Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

Why is My Bernese Mountain Dog Not Eating?

Written by: Arlene D.
| Published on December 4, 2023

The Bernese Mountain Dog, known for its majestic appearance and gentle demeanor, is typically a breed with a healthy appetite. However, like all dogs, they can experience periods where they may lose interest in food. Understanding the reasons behind this can be crucial for maintaining their health and well-being. This article will explore the common causes of a loss of appetite in Bernese Mountain Dogs and provide insights into when it’s necessary to seek veterinary care.

Understanding Bernese Mountain Dogs’ Eating Habits

Bernese Mountain Dogs are large, active dogs with substantial dietary needs. They usually enjoy their meals and have a hearty appetite. Any significant change in their eating habits should be noted, as it could indicate health or behavioral issues.

Common Reasons for Loss of Appetite in Bernese Mountain Dogs

Several factors can influence a Bernese Mountain Dog’s eating habits:

  1. Stress and Environmental Changes: Changes in the household, moving to a new location, or any alteration in their routine can cause stress, leading to a loss of appetite.
  2. Dental and Oral Health Issues: Dental problems such as gingivitis, tooth decay, or oral injuries can make eating painful and reduce appetite. Regular dental care is essential for these dogs.
  3. Health Concerns: Health issues, ranging from minor conditions like gastrointestinal upset to more serious diseases like cancer or kidney disease, can decrease appetite. Other symptoms to watch for include vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy.
  4. Dietary Preferences and Food Quality: Bernese Mountain Dogs might be particular about their food. Disliking a specific type of food, or being stale or of low quality, could be reasons for not eating.

When to Seek Veterinary Attention

It’s essential to recognize when a veterinarian’s advice is needed:

  1. Prolonged Refusal to Eat: If your Bernese Mountain Dog hasn’t eaten for more than 48 hours, it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian.
  2. Accompanying Symptoms of Illness: Loss of appetite and symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, noticeable weight loss, or changes in drinking habits are severe concerns and require immediate veterinary attention.
  3. Existing Health Conditions: Bernese Mountain Dogs with pre-existing health issues require immediate care if they show a change in appetite, which could indicate a complication or worsening of their condition.

Maintaining a Healthy Diet and Environment for Bernese Mountain Dogs

  1. Consistent Feeding Routine: Maintaining a regular feeding schedule in a calm and familiar environment can help reduce stress and encourage eating.
  2. High-Quality Nutrition: Providing a well-balanced diet that fulfills the nutritional needs of a Bernese Mountain Dog is crucial. Sometimes, introducing a new brand or a different type of food can help stimulate their appetite.
  3. Regular Dental Care: Prioritizing dental health with regular check-ups and cleanings can prevent issues affecting your dog’s ability to eat comfortably.

A Bernese Mountain Dog not eating can signify various issues, from minor to severe. By understanding the potential reasons behind this behavior and recognizing when to seek veterinary help, you can ensure the health and happiness of your beloved pet. Regularly monitoring their eating habits and providing a nurturing environment and proper care are critical to encouraging a healthy appetite.


Tips for Getting Your Bernese Mountain Dog to Eat

Bernese Mountain Dogs, with their gentle nature and impressive size, are generally known to have a good appetite. However, there can be times when they might show less interest in food. This article provides practical tips to encourage your Bernese Mountain Dog to eat, ensuring they receive the proper nutrition for their health and vitality.

Enhancing Meals with Appetizing Food Toppers

One of the simplest ways to entice a Bernese Mountain Dog to eat is by adding food toppers to their regular meals. These can include cooked lean meats such as chicken or turkey, a spoonful of canned pumpkin, or some plain cooked vegetables. These additions make the meal more appealing and add nutritional value. It’s essential to ensure that any toppers used are safe for dogs and free from harmful ingredients.

Hydrating Dry Food for Added Palatability

If your Bernese Mountain Dog primarily eats dry kibble, adding moisture can enhance its appeal. Mixing in warm water or a dog-friendly broth can make the food smell and taste more enticing. This can also help older dogs or those with dental issues, making the food easier to chew and digest.

Switching to High-Quality Dog Food Brands

Sometimes, the issue might be with the food itself. If your Bernese Mountain Dog shows little interest in their current brand, consider switching to a different, high-quality dog food. Look for brands rich in nutrients, with real meat as a primary ingredient. Gradually transitioning to the new food over several days is essential to prevent digestive upset.

Introducing Dietary Variety

Introducing various foods can help maintain a Bernese Mountain Dog’s interest in their meals. This doesn’t mean frequent significant changes, which can upset their stomach, but rather minor variations, such as different flavors or types of the same high-quality brand. Always introduce new foods gradually and in moderation.

Creating a Comfortable Eating Environment

The environment where your Bernese Mountain Dog eats can significantly influence their willingness to eat. Ensure they have a quiet, comfortable dining place away from loud noises and disturbances. Consistency in feeding location and schedule can also help establish a comfortable routine that encourages regular eating habits.


Encouraging your Bernese Mountain Dog to eat may require several strategies. From adding tasty and nutritious toppers, hydrating dry food, switching to a more appealing dog food brand, and introducing dietary variety to providing a peaceful eating environment, these methods can help stimulate your dog’s appetite. Monitor your Bernese Mountain Dog’s eating habits closely and consult with a veterinarian if there are ongoing concerns about their nutrition or health. You can ensure that your Bernese Mountain Dog enjoys their meals and stays healthy with patience and attentive care.


Frequently Asked Questions About Why Bernese Mountain Dogs Might Not Be Eating

1. Why is my Bernese Mountain Dog suddenly not interested in eating?

A sudden lack of interest in eating in Bernese Mountain Dogs could be due to various factors such as stress, environmental changes, or health issues. It’s crucial to observe if there are other symptoms, like lethargy or vomiting, which might indicate an underlying health problem.

2. Can changes in the household affect my Bernese Mountain Dog’s appetite?

Yes, changes in the household, like the arrival of a new pet or baby, can affect a Bernese Mountain Dog’s appetite. They are sensitive to environmental changes and may need time to adjust.

3. Are dental problems common reasons Bernese Mountain Dogs do not eat?

Dental issues, including tooth decay, gum disease, or oral injuries, can make eating painful for Bernese Mountain Dogs, decreasing their appetite. Regular dental check-ups are essential to maintain their oral health.

4. Could my Bernese Mountain Dog be not eating due to hot weather?

Yes, hot weather can sometimes reduce Bernese Mountain Dogs’ appetites. They may eat less during warmer weather to regulate their body temperature. Ensuring their relaxed and comfortable place can help maintain their regular eating habits.

5. Do Bernese Mountain Dogs normally skip a meal?

Occasionally skipping a meal isn’t usually a cause for concern for Bernese Mountain Dogs unless it becomes a regular occurrence or is accompanied by other symptoms like weight loss or lethargy.

6. How long can a Bernese Mountain Dog go without eating before it becomes a concern?

If a Bernese Mountain Dog goes without eating for more than 48 hours, it should be a cause for concern. Extended periods without food can lead to health issues and should be addressed by a veterinarian.

7. Can gastrointestinal issues cause a Bernese Mountain Dog to stop eating?

Gastrointestinal issues such as an upset stomach, gastritis, or intestinal parasites can cause a Bernese Mountain Dog to stop eating. These conditions often require veterinary attention, especially if accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea.

8. How does aging affect the eating habits of Bernese Mountain Dogs?

As Bernese Mountain Dogs age, their appetite can decrease due to lowered activity levels or age-related health issues. Adapting their diet to their changing needs and monitoring their health closely is essential.

9. Can changing my Bernese Mountain Dog’s food cause them to stop eating?

A sudden change in dog food can cause a Bernese Mountain Dog to stop eating if they do not like the new food’s taste or texture. Gradually transitioning to fresh food over a week is recommended.

10. Are Bernese Mountain Dogs prone to being picky eaters?

While not typically known as picky eaters, individual Bernese Mountain Dogs may have specific preferences or aversions. Finding a balanced diet that suits their taste and nutritional needs is essential.

11. Could my Bernese Mountain Dog not eating indicate a more serious health issue?

Not eating can indicate a severe health issue in Bernese Mountain Dogs, especially if accompanied by other symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea. Consulting a veterinarian for a thorough examination is advisable.

12. Is lack of exercise a reason for my Bernese Mountain Dog not eating?

Lack of exercise can lead to decreased appetite in Bernese Mountain Dogs. Regular physical activity is crucial for stimulating appetite and maintaining overall health.

13. How can I tell if my Bernese Mountain Dog’s loss of appetite is due to pickiness or illness?

If your Bernese Mountain Dog is picky, they may occasionally refuse food but generally maintain a healthy weight and activity level. A health problem is more likely if the loss of appetite is sudden, persistent, and accompanied by other signs of illness.

14. Can parasites cause a loss of appetite in Bernese Mountain Dogs?

Yes, parasites like worms can cause a loss of appetite in Bernese Mountain Dogs. Regular deworming and veterinary check-ups can help prevent and treat parasitic infections.

15. Should I be concerned if my Bernese Mountain Dog eats less during a family change, such as a new baby?

Changes in family dynamics, like the arrival of a new baby, can temporarily affect a Bernese Mountain Dog’s appetite due to changes in attention and routine. Providing extra love and maintaining as much of their routine as possible can help them adjust.

Recent Articles

Interested in learning even more about all things dogs? Get your paws on more great content from iHeartDogs!

Read the Blog