 1930’s, the very first diet developed by Hill’s was a kidney care diet. Over the years, the formula has been changed and tweaked to its current, clinically proven form.
The chicken stew recipe is the most successful version yet. Controlled phosphorus levels, low sodium and high levels of essential amino acids support healthy kidney function like no other diet out there.
Like many other purebred giant breeds, hip dysplasia is a concern with the Bernese Mountain Dog. Hip dysplasia is a developmental orthopedic disease in which the ball-and-socket joint of the hip does not form properly. Genetics play a large part in the development of the disease, and it is important to ensure that your pup’s parents had their hips “certified” – the current best method being the PennHip technique.
While screening is helpful in eliminating the genes in breeding stock, it is still possible for any Bernese to develop hip dysplasia. While there is a genetic component to these diseases, there are significant nutritional risk factors that play a part during puppyhood. These risk factors are rapid growth and excess dietary calcium intake.
MORE INFORMATION: 16 Best Tips From Four Famous Vets On Canine Nutrition
Puppy Bernese Mountain Dogs
Your Bernese puppy may have a giant appetite, but don’t cater to it. To be safe, don’t overfeed your pup and use one of the best dog food for Bernese Mountain Dog brands, like Royal Canin GIANT Puppy Food.
Royal Canin recommends two different ‘stages’ of puppy food for giant breed dogs like the Bernese. The first is their ‘Giant’ puppy formula, which sports a larger sized, patented kibble design to help giant puppies optimally chew their food. This food is typically fed until the pup is 8 months old.
Bernese mountain dogs mature slowly and have slightly different nutritional requirements after 8 months of age. I recommend Royal Canin Junior GIANT formula as the best dog food for Bernese Mountain Dog pups between 8-24 months of age. Since Bernese dogs face aging changes sooner in their lives compared with smaller breeds, their joints need support earlier. Royal Canin Junior GIANT is fortified with chondroitin and glucosamine to nourish growing cartilage.
If you can’t find Royal Canin or it is out of your price range, consider feeding Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Chicken and Rice Puppy. Purina Pro plan is an excellent alternative and Purina’s “premium” line.
This large breed formula is good for growing Bernese puppies and will encourage slow growth and healthy joint growth. This food stands out from the rest as it contains omega-3 essential fatty acids and glucosamine for healthy joint development.
Adult Bernese Mountain Dogs
Bernese mountain dogs become sexually mature later than smaller breeds. It is typically recommended to switch them to the best dog food for Bernese Mountain Dog adults when they reach 18 months of age.
Their caloric needs become slightly less at this time, so it is important to pay attention to their weight and body condition. If you have started your pup with Royal Canin, it is a good idea to continue from their puppy and junior formulas onto the adult Royal Canin GIANT Adult Formula.
Royal Canin, as a “premium” brand, will cost more overall for your Bernese. The benefits, however, make it worthwhile. More nutrient-dense foods like those from Royal Canin are more efficiently digested, translating to less mess with better formed, smaller bowel movements.
Royal Canin also takes extra care when balancing calcium levels for ongoing bone and joint support for your giant. Other important ingredients include omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA from cold-water fish, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.
Another top-notch food that I recommend as a best dog food for Bernese Mountain Dog is Eukanuba Large Breed Adult Food. Eukanuba gets top marks for taste and this formula will tempt even the pickiest of Bernese mountain dogs.
It is another “premium” brand, but at a slightly lower cost than Royal Canin. It contains healthy amounts of fiber and prebiotics for optimal digestibility. Recommended joint support nutrients chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine are included in the formula.
Senior Bernese Mountain Dogs
Bernese Mountain Dogs become seniors or geriatric around 5 years of age. In order to promote your giant’s longevity and overall quality of life, take care when choosing the best dog food for Bernese Mountain Dog seniors.
In this case, I recommend Eukanuba Senior Large Breed. Eukanuba does not disappoint with this senior food for large breed dogs. It contains higher levels of antioxidants for brain aging support and a minimum of 375mg/kg of joint supporting glucosamine.
If your senior has dental tartar accumulation, this diet may help reduce tartar buildup by up to 46%. Important ingredients like whole grain barley and beet pulp will help keep digestion regular and efficient.
Antioxidants are important for aging giant breed dogs like the Bernese. Tasty additions can be an easy way to entice your picky senior and provide advanced cellular support. A cost-effective supplement to try is Purina Pro Plan Additions Chicken and Berries Puree.
Tasty chicken and a vitamin-packed whole food blend of berries will not only entice your senior but provide important antioxidants. High levels of antioxidants in the diet may help slow aging changes by preventing oxidative damage to cells.
The Tail End
Diet is the cornerstone of good health. Food is not just fuel – it can help prevent and treat disease. Always consult with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your dog’s health or nutrition, and be sure to consult them before switching your dog's diet to the best dog food for Bernese Mountain Dog.
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