The controversy surrounding the use of raised dog bowls

If there is one issue relating to our dogs that gets everyone talking – it’s the subject of using raised dog bowls for feeding. How often, as a dog owner have you thought about these options at feeding time?

Research findings

In 2004, research was carried out and published on the Glickman Study Website, relating to the feeding of giant and larger breeds from raised bowls. Their claim was that taking into account the dog’s chest size, and their diet high in fat and citric acid, that if fed from a raised bowl they are at a higher threat of bloating. It has since been stated that these results were based on a statistical study, and not founded research.

Dog bowls

A regular dog bowl sits flat on the floor, with no raised area underneath it. A raised or elevated feeding bowl can lift it from anywhere between several inches from the ground, to a foot or more, depending on the height and build of your pet. There are however, both pros and cons to both types of feeding methods that should be considered.

 

Regular Food Bowls

PROS: The cheapest option, available to purchase in many stores. With less chance of causing stomach bloating, these floor bowls are also easily portable.

CONS: A regular dog bowl can slide all over the floor, and end up being quite messy with food splattered all over the place. As the bowl is at floor level, your pooch has to bend to feed, which may cause stress on his shoulders, neck and back joints. Just as there are suggested health problems feeding from an elevated bowl, similarly there are issues that cause symptoms in your dog eating from a low bowl, such as digestive and oesophageal difficulties.

Raised Food Bowls

PROS: Brilliant for large dogs, especially if they’re arthritic or an older dog, who won’t have to bend down to feed. Can prevent the oesophageal muscles from stretching, and with gravity assistance makes it easier for the food to reach the dog’s stomach. Also a less messy feeding method as the bowls are fixed and tidy, with less food splattering. Especially practical for dogs with large ears.

CONS: An additional expense to owning a dog as they are usually a pricier option. As previously mentioned, in the Glickman Study findings, larger dogs may be more prone to bloating if fed from an elevated dish. Raised dog bowls are usually on a stand, sometimes fixed, and are rather cumbersome, taking up more space if your living accommodation is on the small side.

Stress can play a part in bloating

One of the biggest factors to cause dog bloating, is stress. This can be created by several factors: hormonal issues, being over vaccinated, a Ph imbalance caused by antibiotics, dysfunction in the home, lack of exercise, nervousness and even poor nutrition. Any of these stress factors can result in bloating.

Ensure that your dog has a quiet feeding area, with no distractions or loud noises and try to stick to a regular feeding time and routine.

My own experience

I have used raised feeding bowls with my own dog in the past, and found he was doing much better feeding from an elevated bowl, with less burping and gas. The dog, when eating, appears to be much more comfortable without having to strain his back and neck to eat his food from floor level. I would say that if you are considering using an elevated feeding bowl for your pet, the best advice I can give you is to decide yourself, taking into consideration these pros and cons, and relative to your specific dog, your own home situation, and your dog’s health and breed.