Care of A Bernese Mountain Dog

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Why Does Nutrition Matter?

Dog food is one definite way any pet owner can affect the longevity and quality of life for their Bernese. The quality of the food you feed makes a direct difference in your pet’s health. Quality is the key word, quality of the ingredients that go into the making of the pet food you feed. Quality food will meet the nutritional needs of your dog, without fillers. It is important to feed the highest quality food you are able to for your dog. 


The result is fewer skin conditions, less itching, fewer ear infections, shinier coats, less tear stains, less inflammatory bowel disease, better muscling and muscle tone, stronger bones, more energy, better temperament and other immediate physical benefits of better nutrition. Dogs are happier and feel better overall. 


Better nutrition, provides an overall boost in the immune system and improved health over the long term with less stress on the pet’s organs. The kidneys and liver have to work very hard to remove toxins such as chemicals, preservatives, dyes and other non-supportive elements of the pet’s food out of their body. At the same time their body is working so hard to remove these, they are working from a sometimes malnourished state because the food they’re eating is full of fillers or by-products that make them feel full but does not provide the nourishment needed for a healthy body.


Quality dog food can also help to prevent overfeeding, which has been shown to lead to hip dysplasia.  


(International Boarding & Pet Services, 2010) 


Bernese Mountain Dog Nutrition

Since Bernese Mountain Dogs are big dogs, you want to make sure you are feed your dog large breed food. Large breed dog food can significantly lower your dog’s risk of developing hip dysplasia. Whatever you choose to feed, please do your research and be sure to feed the serving suggestion by the food company.  


Nutrition - Supplements

Supplements can be used to make sure your dog is getting the nutrition that they need if their dog food is lacking. Important supplements for large dog breeds to have include: 

Glucosamine: promotes healthy cartilage and is a natural anti-inflammatory. This is for hip and joint health. 

Omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids for a healthy skin and a glossy coat.

Food & Supplements We Use!

We feed our dogs Fromm. It is a high quality dog food that is relatively inexpensive. It also has a ton of flavors to mix up the protein source for our dogs, without having to switch dog food brands and upset our dogs tummies. Protein variety is important in helping to prevent food allergies. Plus who would only want to eat chicken every day, twice a day for the rest of their life? 


We feed our puppies Fromm Large Breed Puppy food & send each puppy home with a small bag.  


We also feed our dogs PLATO Small Batch Bone Broth for Dogs and Naturvet Brewer's Dried Yeast w/Omegas. We use these supplements to enhance the overall health of our dogs and to help keep their joints healthy!  We also use TropiClean Fresh Breath Water Additive to keep our dogs teeth healthy. 

Exercise

Bernese Mountain Dogs need at least a half-hour of moderate exercise every day to stay healthy and happy. While they are definitely meant to live indoors with their human family, Berners enjoy outdoor activities and make great companions on long walks or hikes. Outdoorsy owners often take their Berners camping and backpacking. Berners enjoy pulling young children in a cart, and some even participate in carting and drafting competitions. Other canine sports in which Berners participate and excel in include agility, herding, obedience, rally & tracking. 

(American Kennel Club)

Grooming

Coat: To keep your dog’s coat healthy, it must be kept clean and brushed. Frequency of bathing depends on how quickly your dog gets dirty or has that “doggy” odor. Excessive bathing can cause as many problems as insufficient bathing. Bernese require less grooming than many other coated breeds as Berner coats easily shed dirt, especially with the help of a little brushing (Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America). 


Bernese Mountain Dogs have a double coat, with a longer outer coat and a wooly undercoat. Berners shed even more  during shedding season, which occurs twice a year. Weekly brushing—daily during shedding season—will help to remove loose hair and keep the dog looking his best. Any tangles can be worked out with a slicker brush or metal comb. (American Kennel Club)


We recommend taking your Bernese to a groomer during shedding season. You can also use a furminator to remove the loose hair and undercoat to decrease shedding.  


Nails: Should be trimmed regularly, as overly long nails can cause the dog pain and structural problems. Near the base and inside the dog’s nail is tender, pink tissue called the quick. The quick is visible inside white nails but not inside black ones. A longer nail will have a longer quick. Try to avoid cutting the quick as it is painful, and results in bleeding. As nails are shortened with regular clipping the quick will recede. Some dogs wear their nails down via daily activity and don’t require nail trimming at all by humans (Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America).


Ears: Periodic ear cleaning is very important to prevent infection and fungus growth. It is also important not to get water in the ear canal, as moisture quickly can lead to problems. There are many good products available from your vet or pet supply stores for use in ear cleaning. Be sure to follow the directions (Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America). 


Teeth: Like humans, a dog’s teeth require care. Cleaning teeth is easy and must be done regularly.  Canine dental care involves frequent brushing and periodic scaling to remove tartar. If you choose to do minor scaling yourself, have your vet demonstrate the proper technique (Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America). Dog food kibble can help to keep your dog's teeth clean. Be sure to also have appropriate chew treats & toys.  Regular trips to vet will also ensure your dogs teeth are healthy. 


We recommend TropiClean Fresh Breath Water Additive, as we use it to keep our dogs teeth healthy.