It’s absolutely no secret that Bernese Mountain Dogs are huge shedders! The constant onslaught of dead hair can become overwhelming, I know. Thankfully, with just a few tips and best practices, you can easily keep on top of your Berner’s shedding. Let’s get into it.
How Much Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Shed?
A lot. Bernese Mountain Dogs are considered heavy shedders. Berners are likely to be one of the top 10 most shedding breeds. This dog is only appropriate for those that don’t mind dog hair in the home and on clothes.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that shedding can’t be handled. Which we’ll discuss further below in complete detail.
When Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Shed?
Many owners ask if there’s a shedding season, and if so, for how long will there Berner shed?
Bernese Mountain Dogs typically shed all year round with two distinct periods often referred to as “blowing their coat” in spring and just before winter.
Shedding can also vary depending on the climate where you live. In very cold regions, the shedding will be less and your Berner may only “blow” their coat once per year instead of twice. In normal or warm regions, the shedding will be more of a constant onslaught, that you will have to get used to!
How To Handle Bernese Mountain Dog Shedding
Let’s get right into the main tips and best practices that will help you keep the dead hair at bay, and your clothes a little less hairy!
1. Have The Correct Brushing Routine
Of course, brushing! Unfortunately, many owners misunderstand how to brush to achieve the best results. So let’s clear that up.
To achieve maximum results when brushing, it’s crucial to keep it short, sweet, and very often! Short brushing sessions of 10-15 minutes every day, work MUCH better than an hour of brushing every 4-5 days. Little and often is the key.
Consistency is the name of the game. Simply being consistent with the right kind of brushing routine will instantly see a huge improvement. And the best part is that if you do it in the evenings when your Berner is calm and relaxed, it doubles up as a great bonding session that he’ll love.
2. Use The Correct Brushes!
Once you’ve got your routine locked down, the next most important thing is the type of brush you actually use. From de-shedders, rakes, combs, and more, it can be confusing.
The two best brushes are a simple undercoat rake and a slicker brush. Yep. Not even a de-shedding tool…
De-shedding tools have their place, but the reason I don’t often recommend them is that you can accidentally cut bits of the healthy topcoat off, which isn’t good! They can be useful, but it’s not worth the risk of slicing off any of his healthy hair.
Besides, a simply undercoat rake works wonders at reaching down deep and dragging out the dead hair that lies beneath. After 10 minutes of the undercoat rake, finish off with the slicker brush which reaches about 1-2 inches down into his topcoat.
In my long experience of brushing thick double-coated breeds, this little routine has outperformed anything else I’ve ever tried!
P.S if he doesn’t like being brushed I cover that below in the FAQ section.
3. Avoid Overbathing + The Wrong Shampoo
This one is important as bathing can both help with shedding, but also make it worse under certain circumstances… It’s all about the correct frequency.
If you bathe your Berner only once every 3 months this will help with shedding and the warm soapy water will help loosen up excess dead hair.
Overbathing, on the other hand, will start to dry out his skin and coat, which will lead to weak, brittle hair that sheds constantly. Overbathing really works against you when trying to manage his shedding! So stick to a healthy frequency (once every 3-4 months).
Only use a natural-ingredient dog shampoo! When it does come around to bathing, be sure to only use natural dog shampoo. Other shampoos contain nasty chemicals, parabens, and alcohols that strip away the essential oils on the skin and coat (leading to dry and brittle hair).
4. Maintaining a Healthy Diet
It’s true for dogs too, “they are what they eat”… The healthier your Berner is on the inside, the healthier he’ll be on the outside. This means having healthy skin, and strong hair.
Ensure your Berner is consuming only a premium high-quality kibble that gets its protein from whole source ingredients. The less processing the better!
On top of that, the calories should primarily come from protein and fat, with little carbohydrates. This best mimics that of a wild diet, and their digestive system will naturally tolerate this kind of macronutrient breakdown.
The more nutrition his body is able to absorb from his food, the healthier and stronger his coat will be.
Top brands of food you might want to consider include Orijen, Acana, Wellness, Merricks and Taste of The Wild.
5. Additional Omega 3 + Healthy Fats
I recommend confirming this change with your veterinarian first, but usually, this is a very safe and beneficial addition to any dog’s diet.
Adding extra omega 3 to their diet is known to dramatically improve overall skin and coat health. This, in turn, will help to keep the hair moisturized, strong and reduce overall hair loss.
Fish-based kibbles like Orijen’s Six Fish will naturally have higher amounts of Omega 3 due to fresh source of Salmon and other oily fish. Alternatively, you can add raw olive oil, flaxseed oil, or opt for Omega 3 dog treats.
One of my favorite ways to add additional omega 3 is with Zesty Paws Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil. Just a few pumps onto their kibble.
6. Maintaining Sufficient Exercise
It’s important to protect the joints of your Berner, especially when he’s a puppy and when reaching old age. But throughout his prime years, ensure his exercise levels are sufficient.
A healthy Berner in the prime should receive at least 60 minutes of exercise per day. This will keep his metabolism, heart function, and immune system working properly.
Exercise is an essential element to overall health, just like the quality of his diet.
Additionally, a good run can also help loosen up the dead hair that is held underneath the topcoat, allowing you to brush it out with ease. Every little helps.
If you follow the tips outlined above, it will suddenly become much easier to keep your floors and clothes hair-free. Of course, you can never stop shedding completely. But as long as you are consistent with a good brushing routine, most of it can be managed with ease!
Psst… Check out these trending articles when you’re done!
7 Reasons Why Berners Are The Best Family Dogs Ever
My Bernese Mountain Dog Won’t Eat: Here’s How To Help!
What To Do If Your Berner Doesn’t Like Being Brushed?
I know what some owners are thinking right now! So far, it seems too easy to be true… So what if your Berner runs away every time you pick up the brush? Or gets too excited to stay still? This is quite a common issue so let’s run through what you can do.
Why he dislikes the brush
In nearly all instances, your Berner has most likely had a negative experience with brushing in the past OR he just thinks it means playtime. That’s pretty much it.
Building the correct association with the brush is crucial! And this is what makes or breaks your Berner’s ability to enjoy brushing.
He must come to know that A) the brush doesn’t mean playtime and B) that brushing can be extremely soothing, relaxing, and stimulating for him. If he understand those two things, then brushing him will never be a challenge again.
Reintroducing the brush
The best way to increase his confidence with the brush is to have it out in the open and in his vision when you playing with him, feeding him, and training him. Building positive accusations is key.
The brush shouldn’t be kept in the draw and unleashed as if it’s a weapon of mass destruction lol!
By having it out in the open, on the floor, while you are playing with him, it gives him a chance to become familiar with it, without there being any confrontation.
Slowly, but surely, start picking up the brush in front of him, but don’t make it confrontational yet, just handle the brush, allow him to “suss it out”. Give him treats and plenty of praise while he’s watching the brush. This will help him understand that the brush represents positive feelings.
As you keep on progressing when he no longer bothers to take much notice, start using it to brush him while he’s laying down and already in a calm state.
It’ doesn’t need to be a difficult process, but going S L O W and taking baby steps is the absolute key! If you rush it, he’ll get freaked out by it again.
Recommended Grooming Gear For Bernese Mountain Dogs
Throughout the article, there was a range of products mentioned. You can check them out below. All items have been highly reviewed by my readers or myself.
⭐ FURminator Undercoat Rake
Best brush for de-shedding.
⭐ Hertzko Slicker Brush
Great for finishing off the topcoat
⭐ 4-Legger Natural Ingredient Shampoo USDA Certified
Best natural dog shampoo
⭐ Zesty Paws Salmon Oil Omega-3
Best for additional omega 3
As long as you stay consistent with the tips outlined above, (brushing being the most important), then managing the shedding won’t be such a difficult task after all!
Thank you for reading!
Did this article help? Please let me know if I can add anything to make this article better. I love hearing feedback and am always happy to edit my content. All the best, Harry.
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