When it comes to feeding the lively Bedlington Terrier, it is important to make sure their diet has a good balance of nutrients to support their agile, multi purpose frame. Part guard dog, running dog, and swimming dog, the Bedlington needs a blend of carbohydrates and protein to keep their brains alert and muscles strong. A moderate fat level will help support their curly coat and keep their skin problem free. It is also commonly noted that the breed is one that absolutely must have a low copper diet. They should not even be allowed to drink water from taps that use copper plumbing.
The Bedlington's need for less copper stems from the lack of a certain protein required to fully process the mineral in the body. Referred to as copper toxicosis, it has been found that when the breed gathers an excess of copper in its bloodstream, the toxicity settles in the liver and begins killing red blood cells one by one. When it is caught in time, copper chelation medication is often prescribed in order to flush out toxins via the kidneys. Without intervention, the Bedlington can see its life cut short to a mere two years. The disease is genetic and can be easily diagnosed by taking a biopsy of the liver.
There are many dog foods available that are low in copper; however, many breeders often point out that the Bedlington's digestive system is very sensitive. Owners that opt for special order foods should either be prepared to stock up or stick with a more common food brand. Should an owner run out of the special food or the brand discontinues, suddenly switching brands can wreak havoc on the Bedlington's system. It may be necessary to get a vet's recommendation or even have a diet plan put together by a canine nutritionist. It has been noted that a blend of fish and horsemeat offers a good amount of protein while oats and other vegetables provide a good mix of fiber and carbohydrates for the Bedlington.
When opting for a Bedlington Terrier, owners must be sure to have their dog's liver biopsied within the first year. A DNA test can then determine whether or not the dog is susceptible to copper toxicosis. For those predisposed to the disorder, a vet will thoroughly educate owners on the various signs of toxicity in the bloodstream. Owners will need to be quite vigilant about their dog's health from then on. They may even need to invest in filtered bottled water to ensure a proper balance of copper levels. As the breed offers a great source of companionship, the majority of owners do not mind performing this small service for their beloved Bedlington Terrier.