The benefits of using elevated dog bowls have created much controversy over the past few years.
These raised bowls were advised to be used to solve a specific problem in dogs but the things observed were exactly opposite by a significantly large group of people who used those.
If you’re seeking the answer to the question, the short answer is ‘it depends on several things’. I’ll tell you when you may consider using elevated bowls. But again, you should always speak with your veterinarian before you decide to use elevated dog bowls.
What Is An Elevated Dog Bowl?
An elevated or raised dog bowl is a bowl that does not sit on the floor directly. Instead, they are placed at some height from the ground with the use of a metal frame or a similar structure. This way the dog does not have to bend his neck and shoulder for eating and drinking. The height of the bowl is one of the factors to be considered while purchasing. Generally, it should be as high as her lower chest. You get to choose from different sizes or they come with adjustable heights.
The controversy of using elevated dog bowls revolves around the association of using it with a condition called bloat, which is deadly in dogs. The studies have shown that the fatal disease and the use of raised bowls are closely correlated. However, there have been many questions raised upon the credibility of such studies though.
In addition, some veterinarians advise using elevated dog bowls when the pooch is old and has arthritis and other bone or joint related conditions. The reason behind this is that it will ease up eating and drinking. Considering that, it’s a big confusion for pet parents to make the right decision and not hurting their pets unknowingly.
Risks Associated With Using Elevated Dog Bowls
Raised feeder or elevated dog bowls were recommended to dogs to prevent bloat, a condition known as gastric dilation volvulus. This condition is deadly because the combination of gas, blockages, and stress can cause the whole stomach to twist or flip over and restricts the entry and the exit of the stomach.
This condition causes unbearable pain, vomits, and inability to move further the stomach contents and pass the gas. Ultimately, it leads to shock and death in the dog if the right medical treatment is not incorporated.
Due to only anecdotal evidence of preventing bloat in dogs, elevated dog bowls became popular. The intuition was that when a dog eats from the raised feeders, he won’t swallow as much air as he would when eating normally from the ground surface. This seemed to be eliminating at least one of the factors contributing to the deadly condition. At that time, there were no concrete studies or tests conducted to substantiate the benefit.
A later study suggested exactly opposite to the thought of its preventing ability of bloat in dogs. However, subsequent studies were not performed to confirm the result. Also, the study has a flaw in it that it was not randomized. This could mean that there can be some other factors apart from an elevated bowl that may have contributed to developing the condition of bloat.
Nevertheless, there are more and more cases of bloat found in dogs associated with the use of elevated dog bowls and there is no concrete evidence that using a raised feeder will prevent the condition. That said, it is wise to not use the raised feeder, especially if your dog is prone to bloat. Importantly, you should always consult with your vet to discuss all the risk factors associated with elevated bowls including bloat.
Potential Benefits of Elevated Bowls
Well, elevated feeders can be benefitted for the dogs who are suffering from joint conditions, arthritis, spinal conditions, and orthopedic conditions. It also is helpful for senior dogs who have less mobility. A raised bowl will allow them to eat and drink easily without leaning more and putting stress on the neck, shoulders, back, and spine.
Some dogs are innately messy eaters and sloppy drinkers. While we like to think that they perceive neatness and cleanliness from us, but there can be some reasons behind such behavior. Moreover, some dogs think they are incumbent to spatter their food or drag his bowl to a certain spot in the house and then eat. In this case, elevated bowls will not allow them to move their food and water bowls and stop them from creating a mess over the whole floor.
There’s not direct conclusion here as there’s no clear answer to the question. Using elevated dog bowls has both benefits as well as detriments. So when you’re thinking of considering the raised feeder, you should ensure that the benefits overweigh the downsides. If you’re not sure about your decisions, you should seek a veterinarian’s advice. And if you had a random thought of using elevated bowls just to help your pets, I’d suggest you stick to the regular steel bowls. Check out stainless steel bowls here for durable, high-quality bowls at a convenient price.
For example, if you have a senior St. Bernard dog and has arthritis, you may want to use elevated bowls to reduce the pain in the neck, back, and other joints. But, St. Bernards are one of the breeds susceptible to bloating. In this case, the risk of bloat due to a raised feeder outweighs the comfort in eating and drinking. And hence, you should not use the raised bowls.
Source: Gentle Dog Trainers
While on the other hand, if you have a senior Basenji with similar joint and bone-related issues, you would want to use elevated bowls. Basenji dog is not prone to bloating and in this case, it’s ok to use elevated bowls for easing up pain and strain while eating and drinking. All in all, you need to figure out if the benefits are outweighing the cons to use them and also take into other medical conditions if any.