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Best Dog Foods For The Bernese Mountain Dog: Puppies, Adults & Seniors


Last Updated: May 9, 2024 | 13 min read | Leave a Comment

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The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of the most popular giant dog breeds in America. And his rising popularity means there are lots of new Berner moms and dads out there who need a helping paw when it comes to nutrition.

Research shows that one in ten owners do not fully understand their dog’s nutritional needs. And this is where our guide steps in. From puppyhood to his golden years, we run you through all of the nutrients he needs. It changes along the way, so it’s essential to get it right during each stage.

And to make it a whole lot easier (and so you can spend more time with your pup than surfing the net), we have found the best dog foods for the Bernese Mountain Dog.

At A Glance: Our Favorite Foods For Bernese Mountain Dogs

Our Rating

Best For Puppies

Blue Buffalo Wilderness

The Farmer's Dog Food Products (3 flavors)
Our Rating

Best For Adults

The Farmer’s Dog

Raw Boost Large Breed
Our Rating

Best For Seniors

Blue Buffalo Senior

Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy Nutrient Needs

Eating Bernese Mountain Dog puppy on green grass
Puppy food contains optimized nutrition that helps stabilize bone growth and decrease the chance of skeletal problems. 

At maturity, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a large to giant-sized dog breed. But he doesn’t pop out that big. In puppyhood, he is a cute bundle of fluff that has tons of growing to do, and it is down to you to give him a helping hand. The Berner needs high-quality food specifically designed for large breed dogs.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends that all puppies require a minimum protein content of 22%. High-quality food usually aims above 25%, but not all dogs like or do well on a super meaty formula. Protein provides the essential building blocks for your puppy’s development, also known as amino acids. Whatever content you opt for, always look for a recipe that lists animal protein as the first ingredient.

Puppies also need more fats than adults, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA). These are found in mothers’ milk and support cognitive and vision function. Other healthy omega fatty acids support joints, skin and coat health, vitamin absorption, and overall wellness. Look for meat meals, fish, fish oil, plant oils, and eggs in the ingredients list.

Adult Bernese Mountain Dog Nutrient Needs

Large fluffy Bernese Mountain Dog with huge paws eating out of blue bowl In the kitchen, white background
Always feed the best quality food you can afford.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are fully mature until they are between two and three years old. But your Berner pup should be switched to adult food when they are between 12 to 15 months old. This is because your Berner has completed most of his growing now, so he doesn’t need the heightened protein and fat levels. Otherwise, he’ll quickly become overweight. The Berner is a victim of easy weight gain, so you’ll want to keep an eye on his size. If he is heavier than he should be, consider switching him to a weight management dog food.

Higher quality dog foods provide a well-balanced diet ensuring that all his nutritional needs are met, better quality meat protein, and healthier fats. They’ll also provide the necessary vitamins and minerals and supply probiotic ingredients to promote smoother digestion. Not only will your Berner feel better, but you’ll notice a real difference in his personality and appearance too.

The protein content you pick should now be a minimum of 18%, as recommended by AAFCO. Again, stick to recipes that list meat as the first ingredient. And like before, pick a food that is specifically designed for large and giant breed dogs. Because they cater to your big Berner’s needs, if he has any allergies or intolerances, always keep these in mind when choosing a product.

Senior Bernese Mountain Dog Nutrient Needs

Senior Bernese Mountain Dog eating out of blue bowl
It is different for every pooch, but telltale signs such as weight gain and increased lethargy are signs an aging dog.

Although your Berner is always your baby, he’ll be considered a senior pooch between the ages of six and seven. If you don’t switch him to a senior diet, he’ll pile on the pounds quickly. He doesn’t need as much energy as he did when he was an active adult. No matter how much he tries to persuade you otherwise.

You should switch your Berner to senior food because he is renowned for being greedy, and senior recipes can curtail his hunger. They do this by increasing the fiber content. Fiber is low in calories, and it keeps him feeling fuller in between mealtimes. Senior dog foods also list more fruits, veggies, and added vitamin supplements to support his weakening immune system. You need to keep your Berner fighting fit.

Lastly, but certainly not least, is the higher glucosamine content. Your Berner is a big pup whose joints have carried a lot of weight over the years. And he’ll soon start to feel it. Glucosamine and chondroitin support his joints, so look out for ingredients such as meat meals, omega fats, green-lipped mussels, cartilage, and fish oils. Poor quality products tend to have much lower glucosamine content which does not support the Berner.

Best Dog Food For Berner Puppies

When the time comes to invite that gorgeous bundle of Berner fluff into your home, you need to have the necessities ready. And food is the biggest necessity of them all (ask him, he’ll agree with us.) Here are our best foods for Bernese Mountain Dog puppies.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Food

Wellness Large Breed Puppy Food
  • Grain-free puppy formula.
  • DHA for brain development.
  • Soy, corn and wheat free.
  • Omega fatty acids for skin & coat.
  • Protein-rich formula.
  • 411 Calories per cup.
  • 35% Protein, 14% Fat, 6% Fiber.

Blue Buffalo is known for its wide range of products. And this is our favorite for the Berner because it is specifically designed for large breed pups. DHA and ARA-rich ingredients for his brain and vision development, such as egg products and fish oils, are listed. It provides a high protein content of 35%, with chicken and chicken meal being the first two ingredients.

Menhaden fish meal and flaxseed also keep his tri-colored coat beautiful and shiny. This is also a grain-free recipe that uses peas and sweet potatoes instead. Carrots, blueberries, and cranberries add an extra antioxidant boost. This contains Blue Buffalo’s exclusive LifeSource Bits, which contain optimized nutrition for developing large breed pups.

We love that this recipe has a high fiber content of 6%. If your dog needs help with his stool health or his appetite is never fully satisfied, this could be the best pick for him.

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy

Holistic Select Giant Breed
  • Omega fatty acids for skin & coat health.
  • Probiotics for digestive support.
  • Made with live yogurt cultures.
  • Antioxidant boost for immune health.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 433 Calories per cup.
  • 25% Protein, 16% Fat, 4.5% Fiber.

This recipe is designed specifically with large and giant puppies in mind. So you can be sure that it provides all the nutrition his growing body needs. The first two ingredients are lamb meal and chicken meal. These are rich in protein, supplying him with a variety of amino acids and glucosamine for his soon-to-be weighted joints. It lists antioxidants such as exotic papaya and pomegranate for his developing immunity.

Digestibility is a big focus here, and reviewers stated they notice a real difference in stool health with this recipe. Prebiotic fibers such as pumpkin and beet pulp help to regulate the digestive system. Probiotic cultures are guaranteed in every bite, helping friendly bacteria to flourish in his gut. This is a grain-free option that lists chickpeas and lentils as the slow-release energy source.

We love that this option is designed specifically for large and giant breeds, making it a top choice for the big and beautiful Berner.

Wellness Core Puppy Food

Wellness Core Large Breed Adult
  • Grain-free formula.
  • Premium ingredients.
  • No meat by-products.
  • High concentration animal protein.
  • No corn, wheat or soy.
  • 387 Calories per cup.
  • 35% Protein, 14% Fat, 5.5% Fiber.

This has a high protein content of 35%, and deboned chicken and chicken meal are the first two ingredients. Turkey meal and salmon oil add an extra boost of healthy omega fats and glucosamine for his energetic puppy joints. Together he gets all the growing fuel he needs while supporting a lean shape.

This is another grain-free option that opts for peas, potatoes, and lentils instead for slow-release energy. Plus, they are nutritious and fibrous, working towards keeping your always-hungry pup satisfied. This recipe contains bananas, broccoli, and blueberries to keep antioxidant levels high. Each piece is also coated in an exclusive solution made up of probiotics and healthy omega fats for his growing needs.

We love that this recipe uses a lot of superfoods and antioxidants for developing immunity. Plus, it is fortified in live probiotics and healthy omega fats to support gut and coat health.

Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy

Orijen Large Breed Puppy
  • Budget-friendly dog food.
  • Designed for puppies over 50 pounds.
  • High protein formula for muscle development.
  • DHA for brain development
  • Probioitics for digestive health.
  • 419 Calories per cup.
  • 28% Protein, 13% Fat, 4.75% Fiber.

Purina Pro Plan has created this new and improved recipe specifically for large breed puppies. The protein content is 28%, and chicken is the first ingredient. The calcium and phosphorus levels are controlled, which is great news for his developing bones. Fish meal and egg products ensure that his brain and vision develop as they should.

This recipe lists added vitamins and mineral supplements that support the development of his immune system. This option is our only grain-inclusive pick, making it great for those Berners who do better with grain-fueled energy. Rice, corn and wheat are the prominent grain ingredients. This product is highly rated, and dog owners comment on how shiny it makes the coat.

We love that this option is grain-inclusive. Parents wishing to feed their pup a grain-inclusive diet, this is a top choice for you.

Orijen Large Breed Puppy

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon
  • High-protein formula.
  • Uses raw and fresh animal ingredients.
  • Made with wild-caught fish and cage-free eggs.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 449 Calories per cup.
  • 38% Protein, 16% Fat, 6% Fiber.

This is our premium pick for the Berner pup and moms and dads who can stretch their budget a little bit further. Each ingredient is picked for a reason and everything listed is highly nutritious. The first fifteen ingredients are meat protein, including real chicken and turkey, a variety of fish, and animal organs. Chicken necks and cartilage are also listed, which are rich in glucosamine.

This recipe is high in prebiotic fiber, such as pumpkin and collard greens. They are also high in vitamins and minerals. This formula also lists a blend of probiotic ingredients that promotes friendly bacteria in his digestive tract, as well as helping him to process this rich formula. If your Berner pup is fussy, the smell of this food alone will have him drooling. Reviewers love the difference this recipe made to their pup’s health and appearance.

We love that this is the most premium pick for Bernese Mountain Dog pups. It uses the finest quality ingredients, including meat, organs, and cartilage, making it nutritious and super tasty.

Best Dog Food For Adult Bernese Mountain Dogs

The Berner needs to be transitioned to adult food between 12 and 15 months. By now, you probably know about his individual dietary needs, so always consider these. But here are our favorite selection of the best foods for adult Bernese Mountain Dogs.

The Farmer's Dog

  • Cooked fresh, flash-frozen, and shipped to you.
  • Personalized meal plans.
  • 4 healthy, vet-designed options: beef, chicken, turkey, or pork.
  • Made with human-grade ingredients (no fillers or preservatives).
  • Manufactured in the United States.
  • Calories and nutritional values vary based on recipe.

The Farmer’s Dog’s food is delicious, thanks to the fresh, human-grade ingredients. The first item is always meat, providing protein that’s full of rich nutrients for his skin, coat, and cognitive function.

Wholesome vegetables provide the immune system with antioxidants, while protein keeps the bones and teeth strong. While this food is grain-free, mixing in some freshly cooked rice is a great way to add additional carbs and fiber while supporting a healthy balance for your pup’s diet and your wallet. For the adults, this is one of the best dog foods for a Berner.

We love that this recipe is made with all fresh ingredients and flash-frozen to ship directly to you.

Holistic Select Adult Giant Breed

Wellness complete large breed adult
  • Taurine for heart health.
  • Probiotics and fiber for digestion.
  • Made with healthy fruits and vegetables.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 433 Calories per cup.
  • 24% Protein, 14% Fat, 4% Fiber.

This Holistic Select recipe is similar to the one chosen for the Berner puppy, but this time for large and giant breed adults. This time it is a grain-inclusive recipe that relies on rice and oatmeal as energy sources. Chicken meal is the first ingredient, and pork meal gives an extra protein boost. The protein content is 24%. It has the joint-highest glucosamine content on this list, thanks to meat meals and extra supplements.

This nutrition targets digestive health thanks to the long list of probiotics and prebiotic fiber. Yucca schidigera helps to reduce stool odor too. Pumpkin, cranberries, papayas, and pomegranates provide the antioxidants for a healthy body and mind. Dried kelp is a nutrient-dense ingredient that supplies calcium for strong bones. L-carnitine stimulates his metabolism to help keep him trim.

We love that this recipe is created specifically with large and giant breeds in mind. It focuses on their digestive health thanks to the live probiotic cultures and digestive enzymes.

Wellness Core Original

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Adult
  • Glucosamine boost for adults.
  • Antioxidants for immune health.
  • No by-products or fillers.
  • Grain-free formula.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 346 Calories per cup.
  • 34% Protein, 12% Fat, 6% Fiber.

This adult recommendation is the same as our puppy recommendation. So, you can be sure that if he did well on this as a pup, he should do well on this as an adult. This premium formula uses the best ingredients and offers an impressive all-around balanced diet. Deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal are the first three ingredients offering a big meaty hit at mealtimes.

This is a grain-free formula that relies on lentils, peas, and potatoes. All of which add to the high fiber content to keep him feeling satisfied. It is high in healthy omega fats, thanks to the exclusive acticoat solution. And reviewers commented on how lush their big friend’s coat was after changing to this diet. Spinach, broccoli, carrots, apples, blueberries, and kale boost his immunity, and taurine supports his heart.

We love that this premium recipe has the highest protein content on our list of best adult foods for the Berner. If he is an energetic pooch who needs regular muscle power, this is a top choice for him.

Purina Pro Plan Giant Breed

Large breed Weight Management Purina Pro
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Probiotics for gut health.
  • Glucosamine for joint support.
  • Higher protein content for muscle development.
  • No artificial colors or flavors.
  • 370 Calories per cup.
  • 26% Protein, 12% Fat, 4.5% Fiber.

Purina Pro Plan has designed this is specifically with giant breeds like the Berner in mind. Chicken is the first ingredient, and it offers a protein content of 26%. Chicken is lean meat full of amino acids which care for his hardworking muscles. This recipe ensures that the protein to fat ratio is optimized to keep him trim and healthy.

DHA and ARA are supplied to keep his brain alert and young. Fish meal, fish oil, and egg product ensure that his vision is cared for too. They also take care of his skin and coat health, which is a big hit in the reviews. Vitamin and mineral supplements keep him healthy and fighting fit too. This is a grain-inclusive option, making it a top pick for Berner parents wishing to avoid grain-free diets.

We love that this recipe is designed just for giant dog breeds like your Berner. So you can be certain that his unique nutritional needs are taken care of with this recipe.

Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Adult

  • Antioxidants for immune health.
  • Omega fatty acids for skin & coat.
  • All natural ingredients.
  • Glucosamine boost for joint health.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 367 Calories per cup.
  • 19% Protein, 12% Fat, 3% Fiber.

Hill’s Science Diet has studied the scientific needs of large breed dogs and put all of their research into this product. You can rest assured it has everything that most Berners need and nothing that he doesn’t. It is a simple recipe that isn’t too rich, making it ideal for those dogs with sensitive stomachs. Lamb is known for being gentle on stomachs, and it provides a protein content of 19%.

Brown rice is the second ingredient, making it a grain-inclusive option. Soybean oil and flaxseed are rich in omega fats which nourish his skin from the inside out, keeping his coat looking youthful and fresh. Taurine, amongst other added vitamin and mineral supplements, ensure that his immunity is strengthened.

We love that this recipe is easy to digest. Not only is it a simple recipe, but it also uses one protein source that is a gentle lamb meal. If your Berner is sensitive to rich meaty formulas, this could be his savior.

Best Dog Food For Senior Bernese Mountain Dogs

Your Berner becomes a senior pooch around the age of six and seven years old. It’s more important than ever to transition him slowly to avoid any digestive upset. Here are our best foods for senior Berners.

Blue Buffalo Senior Life Protection

Science Diet Large Breed Senior
  • Glucosamine for joint health.
  • Omega fatty acids to support skin & coat.
  • L-carnitine for muscle maintenance.
  • No corn, wheat or soy.
  • No By-product meals.
  • 344 Calories per cup.
  • 20% Protein, 10% Fat, 7% Fiber.

Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection range is an excellent option for large breed seniors. Not only does it offer a well-balanced diet, but it is also a great-tasting option too, according to the reviews. The protein content is 20%, and deboned chicken is the first ingredient. Chicken meal adds an extra boost of concentrated protein rich in glucosamine. In addition to this, salmon oil and flaxseed help keep his skin and coat nourished and youthful-looking.

Just like before, this recipe is complete with LifeSource Bits. This time optimized for his senior needs. Seven superfoods and other nutrients are packed into these extra pieces, adding an extra crunch that many dogs love. This is a grain-inclusive recipe that uses wholesome brown rice and gentle oatmeal.

We love that this recipe has the highest fiber content on this list. At 7%, you can be sure that it keeps him feeling full in between meals. It should stop snack scavenging and senior weight gain.

Merrick Senior Formula

  • Grain-free formula.
  • Glucosamine for joint support.
  • Lower-calorie count for less active pups.
  • Gluten-free formula.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 372 Calories per cup.
  • 32% Protein, 12% Fat, 3.5% Fiber.

This is the only recommendation for the Berner that is not specifically designed for large breeds. We have picked it because it has extremely high glucosamine levels, which is ideal for large and giant breeds in their senior years. It also has plenty of healthy omega fatty acids, which is great in nourishing his thick coat. Coat health is something regularly mentioned in the reviews. L-carnitine helps to stimulate his metabolism and keep him trim.

This option also has the highest protein content on this list too. And at 30%, it is a top choice for still active Berners or those who are still fussy for meaty taste. Chicken and chicken meal are the first two ingredients, with turkey and salmon meal adding an extra meaty hit. A long list of probiotic ingredients can also be found for his digestive system.

We love that this recipe has leading levels of glucosamine, making this ideal choice for Berners with joint issues.

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Senior

  • Non GMO ingredients.
  • No artificial ingredients.
  • Made with farm-raised chicken.
  • Glucosamine boost for joint health.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 306 Calories per cup.
  • 22% Protein, 11% Fat, 4% Fiber.

This option is made for large breed seniors, and it is a chicken-based recipe that many dogs love the taste of. It has a protein content of 22%, which makes this recipe just right for senior dogs who struggle to digest rich formulas. Chicken and chicken meal are the first two ingredients. This is a grain-inclusive recipe that lists wholesome brown rice and chia seeds.

This recipe is made from non-GMO ingredients, an important feature for many dog parents who wish to feed their pooch a cleaner and greener meal. Superfoods, such as coconut (great for the coat), pumpkin, kale, and spinach, provide antioxidants for his weakening immune system. Flaxseed and biotin are added to keep his skin and coat supple too.

We love that this recipe has the lowest fat content and calorie count per cup. If your Berner is struggling to maintain his weight, this could be the best option for him.

Hill’s Science Diet Senior

  • Glucosamine boost for joint health.
  • Omega fatty acids for skin & coat.
  • Anxioxidants to boost immune health.
  • Made from natural ingredients.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 353 Calories per cup.
  • 15.5% Protein, 10.5% Fat, 4% Fiber.

Hill’s Science Diet has created this senior formula based on the needs of large-breed seniors, according to science. Like many of Hill’s recipes, this option has a low protein content of 15.5%, but this is ideal for many seniors whose gut cannot process rich, meaty formulas. And if it’s easier to digest, it also means less gas. And for Berner parents out there, this is a godsend.

The first ingredient is chicken meal, which is tasty and provides glucosamine for his aching joints. It is a grain-inclusive recipe that relies heavily on grain, but again, this suits many aging seniors. Vitamin and mineral supplements fortify every piece, so you can be sure that your Berner has the power to fight illnesses and diseases.

We love that this recipe is not as rich as many other high-quality recipes, making this an ideal pick for seniors whose digestive system needs extra help.

Final Thoughts

We hope our nutrition guide helped you find the perfect food for your beautiful Berner bestie. From the moment you welcome him home all the way up to his golden years, you now have the knowledge you need to fill his bowl with all the goodness needed throughout his life. A healthy dog is a happy one, and you can bet he will love the dog food we recommended above.

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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