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How to Groom Bernese Mountain Dogs (Overcoming the Odor Challenge)

Bernese Mountain Dogs, with their long, silky fur, are prone to matting and odors if not properly groomed. Many owners struggle with keeping up with their Bernese's grooming needs, which can lead to discomfort for the dog and a less-than-pleasant aroma around the house. Our detailed steps on brushing, bathing, and nail care, along with recommendations on creating a comfortable grooming environment, will help you keep your Bernese Mountain Dog clean, comfortable, and smelling fresh.
How to Groom Bernese Mountain Dogs

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Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their majestic appearance. Their long, silky fur not only adds to their beauty but also requires regular grooming to keep them healthy and comfortable. Grooming your Bernese Mountain Dog is a rewarding experience that strengthens your bond and keeps your furry friend looking and feeling their best. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you through the grooming process.

Does a Bernese Mountain Dog Need Grooming?

Absolutely! Bernese Mountain Dogs have a thick, long coat that can easily get matted or tangled if not cared for properly. Regular grooming helps to remove dead hair and dirt and prevents matting. It also gives you a chance to check your dog for signs of skin problems, infections, or parasites like ticks and fleas.

Additionally, grooming stimulates the natural oils in your dog’s skin, which keeps their coat shiny and healthy. It’s not just about keeping them pretty; it’s about keeping them comfortable and healthy.

Choosing the Right Grooming Tools

Having the right tools makes the grooming process smoother for both you and your dog. Here are some essential grooming tools for Bernese Mountain Dogs:

  • Brushes and combs: A slicker brush or a pin brush works well for detangling and smoothing the coat.
  • Nail clippers: Guillotine-style or scissor-style clippers work best for trimming your dog’s nails.
  • Ear cleaning supplies: Gentle ear cleaning solutions and cotton balls will help keep your dog’s ears clean and infection-free.

Choosing tools that are comfortable for you to handle and comfortable for your dog will make the grooming process enjoyable and effective.

How to Brush Bernese Mountain Dogs

Brushing is crucial for keeping your Bernese Mountain Dog’s coat in top condition. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. First, make sure your dog is calm and comfortable. You might want to exercise them a bit to tire them out.
  2. Start brushing from the head and work your way down to the tail.
  3. Be gentle, especially around sensitive areas like the belly and ears.
  4. Use a slicker brush or pin brush to detangle any mats or tangles.
  5. Brushing against the grain (opposite the direction of hair growth) can help remove loose hair, but always finish by brushing with the grain to smooth the coat.

Your dog might not love being brushed at first, but with patience and positive reinforcement, they’ll learn to enjoy it.

Does a Bernese Mountain Dog Smell?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are a delightful breed known for their friendly demeanor and impressive stature. However, like many dog breeds, they can develop a distinctive doggy odor over time. Managing this smell is crucial not only for your home’s freshness but also for your furry companion’s health and comfort. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to keep the Bernese Mountain Dog smell at bay.

Understanding the Source of the Smell

The first step in managing the smell is understanding where it’s coming from. The common sources of odor in Bernese Mountain Dogs include:

  • Skin Infections: These can occur due to allergies, irritants, or underlying health conditions.
  • Ear Infections: Yeast or bacteria in the ears can cause a strong odor.
  • Dental Problems: Bad breath can come from dental issues like gum disease or tartar buildup.
  • Anal Glands: If these glands become impacted or infected, they can produce a very foul smell.
  • Dirt and Oil: Over time, dirt and natural oils can build up on your dog’s coat and skin, leading to a doggy odor.

Regular Bathing and Grooming

  1. Bathing: Bathe your Bernese Mountain Dog quarterly. Using a gentle, dog-friendly shampoo should do the trick. Details in the next section.
  2. Brushing: Regular brushing, at least once a week, helps to remove dirt, debris, and loose hair that can contribute to odor.
  3. Ear Cleaning: Clean your dog’s ears once a week or as recommended by your vet to prevent ear infections, which can cause odor.
  4. Dental Care: Brush your dog’s teeth daily or at least several times a week to prevent dental problems that can cause bad breath.

Diet and Supplements

A balanced diet can play a significant role in managing your Bernese Mountain Dog’s smell. Feeding your dog a high-quality, balanced diet can improve their skin and coat health, reducing odor.

  • Supplements: Adding supplements like Omega-3 fatty acids can also promote healthy skin and coat, which in turn can help manage odor.

Vet Checkups

Regular vet checkups can help identify and treat underlying health issues that might be causing odor. If you notice a sudden change in your dog’s smell, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms, it’s a good idea to visit the vet.

Creating a Clean Environment

  1. Bedding: Wash your dog’s bedding regularly to prevent odor build-up.
  2. Air Purifiers: Utilizing air purifiers can help keep your home smelling fresh.
  3. Regular Cleaning: Vacuuming and cleaning your home frequently will help manage the odor.

Managing the smell of your Bernese Mountain Dog requires a combination of regular grooming, a balanced diet, vet checkups, and maintaining a clean environment. By following these steps, you can enjoy the company of your Bernese Mountain Dog without the accompanying odor, ensuring a happy, healthy, and fresh-smelling companion.

How Often Should You Bathe a Bernese Mountain Dog?

Bathing your Bernese Mountain Dog every 3 to 4 months is usually sufficient. However, if they get dirty or start to smell, you may need to bathe them more frequently.

  1. Use a dog-friendly shampoo that’s gentle on their skin.
  2. Ensure the water is warm but not hot, to keep your dog comfortable.
  3. Rinse thoroughly to remove all the shampoo, as leftover shampoo can irritate the skin.
  4. Dry your dog thoroughly with a towel or a dog-friendly blow dryer.

Remember, overbathing can dry out their skin and coat, so it’s best to bathe only as needed.

How to Clean Bernese Mountain Dogs’ Ears

Cleaning your dog’s ears is crucial to prevent infections and other ear problems. Here’s a simple guide on how to do it:

  1. Use a gentle dog ear cleaning solution and pour a small amount into your dog’s ear.
  2. Gently massage the base of the ear for about 30 seconds.
  3. Let your dog shake their head to help loosen debris.
  4. Use a cotton ball to gently wipe out any dirt or wax.

It’s a good habit to clean your dog’s ears once a week or as recommended by your vet.

How to Trim a Bernese Mountain Dog’s Paws

Trimming the hair between the paw pads can prevent matting, improve traction, and keep your dog’s paws clean.

  1. Gently hold your dog’s paw and trim the hair that’s sticking out from between the pads using a pair of blunt-nosed scissors.
  2. Be careful not to cut too close to the skin, and always keep a soothing tone to keep your dog calm.

It’s advisable to trim your dog’s paws every few weeks to keep them comfortable and prevent any issues.

How to Cut Bernese Mountain Dogs’ Nails

Regular nail trimming is essential to keep your dog comfortable and prevent overgrown nails from causing discomfort or injury.

  1. Use a pair of dog nail clippers and trim a little bit off at a time to avoid cutting into the quick (the sensitive part of the nail).
  2. If you do cut the quick, don’t panic. Apply some styptic powder to stop the bleeding.

Trimming your dog’s nails every month or so will keep them at a comfortable length.

How Often Should Bernese Mountain Dogs Be Groomed?

A good rule of thumb is to brush your Bernese Mountain Dog at least once a week, although more frequent grooming might be necessary during their shedding seasons in spring and fall. Regular grooming helps to keep their coat and skin healthy, and it’s a good time to check for any signs of health issues.

Creating a Comfortable Grooming Environment

Creating a calm and positive environment for grooming will make the process easier and more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

  • Choose a quiet, comfortable spot for grooming.
  • Have all your grooming tools ready before you start.
  • Reward your dog with treats and praise to make grooming a positive experience.


Grooming your Bernese Mountain Dog is an essential part of keeping them healthy, comfortable, and happy. With the right tools, a gentle touch, and a bit of patience, grooming can be a rewarding experience that strengthens your bond and keeps your dog looking and feeling their best.