Are you thinking of getting an elevated bowl for your dog because someone you know has told you about its potential benefits? We all want a better life for our dogs, but sometimes we make bad decisions. One such method of feeding, elevated feeding using raised feeders, is becoming more popular recently. However, it can be harmful to your dog. The studies suggesting its key benefit is still in question, so you need to rethink your decision before getting raised feeders for your canine buddy.
The benefit for which raised feeding has been widely popular is its correlation with the medical condition known as bloat. A study suggested that the use of an elevated feeder can reduce the risk of the deadly condition. Unfortunately, that is not always true. If you’re switching to raised feeders just because you heard about its benefits, you should read further and consult your vet before trying them out.
What Are Elevated Dog Bowls, or Raised Feeders?
Dog bowls that do not directly sit on the ground are known simply as raised feeders. These bowls are to be kept at a certain appropriate height from the floor with the help of a structure or frame. Many bowls come with adjustable heights so that you can elevate them at the height that’s perfectly suitable for your buddy.
As you can guess by now, raised bowls would make eating and drinking easier because the dog won’t have to lower their neck to ingest. You’ll have to decide the appropriate height of the raised feeder by considering your dog’s height beforehand.
Generally, elevated dog bowls should be the height of your dog’s lower chest from the ground when standing. If you’re going to purchase a raised feeder with a fixed height, determining the height in the first place becomes more crucial.
Do Raised Feeders Reduce the Risk of Bloat?
Let’s describe see what bloat is. The medical term is known as Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus. In this condition, a dog’s stomach expands abnormally and blocks the entry and exit of it. This further blocks the blood flow to that part.
The condition can worsen and the stomach can also twist or flip over inside. The dog can also go into shock and immediate veterinary care is required. GDV is deadly and hence you always should look for any signs of bloating, especially if your dog has experienced the same condition before.
Large breed dogs and dogs with deep chests are prone to bloat. However, some small dogs also can suffer from GDV. If you ever notice any signs of GDV, visit your veterinarian immediately.
The potential benefit for which the product’s been marketed is elevated feeding can reduce the risk of GDV. The study that suggested this fact has been questioned for its reliability. It was a statistical study and not the scientific one. However, there was one more study that concluded exactly the opposite conclusion. But again, there was a flaw in that study as well. It was not randomized.
In a nutshell, there is not enough research available to conclude the relationship between bloat and elevated feeding. So, the current wisdom is not to use a raised feeder until your vet recommends. If you look up the disease online, you will see elevated feeding listed as the cause of GDV. And this is by far the worst con of elevated dog bowls.
What Are Its Benefits?
While there’s a big downside of using raised feeders, there are also potential benefits. When your dog eats or drinks from a raised bowl, their neck, shoulders, and legs will have less strain. This is especially beneficial for senior dogs with joint, bone, and ligament issues. However, you should consult your vet first before you throw out your dog’s durable ceramic bowls.
Also, raised feeders to work for breeds that are less prone. It’s a risk to use raised feeders for a senior dog of a large breed.
Raised bowls are off-ground and fixed in a frame. Dogs won’t be able to drag their bowls who believe that they are incumbent to push their bowls in the middle of the room and then eat.
Some people also believe that a raised feeder ensures clean eating. That’s not always true. A messy eater will eat the same way no matter what type of feeder they have. But the frames of some dog bowls are able to collect tiny food particles and water to prevent the floor from getting dirty.
Some dogs try to swim in their bowl before they drink from it. Somehow elevated bowls solve this problem, dogs won’t try to swim in it or dip their paws.
Conclusively, raised feeders should be used for the dogs who have need. Current wisdom suggests that you should wait for more research to come to ensure it doesn’t cause GDV in dogs. It’s believed that dogs swallow less air when they’re eating from elevated bowls, which reduce the amount of gas in the stomach and thereby eliminating at least one factor contributing to bloat. Please see a veterinarian as soon as you realize that your dog is showing signs of GDV. All in all, one should use raised feeders only if the benefits overweigh the downsides.
Let’s understand this by a small example. A senior Basenji dog with bone issues can eat and drink from raised feeders as the breed is less prone to bloat, and elevated bowls can make eating and drinking experience comfortable and less painful. On the other hand, using elevated dog bowls for a senior Great Dane with joint issues is not advisable as the risk of bloat prevails in that case.