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Why should my dog use an elevated bowl?

on September 28, 2020
Dog eating from elevated dog bowl

Whether you have a pup that loves to chow down or a more selective eater, a raised dog bowl is likely a good fit for your pet. There is a lot of information around elevated feeders, so let's break down the benefits and things to consider!

Table of Contents:

  1. What are elevated pet bowls?
  2. What are the benefits of raised feeding?
  3. Do elevated dog bowls increase risk of bloat?
  4. How tall should my dog's bowl be?

What are elevated pet bowls?

Elevated or raised pet bowls come in many different shapes, sizes, and styles. There are thousands and thousands of elevated pet bowls available for pets of all different breeds. The end goal is always the same: raise your animal's food or water off the ground to achieve a number of potential health and cleanliness benefits.

What are the benefits of raised feeding?

There are a number of potential benefits for both your dog and for your home.

Elevated bowls can make eating easier for your dog.

The primary benefit of a raised dog bowl is making it easier for your dog to eat. Decreasing the amount your dog has to bend down can put less stress on your dog's neck, making meal time easier and more enjoyable.

This benefit is especially true for older dogs and dogs with arthritic or orthopedic issues. But it's hard to know if your dog experiences discomfort while eating. We've seen some picky eaters suddenly love to eat after switching to an elevated bowl!

Raised feeders can be cleaner.

Elevating your dog's food and water off the ground can prevent dust and hair from ending up in your dog's bowl. With a removable, dishwasher safe bowl, keeping your dog's bowl clean is easy.

Keep the food in the bowl.

Some elevated dog bowls come with anti-tip designs and anti-slip pads. This can help keep your dog's food where it belongs, especially if they are prone to pushing their bowl around.

It's about your home, too.

Many elevated dog bowls just simply look nicer than other dog bowls. Decorative dog bowls can make great pet-themed home decor for the pet enthusiast.

Do elevated dog bowls increase risk of bloat?

You may have heard claims that raised dog bowls may increase risk of bloat. GDV is a complicated condition and there is not a single, well-known cause that triggers bloat.

Breed is scientifically shown to be an increased risk factor. Beyond this, there are many unsubstantiated associations. The Animal Medical Center outlines many of these urban legends.

The idea that raised bowls may be associated with bloat stems from a study published in 2000. The study sought to identify non-dietary risk factors of GDV (age, relatives, fast eating, raised bowls). There were more cases of bloat in giant breeds who used a raised bowl than those who did not. This statistic was a surprise as it contradicted many vet recommendations for giant breeds at the time.

Despite some questions around the results of this study, it is a factor to weigh with your veterinarian alongside the potential health benefits of raised bowls. Every dog is different, and you and your vet are best equipped to make decisions about your pup's health.

For large dogs, one option to consider is an elevated bowl that is 6" or 10" instead of extremely tall bowls.

How tall should my dog's bowl be?

Elevated dog bowls are a good fit for dogs of many sizes and breeds. When choosing a height, consider all the factors outlined above.

As a general rule, medium and large dogs use a bowl 6-12" while smaller breeds use 3" - 6" bowls.

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This post is not a medical recommendation for your pet. Always consult your veterinarian.
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