Some ideas on what to feed your Berner
Feed your Bernese puppy good quality premium dry food 25-27% Protein and 15-16% Fat balanced for all life stages. We recommend minimum, or no supplementation during first 6 months. Feed twice a day and provide plenty of fresh water.
Feed your Bernese puppy and adult 20% less then it is recommended by manufacturer on the bag of food (food companies exaggerate amount of food to be fed). Changing food every 6 months could help diminish food deficiencies that are found in every brand and formula of dog food. It is very difficult for me to recommend particular dry food (in my opinion none are perfect) Hopefully you can find good food that you and your dog will be happy with. We feed half raw (BARF diet) and half dry food.
We’ve fed those foods in the past and they seemed to work good for Bernese:
Natural Planet Organics, Whole Earth Farms by Merrick, Eagle Pack Adult Lamb and Rice Formula, Eukanuba Pure, Royal Canin.
Very important is the amount of Calcium and Phosphorus and their ratio. Beware some cheaper foods have too much Calcium in ash form. Calcium to Phosphorus ideal ratio is1:1 – 1.2:1 (the worst problems occurred in many studies when the Ca/Phos. balance was greater than 1.5:1). Amount of Calcium in dry food should be 0.7-1.2% to decrease incidence of developmental orthopedic disease (hip and elbow dysplasia).
Avoid -large breed formulas (both adult and puppy) they have added glucosamine and chondroitine sulfate, it is not needed – maybe even harmful at that age. Perhaps it is something to consider when dog is older and has joint problems but not for a growing puppy or a healthy adult, even so, I would prefer to use 1 tbs. of fish oil per day for adult Bernese.
Puppy goes through increased growth phase between 2 and 8 months of age – feed during this time increased amount of food to accommodate for the growth. After that four 8 ounce cups max for an adult Bernese per day. Bernese has slow growth – 18-24 months to reach mature size and weight.
Avoid – raw hide bones and treats that can be unraveled to few feet of length by chewing and suffocate the dog when he will try to swallow it–if you like raw hide, use ground up and molded to a bone shape treats, also raw bones are nice.
Avoid- elevated food and water dishes, they are associated with stomach bloat in some studies.
Here are some snacks good for Bernese
raw beef, lamb, venison, chicken or pork (both meat and bones), raw or soft boiled eggs(free range from a small farm are better), yogurt, cottage cheese, small cubes of cheese (you can freeze them for summer treats), watermelon with rind, bananas, apples with core, carrots, and any fruit or veggie they are willing to eat. Keep in mind give fruits in small amounts - no more then 1/2 of the large apple in size a day. Let us not forget Canines are carnivores (meat eaters)!
Avoid cooked bones!
Avoid–heavy exercise 2 hours before and 4 hours after meals, they have been associated with bloat. We feed AM after gentle morning walk and let dog rest (while we are working) and then second feeding just before going to bed about 10-11PM. Keep in mind it takes 13 hours for a dog to digest and eliminate dry food ( fresh food takes only about 3 hours)
When feeding dry food give plenty of fresh water.
Remember “They are what they eat, so choose wisely”