How Much to Feed a Bernese Mountain Dog (Feeding Chart)

Bernese Mountain Dog with a bowl full of dog food

Feeding a Bernese Mountain Dog can be confusing, especially for new dog owners. It is crucial to ensure that these dogs get the right amount of food they need to grow sound and healthy.

Generally, Bernese Mountain Dog puppies need around 1 ¾ to 5 ¾ food cups daily. On the other hand, adults will need between 3 ½ and 5 ½ cups of dog food daily, while seniors should be fed 2 ¾ to 4 ¼ cups. Nonetheless, factors such as age, weight, and activity level should be considered.

This guide contains detailed nutritional information regarding Bernese Mountain Dog feeding, including how much to feed, feeding frequency, and more.

What Factors Impact How Much to Feed a Bernese Mountain Dog?

Feeding a Bernese Mountain Dog food indoors

How much food you give your pooch will vary depending on several factors. As Bernese Mountain Dog owners, it is important to know and understand each factor so that they will grow healthy and robust.

Here are the factors that impact your Bernese Mountain Dog’s feeding amount:

  • Age: A dog’s age primarily affects the amount of food it should ingest. Berner puppies usually need more food than adults to aid their rapid growth. Seniors, meanwhile, may require less food as their metabolism slows down.
  • Weight: Berners are considered large dogs. However, this does not mean you should feed them more food than necessary. Depending on whether or not your Bener is in the ideal weight range for its age, you might need to adjust its food proportions.
  • Activity Level: Your pup’s exercise is crucial to their food intake. A Bernese Mountain Dog breed is originally bred for draft work. Hence, they are naturally active dogs. This means that they will need more calories to support their lifestyle and meet their energy requirements.
  • Overall Health: A dog’s health also indicates its required food quantity. Their nutrition may change due to special conditions. If they underwent surgeries, have a disease, or have food allergies, it is best to consult a veterinary nutritionist about the amount and type of dog food your dogs can consume.

Considering these factors, you can determine the appropriate food quantity that caters to your Bernese Mountain Dog’s needs.

How Much to Feed Your Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog puppy eating in the kitchen

Proper feeding is very important to ensure that you will have a healthy Bernese Mountain Dog. This will also guarantee that it will get all the nutrients it needs to be strong and healthy.

As responsible dog owners, you want to ensure your furry companion receives the proper nutrition.

The following feeding charts will help ensure that your Bernese Mountain Dogs get the right dog food for their age and weight.

Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy Feeding Chart (2 to 12 months)

Reputable breeders of Bernese Mountain Dogs should not take away the puppies from their mothers until they are eight weeks old. They must be breastfed until they are ready to be weaned.

Breastfeeding these giant breed puppies is beneficial because a mother’s milk contains colostrum that a puppy needs to develop its immune system.

Weaning to puppy food will usually happen once they are two months old. A puppy’s food is typically half-dry, wet, or milk during this time.

Refer to the feeding chart below for how much to feed a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy:

AgeDaily Feeding Amount (Cups)Caloric Intake (Per day)
2 – 3 months1 ¾ – 3 ¾749 – 1,673
4 – 5 months2 ¼ – 3 ¾994 – 1,671
6 – 9 months3 – 51,346 – 2,265
10 – 12 months3 ¾ – 5 ¾1,671 – 2,542
*Use a standard 8-oz measuring cup

Although this Berner puppy feeding chart is a good start, note that every Bernese Mountain Dog puppy will have different needs depending on its overall health.

During this stage, puppy food can either be commercially prepared kibble, wet food, or a mix of dry and wet dog food. It is best to experiment and watch which one your pup likes more.

An owner and breeder of Bernese Mountain Dogs I once met used to believe in the concept of fully loading his pups early on so that they could achieve their maximum size potential upon adulthood, especially since these dogs are huge.

However, I cautioned her that although this may work, it can also lead to the problem of obesity. This condition will also be harder to detect for Bernese Mountain Dogs since it is highly unlikely that these dogs are carried, unlike smaller dogs.

Adult Bernese Mountain Dog Feeding Chart (1 to 6 years)

An adult dog will have different needs than a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy. If you keep on feeding them puppy food of similar amounts when they were still puppies, your Berners may experience nutritional deficiencies.

Refer to the feeding chart below for an adult Bernese Mountain Dog:

AgeDaily Feeding Amount (Cups)Caloric Intake (Per day)
1 – 6 years3 ½ – 5 ½1,420 – 2,177
*Use a standard 8-oz measuring cup

Adult dogs have stronger stomachs and jaws, which is why they can eat either dry dog food or wet commercial food.

Additionally, I also gave BARF diet for a Bernese Mountain Dog of a colleague, Beato, that I took care of for about a year. As part of this diet, and with consideration to the powerful jaws of this breed, I also included raw, meaty bones and muscle meat.

Beato just didn’t love it and looked forward to every mealtime, but he also became fitter and more muscular. During the time he was with me, I never had any problems as well when it came to Beato’s health.

It is also at this stage that a Bernese Mountain Dog is usually given meat, which is a great source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids that are essential for a dog to grow stronger.

Homemade dog food is also greatly recommended by vets as it is easier to ensure your dog eats a balanced diet.

Senior Bernese Mountain Dog Feeding Chart ( 7 years and above)

Senior Bernese Mountain Dogs will require little adjustment with their daily feeding amount.

For an old Bernese Mountain Dog, it is vital to watch its daily caloric intake. As they reach their senior years, their activity level decreases; thus, too much food may cause obesity.

Refer to the feeding chart below for a senior Bernese Mountain Dog:

AgeDaily Feeding Amount (Cups)Caloric Intake (Per day)
7 years and above2 ¾ – 4 ¼1,136 – 1,749
*Use a standard 8-oz measuring cup

If you are in a pet food store and are planning to buy commercially prepared food, it is a must to look at the ingredients on the label to ensure you are getting what your dog needs.

A raw diet can also be a good alternative. However, you should carefully prepare it as raw dog food may contain harmful pathogens to your dog and family.

If you want to feed your dog meat, careful preparation and handling are required.

Check out this video for more tips on how to feed your Bernese Mountain Dog:

What and how to feed your Bernese Mountain Dog and the supplements top breeders recommend.

How Often Should You Feed Your Bernese Mountain Dog?

Bernese Mountain Dog puppy waiting for feed

A Bernese Mountain Dog puppy must eat 3 to 4 times daily, while adults may be fed twice. For a senior or old Bernese Mountain Dog, it’s still recommended to feed them twice a day instead of one big meal.

Considering the number of cups per day and their daily caloric intake, you should equally divide their food proportions according to the optimal number of times your dog must eat.

Here is a table showing how often you should feed your Bernese Mountain Dogs:

AgeFeeding frequency
2 – 3 monthsFour times a day
3 – 12 monthsTwice to thrice a day
1 – 6 yearsTwice a day
7 years and aboveTwice a day

Feeding your Bernese Mountain Dog once a day may cause over-eating and lead to bloating, obesity, and joint problems.

On the other hand, first-time dog owners might think that having dog food available at all times is the healthiest option, an approach called free feeding.

Although it is the easiest option, free feeding can cause serious health issues and make your Bernese Mountain Dog a binge eater.

How to Transition Your Bernese Mountain Dog to a New Food

Bernese Mountain Dog feeding time

When transitioning your pooch to a new food, it is best to do it gradually. Slowly introduce them to the new food until they get used to it.

You can mix the old food with the new dog food gradually until your pup is totally adjusted. Start by feeding your dog its old food mixed with a small portion of the new food.

Over time, you should increase the proportion of the new dog food you add to its old food until the transition is completed.

Here is a table showing how you can transition your Bernese Mountain Dog to a new food:

DayOld FoodNew Food
1 – 275%25% 
3 – 450%50%
5 – 625%75%

When transitioning your pooch to a new food, closely monitor their reaction to it. They may show indicators such as food allergies and upset stomach. In this case, you can slow down the transition or, better yet, contact your veterinarian.

Tips on Feeding an Overweight Bernese Mountain Dog

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), if your dog is over 10% to 20% of their ideal weight, they are considered overweight. If they exceed 20%, they are considered obese.

If your Bernese Mountain Dog is obese, you should immediately take action before complications arise. Fortunately, we have prepared a guideline for you to follow to reduce your dog’s weight successfully.

Here are some tips to get your Bernese Mountain Dog back in tip-top shape:

  • Monitor their food intake closely. Strictly following the amount of dog food indicated in the feeding chart above should help you determine how much food to give your pup to bring it back to its healthy weight. In addition, it is always better to provide them with quality food than just giving them cheaper food to fill their stomach.
  • Increase their exercise. Obesity can be caused by laziness. Since the Bernese Mountain dog is bred for work, they naturally have high energy levels. Increasing their daily exercise will help burn excess fats and get them back to their healthier state.
  • Include fiber-rich food. Fiber-rich food makes your dog feel full without the addition of excessive calories. This strategy effectively reduces food consumption and stops unnecessary weight gain.
  • Consider high-protein foods. For weight loss, it is better to feed obese Bernese Mountain Dogs food that is high in protein and low in calories. These can help avoid overeating and help in building lean muscles. A lean body mass can help stimulate calorie burn.
  • Avoid giving too many treats. Although it is tempting to give treats to your dog all the time, giving too many treats increases their daily caloric intake. Hence, only treat them during training as a form of positive reinforcement.

With the right food and discipline, bringing your Bernese Mountain Dog back to its optimal weight should be easy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bernese Mountain Dog with food bowl outdoors

How Do I Know If I’m Feeding My Bernese Mountain Dog Enough?

The easiest and most accurate way is to check if they are within the ideal weight according to age. Another way is by performing the rib and spine test. This is simply done by running your hands over their ribs and spine.

If you can’t feel their bones, that means there is too much fat, or you have an overweight dog. On the other hand, if there are too many ribs or the spine is protruding, your dog is underweight.

If your dog is underweight, it might not get the nutrients it needs from the food you provide. On the other hand, obesity is often caused by overfeeding.

If you feed your dog enough, it should have a healthy and age-appropriate weight.

Why Is My Bernese Mountain Dog Not Eating?

If your pooch is not eating, this is an early warning sign that something is not right. This usually means one of three things. It may be because they are bored with the food, don’t like it, or have some health issues.

If this happens, you can try changing the brand and type of food you provide. You can transition from dry food to wet food and continue to do so until you find the one your dog likes.

If they are still refusing to eat after changing their food, this may mean something is wrong with their health.

Food allergies, digestive problems, or dental issues may cause loss of appetite. It is best to consult your local vet if this is the case.

Can I Feed My Bernese Mountain Dog With Human Food?

Yes, certain human foods are safe for dog consumption. Protein sources, such as pork, chicken, beef, and other meat, are also essential for dogs.

Fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, watermelons, cantaloupes, pumpkins, and bananas, can also be fed to dogs as treats.

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Eat a Lot?

As a large breed, you actually have to feed a Bernese Mountain Dog a lot. Most Bernese Mountain Dogs will not be picky with what you feed them and be happy to eat whatever is provided.

Nonetheless, it is important to manage the amount of food they eat and their optimal feeding times to ensure they do not become overweight.

Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Eat Bones?

Generally, eating bones is not recommended as they can cause serious injuries when ingested. However, you can let your Bernese chew on large bones, which can help reduce plaque buildup.

Large raw bones are safe for your Bernese to chew on. On the other hand, cooked bones are more brittle, break easily, and may cause obstruction when ingested.

Have you had any problems feeding your Bernese Mountain Dog? Leave a comment below and tell us about your experience with these dogs’ diets! Also, feel free to ask us any questions you may have about the topic.

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