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Bernese Mountain Dog Grooming: 15 Expert Tips

Written by: Jordyn Alger

Last Updated on May 6, 2024 by Dogster Team

bernese dog getting ready for grooming

Bernese Mountain Dog Grooming: 15 Expert Tips

Proper hygiene habits are essential to caring for a happy, healthy dog. The average dog does not require as much grooming as a human, although certain dog breeds may require more maintenance than others. Regardless, all dogs require key grooming practices, such as brushing, ear cleaning, nail trimming, and teeth brushing.

The Bernese Mountain Dog has a thick coat of long hair. It is generally considered even-tempered, so grooming is more likely to go smoothly. Still, the best way to ensure a grooming session goes well is to be prepared. In this article, we have 15 expert tips to help you groom your Bernese Mountain Dog.

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The 15 Tips on Bernese Mountain Dog Grooming

1. Gather the Right Tools

Before you begin grooming your Bernese Mountain Dog, you will need to make sure that you have the right tools. Using the right brushes ensures that your dog’s coat is detangled and well-brushed. For the Bernese Mountain Dog, you will want a sturdy pin and bristle brush, a slicker, a comb, and blunt-ended shears.

To clean the ears and eyes, you can use cotton pads. A canine ear-cleaning solution will also be useful. Nail clippers will be necessary to trim down his nails, and a canine toothpaste and toothbrush will also be helpful.

Of course, you can’t forget the treats! Treats will be a vital tool to keep your Bernese Mountain Dog cooperative.

nail clippers for dogs and cats on a wooden surface
Image Credit: pedphoto36pm, Shutterstock

2. Make the Experience Enjoyable

Some dogs love being groomed, while others are much warier about it. Regardless, you have the power to make the experience enjoyable for even the most hesitant pup. By finding a private, quiet location in your home, your dog will not be agitated by surrounding distractions.

Likewise, exercise your dog before grooming him, and wait until his excitement decreases. Grooming a low-energy dog is easier than grooming a high-energy dog, so if you can burn off some of that energy prior to grooming, the process will be much easier for you.

Watch your dog during the grooming process to monitor his reactions. If he appears agitated or distressed, talk to him and soothe him.

Our Favorite Products

Selecting the right shampoo and conditioner makes the world of a difference when grooming your pup. Our favorite products are the duo by Hepper. The Oatmeal Pet Shampoo is formulated with aloe and oatmeal to soothe skin and hydrate the coat. The Pet Conditioner works at eliminating tangles and taming frizz and static. Both products are pH-balanced and formulated with pet-friendly ingredients, free of harsh soaps, chemicals, and dyes. Give this duo a try to heal and nourish your dog's coat, and leave them with an irresistible just-left-the-spa cucumber and aloe scent. 

Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates

At Dogster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool pet company!

 


3. Search for Tangles

Carefully run through your Bernese Mountain Dog’s coat with a wide-toothed comb to find tangles. The comb can gently loosen the tangles, especially if you brush the coat in small sections and layers. While searching for tangles, be sure to run through every part of the coat, even all the way down to the skin.

Since the Bernese Mountain Dog has such a thick, long coat, separating it into small sections and layers is a good idea. This method will ensure that you comb through the underlayer of your dog’s double coat to prevent sneakier tangles.

bernese mountain dog being groomed
Image Credit: DenisProduction.com, Shutterstock

4. Work Through Tangles

After you find the tangles, you can begin to work through them. If the comb is not enough to untangle some of them, you can progress to using your brush. If the tangle is particularly tough, you may need to use shears or a splitting tool to try and work through it. Regardless of your tool, always be gentle and take extra measures to protect your dog’s skin.

Brushing should be done regularly for long-haired dogs like the Bernese Mountain Dog. Grooming your dog’s coat several times per week is a good way to prevent serious tangles.


5. Be Aware of Difficult Spots

When it comes to brushing, your Bernese Mountain Dog will have some tough spots to work through. These spots may have fine or extremely thick fur, or they may just be hard to reach.

These spots include:

  • On the sides of the neck
  • Behind the ears
  • Around the thighs
  • The elbows
  • The back of the hocks
  • On the stomach
  • Near the loins and genitals
  • At the base of the tail

If possible, try to end your brushing session on a pleasant note. If your Bernese Mountain Dog loves to have his back brushed, then start and end by brushing that region. That way, your dog can walk away from the grooming session feeling happy, making him much more tolerant during the next grooming session.

Female Bernese Mountain Dogs
Image Credit: NadineDoerle, Pixabay

6. Clean the Ears

While brushing your dog, take the time to check his ears. By inspecting the inside and outside of his ears, you can check for redness, swelling, or any foul odor that may indicate an ear infection1. If you spot any signs of an ear infection, do not attempt to treat it yourself. Instead, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away.

Assuming there are no indications of an ear infection, you can clean your dog’s ears. Use a clean cotton pad dipped in a canine ear-cleaning solution to wipe the top portion of the ear as well as the inner flap. Do not probe deep into the ear.

If you are looking for the perfect product to clean your dog's sensitive areas or would benefit from an on-the-go option, Hepper's Wash Wipes are our recommendation. These premium wipes are thick and durable enough for the toughest of paw messes, while still being soft enough to use on your dog's ears or eyes. Formulated with pet-friendly, hypoallergenic ingredients they are the ideal product for all dogs of all ages, skin conditions, or sensitivities. 

Hepper Pet Wash Wipes - Soft Pet Cleaning Wipes...
  • Gentle Care For All Pets - Infused with moisturizing hypoallergenic ingredients & enriched with...
  • Deep Cleans From Head to Tail - Tackle the toughest dirt & messes with our extra strong pet wipes...
  • Freshness On The Go - Each dog grooming wipes pack contains 30 counts of premium dog wipes that...

At Dogster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool pet company!

 


7. Wipe the Eyes

Dampen a fresh cotton pad with clean water and use it to wipe around your dog’s eyes. While cleaning his eyes, inspect each of them for any redness, soreness, or signs of discharge. If you notice any of these signs, reach out to your vet right away.

Dogs with long hair can sometimes get stains around the eyes. The Bernese Mountain Dog is no exception. These stains can make the fur brittle and crusty, and keeping the area clean can help prevent this.

sad dog lying on the floor
Image Credit: Luka Stular, Shutterstock

8. Observe Proper Dental Care

Dental care is vital to the health of any dog breed. Dental disease is incredibly common in dogs2, and preventative methods are the best way to combat it. It may take time to train your dog to sit through a tooth brushing, but it is well worth it.

You can use a canine toothbrush and toothpaste to clean your dog’s teeth, or you can use a clean rag with canine toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste to clean your dog’s teeth. The ingredients in human toothpaste are not suited to your Bernese Mountain Dog, so stick to canine toothpaste.


9. Check on the Nails and Feet

Bernese Mountain Dogs have strong and sturdy feet, so they do not require as frequent maintenance as some other breeds. However, your dog’s nails should still be trimmed once they’ve grown too long. Be careful and gentle while clipping your dog’s nails.

You will also want to inspect the pads of your Bernese Mountain Dog’s feet. Outdoor walks can cause rocks or twigs to poke through the skin, causing discomfort. You may also want to trim the fur around your dog’s feet to help keep dirt from tracking into the house and sticking onto the paws.

human hand holding bernese mountain dogs paw
Image Credit: Vad-Len, Shutterstock

10. Watch Out for External Parasites

While grooming your dog, keep an eye out for any pests. Brushing through your dog’s coat gives you the perfect opportunity to check him for ticks, fleas, and other external parasites3. If it is tick season in your area, you should check your dog daily.

Signs of fleas include dark and white specks in the fur. Your dog may also have scabs or hot spots, and you may notice that he is licking or scratching more often than usual. Ticks can be felt when you run your hand over your dog’s skin. You can also see them protruding from your dog’s skin, most often around the paws, head, neck, or ears.


11. Brush More Often During the Shedding Season

Bernese Mountain Dogs have double coats, meaning they shed a lot. Your dog will shed even more during the shedding season, which is typically once or twice per year. While weekly brushings are adequate for the Bernese Mountain Dog under normal circumstances, you will want to brush your dog daily during shedding season.

You may want to consider using a de-shedding brush to help out during shedding season. The brush can help to speed up the shedding process and get the excess fur taken care of. While using this brush, take extra care to be gentle so that you do not accidentally scratch your dog.

bernese mountain dog lying on the floor beside brush with pile of hair
Image Credit: Kristesoro, Shutterstock

12. Know When to Take a Break

The entire grooming process doesn’t have to happen all at once. If your Bernese Mountain Dog is growing antsy or restless, it may be a good time to take a break and try again later. Dogs don’t have the same attention span that humans do, so hoping your dog will sit still and be groomed for a prolonged period may be an expectation doomed from the start.

Taking breaks when your dog is agitated can also keep him from becoming fearful of the grooming process. By staying attuned to your dog’s emotional state, you can respond properly and make the experience as easy as possible for both of you.


13. Know When to Ask for Help

Bernese Mountain Dogs are massive dogs, so the grooming process can take a long time. If you are having a tough time convincing your dog to stay still, you may want to go to a professional dog groomer for help.

This is especially true if your Bernese Mountain Dog has extensive mats in his fur. If you are unable to detangle the enormous mats in his fur, you can take him to a professional so that his fur can be gently and efficiently sorted back into its smooth, lustrous form.

There is no shame in asking for help. Professional groomers have extensive training and more specialized tools that can help make the process much easier, so don’t hesitate to reach out to your local groomer if you are in need of assistance.

bernese mountain dog in a grooming salon
Image Credit: Ihar Halavach, Shutterstock

14. Remain Patience

Grooming can be a long process when you have such a big dog, and if you have tangles to work through, the process can be challenging. If you feel yourself losing patience, take a break.

If you lose your temper with your dog or are rough with him, you could seriously injure him. If not used gently, combs, brushes, and clippers can scratch or cut your dog’s skin. Should this happen, you can lose your dog’s trust. That is why it is always important to keep your patience.


15. Give Lots of Rewards

During and after the grooming session, be sure to provide plenty of rewards for your dog! Pets, praise, and treats can go a long way to keeping your dog cooperative during the process.

After you have finished grooming your Bernese Mountain Dog, be sure to give him a treat. This ends the grooming session on a high note, making him happy and more likely to be a willing participant during the next grooming session.

giving treats to bernese dog
Image By: Kristesoro, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Grooming your Bernese Mountain Dog doesn’t have to be a chore. If done well, the experience can be a great bonding opportunity. Proper grooming is about more than just your dog’s appearance; it is about maintaining his health, his comfort, and his trust in you. If at any time in the process you feel overwhelmed by the task, do not be afraid to reach out to a professional groomer for help. In the end, the goal is to have a healthy and happy pup.


Featured Image Credit: Helen Sushitskaya, Shutterstock

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