The Bernese Mountain Dog is a big, friendly giant loved by many. With their fluffy coats and gentle nature, it’s no wonder they are such popular family pets. Originally from Switzerland, these dogs were bred to work on farms. They’re strong, loyal, and very smart. However, like many large breeds, they can have some health issues. This guide will help you understand what health challenges a Bernese Mountain Dog might face and how you can help keep them happy and healthy.
Common Health Issues in Bernese Mountain Dogs
Bernese Mountain Dogs are gentle giants with a heart as big as their fluffy bodies. They are loyal, affectionate, and make great family pets. However, like many large breeds, they have certain health challenges that may come their way. Knowing about these common health issues can help you provide the best care for your furry companion. Let’s dive into some of the health problems that are often seen in Bernese Mountain Dogs.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Hip and elbow dysplasia are common issues in large breeds, and the Bernese Mountain Dog is no exception. Dysplasia happens when the joints don’t fit together perfectly, causing discomfort and sometimes pain. It can make moving around difficult for your dog, and in severe cases, it can lead to arthritis.
If your dog is limping, having trouble getting up or lying down, or seems to be in pain when moving, it’s important to get them checked by a vet. Early intervention can help manage the symptoms and improve your dog’s quality of life.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an eye condition that gradually reduces the dog’s ability to see, eventually leading to blindness. It’s a genetic condition, meaning it’s passed down from the parents to the puppies.
There’s no cure for PRA, but dogs can adapt well to losing their sight as long as their environment remains consistent. Keeping furniture in the same place and providing clear pathways can help your Bernese navigate around as their sight diminishes.
Von Willebrand’s Disease
Von Willebrand’s Disease is a blood clotting disorder. It can cause excessive bleeding even from a small wound or surgery. It’s a genetic disorder, so it’s something that would be present from birth.
If you notice your dog bleeding a lot from a minor cut, or if they have nosebleeds or blood in their stool, it’s crucial to get them to the vet for a checkup. While there’s no cure, the condition can be managed with the right care.
Sadly, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a higher rate of cancer compared to other dog breeds. They can develop different types of cancer, and the risk increases as they age.
Regular checkups can help catch any issues early on. If you notice any unusual lumps, bumps, or behavior changes in your dog, it’s a good idea to get them checked out by a vet.
Allergies and Skin Issues
With their thick, lush coats, Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to skin issues. They can develop allergies to certain foods or environmental factors like pollen or dust mites, leading to itchy skin and discomfort.
A vet can help identify what’s causing the allergies and suggest a treatment plan. This might include special shampoos, dietary changes, or medications to help control the symptoms and keep your dog comfortable.
Being aware of these common health issues in Bernese Mountain Dogs can help you take proactive steps to keep your dog healthy. Regular vet visits, a good diet, and plenty of exercise can go a long way in keeping your Bernese Mountain Dog happy and by your side for many years to come.
Why Does a Bernese Mountain Dog Shake?
Sometimes, you might notice your Bernese Mountain Dog shaking. This can be due to a number of reasons. They might be feeling anxious, especially if there are loud noises like thunderstorms or fireworks. It could also be because they’re feeling cold or if they’re in pain from a health issue like dysplasia.
If you notice your furry friend shaking more than usual, it’s a good idea to talk to a vet. They can check for any health problems and suggest ways to help your dog feel more comfortable.
Why Does a Bernese Mountain Dog Lick So Much?
Dogs often lick to groom themselves or show affection. But if your Bernese Mountain Dog is licking a lot, it could be a sign of a problem. They might have allergies or skin irritations. This breed has a thick, long coat, and sometimes, they can get skin infections that cause itching and discomfort.
If you notice excessive licking, especially in one area, it’s wise to have a vet take a look. They might have some recommendations for treating skin problems or allergies that are making your dog uncomfortable.
Why Does a Bernese Mountain Dog Spin?
Spinning in circles can be a funny dog behavior, but if your Bernese Mountain Dog is doing it a lot, it might be a sign of a problem. Sometimes, dogs spin when they’re anxious or if they have a health issue that’s bothering them.
If spinning becomes a common behavior, talking to a vet or a dog behaviorist might be a good idea. They can help figure out what’s causing this behavior and suggest ways to help your dog feel better.
How Long Does a Bernese Mountain Dog Live?
On average, Bernese Mountain Dogs live around 7 to 10 years. It’s a bit shorter compared to some other dog breeds. Their lifespan can be affected by the health issues they face, like hip dysplasia and PRA.
Regular vet checkups, a balanced diet, and regular exercise can help keep your Bernese Mountain Dog in good shape. A happy and healthy lifestyle can help ensure that your dog lives a long, fulfilling life.
Maintaining a Healthy Bernese Mountain Dog
Keeping your Bernese Mountain Dog healthy involves regular checkups with the vet. Catching health issues early can make a big difference. Providing a balanced diet and regular exercise will also help keep your dog in good shape.
Mental stimulation is important too. It can help prevent anxiety and related behaviors like spinning or excessive licking. Playing games, going on walks, and providing toys are great ways to keep your dog’s mind sharp.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are truly wonderful companions. Understanding the common health problems they might face and how to prevent or manage these issues will help ensure a happy, healthy life for your beloved pet. With proper care and attention, you can enjoy the beautiful companionship of a Bernese Mountain Dog for many years to come.