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With their giant build and soft tricolor coats, Bernese mountain dogs are an easy breed to identify. They were originally developed as farm dogs but today serve their human companions well as faithful family pets. Weighing between 65 and 120 pounds at maturity, the Bernese mountain dog can be a lot to handle, not to mention at increased risk for health problems like cancer, orthopedic diseases, and eye problems.
In this article, we’ll delve deeper into some of the health problems affecting the Bernese mountain dog breed and talk about how to choose the best dog food. You’ll also see our top picks for the best dog food for Bernese mountain dogs.
Health Problems Affecting the Bernese Mountain Dog
As a giant breed, it should come as no surprise that the Bernese mountain dog’s average lifespan is only 7 to 10 years. Though they may not live as long as many dogs, this breed is still fairly healthy. Many of the health problems to which the breed is prone are orthopedic, so be sure to choose a dog food that contains the right blend of calcium and phosphorus for strong bones with joint-supporting nutrients such as glucosamine and chondroitin.
Other health problems to which the breed may be susceptible include the following:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Von Willebrand’s disease
In addition to these health issues, Bernese mountain dogs are also highly prone to bloat or gastric torsion. This is a condition in which the stomach fills with air and twists on its axis, cutting off blood supply to the essential organs. This happens when the dog eats too much at once, eats too quickly, or swallows air while eating so make sure your dog eats slowly.
Shopping for the Best Food for Bernese Mountain Dogs
When shopping for Bernese mountain dog food, the best place to start is with a size-specific formula designed for your dog’s life stage. Bernese mountain dogs often take two years to reach full size, so large-breed puppy food makes sure your puppy doesn’t grow too quickly.
Here are some things to look for in a dog food for Bernese mountain dogs:
- High-quality, natural ingredients. The quality of the ingredients in your dog’s food determines the quality of nutrition. Make sure your dog’s food is made primarily with whole-food ingredients, avoiding byproducts, fillers, and artificial additives.
- Rich in premium animal protein. Puppies need a minimum of 22% protein, and adults need 18% protein in their diet, ideally from animal sources such as meat, poultry, and fish. A giant breed like the Bernese mountain dog needs extra protein to maintain lean muscle mass.
- Low levels of healthy fat. The Bernese mountain dog is a giant breed but only moderately active so choose a dog food with low-to-moderate levels of healthy fat to provide for your dog’s energy needs. Look for plenty of omega-3s as well to support a soft and silky coat.
- Digestible carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide a source of energy and fiber but they need to come from digestible sources like whole grains and vegetables. Because the FDA is investigating a potential link between grain-free diets and heart problems in large-breed dogs, you should avoid grain-free diets high in legumes unless your dog has a specific allergy.
Now that you have a better understanding of your Bernese mountain dog’s nutritional needs and what to look for, you’re ready to start shopping for your dog’s new food. If you’re still a little overwhelmed, don’t worry—we’ve put together a list of options we recommend.
The 11 Best Dog Foods for Bernese Mountain Dogs
The best place to start shopping for Bernese mountain dog food is with a high-quality recipe formulated for large breeds. Large-breed puppy food will keep your Bernese mountain dog puppy from growing too fast while a large-breed adult recipe will help him maintain lean muscle mass and a healthy body weight. From there, you have some freedom to choose.
Here are our top picks for the best dog food for Bernese mountain dogs:
Start your Bernese mountain dog puppy off right with this protein-rich recipe featuring a blend of essential nutrients for balanced nutrition.Buy Now on Chewy
Featuring wholesome natural ingredients, this large-breed puppy formula provides the protein your puppy needs to grow strong with omega-3 and omega-5 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.Buy Now on Chewy
Formulated specifically for large and giant breed puppies, this lamb and chicken recipe is the perfect way to get your Bernese mountain dog puppy off to a healthy life.Buy Now on Amazon
Featuring a trio of premium animal proteins from chicken, lamb, and salmon, this recipe also contains pet-friendly superfoods such as blueberries, kale, and chia to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.Buy Now on Amazon
Made with real, deboned chicken as the first ingredient, this formula is protein-rich and moderate in fat and calories to keep your Bernese mountain dog healthy.Buy Now on Chewy
This formula features high-protein kibble infused with freeze-dried raw pieces of meat to give your dog a powerful boost of nutrition and natural meat flavor.Buy Now on Chewy
If your Bernese mountain dog has food allergies, this grain-free formula featuring fresh salmon as its primary source of protein packed with omega-3s could be the solution.Buy Now on Amazon
Made with nothing but wholesome natural ingredients, this large-breed adult formula is protein-rich and supplemented with joint-supporting glucosamine and chondroitin.Buy Now on Amazon
Featuring chicken meal as a concentrated source of lean protein with oatmeal for digestible carbohydrates, this giant-breed recipe is perfect for your Bernese mountain dog.Buy Now on Amazon
With deboned turkey as a lean source of protein and joint-supporting nutrients, this healthy weight formula is uniquely designed for large breeds like your Bernese mountain dog.Buy Now on Chewy
As your Bernese mountain dog gets older, he may slow down and this weight management formula will give him the nutrients he needs without going overboard on calories.Buy Now on Chewy
The Bernese mountain dog is a beautiful breed that many people overlook. If you’re curious to learn more about these wonderful dogs, check out our list of the 5 facts Bernese mountain dog lovers know by heart.