Are Elevated Dog Bowls Good or Bad?
See files for Dogs
Elevated dog bowls are a controversial topic any caregivers. This is because there are different theories on its pros and cons. Some say it is a digestion, whereas others say the contrary. The original theory that's supported elevated dog bowls stated that it would help the posture of large and giant breed.
In this AnimalWised article we are going to debunk these myths and tell you whether elevated dog bowls good or bad. We will also mention for which dogs an elevated dog bowl can be beneficial and how to make your own at home.
Are Elevated Dog Bowls Good or Bad?
Elevated dog bowls have their charm. They seem to be better for the posture of our dog and helps them keep tidy when eating. When first advertised they were said to also help our dog with their digestion. However, recent studies have debunked this theory as elevated dog bowls are now tied to an increase in risk for large or giant breed dog to develop bloat torsion. This problem is also known as gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV).
Although GDV can be caused by other factors, it has now been linked to elevated food bowls by a couple of studies. Although it's a treatable disease, bloat can be fatal. The key is early detection in order to act quickly before it becomes fatal. This is why, unless instructed by a veterinarian, it's best to completely avoid elevated dog bowls.
The largest study done on this subject took 1,637 dogs for a period of 6 months without a history of GDV. The breeds included: Akita, Bloodhound, Collie, Great Dane, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard, Standard Poodle, and Weimaraner. After the 6 months of studies, they concluded that approximately 20 and 52% of cases of GDV among the large breed and giant breed dogs, respectively, were attributed to having a raised feed bowl.
If we also think about this logically, the best way for a dog to eat is the way they would do so in the wild. Their ancestors didn't have elevated bowls even if they were large and tall animals. Therefore, it's safe to say that it's unnatural for a dog to eat with an elevated bowl in the wild.
With that being said, some veterinarians will recommend elevated food bowls for dogs that have certain health issues, such as arthritis or a specific injury. In these cases, it's understandable that an elevated food bowl can help them avoid further pain.
Is an elevated dog bowl right for your dog?
Due to the controversial studies, an elevated dog food bowl shouldn't be given to any dog, even to giant dog breeds. Instead, you must first ask your veterinarian if it's correct for your dog. They are professionals that will be able to tell you specifically if your dog needs an elevated dog bowl due to arthritis or another medical issue.
To be more specific, the dogs that are more prone to needing an elevated dog bowl are:
- Those with arthritis
- Back pain issues
- Old-aged dogs
Nevertheless, you will need to ask your veterinarian before purchasing or making your own elevated dog bowl as it may bring more issues than solutions for certain dogs.
Choosing an elevated dog bowl
Once your veterinarian has recommended an elevated food bowl for your dog, it's time to choose the correct elevated food bowl for your dog and their condition.
The correct height
To calculate the correct height of the elevated food bowl, you can measure your dog's height at the withers and then subtract 15cm. It's best to choose an adjustable elevated food bowl so as to be able to change the height with ease.
The best options would be stainless steel. However, ceramic or glass is also fine (although easier to break). What we should avoid is plastic bowls.
There are many different models of elevated dog bowls. Go to your local pet shop and choose the best design for your dog, your home and the design that's easiest for you to clean. Make sure it's high quality too. If you have any doubts, ask your veterinarian for some guidance.
DIY homemade elevated dog bowl
Another option is to make an elevated dog bowl at home. This DIY is super simple and easy to do. It also allows you to customise the bowl for your dog.
You will need:
- Wooden crate
- Two bowls
- Retractable cutter
- Paint, markers, pencils, etc.
Follow these simple steps to make your own elevated dog bowl:
- Flip the crate over and trace the bowls where you want them to be.
- Carefully cut it out with the cutter.
- Now start painting! Use paint, markers, etc. Be creative!
- Let it dry for a couple of hours.
- Now add in the bowls and start using it!
You can also watch our AnimalWised video about DIY projects for your pet. On minute 18:49 you will find how to make your own elevated dog bowl.
If you want to read similar articles to Are Elevated Dog Bowls Good or Bad?, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.
- Glickman LT, Glickman NW, Schellenberg DB, Raghavan M, Lee T. Non-dietary risk factors for gastric dilatation-volvulus in large and giant breed dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2000;217(10):1492-1499. doi:10.2460/javma.2000.217.1492
- Buckley, Louise. (2017). Are Dogs That Are Fed from a Raised Bowl at an Increased Risk of Gastric Dilation Volvulus Compared with Floor-Fed Dogs?. Veterinary Evidence. 2. 10.18849/ve.v2i1.57.