How to Properly Feed a Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy

We all know that there are many large dog breeds out there, each with their own unique qualities and purposes. Some breeds are trained as guard dogs, others serve in the military due to their intelligence, while some simply make great family companions. Among these breeds, the Bernese Mountain Dog stands out as both a wonderful companion and a capable working dog. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about how to feed a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, ensuring that your furry friend remains healthy and happy.

Choosing the Right Food for Your Berner

Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy

When it comes to selecting the right food for your Bernese Mountain Dog, it’s best to consult the breeder who provided you with the puppy. Breeders have valuable experience in choosing appropriate diets for the parents and families of their puppies. Additionally, seeking advice from a veterinarian is always a good idea, especially if your dog has any health concerns.

Bernese Mountain Dog owners follow various feeding methods, including homemade food, raw dog food, and commercially prepared dog food. Research shows that owners typically provide their Berners with low protein (18%-26%) and low-fat (under 16%) high-quality food. Providing high-fat or high-protein food to a non-active Bernese Mountain Dog can lead to health issues. It’s crucial to strike the right balance.

Feeding Tips for Berners

Right side image credit to Rebecca Griswold

Feeding raw or homemade food can greatly improve your dog’s immune system and overall health. Berners enjoy a wide variety of fresh food, including vegetables like squash, carrots, beans, broccoli, and fruits such as watermelon, apples, pears, and bananas. They also appreciate a selection of meats like chicken, pork, lamb, beef, fish, boiled eggs, yogurt, and cheese. Before starting a raw diet, it’s essential to conduct thorough research and seek advice from experienced dog owners.

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Food allergies can cause discomfort for your Berner, resulting in skin problems, dehydration, or gas. If you notice any allergic reactions such as hot spots, seeping ears, or skin rashes, it’s best to switch to a different food brand and consult an expert.

Feeding and Exercise for Berners

Maple, politely awaiting the cue to allow her to eat her dinner. Image credit: Tracey Havas

It’s important to consider your Berner’s activity schedule when planning their meals. Feeding your dog a full meal before engaging in play or exercise can lead to gastric dilatation-volvulus, a potentially dangerous condition. It’s advisable to wait for 1 to 2 hours after a meal before allowing them to participate in any activities. If your pup is already active and it’s mealtime, give them at least half an hour to cool down before feeding.

Managing Food Intake

To ensure the health and growth of your Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, it’s crucial to manage their food intake as they grow. Puppies experience rapid growth between 2 to 8 months of age and then have a slower growth rate between 18 to 24 months as they reach maturity. Overfeeding during rapid growth can lead to overfatness, bone issues, and other health problems.

Homemade Dog Food for Bernese Mountain Dogs

Homemade natural food like vegetables, meat, grains, and dairy is a good choice. Photo by kei photo from Pexels

Feeding your Berner with homemade natural food is an excellent option and is widely preferred by many Bernese Mountain Dog owners. A balanced diet for your dog should include meat, vegetables, and grains in appropriate portions. While preparing homemade meals requires more effort and time, it ensures that your dog receives nutritionally balanced meals. However, this may not be feasible for individuals with busy schedules, which is why some people opt for commercially packed food.

On average, an adult Berner consumes about 750g of meat and around 200g of vegetables or grains per day. Raw meat is more suitable as cooking can destroy essential nutrition. However, the choice between raw and cooked meat depends on your preference.

All Necessary Considerations with Natural Feeding

It’s important to educate yourself about feeding raw diets specifically tailored for Bernese Mountain Dogs. Consulting a veterinary nutritionist periodically ensures that your dog receives a well-balanced diet. Monitoring their overall health is the best way to keep them active and healthy. If you encounter any health issues, consult your veterinarian.

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Raw food for Bernese Mountain Dog | Healthy fresh feeding

Commercially Prepared Food for Berners

When considering how much to feed a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, it’s essential to be aware of the commercially prepared food available in the market. It is not advisable to opt for cheaper food found in regular supermarkets or pet stores. Instead, select brands that use high-quality ingredients and natural preservatives such as vitamin C and vitamin E, rather than chemical preservatives like BHA, BHT, or Ethoxyquin.

Wet Food or Dry Food for Berners? – Explained

If you prefer to feed your dog commercially prepared food due to a busy schedule, you have two choices: wet food or dry food. A large breed like the Bernese Mountain Dog typically requires 1.2kg – 1.5kg of wet food per day. Dry food is a more convenient option, although it may not be as healthy. If you choose dry food, an adult Berner will consume around 400g per day. Remember to provide plenty of water when serving dry food.

Wet food for Bernese Mountain Dog

Prevent Food Deficiencies with Dry Food

Dry dog food is available in various brands, but it’s important to note that it may not be the healthiest option for your dog. A combination of half dry food and half raw food is recommended for optimal nutrition. Rotate the type of food every six months to reduce the risk of nutrient deficiencies. When choosing dry dog food, check the phosphorus and calcium levels on the packaging. Ideally, these levels should be in a ratio of 1:1 or 1:1.2. It’s always a good idea to seek your veterinarian’s advice or conduct thorough research.

Dry food for Bernese Mountain Dog

I plan to conduct further research on commercially prepared dog food and provide an in-depth article addressing this topic. Until then, it is crucial to conduct thorough research before making any recommendations for your beloved Bernese Mountain Dog.

How Much to Feed a Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy

The food intake of your puppy should increase gradually as they grow. It’s important to avoid experimenting with their food during this crucial stage. To understand the appropriate feeding amounts for a Bernese mountain dog puppy, it is recommended to start with the same food that the breeder provided. Typically, a healthy puppy between 8 to 10 weeks old consumes roughly 3/4 to 1 cup of food per meal. From 2 to 6 months old, puppies should be fed three meals a day, which can then be reduced to two meals a day after 6 months. A healthy and active adult Bernese Mountain Dog will consume approximately 3 to 6 cups of food daily. The amount of food needed varies depending on the age and level of activity. It’s also possible to transition from commercially prepared food to homemade food or vice versa during this period. Monitor your dog’s health closely during the transition.

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If you choose commercially prepared food and notice any allergic reactions, carefully examine the ingredients and seek expert advice and treatment for long-term health benefits.

What to Do if Your Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy Overeats

If your puppy overeats occasionally, it’s generally not a cause for concern. Puppies require extra energy for growth during this period. However, avoid feeding them excessive liquid food and ensure their meals are warm. Train them to finish their meals within 15 to 20 minutes and remove the plate or cup afterward. If there are leftovers, wait until the next mealtime to feed them again. Avoid exceeding three meals per day, and always ensure that fresh water is readily available.

How Many Meals for Adult Bernese Mountain Dogs

Time for a treat. From left to right they are Sherman, Hogan And McKinley. Image credit to John and Gretchen Saboe

Serving one meal per day is sufficient for adult Bernese Mountain Dogs older than 18 months. This single meal should provide them with the necessary energy and nutrition. Establish a consistent mealtime and serve them at the same time each day. In the past, Berners were hardworking dogs, often used for various activities throughout the day. If you engage your Berner in multiple activities during the day, it’s advisable to provide them with two meals. Additionally, if your dog has any health concerns, it may be beneficial to provide two meals a day.

Avoid overfeeding, as excessive weight gain can lead to high-calorie levels. Never give your dog chicken bones or any other bones that may pose a choking hazard. Instead, consider purchasing safe bones from a pet store.

Pay Attention to These Important Facts

When feeding your dog fresh fruits, give them small amounts. Do not feed them cooked bones.

Avoid heavy work or exercise for at least 2 hours before and 4 hours after meals. Fresh food takes approximately 3 hours to digest, while dry food takes approximately 12 hours. Now that you know how much to feed a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy or an adult dog, you can make informed decisions.


I hope you found this article valuable and enjoyed reading it. Feel free to leave any questions or comments, as I always appreciate hearing from you. Stay tuned for future articles on Berners, and remember to take good care of your furry friend. See you in the next article!


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