Controlling the Shedding of a Bernese Mountain Dog

Getting dirty outdoors can cause scratching and increase shedding, if Fido doesn't get a bath soon afterward.
i Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

Just because you love your Bernese mountain dog to death doesn't mean you love the tumbleweeds of fur he leaves throughout your house. Because Berners have an outer coat and an undercoat, if you don't get on top of the shedding it will get on top of you.

Clear the Undercoat

Even though your Berner sheds twice a year, or sometimes year-round if you live somewhere warm, where the shed hair lands depends on how frequently you comb out the dead undercoat. Keep his undercoat clean and trim by using a rake comb whenever he starts shedding. Unlike a regular pin brush, a rake comb specifically targets the loose undercoat, removing it before it falls on your sofa or becomes painfully matted with your Berner's outer coat.

Brush Regularly

Regardless of whether your Berner is in shedding season, brushing him regularly using a metal pin brush removes dead and loose hair from his outer coat. Hold each section of hair upright so you can see the root. Brush from root to tip, starting at the bottoms of his feet and working your way up his body. Discard excess hair from the brush and repeat. Daily brushing is ideal, but even twice a week will cut down considerably on the hair he sheds.

Protein Power

When you bathe your Berner, which could be as infrequently as a few times a year or as often as twice a month, wash his coat with a protein shampoo and protein conditioner that's specifically formulated for dogs. These protein infusions will strengthen his hair from root to tip, making it less likely to prematurely shed or break. If you don't bathe your dog very often, mist his entire coat lightly with a 50-50 mixture of protein conditioner and water before his regular brushing. This will protect and strengthen his hair, as well as loosen tangles.

Quality Food

Ask your veterinarian for recommendations of high-quality, dry dog food for your Berner. High-quality dog food with protein sources that are easily digestible and few fillers or bi-products will strengthen your Berner's coat and skin from the inside out. Understand that even the best quality food won't eliminate shedding completely, but a nutritionally optimal diet can certainly reduce the layer of dead dog hair on your carpet.

the nest