A Bernese Mountain Dog lifespan is fairly short, even in comparison to other large dogs. Despite that fact, they are one of the most popular dog breeds. Bernese Mountain Dogs are gentle giants with playful natures, so they make great dogs for all types of families, even families with young children. It’s heartbreaking to think that these beautiful dogs won’t live forever, but it’s important to be aware of it so you can help keep them healthy.
How Long Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Live?
The Bernese Mountain Dog has one of the shortest lifespans of all dog breeds. In general, they only live to be 6 to 8 years old. The median life expectancy is closer to 7 or 8 years old though. However, it’s possible for these dogs to live longer if they are incredibly healthy. The oldest known Bernese Mountain Dog lived to be just over 15 years old!
Why is a Bernese Mountain Dog Lifespan So Short?
In general, large breeds don’t live as long as small breeds. However, the average dog lifespan is 10 to 12 years old, so the Bernese Mountain Dog still falls well below that average. Even though it’s sad that these dogs will never be one of the longest living dog breeds, there’s a reason for it. Not only are Bernese Mountain Dogs large, ranging from 80 to 110 pounds, but they are also prone to many serious health problems.
One of the biggest problems that Bernese Mountain Dogs face is cancer. Approximately half of all Bernese Mountain Dogs die from cancer, which is much higher than other dog breeds. For all dog breeds, an average of 1 out of 4 dogs die from cancer. Therefore, Bernese Mountain Dogs are extremely at risk when it comes to cancer.
However, cancer is not the only health problem that this breed is prone to. They also commonly get mobility issues such as hip dysplasia and arthritis. As Bernese Mountain Dogs age, these issues will become exceedingly painful, making it difficult for them to walk. If their pain gets too high, their families are left with no choice but to say goodbye.
Some other health problems that your Bernese Mountain Dog could suffer from are heart disease and kidney problems. These issues could also result in extreme pain and death if not treated. Therefore, staying on top of your Bernese Mountain Dog’s health is crucial.
How to Lengthen a Bernese Mountain Dog Lifespan
Even though all dog breeds have an average lifespan, it’s possible for you to lengthen their life expectancy with proper care. The following are ways that you can help your Bernese Mountain Dog stay as healthy as possible.
Keep Them in Shape
Keeping your dog a healthy weight is the key to helping them live long. Overweight dogs’ lives are often cut short because their obesity typically leads to other serious health problems. Bernese Mountain Dogs already have a stocky figure and a fluffy coat, so they could easily become overweight without anyone noticing. Therefore, you should weigh your dog on a regular basis to make sure they aren’t suddenly gaining weight. You should also be able to feel your dog’s ribs with minimal effort, so if you can’t feel their ribs or if you struggle to feel them, it might be time for a diet.
The best way to prevent obesity is to exercise your dog often. Bernese Mountain Dogs are a high-energy breed, so they need intense exercise on a daily basis. If you have a fenced-in yard, that’s the perfect way to allow your dog to run around for at least a half hour a day. Taking them for longer walks or runs is also a good idea too. Even if the weather is cold, Bernese Mountain Dogs still need as much exercise as usual.
Additionally, their food has a lot to do with their weight. So, it might be time to switch them to something healthier. Most dog kibble is full of cheap artificial ingredients, making it like junk food for dogs. It will keep your dog alive, but it won’t keep them as healthy as possible. Therefore, you should look closely at the food’s ingredient list to make sure it only contains quality meat and other beneficial ingredients. When in doubt, switch your dog to a homemade or fresh diet to give them the most nutritional benefits.
Spay or Neuter Your Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs who are fixed generally live longer, especially if they’re female. Not only does spaying and neutering prevent your dog from adding to the dog overpopulation problem, but it can also benefit their health and behavior. Fixed dogs are usually calmer and less likely to run away. So, if your Bernese Mountain Dog isn’t already spayed or neutered when you bring them home, you should talk to your vet about what steps to take. In some cases, your dog might be too young for the procedure, so you might have to wait.
Certain supplements are great at preventing serious health problems from occurring. For example, fish oil is able to prevent cancer and reduce inflammation in your dog’s body. Also, there are hip and joint supplements made specifically to help with your dog’s joint pain as they age. If you are unsure about which supplements will be the most beneficial for your Bernese Mountain Dog, you can talk to your vet to find out the best way to increase your dog’s lifespan.
Visit the Vet Regularly
The best way to ensure that your Bernese Mountain Dog stays healthy is to take them to the vet regularly. Yearly vet exams are a great place to start, and as they get older, you might want to bring them in even more frequently. Bernese Mountain Dogs are usually considered seniors at about 5 years old. By taking your dog in more frequently, your vet can get a good look at your dog and assess their health better. The sooner you know about any potential health concerns, the easier it will be to help your dog heal. Also, make sure you keep your dog on regular heartworm and flea preventatives too.
A Bernese Mountain Dog lifespan might be short, but you can still make the most of the time you have with them. Spend lots of quality time with them and be extra careful when it comes to their health. You are their whole world, so it’s important that you do everything you can to give them the long, healthy life they deserve.