The Bernese Mountain dog is a large to giant purebred dog breed whose popularity is definitely on the rise.
“Berners,” as fans of the breed have nicknamed these dogs, are currently the American Kennel Club‘s 22nd most popular pet dog.
But when you are considering adding a Bernese Mountain dog to your family, size is definitely going to be a consideration. So is diet.
Not only do you want to be sure you have enough space to comfortably house and transport your Berner, but you want to be sure your budget can accommodate your giant dog’s appetite.
How much does a Bernese Mountain dog eat on a daily basis? Let’s find out now!
How Much Does a Bernese Mountain Dog Eat?
The amount a Bernese Mountain dog needs to eat will change continually throughout life. Puppies need a different type and quantity of dog food than do adult dogs or senior Bernese.
This is why general guidance suggests a Bernese Mountain dog may eat anywhere from three to six cups of dog food daily (based on a commercial dog kibble diet). This daily food quantity may also change if you are feeding raw, wet, or homemade dog food.
Figuring out how much your Bernese Mountain dog needs to eat daily is not a one-size-fits-all-dogs answer. Work with your dog’s veterinarian to be sure your dog’s daily diet is proportionate with their age, gender, life stage, and activity level.
Learn About the Bernese Mountain Dog Breed
Is the Bernese Mountain dog the right dog breed for you?
This YouTube video gives you a short and sweet breed overview, starting with a history and then sharing daily care requirements, health and life expectancy, and personality and temperament.
Choosing the Right Dog Food for a Bernese Mountain Dog
As Bernese Spirit breeder explains, size definitely matters when choosing the right food for your Bernese Mountain dog.
This is especially vital during the brief puppy months, since your large puppy’s gastrointestinal and immune systems are still developing. You want to avoid offering any food that could contain parasites, bacteria or pathogens, such as raw meat.
While all dogs require a complete and balanced daily diet, the exact formula is different based on the dog’s projected adult size. A large or giant breed dog should be fed a complete and balanced diet designed for large to giant breed dogs.
Today, canine veterinary science is sufficiently advanced that you can feed your Bernese Mountain puppy a complete and balanced large or giant breed puppy food.
Then you can switch to a large or giant breed adult dog food. And then you can switch to a large or giant breed senior dog food. The exact timing of these switches is best chosen with the help of your canine veterinarian.
If you are planning to feed your adult Berner a raw food diet or a homemade food diet, be sure to work with a canine dietitian, your breeder or veterinarian to be sure the balance of nutrients is correct for each life stage.
With commercial dog foods, be aware that the manufacturer’s suggested daily portion sizes are just that – a suggestion. Your dog may need less or more than the suggested portion size and your dog’s veterinarian is your best resource for portion control.
Bernese Mountain Dog Dietary Dangers to Avoid
As BMD Info points out, there are several known dietary dangers that can cause your puppy or adult dog to become quite ill or medically compromised.
Here is a list of the dietary dangers you want to be sure to avoid:
Foods too high in fat or protein
High fat, high protein diets have been linked to health issues in Berners. You want to aim for a diet that is less than 16 percent fat and less than 28 percent protein to avoid these.
Canine obesity is a growing problem for companion canines today. VCA Animal Hospitals estimates that up to 30 percent of all companion canines may be overweight or obese.
Free feeding, which is the practice of leaving kibble out all day for your dog to snack on as hunger strikes, is a fast pathway to weight gain. The better approach is to offer timed mealtimes.
All food not eaten within a 20 to 30-minute period should be picked up. Your Berner will soon learn to eat during mealtimes or risk not getting fed.
Don’t let your dog eat right after exercise
Bernese Mountain dogs have deep chests and can be prone to a potentially fatal condition called bloat where the stomach twists.
As Aubrey Animal Medical Center explains, bloat is more likely if your dog gulps down food or water right after intense exercise.
Wait two hours after intense exercise before feeding your Berner. Alternately, ask your veterinarian to do a simple procedure to prevent bloat at the same time your dog is neutered or spayed.
Feeding a Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy
For brand new first-time Bernese Mountain dog owners, puppyhood can be an especially stressful time. You want to do absolutely everything right!
Your puppy’s diet will form the foundation for a lifetime of health, so this is an especially important area to get right.
Don’t make food price your sole selection criteria
Here, while price tag isn’t always indicative of a better quality puppy food, you shouldn’t let price be your sole deciding factor on which food to choose. Rather, do your research and find out what other Berner owners say about different food brands.
When in doubt, ask your dog’s breeder or your veterinarian what they recommend as far as the best food brands for a Bernese Mountain dog puppy.
Do not add extra supplements without your veterinarian’s blessing
It is also important not to add any extra vitamins, minerals, or supplements to your puppy’s daily diet unless your dog’s veterinarian specifically recommends this.
As long as you are feeding a complete and balanced puppy food formulated for large to giant breed puppies, your dog’s food should have all of the nutrients your growing puppy needs.
Choosing between a large breed and giant breed puppy food
At this point, you may be wondering how you will know whether a large breed puppy food or a giant breed puppy food is the best choice for your specific Berner puppy.
The best way to choose is to find out the weight of each parent dog. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), a Bernese Mountain dog adult can weigh anywhere from 70 to 115 pounds.
This is quite a wide range of adult weights. So if the weight range of your puppy’s parent dogs are between 70 and 90 pounds, you will probably want to choose a large breed puppy food.
However, if both parent dogs’s weights are in the triple digits, a giant breed puppy food will probably make a better choice.
Here again, always take guidance from your dog’s breeder and your canine veterinarian if you are having trouble deciding.
Feeding an Adult Bernese Mountain Dog
Because Bernese Mountain dogs, like all large and giant breed dogs, can take longer to reach their full adult height, you may need to delay the switch from puppy food to adult dog food for a little longer.
But once you have made that important switch, feeding an adult Bernese Mountain dog is somewhat easier than feeding a Berner puppy.
By now, you know whether your Bernese Mountain dog is a large breed or giant breed dog and what dog food formula is most suitable.
You have also gotten through the puppy growth spurts and your dog’s appetite has stabilized accordingly.
Feeding a Senior Bernese Mountain Dog
During the senior dog years, your Bernese Mountain dog may start to enjoy a more sedentary lifestyle.
Switching to senior dog food and reducing portion size per meal can help ensure your senior Berner doesn’t start to pack on the pounds.
Feeding Schedule by Age for a Bernese Mountain Dog
WCC Berners breeder explains that when you feed your puppy a high quality complete and balanced commercial dog food, your dog will eat less, be healthier and have a more balanced temperament.
Young puppy (up to six months)
Young Berner puppies typically eat three times per day. Watch to see how much your puppy eats in 15 minutes to see if you are feeding too much or not enough.
Start with three-quarters cup and adjust up to 1.5 cups as needed per meal.
Older puppy (six months to 12 months)
An older Berner puppy can transition to twice-daily meals.
Portions per meal may range from three to six cups.
After 12 months of age, you can expect your dog to eat between four and six cups of food per day.
Your dog’s veterinarian can help you adjust portions.