Caring for Your Dog in the Heat of Summer

BMDCA Health Committee Tip

Obviously, Bernese are native to colder climates, so the heat in many parts of the country can be devastating to them. We want to remind everyone to take special precautions during the summer. These include being prepared for overheating. Keep frozen ice packs in your freezer in case your dog overheats. Ask your vet for some if you don’t have them as they often have plenty since vaccines and medications are shipped with them.

If your dog shows signs of overheating, which include excessive panting, bright red gums, irregular heartbeat, it is important to cool them down quickly but monitor them. Using ice backs in the chest area, in the groin area, on the feet (place ice pack on bottom and wrap around feet with wet towels). Keep monitoring the temperature every few minutes and immediately call your vet to walk you through cooling the dog down. 

PLEASE NOTE: Many breeds can be wet down with cold water but with Bernese, with their heavy coat, this isn’t ideal as the heavy wet coat can actually trap in the heat and make things worse. Use the ice packs instead of wetting them totally down, as wetting them is like putting a heavy wet blanket over them. You can use cold running water on their feet but wetting the whole dog can cause more problems. Avoid exercise during the heat of the day. Your dog may want to go out and play, and not have the sense to know it could kill them. Limit exercise to early morning and late evening after the air temperature has cooled a bit. 

Please do NOT leave your dog in a car even for a very few minutes. Even with the windows cracked or down, it is just too dangerous, especially with our breed. There are numerous charts on line to reference, but if the air temperature is 80 degrees, in 10 minutes, it will reach 100 degrees in the car. If it is 90 degrees, it will hit 100 degrees. A dog can die in that length of time or suffer irreversible damage to organs. Just don’t do it. It is also dangerous to leave the car running, as many cars will overheat and the air conditioning will fail, and the result is fatal. If you are going somewhere that you may have to leave the dog in the car even for a very few minutes, it is better to leave them home than risk their lives. 

When walking your dog, remember asphalt absorbs heat and holds it and walking your dog on it can seriously damage its paws. As a rule, put your bare foot, or your hand down on the surface you are going to walk, and if you cannot keep

your hand or bare foot on it for 5-7 seconds, it is too hot for your dog to walk on. Allow the dog to walk off the sidewalk or path on the grass and avoid walks during the hottest parts of the day. Limit walks to early morning and later in the evening when the air, and the asphalt, have cooled. Also, the pads can be more susceptible to damage after the dog has been swimming and they are softer, so use the same rules listed above before walking them on pavement. 

If you are a breeder, don’t breed dogs outside in the summer if the temperature is over 70-75%. While the dogs may breed quickly, remember they have to stand there in the position for 20-30 minutes, and are obviously excited. This can prove to be fatal. Breed them indoors in air conditioning or do artificial inseminations. Getting a natural breeding is not worth taking the chance killing either of the breeding pair.

The BMDCA Health Committee gives tips to keep dogs (especially Bernese) safe this summer.

The BMDCA Health Committee gives tips to keep dogs (especially Bernese) safe this summer.

Summer Pupsicles

Four ways to make a cooling treat for your dog this summer.

The BMD Breed Standard

Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Standard

The"Berner" breed was developed by Swiss farmers. The dogs were originally kept for their ability to serve the farmers' need for a reliable, multipurpose farm dog. Historical photographs of the breed show us the 'roots' of present day Bernese. Throughout the breed's history and in present day, owners and breeders have appreciated the gentle nature and working capabilities of Berners. Bernese have been the subject of paintings and have been written about in books. Some Berner art from the mid 20th century depicts the environment in which the ancestors of today's Bernese lived and the kinds of work the dogs were expected to do. Experiencing the exceptional human understanding that is typically seen in Bernese has drawn devoted individuals to the breed. Owners' and breeders'understanding of the Breed Standard can serve the task of preserving the breed's finest qualities and protecting the best interests of Bernese Mountain Dogs. Click here for more info.

Click here for info about forequarters.

Click here for info about proportions.

Click here for info about structure.


The thighs are broad, strong and muscular. The stifles are moderately bent and taper smoothly into the hocks. The hocks are well let down and straight as viewed from the rear. At increased speeds the legs converge to the center line. Click here for more info.


The natural working gait of the Bernese Mountain Dog is a slow trot. However in keeping with his draft and droving work, he is capable of speed and agility. There is good reach in front. Powerful drive from the rear is transmitted through a level back. Click here for more info.

BerNESE Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog!

Common Confusions

BerNESE vs. Burmese vs. Bernaise vs. Bernard!

The 5 Second Rule!

Place the palm of your hand on the pavement. If you cannot hold it for 5 seconds, it is too hot to walk your dog on it.

Hot cars and dogs don't mix!

Vehicle Temperature

Even at 70 degrees outside, a car quickly heats up.


Even in the shade, a car temperature soars to dangerous levels.


Lowering the windows does little to effect the inside temp of a car.

Professional Human Trainer

Bernese Mountain Dogs

Will train any human to perform these basic Obedience Commands

1. Fetch me a treat

2. Rub my belly

3. Pick up my poop

4. Wipe my feet

5. Speak baby talk

6. Throw the ball

7. Don't hog the bed

8. Give me a kiss

9. Buy me a toy

10. Fetch me a treat (this one's good!)


The Very Rare Dogwood


Phase I

Gas accumulates in the stomach but the stomach does not empty as it should. The stomach starts to dilate and twist.

Phase II

Blood supply to part of stomach is cut off. Shock begins to develop.

Phase III

Spleen and stomach tissue become Necrotic. Very Severe. Fatal.

Download this chart for an easy reference.

Can My dog Eat This?


Bananas, Blueberries, Kiwis, Pineapple, Strawberries

Yes... but

Apples (no seeds), Lemons (bitter), Oranges (moderation), Peaches (remove the pit), Watermelon (remove the rind)


Avocados, Cherries, Grapes, Raisins

Choose a Breeder Wisely

Before I was Born

-My Breeder studied my pedigree for a very long time and carefully chose my mum and dad.

-My parents and their parents were health tested.

-My whole family proved at shows that they conform to the breed standards.

-My parents and their parents proved typical BMD temperament in tests.

-Someone had me in their thoughts and loved me.

After I was Born

-My Breeder took great care of me so I grew up well.

-My Breeder made a lot of effort to socialize me.

-My Breeder chose my new family carefully.

During My Life

-I can always go back to my breeder at any time and for any reason.

-Responsible breeders protect, preserve, and better the breed.

-Be a responsible dog owner - choose your breeder wisely.

Benefits of Petting a Dog

Blood Pressure Drops

Seratonin Rises

Reduced Anxiety

To Shave or Not to Shave?

This is a hotly contested debate with reasonably concerned parties on both ends. Should you find yourself in a position where you are left with little choice but to remove the precious down, please research the problems first. Here is a good place to start.

What To Do If You See A Yellow Ribbon on a Dog’s Leash

Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite, back by popular demand. It was originally posted on October 9, 2012. Enjoy! Anyone who has ever had an infirmed, unsocial or elderly dog is going to love The Yellow Dog Project, a global movement for parents of dogs that need space. The concept behind it is quite simple.  If you see a dog with a yellow ribbon or other items tied to its leash, that signifies a dog who needs space and you should not attempt to pet the dog or bring your own dog over for a greeting.  Now here’s an idea that’s long overdue. The Yellow Dog Project has now made its mark in 45 countries and educational materials have been translated into 12 languages. Fans are calling it, “Brilliant” and “The best thing to happen since the invention of the leash! 

What Colors Dogs See and Why it Matters

Dogs see more colors than just black and white. However, they do not see the color spectrum that most humans see. Dogs, it turns out, are color blind. This is very important is agility sports for dogs. Kristen (aka agilitymatch) wrote an article for PetHelpful in February, 2016 that explains dog vision and agility succinctly. Take a look at her article here.

How to Greet a Dog

No Eye Contact

Let the Dog approach you in his own time

Pet or stroke him on the SIDE of his face or body. Or on his back.

Keep a Non-threatening posture

Keep with your side or back towards the dog.

copyright Lili Chin