Best Dog Food for Bernese Mountain Dogs

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a fairly large breed, weighing anywhere from 65 to 120 pounds at maturity. Unfortunately, he is also prone to some serious health problems. Both of these factors contribute to a short lifespan of just 7 to 10 years. Although the quality of any dog’s diet can impact his health and lifespan, it is of particular importance to find the best Bernese Mountain Dog food to ensure that your dog lives as long as possible.

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Easily identified by his black coat with white and tan markings, the Bernese Mountain dog is a beloved family companion. Although this breed originated as a farm dog, his gentle nature and mild-mannered temperament makes him a great choice for both individuals and families. These dogs also excel in various dog sports including agility, drafting, herding, obedience, and even tracking.

If you aren’t quite sure what to look for when shopping for dog food, this guide is the perfect place to start! Keep reading learn what foods to feed a Bernese Mountain Dog.

Bernese Mountain Dog Diet and Nutrition

The basics of canine nutrition are the same across all breeds – that’s the first thing you need to know.

Dogs are like any living thing in that they require a balance of certain nutrients in their diet to provide energy and nutrients to keep their bodies running at their optimal level. What you may not realize, however, is that your dog requires a difference balance of nutrients than you do.

Although dogs are not quite so strictly carnivorous as cats are, protein is the most important element in a balanced canine diet. More importantly, that protein should come primarily from animal sources to ensure the best bioavailability. Animal proteins are also complete proteins while plant proteins are not – this simply means that animal products like meat, poultry, and seafood contain all of the essential amino acids your Bernese Mountain Dog needs for growth and maintenance.

After protein, fat is the next most important nutrient in your dog’s diet. In addition to insulating and protecting your dog’s internal organs, fats play a role in cell structure, hormone production, and nutrient absorption. It is also the most highly concentrated source of energy available to your dog.

Most commercial dog foods contain carbohydrates, but you should know that your dog doesn’t have any specific requirements for this particular nutrient. Carbohydrates provide energy as well as dietary fiber for healthy digestion, but your dog can survive with little to no carbohydrate in his diet. In fact, there is a large contingent of animal health experts who advocate for carb-free diets for dogs.

Unless you want to make your Bernese Mountain Dog’s food at home, you’ll probably end up buying a dog food that contains carbohydrates. Just be sure that they are digestible and that the fiber content isn’t too high. When shopping for dog food you should look for other beneficial ingredients as well – things like probiotics, chelated minerals, and the like.

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How Much Should You Feed Your Bernese Mountain Dog?

Now that you have a better understanding of your Bernese Mountain Dog’s nutritional needs, you may be wondering exactly how much to feed him.

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question.

The amount you need to feed your dog will vary according to numerous factors such as age, sex, and activity level. For example, puppies need more calories to fuel their growth and development while adults need enough energy to sustain their metabolism without too much extra that they become overweight or obese. If you choose to use your Bernese Mountain Dog in his intended role as a farm dog, or if you train him for dog sports, his daily energy expenditure may necessitate extra calories.

Another thing you need to consider:

Large-breed dogs like the Bernese Mountain Dog are already prone to musculoskeletal issues so you need to make sure that your puppy doesn’t grow too fast. This means you’ll have to be extra careful when choosing what to feed your puppy and you’ll need to make sure he gets enough to eat without eating too much.

One more thing you need to be aware of:

The Bernese Mountain Dog, like most larger breeds, is prone to a condition called gastric dilation volvulus, also known as gastric torsion or bloat. Basically, this is a condition in which the dog’s stomach fills with air and twists on its axis, cutting off blood flow. As you can imagine, this condition is extremely dangerous and can quickly become life-threatening. Preventing your dog from eating too much at once or from eating too quickly can help you prevent this deadly condition.

So, how do you determine how much to feed your dog?

You have two options. The first is to buy a large-breed puppy or adult dog food and follow the feeding recommendations. The second option is to actually calculate your dog’s energy needs. Keep reading to learn how to do it.

How Many Calories Does My Bernese Mountain Dog Need?

If you want to calculate your dog’s exact energy requirements, you can certain do that. If you just want to get a general idea how many calories he needs, however, that’s a bit easier. For the most part, dogs need an average of 30 calories per pound of bodyweight on a daily basis. Larger breeds like the Bernese Mountain Dog, however, have slightly slower metabolisms so they may only need 20 or 25 calories per pound of bodyweight. That would give you a range between 1,300 and 3,000 calories a day.

That’s a pretty big range! It all depends on your dog’s bodyweight, however.

Want to get a little more specific? Here is the formula for calculating your Bernese Mountain Dog’s specific calorie needs based on his bodyweight:

Resting Energy Requirement (RER) = 70 x (bodyweight in kg)¾

After calculating your dog’s RER, the energy requirement for a healthy, altered adult dog, you can multiply it by one of the following factors depending on his age, sex, and alteration status:

Description Factor
Puppy 0 to 4 months RER x 3.0
Puppy 4 to 12 months RER x 2.0
Intact Adult Dog RER x 1.8
Altered Adult Dog RER x 1.6
Active, Working Dog RER x 2.0 – 5.0
Weight Loss RER x 1.0
Weight Gain RER x 1.2 – 1.8
Obese or Inactive Dogs RER x 1.2 – 1.4

Once you have your Bernese Mountain Dog’s RER, simply multiply it by the correct factor according to this chart. Once you have your dog’s daily calorie requirements, you can use the nutrition information on the pet food package to determine how much to feed him each day.

What to Look for in a Good Bernese Mountain Dog Food

As you start shopping for a good Bernese Mountain Dog food, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind. First and foremost, remember that this is a large-breed dog – some might even consider it a giant breed for dogs that grow to over 100 pounds. The best place to start, then, is probably with a high-quality product formulated specifically for large-breed dogs.

Large-breed dog food formulas are rich in protein to help the dog maintain his lean muscle mass. What makes these recipes different from other dog food formulas is that they tend to be lower in fat – this is the best way to control the calorie content of the recipe. Large-breed recipes often contain supplemental glucosamine and chondroitin as well to support the dog’s bones and joints. This is particularly important for Bernese Mountain Dogs because this breed is prone to a number of musculoskeletal issues such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, and cruciate ligament rupture.

In addition to looking for a large-breed formula for your Bernese Mountain Dog, you should also keep an eye out for a recipe that is made with high-quality animal proteins for optimal bioavailability. You might even consider a grain-free formula if you are concerned about the potential for food allergies.

Top 3 Best Foods to Feed an Adult Bernese Mountain Dog

By now you should have a pretty good idea what a good dog food for Bernese Mountain Dogs look like. When you actually walk into a pet store, however, you may still be surprised (and perhaps overwhelmed) by the number of options.

If you want some help getting started, here are our top three picks:

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Large Breed Recipe

First 5 Ingredients : Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Potatoes

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Large Breed Recipe

The Merrick Pet Care Company offers several different product lines including the Backcountry line of raw-infused kibbles. This particular recipe is designed with large-breed dogs in mind and it is made with three sources of high-quality animal protein as the top three ingredients – deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal. In fact, it contains a whopping 38% protein which is much higher than the average kibble. In addition to being loaded with protein, this formula is naturally grain-free with peas, potatoes, and sweet potatoes as the main carbohydrates. Concentrated energy comes from nutritious chicken fat and there are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional balance.

First Mate Large-Breed Pacific Ocean Fish Formula

First 5 Ingredients : Potato, Pacific Ocean Fish Meal, Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat* (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Fish Oil

First Mate Large-Breed Pacific Ocean Fish Formula

The First Mate brand of pet food is produced in Canada but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of consideration than the top U.S.-made brands. This company uses only the most high-quality ingredients in their products, including the wild-caught Pacific Ocean fish used in this recipe. In addition to being made with a single source of high-quality protein, this formula is specifically designed for large-breed dogs and it comes in a larger kibble size as well. For carbohydrate energy and dietary fiber, this formula uses two different types of potato and the fat comes from chicken fat. You may notice that this recipe has a relatively short list of ingredients compared to many products and that means fewer artificial additives that don’t actually provide any nutritional benefit.

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large-Breed Formula

First 5 Ingredients : Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Peas

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large-Breed Formula

The Wellness pet food company offers several different product lines and the CORE lineup is their grain-free line. This particular recipe is designed for large-breed dogs which means that it is protein rich, calorie-limited, and supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin. The main source of protein used in this recipe is fresh, deboned chicken but there are several supplementary sources as well – chicken meal and turkey meal. For carbohydrate energy and nutritional balance, this recipe contains potatoes and peas with plenty healthy fat from chicken fat and ground flaxseed. You’ll also be glad to know that this recipe is supplemented with dried fermentation products for probiotic support as well as chelated minerals for optimal absorption.

Top 3 Best Foods to Feed a Puppy Bernese Mountain Dog

When it comes to the proper diet for a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, you shouldn’t just pick out any old puppy formula. It’s important to choose a recipe formulated for large-breed puppies to ensure that your puppy gets enough protein to fuel his growth without going overboard on calories, putting him at a higher risk for musculoskeletal issues as an adult.

If you want some suggestions for quality brands of puppy food, here are our top three picks:

Precise Naturals Large & Giant Breed Puppy Formula

First 5 Ingredients : Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Ascorbyl Palmitate)

Precise Naturals Large & Giant Breed Puppy Formula

The Precise Naturals brand of dog food is dedicated to producing high-quality, natural pet food formulas. They seek to provide exactly what pet parents want and what healthy pets need with each of their recipes. This large- and giant-breed puppy formula is a great choice for your Bernese Mountain Dog because it takes his size into consideration and, in doing so, provides plenty of protein for growth and development. It is limited in fat content, however, to ensure that your puppy doesn’t grow up too fast. This formula is supplemented with digestible whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal as well as beneficial supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin. It also contains chelated minerals and probiotics to support healthy digestion.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

First 5 Ingredients : Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Egg Product, Pea Protein

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

This grain-free recipe is the perfect blend of nutrition and digestible energy for your Bernese Mountain Dog puppy. It’s main protein sources are roasted venison and bison. Additionally, it contains vegetables and fruits that provide natural antioxidants for healthy growth. As with other Taste of the Wild formulas you’ll find amino acids, omega 3 and 6 acids and probiotics that promote a healthy digestive system. It’s also highly praised for it’s taste which is reflected in the hundreds of online comments.

Fromm Family Gold Large Breed Puppy Recipe

First 5 Ingredients : Duck, Chicken Meal, Chicken,Oatmeal, Pearled Barley

Fromm Family Gold Large Breed Puppy Recipe

The Fromm pet food brand is a family-run business dedicated to producing healthy, high-quality products for pets. They offer three different lines of dry food options including the Gold line of life stage and lifestyle products. The Fromm Family Gold Large Breed Puppy Recipe is part of this lineup and it features fresh duck, chicken meal, and fresh chicken as the top three ingredients. These protein-rich ingredients are followed by digestible carbohydrates in the form of oatmeal, barley, and brown rice. There is chicken cartilage as well for extra glucosamine and chondroitin, plus probiotics for digestive support. All in all, a healthy option for your puppy.

Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate holds a certificate in fitness nutrition and enjoys writing about health and wellness trends — she also enjoys crafting original recipes. In addition to her work as a ghostwriter and author, Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.

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