The first time I ever saw an elevated dog bowl was at a friend’s house. Our friends have been blessed with abundant material goods. So, naturally, they want to do what’s best for their large-breed dog.
I was curious as to why their dog was eating from a raised bowl. I’d never seen one before. The “dog Mom” told me that this design helps with digestion. However, at the time, I also thought about my own dog, and what he’d do with an elevated food bowl.
He’d knock it over. Or he’d move it around the kitchen. There’s no way he’d just stand there and eat from a bowl in a stand.
Do Raised Dog Bowls Prevent Bloat?
Our shelter-acquired Cocker Spaniel is not a patient guy, especially when it comes to food. He hurls his bowls across the kitchen floor when he’s hungry or thirsty, much like they are giant hockey pucks. I’m quite sure that even at age 16 he’d find a way to disassemble a standing dog bowl holder.
At the time, when we were visiting our friends, I was a little sorry we couldn’t do better for our dog. He was resigned to eating out of a ground-level food bowl.
Now, though, I realize this is probably a good thing. Because (from what I understand) elevated food bowls do not prevent bloat. They can possibly make it more likely your dog will develop this life-threatening condition.
Dog bloat is a serious emergency. It can turn fatal quickly. It happens when too much air, food or water collects in the stomach. If you notice signs of this condition, which includes your dog not acting like himself, pacing and vomiting, but nothing happens, he needs immediate medical attention. This could save his life.
Elevated Dog Bowls and Bloat
But back to these large dog bowls on stands. They are dangerous, according to one study, which appeared in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. It found that more than half of the cases of bloat, technically known as gastric dilatation-volvulus were caused by elevated bowls. This study look at the largest breeds, which are more prone to this potentially fatal condition.
So make sure to talk to your own vet, and do your own research, before buying any type of special bowl for your dog.
Slow Eater Dog Bowl
I realize elevated dog bowls are a controversial issue. Oftentimes, elevated bowls are marketed as a means to prevent bloat in dogs. But it looks as if the opposite could be happening.
Think about how dogs (or wolves) eat in the wild, the way they are designed to eat. They hold their heads low and pick at their prey. This is why the latest trend to facilitate healthy dog digestion involves using a slow dog feeder bowl, which make pets work for their meal, much as they’d have to in a more natural setting. Slow feeders appear to be much safer than elevated dog bowls.